Friday, 30 July 2010

Friday is for Fairytales: Ugly Duckling

Friday is for Fairytales is a meme hosted by Irena (me) at This Miss loves to Read. Every Friday, you can choose a fairytale you love, or simply find interesting or haunting, and review it or simply say why you like it so much, or why it has captured your attention. Instead of a fairytale, you can choose a favourite fairytale character and describe him/her and tell us why you like them, or you can simply share an experience connected to a fairytale. Fairytales can be old and modern, written by a known author or anonymous, written down or passed on orally, short or in novel form (like re-writings of fairytales), international or typical for your country alone. In this case, present your country’s fairytale and we can all become acquainted with a new fairytale. So, make a post every Friday that is connected to the world of fairytales, be it a review, a character description or your own fairytale experience. Let’s celebrate fairytales and share our love for them.

MY POST IS ABOUT: "Ugly Duckling" by Hans Cristian Andersen

I have chosen another fairy-tale by Andersen for this Friday and this time my choice is “Ugly Duckling”. In case you’re not familiar with the story, I’ll describe it fast.

Once upon a time, a mother duck’s eggs hatched and all of the little ducks are perfect but one who is seen as an ugly little creature. Everyone humiliates him because of his ugly appearance, so he is a lonely outcast among the ducks. He wanders around sadly and even lives with wild ducks and geese for a while, until hunters slaughter “his” flock. After some more misfortunes, he sees a flock of migrating wild swans one day. He is really happy about it, but he can’t join the flock. When winter comes, the poor freezing ugly duckling is taken in by a farmer, but the noise in the house scares him, so he spends the winter alone outcome. Then, spring comes at last and the ugly duckling is welcome into a flock of swan, for he has grown into a beautiful swan himself. All along, he has been a swan, so he was definitely different from ducks appeared ugly to them. But in the end, the ugly duckling, now a beautiful swan, has finally found his home and is happy.

Actually, I came to love this fairy-tale as a teenager. As a kid, I mostly read about princesses and princes, as I was a really girly girl. But then, I started to discover other stories by Andersen and the tale about the ugly duckling really appealed to me. This story is very similar to how things question in real life. Too often, people are rejected because of the way they look, without being given a chance to show their true selves to the world, simply because they don’t have nice, fancy clothes and something to show on the outside. However, I have known beautiful people who acted like jerks and not so beautiful people who were one of the best people I ever met. So, outer appearance really doesn’t matter. It’s what you carry in your heart, and in your head, that’s important.

I think this story is really educational and should definitely be read and explained to children, so that they could learn about acceptance and what truly matters in life. Sometimes I get sick of our neighbours’ kids fighting with each other who has the best toys and who has the best shoes. I think “Ugly Duckling” would be the perfect story for such kids.

So, to finish off, this is a very beautiful story that draws parallels to real life. And, the wonderful thing about Andersen is that many of his stories are very educational and offer an important message.


CarlyB said...

This is a really nice meme, hopefully I can join in one week. I love Anderson's stories and I love the message each one has, like you said.

I found you through the Hop, by the way :).

Have a lovely weekend x

Blodeuedd said...

I like this story too, that poor ugly duckling who later grows up to be a swan :D

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I used to hate this fairy tale because the poor duckling being teased made me feel so uncomfortable-it took too long to get to the happy ending. Now that I'm older, I have more of an appreciation for it.

Enbrethiliel said...


I love The Ugly Duckling and could very easily relate to the poor thing. (I agree with Bookworm, though, that Anderson certainly heaped the sufferings on his title character, who was, after all "just a kid" during the greater part of the story.)

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

I agree, the duckling/swan suffered way too long, but I just love the ending and the moral. I love happy endings.;)

Enbrethiliel said...


Andersen's characters seem to get more than their fair share of suffering, don't they? If I remember correctly, Andersen didn't have a very happy childhood himself; and he certainly feels compassion for all his characters. Yet the suffering is part of what makes the endings so beautiful, isn't it? Happy endings taken to the next, transcendent level!

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

I completely agree with you, JMJ! It's the suffering, precisely, that makes the endings beautiful and really meaningful. Happiness in his stories is not just a given, one has to work hard to achieve it, or fail.
Yes, he is a bit depressive at times, but Andersen's stories don't pretend.

Bookalicious Ramblings said...

I'm generally not a huge fan of fairytales, but this one is actually one of my favourites! Great pick!

Vicki said...

What a great post! I've just bought my daughter a huge book of Anderson's fairy tales and I'd forgot how dark they really are! I think though like you I didn't appreciate the message in The Ugly Duckling until I was older.