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The Ugly Duckling

The poor little Ugly Duckling is teased by his cruel friends at the pond. Until they discover that things aren't always as they seem...

A duck made her nest under some leaves.

She sat on the eggs to keep them warm.

At last, the eggs broke, one after the other.

Little ducks came out.

Only one egg was left. It was a very large one.

At last, it broke, and out came a big, ugly duckling.

"What a big duckling!" said the old duck. "He does not look like us. Maybe he’s a turkey?--We will see about that. If he does not like the water, he is not a duck."

The next day the mother duck took her ducklings to the pond.

Splash! Splash! The mother duck was in the water. Then she called to the ducklings, “Come in children.”

They all jumped in and began to swim. The big, ugly duckling swam, too.

The mother duck said, "He is not a turkey. He is my own little duck. He will not be so ugly when he is bigger."

Then she said to the ducklings, "Come with me, children. I want you to see the other ducks. Stay by me and be careful of the cat."

They all went into the duck yard. What a noise the ducks made!

While the mother duck was eating a big bug, an old duck bit the ugly duckling.

"You leave him alone, old duck," said the mother duck. "He did not hurt you."

"I know that," said the duck, "but he is so ugly, that I bit him."

The next duck they met, said, "You have lovely ducklings. They are all so pretty. Not that one! He is very ugly."

The mother duck said, "I know he is not very pretty. But he is very good."

Then she said to the ducklings, "Now, my dears, have a good time."

But the poor, big, ugly duckling did not have a good time.

The hens all bit him. The big ducks walked on him.

The poor duckling was very sad. He did not want to be so ugly. But he could not help it.

He ran to hide under some bushes. The little birds in the bushes were afraid and they flew away.

"It is all because I am so ugly," said the duckling. So he ran away.

At night he came to an old house. The house was so old it looked like it would fall down. But the wind blew so hard that the duckling went into the house.

An old woman lived there with her cat and her hen.

The old woman said, "I will keep the duck and then I can have some eggs."

The next day, the cat saw the duckling and began to growl.

The hen said, "Can you lay eggs?"

The duckling said, "No."

"Then be quiet," said the hen.

The cat said, "Can you growl?"

"No," said the duckling.

"Then keep still," said the cat.

And the duckling hid in a corner.

The next day he went for a walk. He saw a big pond. He said, "I think I’ll have a nice swim."

But all of the animals made fun of him. He was so ugly.

The summer went by.

Then the leaves fell and it was very cold. The poor duckling had a hard time.

It was too sad to tell what he did all winter.

At last, it was spring.

The birds sang. The ugly duckling was big now.

One day he flew far away.

Soon he saw three white swans on the lake.

He said, "I am going to go see those birds. I am scared they will be mean to me because I am so ugly."

He put his head down to the water. What did he see? He saw himself in the water. But he was not an ugly duck. He was a beautiful white swan.

The other swans came to see him.

The children said, "Oh, look at the lovely swans. The one that came last is the best."

And they gave him bread and cake.

It was a happy time for the ugly duckling.


Multiple Choice Questions:

  1. Where did the duck make her nest?

  • A) In the pond

  • B) Under some leaves

  • C) In a tree

  • D) In a barn

  1. What was different about the last egg that hatched?

  • A) It was very small

  • B) It was a different color

  • C) It was very large

  • D) It had a special pattern

  1. What did the mother duck think the big duckling might be?

  • A) A chicken

  • B) A swan

  • C) A goose

  • D) A turkey

  1. How did the other animals treat the ugly duckling in the duck yard?

  • A) They welcomed him

  • B) They ignored him

  • C) They made fun of him

  • D) They protected him

  1. What did the duckling see when he looked at his reflection in the water in the spring?

  • A) A big, ugly duckling

  • B) A lovely swan

  • C) A sad duckling

  • D) A large turkey


  1. Answer: B) Under some leaves

  2. Answer: C) It was very large

  3. Answer: D) A turkey

  4. Answer: C) They made fun of him

  5. Answer: B) A lovely swan

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