A mother duck was brooding on her eggs near the margin of a pond. A flock of lovely baby ducks was soon born, making sweet peeping sounds when the eggs were broken. But one egg remained unbroken. "It is strange. Why has this egg not broken?"
The mother duck continued her brooding. At last, the egg was broken and a baby duck was born. However that baby duck was very ugly compared to the other baby ducks.
The mother duck was worried, but still she took the baby ducks near the water and taught them how to swim. The ugly duckling also swam with his brothers and sisters, moving his legs eagerly. "It is lucky though. That baby swims well." Still his brothers pecked at the ugly duckling with their bills.
"How hideous this baby duck is. We don't want to see you. Go to a cat." His brothers gave a very hard time to the poor duckling. "Stop it, don't do that!" The mother duck sighed and said, "Ah! I wish that this baby could live happily at another place."
The baby duck heard what his mother said and dropped tears of sorrow saying, "Mom, I will leave. Good-bye." The ugly duckling left his nest beyond the pond.
When he entered the forest, other birds were frightened by the baby duck and ran away. "Why do they run away? Is it because I am so awful?" The baby duck became sadder and plodded along the field.
Near the water beside the field, two wild ducks were playing around. "Yah, what is that ugly duck? Let's make fun of him." The two wild ducks flew up in the air and threw stones at the baby duck.
"Bang! Bang!" At that time, a hunter shot his gun. The two wild ducks fell down dead to the ground. "Uh? What is this small bird?" The hunter took home the awkward little baby duck along with the two wild ducks.
"Dad, what is this poor-looking bird?" "I took it with me in order to give it to you, my son. It was trembling with fear in the water." The children gave a hard time to the baby duck by pulling its wings and tail.
"That hurts! Ow!" The baby duck spilled a jug of milk while running away from the cruel hands of the children. The dishes on the table were also broken. The angry hunter sent out the baby duck with a flourish of his broomstick. And so the after being cast out from the house of the hunter, the ugly duckling spent a long and cold winter alone.
Finally spring came. The baby duck had a good stretch and flew up in the air vigorously. "Uh! I am flying!"
Upon the lake, a flock of white and pretty swans were playing around while swimming. "They are indeed pretty birds." The baby duck became sad. "Those birds may not like me as I am so ugly."
The baby duck tried to run away from the group of beautiful swans. "Hi! Where are you going? Come and play around with us!" The baby duck approached the swans hesitatingly. At that moment, the baby duck saw his own appearance reflected to the lake. There was one more beautiful swan gliding gracefully across the water.
The ugly duckling who overcame all suffering had finally become a beautiful swan. And so he lived happily ever after.