His First Flight by Liam O’Flaherty – Summary

This imaginary story conveys the message that one learns by taking courage and not by sitting idle. A young seagull is fed lovingly by his parents. But when the time comes for him to fly, he feels himself afraid. At last, his mother hits upon a plan by persuading him with food in her beak. And the seagull finally learns how to fly.

Summary

The young seagull was alone on his ledge. His two brothers and his sister had already flown away. When he wanted to fly, he could not do so. He was afraid of flying. When his brothers and sister flew, he failed to gather the courage to fly. He was really very sad. His father and mother came to him. They asked him to fly. They even rebuked him. They threatened if he did not fly, he would die of hunger there. But he could not move.

That was twenty-four hours ago. Since then, no one has come near him. He had watched his parents and brothers and sisters flying. His parents had been perfecting his brothers and sister how to dive for fish. They called him to fly. But he could not.

The sun was rising. It was getting very hot. He felt the heat. He had not eaten for long. He had found a dried piece of a fish tail. But it was not enough. There was not even a single piece of food anywhere for him. He had gone forward and backward on the ledge. But he couldn’t fly. He wanted to reach his parents. There was a deep sea below. The ridge was high.

The seagull closed his eyes standing on one leg. He had the other leg hidden under his wing. He pretended to sleep. He thought that his parents didn’t take notice of him. However, mother was looking at him. He saw her tearing at a piece of fish at her feet. He was mad to see the food. He gave out a sound to get it. His mother replied in a sound and looked at him. She picked a piece of the fish. She flew across to him with it. He leaned out tapping the rock with his feet. His mother flew across trying to get nearer to him. The seagull had the food within the reach of his beak. But he could not get at it.

The seagull waited a moment in surprise. He wondered why his mother did not come nearer. He was so mad with hunger that he dived at the fish. He fell outwards with a scream and downwards into space. His mother had swooped upwards. As he passed beneath her, he heard the swish of her wings. Then a great fear caught him. His heart stood still. He could hear nothing. But it only lasted for a moment. The next moment, he felt his wings spread outwards. He felt the wind rushing against his breast feathers. It rushed under his stomach, and against his wings. He was not falling headlong now. He was soaring slowly downwards and upwards. He was no longer afraid.
The seagull gave out a joyous scream. He soared higher calling ‘ga, ga, ga’. His mother gave out ‘gaw col-ah’. Then his father flew over him screaming. Then he saw his brothers and sister flying around him. They were roaring and diving.

Then he completely forgot that he had not always been able to fly. He commended himself to dive and soar. He was near the sea now, flying straight over it. He saw a vast green sea beneath him. His parents and his brothers and sister had landed on the green surface of water ahead of him. They were calling him to do the same thing. He dropped his leg to stand on the green sea. But his legs sank into it. He cried with feat He tried to rise again flapping his wings. But he was tired and weak with hunger. He could not rise. His feet sank into the green sea. His belly touched it but he sank no further. He was floating on it. Around him was his family, crying and praising him. It was offering him scraps of dog-fish. He had made his first flight.

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