The Ugly Duckling

Once there was a mummy duck and a daddy duck. Mr and Mrs Duck were so excited because they were waiting for baby ducks! The eggs were nearly ready to hatch, and one day *POP!* *POP!* *POP!* out jumped three fluffy babies. *QUACK!* went the first baby – and Mr and Mrs Duck smiled... *QUACK* went the second baby – and Mr and Mrs Duck smiled... *HONK!* went the third baby – and Mr and Mrs Duck did not smile. Mr and Mrs Duck didn’t know what to do. They were sad and they were frightened.

They went to the hospital. “Look at our child!” they said to the doctor. “Something is wrong!”

The doctor was very clever. He looked at the baby duck with many different special machines. He talked to other doctors. He had meetings. He read books. In the end the doctor knew what the problem was.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, “This is a swan.”

“His name is Ryan” said Mr and Mrs Duck.

“I’m so sorry. Ryan is a swan.” Said the doctor.

Before they knew what was happening Mr and Mrs Duck were sent to all sorts of clever ducks who knew all about swans. They were given all sorts of books and leaflets by clever ducks who knew all about swans. They were given advice and counselling and guidance by clever ducks who knew all about swans. Mr and Mrs Duck had never met a swan before so they were very pleased to talk to these experts. They did not meet any swans, but that was alright. Swans were quite scary, so they thought, and so they were relieved that all the swan experts were ducks.

They were especially relieved that the clever ducks had all sorts of clever duck tricks and schemes to make Ryan be nearly the duck that they wanted.

It took a very long time.

All the time he lived in their nest, Ryan had special lessons to make him sound like a duck. Clever ducks with paint made his snow-white feathers brown and green and black. Some ducks even put him to sleep and, when he woke up, his long graceful neck was short and stubby just like the other ducks. This was much better!

“Quack! Quack! Quack! Sang Mr and Mrs Duck with delight.”

“Quonk.” Said Ryan.

Overhead, a family of swans soared across the heavens.

“I wonder where they are going...” thought Ryan.
Jim CromwellComment