The LoveFraud version of “The Ugly Duckling”

By Ox Drover

Once upon a time there was a mother duck who hatched a large clutch of eggs. She had done this many times before and had raised her clutch of identical ducklings, all fluffy and yellow when they were born, into pristine white adults who then had clutches of their own yellow ducklings.

This time, however, one of her ducklings was not yellow and fluffy like all the others. His neck was quite long and his feathers were an ugly gray color. Plus, he was quite clumsy when he walked. He was so much larger than his siblings that he sort of stuck out like a sore thumb in her otherwise identical clutch of babies. She was very puzzled about this odd baby and didn’t quite know what to do with him, but he followed along when she took her babies to swim in the lake and stumbled over his extra large black feet.

Her other ducklings didn’t really know what to do with this gangly brother of theirs either and they started to taunt him and tell him how ugly he was with his gray feathers and his black feet, which were not bright and yellow like theirs. The big duckling soon was called “that Ugly Duckling” by all his siblings, and by the other ducks on the pond, who laughed at him as he swam in the water with his longer neck. Even the mother duck wondered why she had hatched such a monster and tried to avoid him as much as she could.

The ugly duckling felt so bad that his feathers were a dull gray instead of the fluffy bright yellow color of all the other ducklings. He also felt really bad that all the other ducks laughed at him and called him names. He so wished he was the beautiful yellow color of all his siblings and all the other baby ducks on the pond. Oh, how he wanted to be beautiful like they were instead of the ugly gray color he was. He wondered why he had been cursed with such terrible luck in this world. Why only he of all the ducklings was so ugly!

The Ugly Duckling was not only different than his siblings, but he was growing faster as well. It wasn’t long before he was almost as large as their mother. He was not only ugly and taunted but he also felt very neglected. He was jealous of his siblings, as on cold nights they would snuggle comfortably under mom’s wings to keep warm and the best he could do was sort of get behind her body to block off some of the wind. As he would sit there cold in the darkness, he would hear his brothers and sisters making fun of him being out in the cold, while they were warm and cozy under mother’s wing.

This went on for most of the summer. Before long the Ugly Duckling not only was the size of mother, but he was much larger than she. He started to grow new feathers, which were coming in silky and white; his neck became long and curved in a graceful way. His huge black feet were now able to paddle quite well and he could swim much faster than his brothers and sisters. In fact, he could swim much, much faster than any of his relatives. Yet  he still felt ugly compared to them. He was so much bigger and not at all like they were.

Then, one day he paddled off by himself into a secluded part of the lake to get away from the taunts of the ducklings as they played together and pointed their wings at him and laughed. His heart was broken and he had decided that he would rather be alone than to live with such emotional pain.

As the Ugly Duckling approached the secluded cove he saw something ahead. It was white and looked just like him. Maybe he wasn’t the only duckling in the world who was so ugly! He swam toward the other bird and he realized that there were others there as well that looked just like him. They were swimming and chatting and laughing and having a wonderful time in the water. Then one of the larger ones looked up and said to him,  “Oh, my son! There you are! I thought you were lost! Oh, I am so happy to see you!”

The Ugly Duckling swam toward the large white bird, and he noticed how gracefully her neck curved and how fast she swam toward him.  When they came close she reached out her neck and wrapped it around his and embraced him with her wings. He was so confused.

She said, “Where have you been, son?”

He replied, “My mother is a duck, but I am ugly, not beautiful like the yellow ducklings she hatched. I don’t understand what happened.”

His swan mother said, “I think I know what happened. A naughty child put my egg under a duck, and when you hatched you were not like them. Sometimes when such things happen, others are cruel and if you are not like them, they make fun of you, or abuse you, or even drive you away to die. But you are my son, and you are growing into a magnificent swan.” She pointed with her wing to the largest most beautiful  one there. “That’s your father, and you will be as beautiful as he is,” she said. “You are a swan, my dear. You are not a duck for the master’s table, but to grace his pond with your beauty and regal form.”

Then the Ugly Duckling realized he was not a duckling and also that he was surely not ugly, but beautiful and graceful. He also knew that though the ducklings had been cruel to him, the mother duck had sat on him and hatched him and given him life. But he no longer had any desire to swim with the ducks at all.

Later that day he swam with his swan family across the pond in regal elegance, arching their curving necks and gliding along in wonderful form! As they passed the ducks all his tormenters saw him for what he really was, a beautiful swan, not a duckling at all.  As he passed them by he didn’t look back at them even once. He knew who and what he was now, and he lived happily ever after!

The Moral of the Story

Sometimes we are born “different” from our families. We stick out like the Ugly Duckling among the rest of our siblings, who seem to blend into the family dynamics.  Sometimes we don’t really relate to our parents or our siblings at all. We are just so different, and being different is not acceptable in some homes. We can’t figure out what is wrong with us or why we are not as good as the other sibs, or why we can’t do anything right. We decide that somehow we deserve to be treated badly because we are different. We try to please the family, but it seems we can never please anyone, yet we keep trying.

We, like the Ugly Duckling in the story, don’t fit in with the rest of the family, yet we keep trying, until one day our rejection and hurt are so deep that swim away from all that we know so that they can no longer taunt us. Yet, we still feel ugly, undeserving, but just don’t know how to improve ourselves to be worthy of love and companionship. If we chance across another flock of ducks and try to join in with them, the treatment will be the same. So we move from flock to flock, seeking a group of companions who will not taunt us for being different, or who will not abuse us.

Until one day, we realize we are not the only one in the world like ourselves. We find that there are others who share our values, who don’t see themselves as ugly because they are not like the ducks. We realize that trying to pattern ourselves after the ducks when we are not a duck is not a successful way to live our lives. We are swans, not ducks. We are beautiful, wonderful, graceful swans. We realize we don’t want to associate with the ducks any more. The ducks are not going to be kind to us, they never have been and never will be, but we do fit in with the swans, the ones like ourselves who are kind and graceful and good.

So, we turn our backs upon the ducks, that family that was not a family, that family that taunted us. The mother duck may have hatched us, but she was never kind to us, she never nurtured us. The yellow siblings only hurt us and devalued us because we were different. So now we swim with the swans, content to be with kind and caring companions like ourselves, no longer living with unkind and hateful companions and no longer associating with the ducks on the pond.

Comment on this article

27 Comments on "The LoveFraud version of “The Ugly Duckling”"

Notify of

Hgg522 – you HAVE won! You won the day that you made the decision to save yourself and your daughter! I’m glad you’re here. You’ll have a lot of wisdom to share, I think.

My partner mentioned, long ago, that DNA cannot be the basis of “family.” The ex spath always used to use the “we’re family” line to demand loyalty (blindness) and respect (fear) from his underlings (the rest of us). Family, as I view it, are those people that gather around us to support, encourage, guide, and share. They are the people who hold on to our elbows when we stumble on our healing paths, and will say the hard words when they know we need to hear them.

Welcome, and brightest blessings!

Style1 I’m amazed! Your post could have been written by me lol! I’ve experienced such a similar path to you with similar challenges and issues with family, friends etc. I too found that the more confident I became and the more I built up my self esteem the more I realised just how insecure most other human beings are and how willing many are to put me down to make themselves feel better. I used to think I was in the minority and in my late teens began to read self help books etc to work on my self esteem so I could be in what I perceived to be the ‘functioning majority’ I very quickly realised that it was before then, when I lacked confidence, I had been in the majority all along lol!
My relationships with people have got worse as I have got older, especially at work. Many just don’t like someone who is confident, decent and functioning but it usually only takes one disordered personality to start a bullying situation. How successful the bully is depends on the atittude of those around them. If there are those who were fine before but had some insecurity and resentment that they don’t mind dumping on us if a bully facilitates it, our job becomes a living hell. If the other colleagues are generally decent folk (it does happen lol!) then the bully generally can’t get a hold and work is ok. This is the dynamic I’ve found time and time again – I’ve witnessed both.
The more confident in myself I have become, the more sane and healthy as in not feeling the need to put others down to make myself feel better, the worse my experiences have been with other human beings. I’m a career girl and like you single and unmarried but haven’t worked for a few years after being bullied, well mobbed, in my last job. It’s like the only way to get on in this world depends on our ability to withstand and accept abuse. Either becoming passive/developing learned helplessness or identifyng with the abuser and becoming one ourselves.
I’m depending on beng self employed now, I don’t think I can risk yet another bullying situation. Otherwise I really do fear for my future because other than be abusive and uncaring myself or passively accept abuse from someone else, I can’t see any other way of achieving my goals in life.
Yeah I’ve been feeling pretty despairing this week. I can’t bear this planet sometimes – it seems every human being on this planet is out to destroy everyone else. Can’t they see that there is truly enough for everybody? We just have to learn to co-operate.
Sadly though a nasty few will continue to block that for the rest of us but how do we stop them? Or at least subdue them?
Thanks for postng Style1, I feel I’ve found a kindred spirit! =)
Namaste all xxx

As close to my story as I’ve ever heard told. Thanks Oxy! Speaks volumes to me 😀

I’m incredibly grateful for the swans I now swim with…



This is fantastic!! Thank you so much for this, Oxy. In “women who run with the wolves” there’s a chapter dedicated to the ugly duckling. I finally saw for myself who I really am-you guessed it-a swan who had been raised by ducks. Such a simple story that set me emotionally free so many years ago. I love being a swan-don’t you?

I’d like to post your story to facebook. May I?

Peace, love& light-

Dear Red Heeler,

Thank you for your kind words, I’m glad tht you enjoyed the LF version of the Ugly Duckling.

It cannot be legally posted anywhere but LF for 90 days, so I cannot give you permission to post it on LF but you CAN POST A LINK on FB to the story here on LF and that would accomplish two things, they could read the story AND it would promote LF!!!!!

Duped, also glad you enjoyed the story! Swimming with Swans is a much more satisfying thing than grubbing in the muck and mud with the ducks!

Genevieve79 –

I relate to you about the work place setting, getting fed up with some of our co-workers’ behaviors, attitudes at times. It gets very discouraging, employees taking advantage of their employers.

Genevieve79, that’s the core reason to develop and maintain a strong foundation of boundaries.

At this point, I do not need anyone’s approval or acceptance – I have learned only in the past 2 years that my desire to be “liked” and “accepted” by people has opened the door WIDE for spaths to enter – spaths of both genders and various motivations.

These days, it takes a good, long while for me to trust someone – they must earn my trust. And, I don’t mean that in a nasty way, either! I used to trust people until they gave me a reason NOT to trust them. Now, it’s quite the reverse.

Especially in the workplace, these days, boundaries are imperative! With our current cultural climate, it seems that backstabbing, bullying, stalking, and manipulating is not only acceptable, but rewarded! Shows like “Survivor,” and other reality programs develop a thirst for drama/trauma, and the workplace is so generic that it’s the perfect breeding ground for bad behavior.

Brightest blessings, Genevieve79! And, keep smiling – it’ll make everyone wonder what you’re up to. 😉

Send this to a friend