Q. Why was the young seagull afraid to fly? Do you think all young birds are afraid to make their first flight, or are some birds more timid than others? Do you think a human baby also finds it a challenge to take its first steps?
Ans. The young seagull was afraid to fly because he thought that his wings would not support him. Yes, all young birds are afraid to make their first flight. This is because it is a new experience for them. Some birds might be more timid than others. However, it depends on individual birds also. For example, the young seagull could not muster up courage to fly whereas his two brothers and his sister flew away from the ledge. A human baby certainly finds it a challenge to take its first steps.
Q. ‘‘The sight of the food maddened him.’’ What does this suggest? What compelled the young seagull to finally fly?
Ans. The young seagull could not muster up courage to fly. So he was alone and hungry on the ledge. His mother wanted him to fly. So she took a piece of fish in her beak and went close to the seagull. But she kept herself at some distance from him. She did so knowingly. She knew that the young seagull was very hungry and he would do anything to get food. And this is what exactly happened. The young seagull dived at the piece of fish. In making this attempt, he fell into space and was compelled to fly.
Q. ‘‘They were beckoning to him, calling shrilly’’. Why did the seagull’s father and mother threaten him and cajole him to fly?
Ans. The young seagull was afraid to fly. He thought that his wings would not support him. His two brothers and his sister had already flown away the day before. So he was left alone and hungry on the ledge. His father and mother were beckoning to him to fly shrilly. But the young seagull was too timid to fly. So they threatened to starve him on the ledge and cajoled him to fly because learning the art of flight was very necessary for a bird.
Q. Have you ever had a similar experience, where your parents encouraged you to do something that you were too scared to try? Discuss this in pairs or groups.
Ans. Yes, I had a similar experience in my life. I was a schoolgoing boy when my father asked me to learn cycling. But I was terribly afraid to ride a cycle. I thought I could not balance my body on it and would fall down. Worst fears came into my mind. But my father was adamant on my learning cycling. So one day, he took me and a cycle on a mound near our village. He made me sit on the saddle and asked me to put my hands on the handle and feet on the pedals. He kept the cycle steady for some time and then gave it a push. The cycle sped down the mound and came on the plane ground. Luckily I did not fall down and applied brakes. My father followed me on another bicycle and he caught hold of my cycle. Thus I overcame my fear of cycling and started riding a cycle after a few practice sessions.
Q. In the case of a bird flying, it seems a natural act, and a foregone conclusion that it should succeed. In the examples you have given in answer to the previous question, was your success guaranteed, or was it important for you to try, regardless of the possibility of failure?
Ans. When we learn any new skill, we certainly face some difficulties in the initial stages. We hesitate to do something which we have not done earlier. In the case of the seagull his parents cajoled him to fly. In the example given above, I was cajoled by my father to learn cycling. At that age it was important for me to learn cycling. If one is determined to do something then success is guaranteed. Moreover, practice, they say, makes a man perfect.