The story, written by Hans Christian Andersen, is about an ugly duckling that looked different from the chicks of the same brood. He was dark and ugly. The other ducklings didn’t want to play with him. He remained isolated in the corner of the pond, until one day he decided to run away in search of a place where he would be accepted.

Wandering here and there, he joined first a family of geese and then a farmhouse. Both the geese and the farmers considered him ugly and useless.

The ugly duckling spent the winter alone and hungry. With the arrival of spring he landed up in a pond where very beautiful birds were swimming.

He didn’t dare to approach them. It was unthinkable that a so ugly duckling, as he was, would have been accepted by those graceful birds! He kept standing on the edge of the pond until one of those birds glided towards him.

How beautiful you are!” I have never seen such white feathers!” said the swan.

The ugly duckling bent his head incredulous and saw his image reflected on the water. He was a swan as well! His feathers had become white!

A similar allegory can be found in Jalaluddin Rumi’s Mathnawi. Rumi tells his hearers that they are “ducks, being brought up by hens”. They have to realize that their destiny is to swim, not to be chickens.

Both Rumi’s and Andersen’s stories are allegories of life. There is a natural evolutionist process in all living beings. It varies from individual to individual, depending on the happenings of life.

Character and personality may change, like the feathers of the swan. The essence, the innermost being is always the same.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind



If you go to Warsaw, don’t miss visiting the heart of Chopin in the Church of The Holy Cross.

The great composer and pianist lived in Warsaw until the age of twenty; then he moved to Paris where he remained until the end of his young life.

Not everybody knows that Chopin was scared of being buried alive; so before dying, he asked his heart to be explanted and taken to Warsaw.

After his death, the Scottish lady Jane Stirling who was a student and a friend of Chopin, built a sepulchral monument on the tomb where Chopin’s body was buried in Paris, and also paid the expenses for the funeral and the return of his sister Ludwika to Poland.

Ludwika put her brother’s heart into an urn filled with alcohol and took it to Warsaw to be buried in the Church of the Holy Cross.

When I entered that church, the melodious sound of the organ flooded the atmosphere. I took a seat near Chopin’s heart and meditated on life, love and friendship. Then I recollected a few words painted on a wall of the hostel where I was staying:

I’ve travelled,

I’ve discovered,

I’ve changed the world.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
-The Vibrations of Words
Travels of the Mind