The Ugly Duckling Never Was a Duck

The Ugly Duckling Never Was a Duck - The Secret in the Story

A blog by Kimberly

One of my favorite childhood stories is the story of the Ugly Duckling. In this timeless tale, a unique-looking baby bird is taunted by his peers for his different appearance and becomes filled with self-loathing, eventually leaving the community and living in solitude, until one day he emerges from the reeds, a full-grown and graceful swan. He is then immediately re-categorized as beautiful by his peers and lives the rest of his life celebrated as the rightful king of the pond.

I always liked the story; I felt that the theme was a good one: all kids feel awkward; they need time and space to blossom. It’s not a bad lesson; we all need to remember this message of grace.

But the actual implications of the story are more important, more exciting than that. Like a duck swimming on a pond, there’s a lot more going on underneath the surface.

Ugly Duckling Never Was a Duck

What do I mean by that? One day it dawned on me that the real moral of the story is not that the main character grows up, changes and becomes beautiful. The moral of the story is that the “ugly duckling” never was a duckling at all. He was a baby swan, a cygnet, trying to pass in pond society as a duckling, being judged by duck standards. Those animals around him were measuring his worth and beauty by comparing him to themselves and an unfair model he wasn’t born to fill. In fact, his potential was much more than a plain old duck; he was true royal material, possessing graceful and regal qualities that a common pond duck could never hope to attain. He should have been judged on an entirely different scale, one of individual excellence.

The Secret in the Story

This fairy tale holds a message for young and old alike: Before taking to the reeds to hide because you feel different, examine what standards you are being measured by; perhaps they do not even truly apply to you; perhaps you have even more potential than you (or your detractors) ever dreamed possible.

At Studio 3P, we hold ourselves to our own high standards, working to bring our clients’ dreams to fulfillment. We are different, and it shows. And we are ok with that.

When you desire professional portraits that are out of the ordinary, contact us to schedule your photography session. Visit our one-of-a-kind studio, and meet our artists; discover how we can help you shine.


“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.” - P.T. Barnum.

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