Wiki Headlines
We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.

main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Literature: The Ugly Duckling

"The Ugly Duckling" is a literary Fairy Tale written by Danish poet Hans Christian Andersen. It has been adapted by Disney twice and the Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev wrote a score for a ballet of the story in 1914. It is one of the few Hans Christian Andersen stories where nobody dies.

A swan egg winds up in a duck nest. When it hatches, it is clear that this baby "duck" is different from all his siblings and gets teased and picked on. The "ugly duckling" goes off on his own and ekes out a miserable existence, meeting misfortune everywhere he goes.

When the spring comes, he sees a bevy of swans on a pond and is drawn to their beauty, feeling compelled to approach them even though he fears they will abuse or even kill him for his ugliness. To his amazement, they receive him as one of their own. The "duckling" catches sight of his own reflection and sees that he too is a beautiful swan.

Not to be confused with The Ugly Barnacle.

"The Ugly Duckling" includes examples of:

The Tinder Box 19 th Century LiteratureAnna Karenina
Bag of KidnappingImageSource/LiteratureI Just Want to Be Beautiful
The Tinder BoxNon-English LiteratureThe White Dove
The Tinder BoxFairy TaleThe Adventures of Pinocchio

alternative title(s): The Ugly Duckling
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy