Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt

Nanny Piggins and 'The Hideously Ugly Duckling'

December 02, 2020 R.A. Spratt Season 1 Episode 41
Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt
Nanny Piggins and 'The Hideously Ugly Duckling'
Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt
Nanny Piggins and 'The Hideously Ugly Duckling'
Dec 02, 2020 Season 1 Episode 41
R.A. Spratt

When they become inadvertantly locked in a bank vault (note to self, don't argue with bank robbers) Nanny Piggins tells Boris and the children the story of 'The Ugly Duckling'. Her version may not be famililar to you.

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Show Notes Transcript

When they become inadvertantly locked in a bank vault (note to self, don't argue with bank robbers) Nanny Piggins tells Boris and the children the story of 'The Ugly Duckling'. Her version may not be famililar to you.

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Hello and welcome to Bedtime Stories with me, R.A. Spratt.  Today’s story is…


The Hideously Ugly Duckling as told by Nanny Piggins


Here we go…


Nanny Piggins, Boris and the children were locked in a bank vault. They hadn’t planned to spend the day this way when they set out in the morning. They had been on their way to the sweet shop, via Hans Bakery and the gellataria, in town. 

You see Nanny Piggins great Auntie Doris, a lovely pig who was as mad as a Mad Hatters teacup, had sent her some spending money. Auntie Doris was rich because she had had seventeen different husbands, all of them oil magnates who had been so desperately in love with her that they left her their entire fortunes.

So now Auntie Doris spent her time travelling the world, throwing wonderful parties and meeting new magnates to marry. Every once in a while, she would remember her dear little niece -Nanny Piggins. 

She liked Nanny Piggins much more than any of her identical fourteenuplet sisters, because Nanny Piggins had once shared half a macaroon with her. It had been a particularly delicious macaroon, and whenever she thought of this lovely memory Mad Auntie Doris popped a bank note in the post to her favourite niece. 

This was wonderful for Nanny Piggins. She did so love having money. It rarely occurred, however. Because while she had no trouble earning money, she had even less trouble spending it – usually on chocolate. 

So when these benevolent envelopes arrived from her aunt Nanny Piggins was always thrilled. The only problem was, that Great Aunt Doris did like to travel and you could never be sure what currency she might send you. 

One day she might be Patagonia and a Chilean peso would turn up, or in Thailand and you’d recive a bhat, or in Madagasgar and she’d get an Ariary. 

On this occasion Auntie Doris had been hiking in Bolivia so Nanny Piggins had been sent a lovely crisp $50 Bolliviano note.

‘I wonder what it’s worth,’ said Nanny Piggins lovingly as she stared at it loviningly.

‘8 or 9 dollars I should think,’ said Derrick.

‘Not in money,’ said Nanny Piggins contemptuously. ‘I mean what it’s really worth – in chocolate?’

‘Oh 8 or 9 chocolate bars, if you buy the cheap kind,’ said Michael.

‘Splendid!’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘I love the cheap kind! I love the expensive kind too. I’m not prejudiced.’

So they hurried down to the bank waiting so they could get their Bolliviano note converted into a form of currency Hans the baker would be more likely to accept.

Unfortunatley once they were inside the bank there was a long line. Nanny Piggins did not approve lines. She felt all forms of waiting were inhumane torture that should be banned. 

She was just being to tap her foot impatiently and think up some really pithy things to say to the teller when suddenly a man wearing a ski mask burst into the bank, carrying a gun and announced.

‘Nobody move! This is a robbery,’ He then fired a shot into the ceiling, apparently to demonstrate his sincerity. But this only made a whole mess of plaster fall down on his head so he looked ridiculous.

At first Nanny Piggins did not move because she was so shocked. She was shocked for many reasons. First of all she was shocked that he was wearing a ski mask in summer, when it must be dreadfully hot and sticky. Then she was shocked that he had yelled at everyone in the bank not to move, but had not once said please. 

But the thing that shocked her most of all was when the bank robber strode confidentaly towards the counter, cutting past Nanny Piggins in the line.

‘I beg your pardon,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘What do you think you are doing?’

At first the bank robber ignored her, because he was so focused on getting money from the teller. But Nanny Piggins grabbed hold of the back of his ski mask and gave it a good tug to get his attention.

‘I said - what do you think you are doing?’ she demanded.

‘I’m robbing a bank,’ said the bank robber.

‘Well, I don’t really care about that,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Your business with this bank is your own private affair. What I do care about is my time. I have been waiting in this line for an incredibly long period. How long has it been now, Samantha?’

‘Three minutes,’ said Samantha.

‘As long as that!’ exclaimed Nanny Piggins. ‘The customer service here is dreadful. It’s no wonder people turn up carrying firearms. But nevertheless, I have done the right thing. I have been waiting patiently…’

Michael coughed. He didn’t like to directly contradict his nanny but she certainly had not been patient.

‘Alright,’ conceded Nany Piggins, ‘I have been waiting impatiently. In this line, as marked out by this ridiculous red rope. As if that could stop me from doing anything. But I did it. I have been good. I have waited for my turn. So I not letting you cut in front of me.’

‘But I’m robbing the bank,’ said the bank robber.

‘I don’t care,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘you can wait your turn.’

There were grumbling of approval from several of the other customers in the line.

‘I don’t want him cutting in front of me either,’ said an old lady. ‘I’ve got to get home to feed Mr Whiskers.’

‘Is that your cat,’ asked Nanny Piggins, conversationally. 

‘No, my husband,’ said the woman. ‘I’ve been waiting for him to die so I could change my name back to Smith for decades.’

‘There you see,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘We’ve all got lives to lead. Go to the back of the line and wait your turn.’

‘But I’ve got a gun,’ said the bank robber.

‘Please,’ said a man in a suit on the other side of the counter, ‘Just do as this man says. That is the ban’ks protocol. Just do as he says. Our insurance will cover any losses incurred’

‘Will your insurance company go and feed Mr Whiskers?’ asked Nanny Piggins.

‘No,’ said the bank manager.

‘Then I refuse to agree to this scheme,’ said Nanny Piggins.

The bank robber decided it would be easier just to ignore Nanny Piggins. He turned on the bank manager. ‘Open up the vault,’ he demanded. ‘Do it, now!”

‘Yes, of course,’ said the bank manager, he went to the back wall, took out a set of keys and started to open a big metal door.

‘Outrageous,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘If I had any money in this bank I’d take it out right away. You see children, this is why it is always better to invest in reliable assets – like cake and chocolate. They never lose their value. And block heads like this bank manager, would know better than to let someone steal them.’

The bank manager finally flung open the door. ‘Please take whatever you like, just don’t hurt anyone,’ he pleaded.

‘I’m not taking anything from in there,’ said the bank robber. The vault was full of security deposit boxes. ‘I just want cash from the tellers.’

‘Then why did you get me to open the vault?’ asked the Bank manager.

‘So I can shove her in,’ said the bank robber. With that he grabbed Nanny Piggins and shoved her towards the vault. 

‘How dare you!’ said Nanny Piggins, she puffed out her chest and readied herself for a fight. Now of course, Nanny Piggins was an elite athlete, a superb circus performer, she had a blackbelt in shin biting and a vicious foot stomp.  She could have easily thrashed one foolish bank robber. 

But unfortunately, she was no match for the emotional breakdown of her own brother. Boris, who was after all a 700 kilogram, 10 foot tall ballet dancing bear from Russia burst into tears. As he so often did and lunged at Nanny Piggins.

‘Just do what the bad man wants!’ he pleaded, in between wracking sobs. So it was actually Boris who shoved Nanny Piggins into the vault. The bank robber shoved the children in behind them and slammed the door.


So that is how the five of them came to be sitting in a bank vault, waiting to be rescued by the police or the bank manager. Whichever one of them decided to be brave first.

‘What do we do now?’ asked Derrick.

‘I wonder if any of these security boxes have cake in them?’ said Nanny Piggins, sniffing the small lockers carefully.

‘People usually keep precious things in security boxes,’ said Samantha. ‘Like jewellery and property deeds.’

‘Pah,’ said Nanny Piggins in disgust. ‘Humans have the most ridiculous notions about what is precious.’

She sat back down again.

‘We’re all going to die!’ wailed Boris.

‘Well yes, eventually,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘But not today. I’m planning to buy several chocolate eclairs from Hans this afternoon and I absolutely refuse to miss out on that.’

‘We might be here for a while,’ said Michael. ‘Why don’t you tell us a story.’

‘I suppose I could,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘The bank manager has been sadly remiss in providing entertainment for anyone accidentally locked in his vault. You wouldn’t think it would be too much trouble for him to leave a few board games in here. Or a chocolate fondue set. I’ve a good mind to write to his regional manager and make a complaint about it.’

‘But in the meantime,’ said Michael, trying to get her back on track. ‘How about a story?’

‘Yes, alright,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Hmm, let me think of a good one… Have I ever told you the story of… the Ugly duckling.’

‘Well,’ said Derrick. ‘I think we’ve all heard that story. But your version is usually different, so why don’t you tell us anyway.’

And so she did…


‘Once upon a time, a mother duck sat on a clutch of eggs waiting for them to hatch,’ began Nanny Piggins. ‘The sitting is a very important part of the process you know. Because the mothers bottom, keeps the eggs warm. This doesn’t work with all species. If you sit on human children to keep them warm, the authorities do not like it. And if you’re a fully grown pig and you sit on children of any species, the results can be fatal. So be warned children, this is only something that should be attempted a fully qualified bird.’

The children nodded. They never had intended to sit on offspring of any kind. But they felt agreeing was the simplest way to get their Nanny to continue with her story.

One day this mother duck felt a tapping underneath her, then a wobbling and then a cracking. She got up and had a look. The ducklings were beginning to hatch. The first one cracked through and she could see its tiny beak. Then the other eggs started to crack and chip as the other ducklings began the process of emerging. 

It took a long time. Egg demolition is hard work if you’re less than one day old and you’re on the inside of the egg. When you think about it, human babies get barely anything done until they’re a whole year old. So ducklings are really quite impressive with their work ethic straight away on day one.

The mother duck knew this was going to take a while. And she had been sitting on the eggs for so long, she desperately needed to go to the bathroom. So she popped out for a quick moment. 

When she came back all her eggs had hatched. She was so proud. She counted them off to herself one, two, three, four, five. But when she saw her sixth duckling she let out a scream.


‘What’s wrong mama,’ asked the sixth duckling.

‘Oh nothing, nothing at all,’ lied the mother duck, for she was a mother and while this sixth duckling was undeniably incredibly hideously disgustingly ugly. She did not want to break it’s heart and tell it so. ‘Come on, let’s go outside and find some slugs to eat.’

‘Unfortunatley for the hideously ugly duckling,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Her brothers and sisters were not as loving as her dear mama. They lost no opportunity to tell her how ugly she was.

‘What is wrong with you?’ asked one duckling. ‘Your feathers don’t look right.’

‘Your beak is disgusting to look at,’ said another.

‘Your feet are deformed,’ said a third.

‘Go away, would you,’ said yet another.

‘This story is terrible,’ wept Boris. ‘I never knew ducklings could be so beastly.’

‘Boris,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘You know this is a story. There is no need for you to weep.’

‘I’m sorry Sarah,’ sobbed Boris. ‘I know it is make believe. But sometimes I find make-believe even more upsetting than real life.’

‘We all do dear,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘I still haven’t forgiven the television for the time Bridge married Cravasse’s sister’s cousins step dauther when he was secretly in love with Bethany.’ Nanny Piggins favourite soap opera was ‘The Young and the Irritable’ and she took the plot twists very seriously.

‘Anyway, the other farm animals were just as bad, continued Nanny Piggins. ‘The cows, the sheep, even the goats which aren’t the most attractive species themselves, they all made fun of this poor little duckling.’

‘That’s terrible,’ said Samantha. 

‘I know,’ agreed Nanny Piggins. ‘One day the duckling couldn’t bear it anymore. She ran away from home to live on her own in the woods where it wouldn’t be mocked.’

‘Oh no,’ wailed Boris. ‘Things never go well in fairy tales when people start going into woods.’

‘Very true,’ agreed Nanny Piggins. ‘The woods didn’t work out for the hideously ugly duckling either. All the woodland animals made fun of it too. The squirrels, the badgers, even the big bad wolf all laughed at it and called it ugly.’

‘Didn’t the wolf eat her?’ asked Micahel.

‘No, that was the most insulting bit of all,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘the Wolf told the duckling she was too ugly to eat.’

‘That’s horrible,’ said Samantha. ‘But, on the whole, for the best.’

‘Perhaps,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘But the ugly duckling found it very hurtful at the time.’


Eventually the ugly duckling gave up trying to make friends. She knew she was too ugly to be endured, so she found a hollowed out log and lived alone in there, sneaking out at night to eat whatever scraps she could find when no one was looking. 

The duckling became so sad and miserable…

‘This story is making me sad and miserable too,’ sobbed Boris.

‘Stay strong Boris,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘It’s a fairy tale. You know it is going to cheer up soon.’

‘I’ll try,’ wept Boris. Blowing his nose louder into a bank deposit slip.

‘One day the duckling got up very early to scavange some food before the other creatures woke up,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Dawn was just starting to break. So the duckling headed down to the pond to sip some water.’ When the duckling looked out, she was struck by the most wonderous sight. There on the far bank of the pond, were the most beautiful creatures the duckling had ever seen.

There were two grown ups and six large children, and they were frolicking and having fun together. The duckling had never seen this animal before. They were big pink creatures, with stout legs, fine bold snouts and dainty little curly tails.’

‘Pigs?!’ exclaimed Michael.

‘Exactly,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘They were so beautiful the duckling was drawn towards them. Without even realising what she was doing, she started walking over to where they laughed and played.’ 

Suddenly one of the pigs spotted her. The hideously ugly duckling recoiled and tried to hide behind a bush. She did not want to disgust these glorious creatures.

‘Hello,’ said the pig. ‘My name is Tabitha.’

‘Hello,’ said the duckling shyly, still hiding behind the bush. ‘What creatures are you? I have never seen animals so beautiful.’

‘Why we are pigs,’ said Tabitha.

‘You’re beautiful,’ said the ugly duckling.

‘We know,’ agreed Tabitha. ‘Would you like to come and play with us?’

‘You want  me to play with you,’ the ugly duckling was astonished. ‘But I’m so ugly and horrible to look at.’

‘No, you’re not,’ said Tabitha. ‘You are one of us.’

The duckling did not understand. Tabitha led her to the pond and showed her her reflection. They looked exactly alike. And the ugly duckling realised that she was not an ugly duckling, she had never been, she was a beautiful pig.

And she lived happily ever after, eating lots of chocolate cake every day with her adopted family, much happier than any mean spirited duck. That only poo everywhere with no regard for hygiene at all the end.

Boris wailed even louder.

Why are you crying now?’ asked Samantha. ‘It was a happy ending.’

‘That’s why I’m crying,’ blubbered Boris. ‘These are tears of joy.’

Just then there was a loud clang, and a crank, and big eeeeeek. As the door to the vault swung open. The children held their breath waiting to see who it would be. They did not want it to be the bank robber again. He did not seem like a very nice man.

But it was the friendly face of the Police Sergeant that popped around the door.

‘Hello,’ he said cheerily.

‘About time,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘What took you so long?’

‘Sorry, Nanny Piggins,’ said the Police Sergeant. ‘As soon as we heard that a bank robber had locked an incredibly beautiful pig in a bank vault, I knew it had to be you.’

This slightly mollified Nanny Piggins’ ego. So she didn’t stomp on his foot. 

‘We would have had you out ages ago,’ said the Police Sergeant. ‘But the bank robber was such a nitwit he wouldn’t surrender himself and he was asking for all sorts of unreasonable things like a helicopter so he could make his getaway.’

‘Ridculous,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Much better to ask for an ice cream van so you can travel in style.’

‘Did the swat team over power him in the end?’ asked Michael.

‘No, a very nice elderly lady called Mrs Whiskers did,’ said the Police Sergeant. ‘She bopped him over the head with her hand bag. And she had $200 in 20 cent coins in her handbag so it really hurt. Knocked him out cold. I didn’t even get a chance to thank her and nominate her for a bravery medal because she rushed off to feed her cat.’

‘I hope she gave the bank manager a good whallop too,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘For his appalling customer service. Allowing robbers to be served first. When they haven’t even said please.’

‘She did actually,’ said the Police Sergeant. ‘She’s a surprisingly athletic lady for an 84 year old. Apparently she represented Wales in discus throwing and has had incredibly strong lateral muscles ever since.’

So the Police Sergeant drove them all home. But only after the bank manager exchanged their 50 Boliviano note, and the Police Sergeant drove them to the bakery, the lolly shop and the gelataria first. The Police Sergeant did not mind these slight detours because he had a sweet tooth himself.

Altogether it had been a wonderful experience. 

‘We’ve had such an educational day today children,’ said Nanny Piggins.

‘We have?’ asked Derrick.

‘Oh yes,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘We’ve learned that the currency in Bolivia is the Boliviano. Never be rude to someone who looks different, in case they’re really a pig. And we’ve learned never to cut in line in the bank no matter how important you think your business is or Mrs Whiskers will bop you on the head. 


The end.


Thank you for listening. To support this podcast, just buy a book by me, R.A. Spratt. There are plenty to choose from across the Nanny Piggins, Friday Barnes and Peski Kids series. And now there is the audiobook of ‘The Adventures of Nanny Piggins as well. You can order any of these through your local bookseller. Or go to my website, and click on the Book Depository banner. They have all my titles and free international shipping. That is for today. Until next time. Goodbye.