[The mother duck said: ] "See how beautifully he uses his legs and how erect he holds himself. He is my own chick, after all, and not bad looking when you come to look at him properly ... He is not handsome, but he is a thoroughly good creature, and he swims as beautifully as any of the others. I think I might venture even to add that I think he will improve as he goes on ... "
(from "The Ugly Duckling", in Andersen's Fairy Tales.)
I always liked this story as a kid. I felt like a misfit and hoped I would eventually turn out to be a swan, metaphorically speaking. Reading it again today, I see it as a story about adoption as well. How did the swan egg wind up in the duck's nest?