Mese angolul: A Rút Kiskacsa
Az angolul tanulóknak – és nem csak a gyerekeknek – szeretnénk kedveskedni: mostantól minden hónapban klasszikus meséket olvashattok angolul, Egy másik posztban pedig a magyar fordítást is megtaláljátok itt a blogon. Negyedik mesénk: A Rút Kiskacsa.
The Ugly Duckling
It was so glorious out in the country; it was summer; the cornfields were yellow, the oats were green, the hay had been put up in stacks in the green meadows.
In the midst of the sunshine there lay an old farm, with deep canals about it, and from the wall down to the water grew great burdocks, so high that little children could stand upright under the loftiest of them. It was just as wild there as in the deepest wood, and here sat a duck upon her nest; she had to hatch her ducklings; but she was almost tired out before the little ones came.
At last one egg-shell after another burst open. Piep! Piep! they cried, and in all the eggs there were little creatures that stuck out their heads.
I hope you are all together – said the mother and she stood up. – No, I have not all. The largest egg still lies there. How long is that to last? I am really tired of it. – And she sat down again.
At last the great egg burst. – Piep! piep! – said the little one, and crept forth. It was very large and very ugly.
The next day, it was bright, beautiful weather; the sun shone on all the green trees. The mother-duck went down to the canal with all her family. Splash! she jumped into the water. – Quack! quack!- she said, and one duckling after another plunged in. The water closed over their heads, but they came up in an instant, and swam capitally; they were all in the water. The ugly gray duckling swam with them.
Quack! quack! come with me, and I’ll lead you out into the great world, and present you in the duck-yard; but keep close to me, so that no one will tread on you!
Shake yourselves – Told the mother to all her children after they arrived at the duck-yard – Don’t turn in your toes; a well-brought-up duck turns its toes quite out, just like father and mother, – so! Now bend your necks and say “Quack!”
And they did so: but the ducks looked at each other, and one of them said quite boldly,
– Look there! How that duckling yonder sounds; we won’t stand that – And that one duck flew up at it, and bit it in the neck.
– Let it alone – said the mother; – It does no harm to anyone.
– Yes, but it’s too large and peculiar – said the duck who had bitten it – and therefore it must be killed.
– Those are pretty children that the mother has there – said an old duck with the rag round her leg. – They’re all pretty but that one; that was rather unlucky. I wish she could bear it over again.
That cannot be done, my lady – replied the mother-duck. – It is not pretty, but it has a really good disposition, and swims as well as any other; yes, I may even say it, swims better. I think it will grow up pretty, and become smaller in time; it has lain too long in the egg, and therefore is not properly shaped.
Now they were at home. But the poor duckling which had crept last out of the egg, and looked so ugly, was bitten and pushed and jeered, as much by the ducks as by the chickens.
So it went on the first day; and afterwards it became worse and worse. The poor duckling was hunted about by every one; even its brothers and sisters were quite angry with it, and said – If the cat would only catch you, you ugly creature! – And the mother said – If you were only far away! – And the ducks bit it, and the chickens beat it, and the girl who had to feed the poultry kicked at it with her foot.
– I think I will go out into the wide world – said the duckling and so did he.
Now came the autumn. The leaves in the forest turned yellow and brown; the wind caught them so that they danced about, and up in the air it was very cold. The clouds hung low, heavy with hail and snow-flakes, and on the fence stood the raven, crying, – Croak! croak! – for mere cold.
The poor little duckling certainly had not a good time. One evening, the sun was just setting in his beauty; there came a whole flock of great, handsome birds out of the bushes; they were dazzlingly white, with long, flexible necks; they were swans. They uttered very peculiar cry, spread forth their glorious great wings, and flew away from that cold region to warmer lands, to fair open lakes. They mounted so high, so high! and the Ugly Duckling felt quite strangely as it watched them. It turned round and round in the water like a wheel, stretched out its neck towards them, and uttered such a strange, loud cry as frightened itself. O! it could not forget those beautiful, happy birds; and so soon as it could see them no longer, it dived down to the very bottom, and when it came up again, it was quite beside itself. It knew not the name of those birds, and knew not whither they were flying; but it loved them more than it had ever loved any one.
Then all at once the duckling could flap its wings: they beat the air more strongly than before, and bore it strongly away; and before it well knew how all this happened, it found itself in a great garden, where the elder trees bent their long green branches down to the canal that wound through the region. Suddenly from the thicket came three glorious white swans; they rustled their wings, and swam lightly on the water.
– I will fly away to them, to the royal birds; and they will beat me, because I am so ugly. But it is all the same.
Better be killed by them than to be pursued by ducks, and beaten by fowls! – And it flew out into the water, and swam towards the beautiful swans: these looked at it, and came sailing down upon it with outspread wings.
-Kill me! – said the poor creature, and bent its head down upon the water, expecting nothing but death. But what was this that it saw in the clear water? It beheld its own image; and, lo! it was no longer clumsy dark-gray bird, ugly and hateful to look at, but – ”swan!”
It matters nothing if one is born in a duck-yard, if one has only lain in a swan’s egg.
After all the misfortune it had suffered, now it realized its happiness. And the great swans swam round it, and stroked it with their beaks.
Into the garden came little children, who threw bread and corn into the water; and the youngest cried – There is a new one!
And the other children shouted joyously – Yes, a new one has arrived! – And they clapped their hands and danced about, and ran to their father and mother; and they all said – The new one is the most beautiful of all! so young and handsome – and the old swans bowed their heads before him.