Tonight, we’ll read “The Ugly Duckling” from “Favorite Fairy Tales” compiled by Logan Marshall. It is a Danish fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, originally published in 1843.
Unlike most fairy tales, this one is completely Andersen's invention and owes no debt to humanity’s vast cultural catalog of fairy tales or folklore.
Apparently Andersen grew up awkward and tall, with a big nose and feet.
Furthermore, speculation suggests that Andersen may have been the illegitimate son of Prince Christian Frederik who later became king of Denmark. Being a swan in the story was a metaphor not just for inner beauty and talent in that case, but also for secret royal lineage.