Mama duck sat patiently on her 5 eggs. Today was the day. Crack! The first little duckling poked its head out of the egg. One by one, her ducklings made their way into the world. After a long wait, the last little one, who was smaller, darker and fatter than her siblings decided to join them. Mama duck was very happy that all her babies were healthy. She named them after numbers 1,2, 3, 4 and 5.

The next day, Mama duck took all the ducklings to the pond. They followed her everywhere. She noticed how Ducky5 was a little different from the others, so she gave her an extra smile.

Frequently, the animals on the farm made fun of Ducky5, poked at her and called her “Ugly”. Mama duck always came to her rescue, and told her, “You are beautiful, you are the apple of my eye”.

One day, Ducky5 came back home with tears in her eyes. She did not want to play with her siblings anymore. Her sisters called her dark, her brothers called her fat. “Why am I like this?” she wondered aloud. Mama duck reassured her, “Your difference is what makes you beautiful“. Happily, she went back to play and race.

The old wise horse told Ducky5, “Be nice and do good. It doesn’t matter if you are ugly. Only your inner beauty matters”. Her mom told her, “You are nice inside and out, I believe in you“.

Years later, by the lake, the little duck looked into the water. She saw only a Big Strong Confident Healthy Beautiful duck. When she saw the swans flying above her, she smiled and waved them Goodbye.


Why I think The Ugly Duckling should be retold:

Recently, when I was reading The Ugly duckling to my toddler, I noticed how there was no “real goodness” in the story. The duck was Ugly, suffered a lot, turned out to be a swan and flew away? It was a little difficult for me to wrap my head around the logic. Coming across the story of Lizzie Velasquez, whose photo was doing the rounds on the internet, as the “World’s Ugliest Woman” helped me gain some perspective.  Here is an inspiring short video to her documentary.

What is Beauty?

How the world perceives you and “How pretty they think you are” should not define who you are as a person and what you do.

“It is not the question of inner beauty. It is not the question of what products you can use to make yourself more pleasing. It is not of just being different. You will be beautiful when you feel beautiful about yourself.”

Another person who lives by this is Acid Attack victim, Laxmi. She has overcome immense physical and emotional trauma to pursue and achieve her dreams.

Let us move forward together to redefine what beauty is. You don’t have to be fair and lovely, or dark and handsome, or have a 36-24-36 figure to love yourself, to marry, to ace an interview, or to be successful in life.

Feel beautiful. Be Beautiful.

Ugly duckling Retold #AtoZChallenge
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11 thoughts on “Ugly duckling Retold #AtoZChallenge

  • April 26, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    Your refining the Ugly Duckling tale is heartening to women like me who grew up dark, fat and with buck teeth. Who will marry her, echoed in my ears even when I slept!
    Yes the definition of beauty is so warped but look at our influencers in the form of so called liberated strong women who enact in the movies or model on TV – all a sham! All promote beauty products at the drop of a hat and use surgical enhancements as if its popping a cough drop!!

    ​Unzymotic Road Trip

    • April 26, 2017 at 9:45 pm

      Our definition of beauty is very difficult to shake. It is so ingrained in us that we think it is just the fact, also constantly re-enforced by everything including the media. Groups like Dark is Beautiful (check FB group of same name) have helped me question some of these “realities”

  • April 26, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    As the other have commented, I also liked your version of the Ugly Duckling better. It shows hope and belief in oneself. I also loved how you connected it with the World’s Ugliest Women thing.. I did google a lot about her and follow up on her when this news was doing the rounds on the internet and I felt this sinking feeling inside me, making me sick that few thousands of insecure people find themselves superior enough to label another human being as the ugliest of them all. It is deeply shameful for the human race, but I loved how this woman took everything into a positive perspective and just keeps moving on. Thats courage! In your face, people!!
    Thanks for sharing these lovely thoughts.

    Underdogs of the Literary World

    Readers of the Night

    • April 26, 2017 at 6:52 pm

      Bullying, passing judgement are so easy and rampant in this world, especially with the internet now. As you said, it is so important to find within ourselves the strength to react positively and with courage in the face of such things!

  • April 26, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Your version of Ugly Duckling is lovely. I will admit this though, growing up, it was the story I connected with the most. And as little as I was, the story gave me some kind of hope. Of course, back then, what we believed about ourselves is that becoming a swan is what mattered. The retelling shows a better side of things.

    • April 26, 2017 at 6:48 pm

      Thanks Sreesha:) I guess as a kid I never really thought anything much beyond the story. I did not think of alternative endings. I liked them all as it is. I was just glad they all had happy endings!

  • April 25, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Rightly said! May be such indirectly inculcate stereotypes like this in kids and that leads them to arrive at conclusions of their own. Beauty is what you feel from within.

  • April 25, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Very well said. Feel beautiful and be beautiful. It gives you immense confidence to face the world.

    • April 25, 2017 at 10:20 pm

      Thank you Geethica. Yes it is very important for us to feel beautiful & love ourselves.


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