ENGLISH

The ugly duckling

DANSK

Den grimme ælling


It was lovely summer weather in the country, and the golden corn, the green oats, and the haystacks piled up i the meadows looked beautiful. The stork walking about on his long red legs chattered in the Egyptian language which he had learnt from his mother. The corn-fields and meadows were surrounded by large forests, in the mids of which were deep pools. It was, indeed, delightful to walk about in the country. In a sunny spot stood a pleasan old farm-house close by a deep river, and from the house down to the water side grew great burdock leaves, s high, that under the tallest of them a little child could stand upright. The spot was as wild as the centre of a thic wood. In this snug retreat sat a duck on her nest, watching for her young brood to hatch; she was beginning to ge tired of her task, for the little ones were a long time coming out of their shells, and she seldom had any visitors. Th other ducks liked much better to swim about in the river than to climb the slippery banks, and sit under a burdoc leaf, to have a gossip with her
Der var så dejligt ude på landet; det var sommer, kornet stod gult, havren grøn, høet var rejst i stakke nede i de grønne enge, og der gik storken på sine lange, røde ben og snakkede ægyptisk, for det sprog havde han lært af sin moder. Rundt om ager og eng var der store skove, og midt i skovene dybe søer; jo, der var rigtignok dejligt derude på landet! Midt i solskinnet lå der en gammel herregård med dybe kanaler rundt om, og fra muren og ned til vandet voksede store skræppeblade, der var så høje, at små børn kunne stå oprejste under de største; der var lige så vildsomt derinde, som i den tykkeste skov, og her lå en and på sin rede; hun skulle ruge sine små ællinger ud, men nu var hun næsten ked af det, fordi det varede så længe, og hun sjælden fik visit; de andre ænder holdt mere af at svømme om i kanalerne, end at løbe op og sidde under et skræppeblad for at snadre med hende.


At length one shell cracked, and then another, and from each egg came a living creature that lifted its head and cried, "Peep, peep."
Endelig knagede det ene æg efter det andet: "pip! pip!" sagde det, alle æggeblommerne var blevet levende og stak hovedet ud.


"Quack, quack," said the mother, and then they all quacked as well as they could, and looked about them on every side at the large green leaves. Their mother allowed them to look as much as they liked, because green is good for the eyes.
"Rap! rap!" sagde hun, og så rappede de sig alt hvad de kunne, og så til alle sider under de grønne blade, og moderen lod dem se så meget de ville, for det grønne er godt for øjnene.


"How large the world is," said the young ducks, when they found how much more room they now had than while they were inside the egg-shell.
"Hvor dog verden er stor!" sagde alle ungerne; thi de havde nu rigtignok ganske anderledes plads, end da de lå inde i ægget.


"Do you imagine this is the whole world?" asked the mother; "Wait till you have seen the garden; it stretches far beyond that to the parson's field, but I have never ventured to such a distance. Are you all out?" she continued, rising; "No, I declare, the largest egg lies there still. I wonder how long this is to last, I am quite tired of it;" and she seated herself again on the nest.
"Tror I, det er hele verden!" sagde moderen, "den strækker sig langt på den anden side haven, lige ind i præstens mark! men der har jeg aldrig været! – I er her dog vel alle sammen!" – og så rejste hun sig op, "nej, jeg har ikke alle! det største æg ligger der endnu; hvor længe skal det vare! nu er jeg snart ked af det!" og så lagde hun sig igen.


"Well, how are you getting on?" asked an old duck, who paid her a visit.
"Nå hvordan går det?" sagde en gammel and, som kom for at gøre visit.


"One egg is not hatched yet," said the duck, "it will not break. But just look at all the others, are they not the prettiest little ducklings you ever saw? They are the image of their father, who is so unkind, he never comes to see."
"Det varer så længe med det ene æg!" sagde anden, som lå; "der vil ikke gå hul på det! men nu skal du se de andre! de er de dejligste ællinger jeg har set! de ligner alle sammen deres fader, det skarn han kommer ikke og besøger mig."


"Let me see the egg that will not break," said the duck; "I have no doubt it is a turkey's egg. I was persuaded to hatch some once, and after all my care and trouble with the young ones, they were afraid of the water. I quacked and clucked, but all to no purpose. I could not get them to venture in. Let me look at the egg. Yes, that is a turkey's egg; take my advice, leave it where it is and teach the other children to swim."
"Lad mig se det æg, der ikke vil revne!" sagde den gamle. "Du kan tro, at det er et kalkunæg! således er jeg også blevet narret engang, og jeg havde min sorg og nød med de unger, for de er bange for vandet, skal jeg sige dig! jeg kunne ikke få dem ud! jeg rappede og snappede, men det hjalp ikke! – Lad mig se ægget! jo, det er et kalkunæg! lad du det ligge og lær de andre børn at svømme!"


"I think I will sit on it a little while longer," said the duck; "as I have sat so long already, a few days will be nothing."
"Jeg vil dog ligge på det lidt endnu!" sagde anden; "har jeg nu ligget så længe, så kan jeg ligge dyrehavstiden med!"


"Please yourself," said the old duck, and she went away.
"Vær så god!" sagde den gamle and, og så gik hun.


At last the large egg broke, and a young one crept forth crying, "Peep, peep." It was very large and ugly. The duck stared at it and exclaimed, "It is very large and not at all like the others. I wonder if it really is a turkey. We shall soon find it out, however when we go to the water. It must go in, if I have to push it myself."
Endelig revnede det store æg. "Pip! pip!" sagde ungen og væltede ud; han var så stor og styg. Anden så på ham: "Det er da en forfærdelig stor ælling den!" sagde hun; "ingen af de andre ser sådan ud! det skulle dog vel aldrig være en kalkunkylling! nå, det skal vi snart komme efter! i vandet skal han, om jeg så selv må sparke ham ud!"


On the next day the weather was delightful, and the sun shone brightly on the green burdock leaves, so the mother duck took her young brood down to the water, and jumped in with a splash. "Quack, quack," cried she, and one after another the little ducklings jumped in. The water closed over their heads, but they came up again in an instant, and swam about quite prettily with their legs paddling under them as easily as possible, and the ugly duckling was also in the water swimming with them.
Næste dag var det et velsignet, dejligt vejr; solen skinnede på alle de grønne skræpper. Ællingemoderen med hele sin familie kom frem nede ved kanalen: plask! sprang hun i vandet: "rap! rap!" sagde hun og den ene ælling plumpede ud efter den anden; vandet slog dem over hovedet, men de kom straks op igen og flød så dejligt; benene gik af sig selv, og alle var de ude, selv den stygge, grå unge svømmede med.


"Oh," said the mother, "that is not a turkey; how well he uses his legs, and how upright he holds himself! He is my own child, and he is not so very ugly after all if you look at him properly. Quack, quack! come with me now, I will take you into grand society, and introduce you to the farmyard, but you must keep close to me or you may be trodden upon; and, above all, beware of the cat."
"Nej, det er ingen kalkun!" sagde hun; "se hvor dejligt den bruger benene, hvor rank den holder sig! det er min egen unge! i grunden er den dog ganske køn, når man rigtig ser på den! rap! rap! – kom nu med mig, så skal jeg føre jer ind i verden, og præsentere jer i andegården, men hold jer altid nær ved mig, at ingen træder på jer, og tag jer i agt for kattene!"


When they reached the farmyard, there was a great disturbance, two families were fighting for an eel's head, which, after all, was carried off by the cat.
Og så kom de ind i andegården. Der var en skrækkelig støj derinde, thi der var to familier, som sloges om et ålehoved, og så fik dog katten det.


"See, children, that is the way of the world," said the mother duck, whetting her beak, for she would have liked the eel's head herself. "Come, now, use your legs, and let me see how well you can behave. You must bow your heads prettily to that old duck yonder; she is the highest born of them all, and has Spanish blood, therefore, she is well off. Don't you see she has a red flag tied to her leg, which is something very grand, and a great honor for a duck; it shows that every one is anxious not to lose her, as she can be recognized both by man and beast. Come, now, don't turn your toes, a well-bred duckling spreads his feet wide apart, just like his father and mother, in this way; now bend your neck, and say 'quack.'"
"Se, således går det til i verden!" sagde ællingemoderen, og slikkede sig om snablen, for hun ville også have ålehovedet. "Brug nu benene!" sagde hun, "se, at I kan rappe jer, og nej med halsen for den gamle and derhenne! hun er den fornemste af dem alle her! hun er af spansk blod, derfor er hun svær, og ser I, hun har en rød klud om benet! det er noget overordentligt dejligt, og den største udmærkelse nogen and kan få, det betyder så meget, at man ikke vil af med hende, og at hun skal kendes af dyr og af mennesker! – Rap jer! – ikke ind til bens! en velopdragen ælling sætter benene vidt fra hinanden, ligesom fader og moder! se så! nej nu med halsen og sig: rap!"


The ducklings did as they were bid, but the other duck stared, and said, "Look, here comes another brood, as if there were not enough of us already! and what a queer looking object one of them is; we don't want him here," and then one flew out and bit him in the neck.
Og det gjorde de; men de andre ænder rundt om så på dem og sagde ganske højt: "Se så! nu skal vi have det slæng til! ligesom vi ikke var nok alligevel! og fy, hvor den ene ælling ser ud! ham vil vi ikke tåle!" – og straks fløj der en and hen og bed den i nakken.


"Let him alone," said the mother; "he is not doing any harm."
"Lad ham være!" sagde moderen, "han gør jo ingen noget!"


"Yes, but he is so big and ugly," said the spiteful duck "and therefore he must be turned out."
"Ja, men han er for stor og for aparte!" sagde anden, som bed, "og så skal han nøfles!"


"The others are very pretty children," said the old duck, with the rag on her leg, "all but that one; I wish his mother could improve him a little."
"Det er kønne børn, moder har!" sagde den gamle and med kluden om benet, "Alle sammen kønne, på den ene nær, den er ikke lykkedes! jeg ville ønske, hun kunne gøre den om igen!"


"That is impossible, your grace," replied the mother; "he is not pretty; but he has a very good disposition, and swims as well or even better than the others. I think he will grow up pretty, and perhaps be smaller; he has remained too long in the egg, and therefore his figure is not properly formed;" and then she stroked his neck and smoothed the feathers, saying, "It is a drake, and therefore not of so much consequence. I think he will grow up strong, and able to take care of himself."
"Det går ikke, Deres nåde!" sagde ællingemoderen, "han er ikke køn, men han er et inderligt godt gemyt, og svømmer så dejligt, som nogen af de andre, ja, jeg tør sige lidt til! jeg tænker han vokser sig køn, eller han med tiden bliver noget mindre! han har ligget for længe i ægget, og derfor har han ikke fået den rette skikkelse!" og så pillede hun ham i nakken og glattede på personen. "Han er desuden en andrik," sagde hun, "og så gør det ikke så meget! jeg tror han får gode kræfter, han slår sig nok igennem!"


"The other ducklings are graceful enough," said the old duck. "Now make yourself at home, and if you can find an eel's head, you can bring it to me."
"De andre ællinger er nydelige!" sagde den gamle, "lad nu, som I var hjemme, og finder I et ålehoved, så kan I bringe mig det!" –


And so they made themselves comfortable.
Og så var de, som hjemme.


But the poor duckling, who had crept out of his shell last of all, and looked so ugly, was bitten and pushed and made fun of, not only by the ducks, but by all the poultry. "He is too big," they all said, and the turkey cock, who had been born into the world with spurs, and fancied himself really an emperor, puffed himself out like a vessel in full sail, and flew at the duckling, and became quite red in the head with passion, so that the poor little thing did not know where to go, and was quite miserable because he was so ugly and laughed at by the whole farmyard.
Men den stakkels ælling, som sidst var kommet ud af ægget, og så så fæl ud, blev bidt, puffet og gjort nar af, og det både af ænderne og hønsene. "Han er for stor!" sagde de alle sammen, og den kalkunske hane, der var født med sporer og troede derfor, at han var en kejser, pustede sig op som et fartøj for fulde sejl, gik lige ind på ham og så pludrede den og blev ganske rød i hovedet. Den stakkels ælling vidste hverken, hvor den turde stå eller gå, den var så bedrøvet, fordi den så så styg ud og var til spot for hele andegården.


So it went on from day to day till it got worse and worse. The poor duckling was driven about by every one; even his brothers and sisters were unkind to him, and would say, "Ah, you ugly creature, I wish the cat would get you," and his mother said she wished he had never been born. The ducks pecked him, the chickens beat him, and the girl who fed the poultry kicked him with her feet.
Således gik det den første dag, og siden blev det værre og værre. Den stakkels ælling blev jaget af dem alle sammen, selv hans søskende var så onde imod ham, og de sagde altid: "Bare katten ville tage dig, dit fæle spektakel!" og moderen sagde: "Gid du bare var langt borte!" og ænderne bed ham, og hønsene huggede ham, og pigen, som skulle give dyrene æde, sparkede til ham med foden.


So at last he ran away, frightening the little birds in the hedge as he flew over the palings. "They are afraid of me because I am ugly," he said. So he closed his eyes, and flew still farther, until he came out on a large moor, inhabited by wild ducks. Here he remained the whole night, feeling very tired and sorrowful.
Da løb og fløj han hen over hegnet; de små fugle i buskene fór forskrækket i vejret; "det er fordi jeg er så styg," tænkte ællingen og lukkede øjnene, men løb alligevel af sted; så kom den ud i den store mose, hvor vildænderne boede. Her lå den hele natten, den var så træt og sorrigfuld.


In the morning, when the wild ducks rose in the air, they stared at their new comrade. "What sort of a duck are you?" they all said, coming round him. He bowed to them, and was as polite as he could be, but he did not reply to their question.
Om morgnen fløj vildænderne op, og de så på den nye kammerat; "hvad er du for en?" spurgte de, og ællingen drejede sig til alle sider, og hilste så godt den kunne.


"You are exceedingly ugly," said the wild ducks, "but that will not matter if you do not want to marry one of our family." Poor thing! he had no thoughts of marriage; all he wanted was permission to lie among the rushes, and drink some of the water on the moor.
"Du er inderlig styg!" sagde vildænderne, "men det kan da være os det samme, når du ikke gifter dig ind i vor familie!" – Den stakkel! han tænkte rigtignok ikke på at gifte sig, turde han bare have lov at ligge i sivene og drikke lidt mosevand.


After he had been on the moor two days, there came two wild geese, or rather goslings, for they had not been out of the egg long, and were very saucy.
Der lå han i hele to dage, så kom der to vildgæs eller rettere vildgasser, for de var to hanner; det var ikke mange tider siden de var kommet ud af ægget, og derfor var de så raske på det.


"Listen, friend," said one of them to the duckling, "you are so ugly, that we like you very well. Will you go with us, and become a bird of passage? Not far from here is another moor, in which there are some pretty wild geese, all unmarried. It is a chance for you to get a wife; you may be lucky, ugly as you are."
"Hør kammerat!" sagde de, "Du er så styg at jeg kan godt lide dig! vil du drive med og være trækfugl! tæt herved i en anden mose er der nogle søde velsignede vildgæs, alle sammen frøkner, der kan sige: rap! du er i stand til at gøre din lykke, så styg er du!" – –


"Pop, pop," sounded in the air, and the two wild geese fell dead among the rushes, and the water was tinged with blood. "Pop, pop," echoed far and wide in the distance, and whole flocks of wild geese rose up from the rushes. The sound continued from every direction, for the sportsmen surrounded the moor, and some were even seated on branches of trees, overlooking the rushes. The blue smoke from the guns rose like clouds over the dark trees, and as it floated away across the water, a number of sporting dogs bounded in among the rushes, which bent beneath them wherever they went. How they terrified the poor duckling! He turned away his head to hide it under his wing, and at the same moment a large terrible dog passed quite near him. His jaws were open, his tongue hung from his mouth, and his eyes glared fearfully. He thrust his nose close to the duckling, showing his sharp teeth, and then, "splash, splash," he went into the water without touching him.
"Pif! paf!" lød i det samme ovenover, og begge vildgasserne faldt døde ned i sivene, og vandet blev blodrødt; pif! paf! lød det igen, og hele skarer af vildgæs fløj op af sivene, og så knaldede det igen. Der var stor jagt, jægerne lå rundt om mosen, ja nogle sad oppe i trægrenene, der strakte sig langt ud over sivene; den blå røg gik ligesom skyer ind imellem de mørke træer og hang langt hen over vandet; i mudderet kom jagthundene, klask klask; siv og rør svajede til alle sider; det var en forskrækkelse for den stakkels ælling, den drejede hovedet om for at få det under vingen, og lige i det samme stod tæt ved den en frygtelig stor hund, tungen hang ham langt ud af halsen, og øjnene skinnede grueligt fælt; han satte sit gab lige ned imod ællingen, viste de skarpe tænder – – og plask! plask! gik han igen uden at tage den.


"Oh," sighed the duckling, "how thankful I am for being so ugly; even a dog will not bite me."
"Oh Gud ske lov!" sukkede ællingen, "jeg er så styg, at selv hunden ikke gider bide mig!"


And so he lay quite still, while the shot rattled through the rushes, and gun after gun was fired over him.
Og så lå den ganske stille, mens haglene susede i sivene, og det knaldede skud på skud.


It was late in the day before all became quiet, but even then the poor young thing did not dare to move. He waited quietly for several hours, and then, after looking carefully around him, hastened away from the moor as fast as he could. He ran over field and meadow till a storm arose, and he could hardly struggle against it.
Først langt ud på dagen blev der stille, men den stakkels unge turde endnu ikke rejse sig, den ventede flere timer endnu, før den så sig om, og så skyndte den sig af sted fra mosen, alt hvad den kunne; den løb over mark og over eng, det var en blæst, så at den havde hårdt ved at komme af sted.


Towards evening, he reached a poor little cottage that seemed ready to fall, and only remained standing because it could not decide on which side to fall first. The storm continued so violent, that the duckling could go no farther; he sat down by the cottage, and then he noticed that the door was not quite closed in consequence of one of the hinges having given way. There was therefore a narrow opening near the bottom large enough for him to slip through, which he did very quietly, and got a shelter for the night.
Mod aften nåede den et fattigt lille bondehus; det var så elendigt, at det ikke selv vidste til hvad side det ville falde, og så blev det stående. Blæsten susede således om ællingen, at han måtte sætte sig på halen for at holde imod; og det blev værre og værre; da mærkede han, at døren var gået af det ene hængsel, og hang så skævt, at han igennem sprækken kunne smutte ind i stuen, og det gjorde han.


A woman, a tom cat, and a hen lived in this cottage. The tom cat, whom the mistress called, "My little son," was a great favorite; he could raise his back, and purr, and could even throw out sparks from his fur if it were stroked the wrong way. The hen had very short legs, so she was called "Chickie short legs." She laid good eggs, and her mistress loved her as if she had been her own child.
Her boede en gammel kone med sin kat og sin høne, og katten, som hun kaldte Sønnike, kunne skyde ryg og spinde, han gnistrede sågar, men så måtte man stryge ham mod hårene; hønen havde ganske små lave ben, og derfor kaldtes den "Kykkelilavben;" den lagde godt æg, og konen holdt af den, som af sit eget barn.


In the morning, the strange visitor was discovered, and the tom cat began to purr, and the hen to cluck.
Om morgnen mærkede man straks den fremmede ælling, og katten begyndte at spinde og hønen at klukke.


"What is that noise about?" said the old woman, looking round the room, but her sight was not very good; therefore, when she saw the duckling she thought it must be a fat duck, that had strayed from home. "Oh what a prize!" she exclaimed, "I hope it is not a drake, for then I shall have some duck's eggs. I must wait and see."
"Hvad for noget!" sagde konen, og så rundt omkring, men hun så ikke godt, og så troede hun, at ællingen var en fed and, der havde forvildet sig. "Det var jo en rar fangst!" sagde hun, "nu kan jeg få andeæg, er den bare ikke en andrik! det må vi prøve!"


So the duckling was allowed to remain on trial for three weeks, but there were no eggs. Now the tom cat was the master of the house, and the hen was mistress, and they always said, "We and the world," for they believed themselves to be half the world, and the better half too. The duckling thought that others might hold a different opinion on the subject, but the hen would not listen to such doubts.
Og så blev ællingen antaget på prøve i tre uger, men der kom ingen æg. Og katten var herre i huset og hønen var madamme, og alle tider sagde de: "vi og verden!" for de troede, at de var halvparten, og det den allerbedste del. Ællingen syntes, at man kunne også have en anden mening, men det tålte hønen ikke.


"Can you lay eggs?" she asked.
"Kan du lægge æg?" spurgte hun.


"No."
"Nej!"


"Then have the goodness to hold your tongue."
"Ja, vil du så holde din mund!"


"Can you raise your back, or purr, or throw out sparks?" said the tom cat.
Og katten sagde: "Kan du skyde ryg, spinde og gnistre?"


"No."
"Nej!"


"Then you have no right to express an opinion when sensible people are speaking."
"Ja så skal du ikke have mening, når fornuftige folk taler!"


So the duckling sat in a corner, feeling very low spirited, till the sunshine and the fresh air came into the room through the open door, and then he began to feel such a great longing for a swim on the water, that he could not help telling the hen.
Og ællingen sad i krogen og var i dårligt humør; da kom den til at tænke på den friske luft og solskinnet; den fik sådan en forunderlig lyst til at flyde på vandet, til sidst kunne den ikke lade være, den måtte sige det til hønen.


"What an absurd idea," said the hen. "You have nothing else to do, therefore you have foolish fancies. If you could purr or lay eggs, they would pass away."
"Hvad går der af dig?" spurgte hun. "Du har ingen ting at bestille, derfor kommer de nykker over dig! læg æg eller spind, så går de over."


"But it is so delightful to swim about on the water," said the duckling, "and so refreshing to feel it close over your head, while you dive down to the bottom."
"Men det er så dejligt at flyde på vandet!" sagde ællingen, "så dejligt at få det over hovedet og dukke ned på bunden!"


"Delightful, indeed!" said the hen, "why you must be crazy! Ask the cat, he is the cleverest animal I know, ask him how he would like to swim about on the water, or to dive under it, for I will not speak of my own opinion; ask our mistress, the old woman– there is no one in the world more clever than she is. Do you think she would like to swim, or to let the water close over her head?"
"Ja det er en stor fornøjelse!" sagde hønen, "du er nok blevet gal! Spørg katten ad, han er den klogeste, jeg kender, om han holder af at flyde på vandet, eller dykke ned! jeg vil ikke tale om mig. – Spørg selv vort herskab, den gamle kone, klogere end hende er der ingen i verden! tror du, hun har lyst til at flyde og få vand over hovedet!"


"You don't understand me," said the duckling.
"I forstår mig ikke!" sagde ællingen.


"We don't understand you? Who can understand you, I wonder? Do you consider yourself more clever than the cat, or the old woman? I will say nothing of myself. Don't imagine such nonsense, child, and thank your good fortune that you have been received here. Are you not in a warm room, and in society from which you may learn something. But you are a chatterer, and your company is not very agreeable. Believe me, I speak only for your own good. I may tell you unpleasant truths, but that is a proof of my friendship. I advise you, therefore, to lay eggs, and learn to purr as quickly as possible."
"Ja, forstår vi dig ikke, hvem skulle så forstå dig! Du vil dog vel aldrig være klogere end katten og konen, for ikke at nævne mig! Skab dig ikke, barn! og tak du din skaber for alt det gode, man har gjort for dig! Er du ikke kommet i en varm stue og har en omgang, du kan lære noget af! men du er et vrøvl, og det er ikke morsomt at omgås dig! mig kan du tro! jeg mener dig det godt, jeg siger dig ubehageligheder, og derpå skal man kende sine sande venner! se nu bare til, at du lægger æg og lærer at spinde eller gnistre!"


"I believe I must go out into the world again," said the duckling.
"Jeg tror, jeg vil gå ud i den vide verden!" sagde ællingen.


"Yes, do," said the hen.
"Ja, gør du det!" sagde hønen.


So the duckling left the cottage, and soon found water on which it could swim and dive, but was avoided by all other animals, because of its ugly appearance.
Og så gik ællingen; Den flød på vandet, den dykkede ned, men af alle dyr var den overset for sin grimhed.


Autumn came, and the leaves in the forest turned to orange and gold. Then, as winter approached, the wind caught them as they fell and whirled them in the cold air. The clouds, heavy with hail and snow-flakes, hung low in the sky, and the raven stood on the ferns crying, "Croak, croak." It made one shiver with cold to look at him. All this was very sad for the poor little duckling.
Nu faldt efteråret på, bladene i skoven blev gule og brune, blæsten tog fat i dem, så de dansede omkring, og oppe i luften så der koldt ud; skyerne hang tunge med hagl og snefnug, og på gærdet stod ravnen og skreg "av! av!" af bare kulde; ja man kunne ordentlig fryse, når man tænkte derpå; den stakkels ælling havde det rigtignok ikke godt.


One evening, just as the sun set amid radiant clouds, there came a large flock of beautiful birds out of the bushes. The duckling had never seen any like them before. They were swans, and they curved their graceful necks, while their soft plumage shown with dazzling whiteness. They uttered a singular cry, as they spread their glorious wings and flew away from those cold regions to warmer countries across the sea. As they mounted higher and higher in the air, the ugly little duckling felt quite a strange sensation as he watched them. He whirled himself in the water like a wheel, stretched out his neck towards them, and uttered a cry so strange that it frightened himself. Could he ever forget those beautiful, happy birds; and when at last they were out of his sight, he dived under the water, and rose again almost beside himself with excitement. He knew not the names of these birds, nor where they had flown, but he felt towards them as he had never felt for any other bird in the world. He was not envious of these beautiful creatures, but wished to be as lovely as they. Poor ugly creature, how gladly he would have lived even with the ducks had they only given him encouragement.
En aften, solen gik så velsignet ned, kom der en hel flok dejlige store fugle ud af buskene, ællingen havde aldrig set nogen så smukke, de var ganske skinnende hvide, med lange, smidige halse; det var svaner, de udstødte en ganske forunderlig lyd, bredte deres prægtige, lange vinger ud og fløj bort fra de kolde egne til varmere lande, til åbne søer! de steg så højt, så højt, og den lille grimme ælling blev så forunderlig til mode, den drejede sig rundt i vandet ligesom et hjul, rakte halsen højt op i luften efter dem, udstødte et skrig så højt og forunderligt, at den selv blev bange derved. Oh, den kunne ikke glemme de dejlige fugle, de lykkelige fugle, og så snart den ikke længere øjnede dem, dukkede den lige ned til bunden, og da den kom op igen, var den ligesom ude af sig selv. Den vidste ikke, hvad fuglene hed, ikke hvor de fløj hen, men dog holdt den af dem, som den aldrig havde holdt af nogen; Den misundte dem slet ikke, hvor kunne det falde den ind at ønske sig en sådan dejlighed, den ville være glad, når bare dog ænderne ville have tålt den imellem sig! – det stakkels grimme dyr!


The winter grew colder and colder; he was obliged to swim about on the water to keep it from freezing, but every night the space on which he swam became smaller and smaller. At length it froze so hard that the ice in the water crackled as he moved, and the duckling had to paddle with his legs as well as he could, to keep the space from closing up. He became exhausted at last, and lay still and helpless, frozen fast in the ice.
Og vinteren blev så kold, så kold; ællingen måtte svømme om i vandet for at holde det fra at fryse rent til; men hver nat blev hullet, hvori den svømmede, smallere og smallere; det frøs, så det knagede i isskorpen; ællingen måtte altid bruge benene, at vandet ikke skulle lukkes; til sidst blev den mat, lå ganske stille og frøs så fast i isen.


Early in the morning, a peasant, who was passing by, saw what had happened. He broke the ice in pieces with his wooden shoe, and carried the duckling home to his wife. The warmth revived the poor little creature.
Tidlig om morgnen kom en bondemand, han så den, gik ud og slog med sin træsko isen i stykker og bar den så hjem til sin kone. Der blev den livet op.


But when the children wanted to play with him, the duckling thought they would do him some harm; so he started up in terror, fluttered into the milk-pan, and splashed the milk about the room. Then the woman clapped her hands, which frightened him still more. He flew first into the butter-cask, then into the meal-tub, and out again. What a condition he was in! The woman screamed, and struck at him with the tongs; the children laughed and screamed, and tumbled over each other, in their efforts to catch him; but luckily he escaped. The door stood open; the poor creature could just manage to slip out among the bushes, and lie down quite exhausted in the newly fallen snow.
Børnene ville lege med den, men ællingen troede, at de ville gøre den fortræd, og fór, i forskrækkelse, lige op i mælkefadet, så at mælken skvulpede ud i stuen; konen skreg og slog hænderne i vejret, og da fløj den i truget, hvor smørret var, og så ned i meltønden og op igen; nå, hvor den kom til at se ud! og konen skreg og slog efter den med ildklemmen, og børnene løb hinanden over ende for at fange ællingen, og de lo, og de skreg! – godt var det, at døren stod åben, ud fór den imellem buskene i den nyfaldne sne – der lå den, ligesom i dvale.


It would be very sad, were I to relate all the misery and privations which the poor little duckling endured during the hard winter; but when it had passed, he found himself lying one morning in a moor, amongst the rushes. He felt the warm sun shining, and heard the lark singing, and saw that all around was beautiful spring.
Men det ville blive alt for bedrøveligt at fortælle al den nød og elendighed, den måtte prøve i den hårde vinter – – den lå i mosen mellem rørene, da solen igen begyndte at skinne varmt; lærkerne sang – det var dejligt forår.


Then the young bird felt that his wings were strong, as he flapped them against his sides, and rose high into the air. They bore him onwards, until he found himself in a large garden, before he well knew how it had happened. The apple-trees were in full blossom, and the fragrant elders bent their long green branches down to the stream which wound round a smooth lawn. Everything looked beautiful, in the freshness of early spring. From a thicket close by came three beautiful white swans, rustling their feathers, and swimming lightly over the smooth water. The duckling remembered the lovely birds, and felt more strangely unhappy than ever.
Da løftede den på en gang sine vinger, de bruste stærkere end før og bar den kraftigt af sted; og før den ret vidste det, var den i en stor have, hvor æbletræerne stod i blomst, hvor syrenerne duftede og hang på de lange, grønne grene lige ned imod de bugtede kanaler! Oh her var så dejligt, så forårsfriskt! og lige foran, ud af tykningen, kom tre dejlige, hvide svaner; de bruste med fjerene og flød så let på vandet. Ællingen kendte de prægtige dyr og blev betaget af en forunderlig sørgmodighed.


"I will fly to those royal birds," he exclaimed, "and they will kill me, because I am so ugly, and dare to approach them; but it does not matter: better be killed by them than pecked by the ducks, beaten by the hens, pushed about by the maiden who feeds the poultry, or starved with hunger in the winter." Then he flew to the water, and swam towards the beautiful swans. The moment they espied the stranger, they rushed to meet him with outstretched wings. "Kill me," said the poor bird; and he bent his head down to the surface of the water, and awaited death. But what did he see in the clear stream below? His own image; no longer a dark, gray bird, ugly and disagreeable to look at, but a graceful and beautiful swan.
"Jeg vil flyve hen til dem, de kongelige fugle! og de vil hugge mig ihjel, fordi jeg, der er så styg, tør nærme mig dem! men det er det samme! bedre at dræbes af dem, end at nappes af ænderne, hugges af hønsene, sparkes af pigen, der passer hønsegården, og lide ondt om vinteren!" og den fløj ud i vandet og svømmede hen imod de prægtige svaner, disse så den og skød med brusende fjer hen imod den. "Dræb mig kun!" sagde det stakkels dyr, og bøjede sit hoved ned mod vandfladen og ventede døden, – men hvad så den i det klare vand! den så under sig sit eget billede, men den var ikke længere en kluntet, sortgrå fugl, styg og fæl, den var selv en svane.


To be born in a duck's nest, in a farmyard, is of no consequence to a bird, if it is hatched from a swan's egg.
Det gør ikke noget at være født i andegården, når man kun har ligget i et svaneæg!


He now felt glad at having suffered sorrow and trouble, because it enabled him to enjoy so much better all the pleasure and happiness around him; for the great swans swam round the new-comer, and stroked his neck with their beaks, as a welcome.
Den følte sig ordentlig glad over al den nød og genvordighed, den havde prøvet; nu skønnede den just på sin lykke, på al den dejlighed, der hilste den. – Og de store svaner svømmede rundt omkring den og strøg den med næbbet.


Into the garden presently came some little children, and threw bread and cake into the water.
I haven kom der nogle små børn, de kastede brød og korn ud i vandet, og den mindste råbte:


"See," cried the youngest, "there is a new one;" and the rest were delighted, and ran to their father and mother, dancing and clapping their hands, and shouting joyously, "There is another swan come; a new one has arrived." Then they threw more bread and cake into the water, and said, "The new one is the most beautiful of all; he is so young and pretty." And the old swans bowed their heads before him.
"Der er en ny!" og de andre børn jublede med: "Ja der er kommet en ny!" og de klappede i hænderne og dansede rundt; løb efter fader og moder, og der blev kastet brød og kage i vandet, og alle sagde de: "Den nye er den smukkeste! så ung og så dejlig!" og de gamle svaner nejede for den.


Then he felt quite ashamed, and hid his head under his wing; for he did not know what to do, he was so happy, and yet not at all proud. He had been persecuted and despised for his ugliness, and now he heard them say he was the most beautiful of all the birds. Even the elder-tree bent down its bows into the water before him, and the sun shone warm and bright. Then he rustled his feathers, curved his slender neck, and cried joyfully, from the depths of his heart, "I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an ugly duckling."
Da følte den sig ganske undselig og stak hovedet om bag vingerne, den vidste ikke selv hvad! den var alt for lykkelig, men slet ikke stolt, thi et godt hjerte bliver aldrig stolt! den tænkte på, hvor den havde været forfulgt og forhånet, og hørte nu alle sige, at den var den dejligste af alle dejlige fugle; og syrenerne bøjede sig med grenene lige ned i vandet til den, og solen skinnede så varmt og så godt, da bruste dens fjer, den slanke hals hævede sig, og af hjertet jublede den: "Så megen lykke drømte jeg ikke om, da jeg var den grimme ælling!"





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