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Apr 12, 2009

The Secret Nature of Things



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.

“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.

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. 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.

-- by Hans Christian Andersen (1844)

Spring, and the holidays it brings, makes me think of this fairytale. Not just because it involves eggs and ducklings and blooming spring trees and swans, but because it seems to me to speak of older stories as well, of princes who are really slaves, and carpenters who are really princes. How many of the things we see around us have a secret nature, which we too often dismiss or despise? Yet if we looked closer, we would find true beauty.

May that also be true of our writing.

9 comments:

Charlie said...

What a beautiful sentiment, and how true. Getting to know a person could be a wonderful surprise when you discover their artistic or creative side. It reminds of a shy person that has all the beauty one could ask for in a person if one only took the time to find it.

Sometimes you discover an ax murderer just waiting...

Happy Easter!

Litgirl01 said...

Beautiful!!! :-) Thanks for that!

greekwitch said...

I am pmsing, so it is kind of understandable, but you made my eyes water.. M

greekwitch said...

I wrote: My brightest blessings but it somehow it was not encluded in my previous comment..

Sophie Lawson said...

The story has always had some special significance for me. Have a great day, dear soul.

ban said...

isn't is amazing how sharing a story can touch so many ...

Windsong said...

Lovely sentiments. Thank you for sharing. :)

I love this story, because it shows the value of perspective, and how the world changes based on one's perspective. We can't always change our circumstances, can't re-write the past, but we can change how we look at ourselves.

Lady Glamis said...

Oh, wow. Thank you for a great post. :D

sraasch said...

So true :) Yay spring!