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The Ugly Duckling(丑小鸭)

来源: 06abc.com  0人参与

Long ago, in a farmyard many miles away, a Mother Duck sat on her nest. She was waiting for her eggs to hatch. Each day she proudly looked at them. There were six eggs, which meant six little ducklings to teach to swim.

  One sunny spring morning, the first egg began to crack..

  'Tap, tap, tap,' went the duckling inside, trying to get out. Mother Duck watched as the egg cracked open and out popped a fluffy duckling.

  "One," said Mother Duck proudly.

  The next day, the second egg hatched and out popped another fluffy duckling.

  "Two," said Mother Duck proudly.

  On the third day, duckling number three hatched.

  "That leaves just three," said Mother Duck.

  On the fourth and fifth day, ducklings number four and five hatched.

  "That leaves just one," said Mother Duck, as she settled on her nest. Her ducklings gathered around her.

  But on the sixth day nothing happened. Nor on the seventh.

  "How strange," said Mother Duck on the seventh day. "It should have hatched by now."

  One of the farmyard chickens wandered by.

  "Oh," she said. "You're still there I thought you'd be on the pond by now."

  "It's this last egg," said Mother Duck. "It hasn't hatched yet."

  "Let me see," said the chicken. "Well no wonder. It looks like a goose egg to me. You'll be here for a long time."

  "Oh dear," said Mother Duck. "I have my five little ducklings to teach to swim. What shall I do? I can't leave it."

  "Aah well," said the chicken, and she wandered off.

  The goose heard that one of her eggs was in Mother Duck's nest.

  "Is it true?" she asked, as she puffed up to the nest. "Do you have one of my eggs?"

  "I think so," said Mother Duck. They both looked in the nest.

  "Huh," said the goose. "That's not mine. It looks more like that absent-minded turkey's egg."

  As they looked, they suddenly heard the faint tapping. The shell was breaking.

  "We'll soon see," said the goose.

  They watched and waited.

  "Oh," said the goose.

  "Oh, dear," said Mother Duck, as she looked at the sixth duckling. It looked most strange, it was straggly and grey where its brothers and sisters were fluffy and yellow. It was also bigger than them.

  It quacked as it saw its mother.

  "Well, if it's a turkey," said the goose, "it won't swim."

  Mother Duck hurried her ducklings to the pond. She waddled in and listened. Splash! Splish! Splosh! Splash! Splish! She turned and looked. All six ducklings followed her in the water.

  "Oh, well," she said. "He can swim. He is definitely not a turkey."

  The sixth duckling was very good at swimming, and was soon swimming better than his brothers and sisters.

  Back at the farmyard, things did not go well for the little duckling. Everyone called him an ugly duckling. The chickens laughed at him, the turkeys chased him and the geese hissed at him.

  Soon even his brothers and sisters would not talk to him, but when his mother turned away, he was very sad. He decided to leave the farmyard.

  One sunny morning, he walked out of the farmyard and didn't look back. He wandered away, looking for somewhere new to live.

  When he'd been walking a while he came to a large lake. There were some ducks swimming on it.

  He swam up to them.

  "May I stay on this lake?" he asked.

  "Of course," said the ducks. "We'll be moving on soon. Why don't you join us, if you're on your own?"

  "Thank you," said the duckling.

  The duckling stayed on the lake and day by day he grew bigger. One day he looked up to see some large white birds flying gracefully over the lake.

  "They're beautiful," he whispered, and then sighed. "I wonder who they are?"

  One day the ducks came to see him.

  "It's autumn, and we're going now," they told him, "join us if you want to."

  Some ducks began to fly up to leave, but suddenly loud bangs were heard. Two of the ducks fell from the sky. Others flew up in fright, and more fell as more bangs were heard.

  The duckling ran and hid. He found a bush and stayed there until the noise had died down. When it was quiet he sadly left the lake and headed away over the fields.

  He came to another lake and there he stayed. Winter was coming and he was alone. As the days grew colder, he found that it was harder to find food.

  The one morning he woke and found that he couldn't move. The lake had frozen and he was stuck in the ice. The day passed and the duckling was giving up hope of being found. But late in the afternoon a man walking his dog saw him. He broke the ice, and the duckling was free. He ran across the ice and hid. He didn't dare to go on the ice again.

  Winter passed, spring came, and the ice melted.

  The duckling stretched his wings and found that they were strong enough to carry him. He flew upon and over the lake, high above the trees and fields. He should have been very happy, but he was not because he felt so lonely.

  A few days later, he looked up to see the large white birds he had seen in the autumn. They looked beautiful as they landed on the lake. The duckling admired their glossy white feathers and long necks. He swan over to take a closer look at them.

  "Please," he said shyly. "Will you tell me who you are. You are so beautiful and I am so ugly. I've never seen anybody like you."

  "Ugly," cried one of the white birds. "How silly!"

  "We're swans," said another. "Why do you think you're ugly? Look at yourself in the water."

  The duckling looked and caught sight of his own reflection. He gasped in surprise, for instead of seeing a fat, grey duckling he saw a swan with a long elegant neck and a bright orange bill. "I'm like you," he cried. "I'm a swan, too."

  "Definitely," said the swan, with a smile.

  "Does that mean I can stay with you, and not live alone?"

  "Of course," said the swans.

  At that moment two children ran down to the lake. "Ooh, look!" they cried. "The swans are back and there's a new one, too. Isn't he beautiful!"

  The ugly duckling stretched his neck and ruffled his feathers with pride.

  Then it was time to go flying with all of the other swans and, as the duckling took off from the lake, he could see his new beautiful reflection in the water.

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