An assignment from ENGL 105 at UNC, among one of the more moronic of their universal requirements

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Born late, large, and ugly, the last duckling of the season is mocked by turkey and duck alike. In the early morning of his birth, the brood, consisting of our duckling, his mother, and his perfectly sized siblings, travel together behind their mother in the first swim of their lives. A nearby youngster exclaimed “Look, here comes another brood. What a queer looking object trails among them; he should not be here,” which compelled one of the brood to charge at the ugly duckling and bite his neck in disapproval. “Let him be,” said the mother; “he bothers nothing but perhaps your eyes.”

“but he must be turned away from our group,” said the spiteful duck. “Why should that be? He is not of your concern,” said the mother. The ugly duckling and his brood retreated for the evening as the mother decided sufficient practice had been reached that day. All the ducklings played peek-a-egg, a game most youngsters play after birth, in which they hide in their cracked eggs and try to find each other. The ugly duck lay in the corner, away from all the others, basking in discontentment. “What is the matter?” inquired the mother. “I wish not to be in this world if I am not meant to be” responded the ugly ducking. “But you are meant to be, you are mine and you come from me. If anyone but yourself, let me be the judge of your belonging, not your peers” consoled the mother.

And so the next day came and brought the duckling similar abuse, from the turkeys’ owner who kicked him with her shoe, from the cat who harassed him particularly more than his brothers and sisters, and from his siblings as well, who shared no secrets or discoveries to scintillate his growing mind. But all was not lost quite yet for the duckling, as he could rely on his mothers’ approval to sustain his disposition. “All of these abusers just don’t see me in the right light”, he thought each time. And so he lived, which is all he needed, until the end of his time in the lagoon, needing only one simple thing: the genuine approval of one other.