Have you guys heard about the story of The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen? Of course you did, it’s very popular after all. Well, in case you haven’t – which I highly doubt – I’ll condense the story for you.
The story is about an ugly duckling who’d been bullied all his life. Because he was extremely ugly, he was bitten and pushed and made fun of, not only by the ducks, but by all the poultry where he was born. Some of the humans too, would kick him and ignore him just because he was born so different from his duck family. When he ran away from home, all the animals he met would also harass him because of his appearance and yet he did not lose heart as he continuously sought for those birds that had the same guise as him, although after a long while, his hope diminished as he lay frozen on a winter ground. Then one day, when spring came – after all his misadventures – he found himself staring at his reflection in the water. He became one of those exceptional looking birds he had once dreamed of becoming. And to top it all, the people and other beasts called him “the most beautiful of them all.”
While some people only recognize the moral of the story as trivial as one’s looks, I appreciate it beyond that. For me, some if not most of us had been an ugly duckling once in our lives. Others, yes, might have experienced more calloused life than the other, yet it doesn’t change the fact that we all have been this tiny lost bird once in our lives.
When we’ve been adrift to what fate has in store for us, we struggle to the path we thought was meant for us. Trudging through that road, we experience incomparable trials we believe were unwarranted for someone who has done nothing but to struggle all his life. We watch helplessly as our friends and those people who had once walked with us become so distant, so far from our reach while we could no longer walk together with them since the road in front of us has come to an end, and the one behind us completely vanished with the mist of our past.
An unexplainable dark cloud surrounds us, and we’re trapped with this unseen intensity, forcing us to be stuck on where we stood. We waited patiently, so unwearyingly for someone, anyone to give their hands and help us to move along with them. Yet, as time moves, all the while enveloped with this stark darkness, our patience thins out and our hope… our hope starts to abandon us, leaving us miserable and oh so weak to even believe.
And then suddenly there was this new road before us, so different from what our friends and companions had taken, yet it led straight to what we once dreamed of becoming. Not the one we were molded to be by our parents, the education we finished or what the society expected from us to turn out into, the same way everyone expected for our little ugly duckling to grow – a duck. But time and destiny have something more in store for him than just becoming a duck. He was to become a beautiful swan and nothing less than that. And at the end, all the trials and persecution he underwent came into fruition because he was meant for something greater than any other ducks could wish for, and thus he claimed his personal power by accomplishing his desire.
Once in our life, we might have experienced becoming an odd one. The person who stood out in the crowd because of that “dreadful” difference. We asked ourselves why? Why can’t I just be normal like everyone else? And then we demean ourselves. Why do I even dream of becoming so wonderful when I’m just like this? It’s not possible for this little ‘ol me to become great; I’m nothing, I’m no one, I’m so stupid, I’m so ugly, I’m so poor, I’m not like them. I’ll just stay here and cry.
But I believe that uniqueness—when pursued and followed—will one day become an advantage, for no remarkable person would want just any ‘commoner’ to foster. They search for those who possess inimitable skill, looks, or talent. It might be hard, especially if it’s a dream no one believes you’re capable of achieving, but a road will soon be presented for you in guise of an opportunity only given to a few. And once you’re there and had claimed the strength within you; spread your wings, rustle your feathers, and carve your slender neck. For it’s time that an ugly duck becomes a beautiful swan.
About the Author
Veronica Mist is a pure-blooded Filipino. She’s a day dreamer, a storyteller, an artist, an adventure seeker… or, as others would call it, a pyscho. Because of that fatuous character, she came about the story of The Seven, where all her fantasy of nonsensical beings and world came about. This is her first novel. She lives in the Philippines with her parents and siblings.