THE ORANGE FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

A Collection of Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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86
THE UGLY DUCKLING
'It is all nonsense about it not laying eggs. Anyway, we will let it stay here for a bit, and see what happens.'
So the duckling remained for three weeks, and shared the food of the cat and the hen; but nothing in the way of eggs happened at all. Then the sun came out, and the air grew soft, and the duckling grew tired of being in a hut, and wanted with all his might to have a swim. And one morning he got so restless that even his friends noticed it.
'What is the matter?' asked the hen; and the duckling told her.
'I am so longing for the water again. You can't think how delicious it is to put your head under the water and dive straight to the bottom.'
'I don't think / should enjoy it,' replied the hen doubt­fully. 'And I don't think the cat would like it either.' And the cat, when asked, agreed there was nothing she would hate so much.
'I can't stay here any longer, I must get to the water,' repeated the duck. And the cat and the hen, who felt hurt and offended, answered shortly:
'Very well then, go.'
The duckling would have liked to say good-bye, and thank them for their kindness, as he was polite by nature; but they had both turned their backs on him, so he went out of the rickety door feeling rather sad. But, in spite of himself, he could not help a thrill of joy when he was out in the air and water once more, and cared little for the rude glances of the creatures he met. For a while he was quite happy and content; but soon the winter came on, and snow began to fall, and everything to grow very wet and uncomfortable. And the duckling soon found that it is one thing to enjoy being in the water, and quite another to like being damp on land.
The sun was setting one day, like a great scarlet globe, and the river, to the duckling's vast bewilderment,
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