Read the fairy tale of the 2018 IIHF WM mascot
The fairy tale about how a self-confident duckling who chose his own path and became the mascot of the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
Once upon a time in a fairy-tale land known as Denmark, in the middle of a traditional Danish summer with green forests and a beaming yellow sun, a mother duck was brooding over her 17 eggs.
“That was an awful lot of eggs for one duck,” a passing drake quacked. “And there is even one more over here,” he added, pushing an 18th egg over to Mother Duck with his beak. Granted, the egg was a little big and rather odd-looking. But Mother Duck took it under her wing nevertheless, as one should never judge a duckling based on its egg.
A squeak erupted from one of the eggs, and then another. In the blink of an eye, 17 little ducklings had emerged from their eggs. All of the other animals on the farm quickly gathered to look in awe at the newly hatched ducklings.
The whole farm was therefore gathered together, watching, as the 18th egg slowly hatched. The felt some measure of unease, actually, as it was the last egg and looked so odd compared to the others. As soon as the shell cracked, the animals began muttering things amongst themselves like: “He must have been positioned wrong inside the egg” and “maybe it is something Mother Duck ate?”
Another drake arrived at the courtyard shortly thereafter, his appearance alone silencing the by-standing animals who naturally made way. The drake had a red rag tied to his leg, which was a symbol of his high status within the courtyard. The chief drake slowly leaned towards the last duckling to emerge and cried out. “He must be the biggest and ugliest creature I have ever seen! He will never be a real duck!” Mother Duck lowered her beak in defeat, and all of the other ducklings laughed in derision while they pecked at and scratched the big duckling.
“Big and foul, big and foul,” the other ducklings quacked.
Mother Duck chased them away, quacking: “Leave him alone! He is not hurting anybody!”
The ducklings all waddled neatly to the lake, the first 17 all in a row. But the 18th had a style all his own, rushing wildly into the water and splashing water everywhere. Standing on the shore, the older ducks yelled things like: “Use your legs, use your legs!”
The chief drake watched them closely. “Well, the first 17 are very capable. But the last one is not quite making it. I wish Mother Duck could have done him differently,” he quacked.
All of the other ducklings continued to ridicule him. They told him he was putting the entire pond to shame. But the little duckling just let the crude remarks dribble of him like water on his feathers and continued his ways. For he was an indomitable duckling.
“You have to prove your worth,” Mother Duck told him. “You have to convince them that you are just as good as they are.”
The not-so-little duckling raised his beak, looked across the pond and exclaimed. “No… I think that I would rather head out and look around for a bit.” And with those words he was gone.
Off on his adventure, the duckling came across a hen and a cat, standing by a barn. They broke into laughter when they saw him. “Would you look at this guy? You must be lost! Look how big and clumsy he is! Look at those big feet. Are you even able to lay eggs?” the hen asked. The duckling looked down and shook his head.
“Are you able to arch your back and purr?” the cat asked. And again the duckling just shook his head.
The two laughed and rolled their eyes at the odd-looking duckling. But he just shook his head and thought to himself that if only he could become someone important, then he would not have to worry about what others said. “I do not need your opinion,” he quacked. “I know I am big, but that will only help me in my future endeavours. Sure I have big feet, but that I won’t fall over so easily.” He had received enough ridicule from the hen and the cat, and continued on his way across the country.
Fall came and went, and winter had now arrived. The air was cold and the clouds were heavy with hail and snow. A blizzard was coming. The duckling fought his way through the cold reeds and out onto a partially frozen lake. It was cold and the ice was creaking as it spread. The indomitable duckling swam as Mother Duck had taught him, but the lake was quickly freezing around him and before he knew it he was in danger getting of stuck in the ice.
The duckling could have given up. He could have let himself grow frozen stuck in the lake so that other people would have to come and free him from the ice. But this duckling was a fighter. He was indomitable. He fought his way out of the freezing water, and suddenly found himself on top of the icy surface of the lake. “You must be mad! Get off the ice, it is way too slippery and dangerous for a duckling,” the hen and cat yelled from the shore, while looking to the sky. For they had never seen anything like this.
At that moment, the indomitable duckling felt a sudden urge to glide over the ice and he remembered the words Mother Duck said to him on his first swim. He used his legs and pushed across the ice. Granted, he was a little clumsy at first. But he was determined. He quickly got the hang of it and started to glide across the ice with grace.
At that moment, all of the other ducklings from the farm gathered on the shore to behold the sight. “Who can glide so gracefully over the ice?” they asked one another.
“It is the ugly duckling! Gosh - what speed, what balance, what footwork!” the chief drake exclaimed.
All of Denmark gasped, and the chief drake dropped his red rag in amazement. The duckling picked it up, as he slid by the shore, tying it around his neck like a cape. For he would rather be respected as a superhero instead of being admired for his feathers. And at that moment on he created a name for himself. It was no longer the tale of the ugly duckling but rather that of Duckly the indomitable duckling.
But the fairy tale did not stop at the shore of the frozen lake for the ever-growing duckling.
Duckly wanted to see more of the world, so he continued off on his journey. Across lakes and ponds he skated, over hills he climbed and bridges he crossed until one day he found himself outside a massive building. It was an arena containing a big skating rink, and the sounds, the atmosphere and the cheering he heard from inside drew him to investigate it further. Inside the arena were steep stands filled with people cheering on as huge figures dressed in funny outfits scurried around the ice. A hockey game was underway.
Duckly did not know who these funny figures were, but he knew that he wanted to be one of them. Being the kind of duckling who never waited for things to come his way, he promptly took action. Duckly confidently stepped out onto the ice with his red cape and started skating around as best he knew. What the crowd took note of was neither his big feet nor size but rather how powerfully and elegantly he strode across the ice. Duckly was instantly appointed their mascot, which was obviously the highest honour a duckling could ever hope to receive.
The news that Duckly had been made the official mascot quickly reached his old pond. Upon hearing of his achievements, the other ducklings felt embarrassed and ashamed of how they had treated Duckly. “How were we supposed to know that he would amount to anything?” Turning to Mother Duck they asked: “Are you not proud of him?”
“Yes, I am proud. But I was proud of him even before he became the mascot. I have always believed in him, just as I believe in you. The difference is that Duckly always believed in himself, even when others did not,” she explained.
At that moment the other ducklings finally understood that in order to achieve their dreams, they had to believe in themselves. For Duckly it was proof that the biggest of heroes could emerge from the smallest of the ponds.