Once a duck laid lots of eggs beside a lake. One of the eggs was bigger than the rest.
Mother Duck was naturally very surprised. ‘Why is this egg so big?’
she wondered.
After some time all the eggs hatched into a number of ducklings. But out of the big egg, an odd-shaped duckling emerged! Poor Mother Duck was so frightened to see the duckling. ‘Why does this duck look so odd?’ she thought anxiously.
Days went by. The odd-shaped duckling was called an ‘ugly duckling’ by its brothers and sisters. They made fun of the poor ugly duckling and didn’t let her come near them.
One day the ugly duckling went to Mother Duck to share her feelings.
Just when the ugly duckling was about to speak, Mother Duck exclaimed, ‘Oh! You are not nice looking like my other babies. You are huge and quite scary to look at.’
Hearing these unkind words, the ugly duckling’s’ eyes filled with tears.
The poor thing never imagined that a mother could be so cruel. The Mother Duck ant the other ducklings ignored the ugly duckling and went to swim in the pond. No one cared for her or loved her.
Once when the ugly duckling tried to play with the ducklings, they ran away in fear. The ducklings thought they were more good looking and were ashamed to be seen with someone so ugly. So the ugly duckling slowly got used to being ignored.
As time passed, things remained the same. One day, when the ugly duckling was swimming alone in the pond she saw a big group of birds.
The birds were so white and beautiful. ‘My! These birds are so pretty.
I wish I was like them,’ the ugly duckling thought sadly.
Assuming that the birds would laugh and mock at her, the ugly duckling tried to go away. All of a sudden, one of the birds came close to the ugly duckling and said, ‘What are you doing alone in this pond? Come along, you are one of us.’
The ugly duckling was shocked. So far no one had ever spoken to her with so much love and concern. ‘Really?’ she asked in disbelief. ‘You want me to come with you?’
‘Of course! We welcome you in our group. You are a swan like us!’ the birds said excitedly.
Till then the ugly duckling had been too scared to see her image in the water. She didn’t want to be reminded that she was ugly. But now she eagerly dipped her head in the water and saw an image that was so comforting. ‘Yes!’ She looked exactly like the new group of birds and not an ugly duckling!’
Finally the ugly duckling was free! She would no longer be mocked and teased. Joyfully she spread her wings and flew away with the rest of the swans.

Look around you.
Is it necessary for all life forms to look like us?
Who are we to decide on what is beautiful and what is ugly?
We make fun of people who look different from us.
We tend to tease the physically challenged and label them as lame, blind or cock-eyed.
How many times have we have mocked the ‘swans’ among us by calling them ‘ugly ducklings’?
Think about it.
There is a place under the sun for every being and every creature.
Let’s appreciate one another and make our world a better place.