Story in a Nutshell

“Liam O’ Flaherty” was a major Irish novelist, short story writer and ranked as one of the foremost social writers in the first part of the 20th century. “His First Flight” is story is about a young seagull who is afraid to fly for the first time. He believed that his wings wouldn’t support him.

Despite his younger siblings flying unafraid even when they have much shorter wings, he couldn’t gather the courage to do the same. He was punished to stay hungry if he did not try. Thus, it was his mother that pressured him to fly by using food as a trap. 

Characters

  1. A young Seagull: The main character who is unsure of his flying capacities.
  2. His siblings: Two brothers (one older and one younger) & One younger sister
  3. Father Seagull: the sole breadwinner of the family.  
  4. Mother Seagull: who is the source of support for this young seagull. She is the sole confident builder. She even took a daring step of pushing her offspring from the cliff to forget his fear. 

Young Seagull Alone

The story starts with the young seagull left alone on the Ledge by his family members. His younger siblings had already flown a day before and he was still afraid to make an attempt to fly, he did not trust his wings even when his wings were way bigger than his younger siblings.

He was scared of the vast sea beneath and convinced himself that he could never fly. His father and mother came around calling him, threatening him that will not get any food unless he flies, yet he couldn’t gather the courage to fly. As a result, he was ashamed and became very sad, and thus he had to be all alone on the ledge where he usually slept. 

Parents Teaching the art of flight

It was 24 hours and more that no one had come near him. All he did was watch everyone fly, his parents teaching his siblings and perfecting them in the art of flight, how to skim the waves and how to dive for fish. His older brother caught his first fish which he ate at a rock while his parents proudly celebrated it. That morning his family walked about on a big plateau laughing at his cowardice.

Young Seagull suffers from heat & hunger

The sun had risen and he was feeling the heat more than ever because he was empty-stomach since the night before. He stepped out of his ledge and pretended to sleep on one leg to get the attention of his family, yet, no one noticed him. His siblings were dozing off, his father was cleaning his feathers with his beak and his mother was standing on another plateau eating fish while she noticed him. The seagull got mad on seeing the fish because he was very hungry and he loved to tear away fish and scrape his beak now and then which his mother was doing then.

Young Seagull begs for food

He calls for mother to bring him a piece of fish to which she replied angrily, yet he kept begging her for a piece of fish. After a minute Mother Seagull picked a piece of fish and flew across to him with it which made the young seagull scream out of joy. The seagull leaned towards her by the end of the cliff trying to reach the fish but he could not get at it.

Mother seagull’s tactic to make young seagull fly

The young waited a moment in surprise and wondered why didn’t his mother come nearer to feed him. Out of anger he jumped to reach the fish forgetting that he couldn’t fly and fell outwards with a scream and downwards into space. His mother had swooped upwards. As he passed beneath her, he heard the sound 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 and 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.

Young Seagull’s first flight

The seagull screamed joyfully. He soared higher calling ‘ga, ga, ga’. His mother gave out ‘gaw col-ah’. Then his father flew over him screaming and his brothers and sister came flying around him. They were roaring and diving. He had completely forgotten that he had not always been able to fly. He pushed himself to dive and soar.

The Young Seagull’s landing on the green sea

He went near the sea flying straight over it. He saw a vast green sea beneath him. His parents and his siblings had landed on the green surface of the water ahead of him. They called him to do the same thing. He dropped his leg to stand on the green sea but his legs sank into it.

He tried to rise again flapping his wings but he couldn’t as 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 and offering him scraps of dogfish. 

Conclusion

The story of the seagull is the story of overcoming one’s fear to succeed. One learns by taking courage and not by sitting idle, he must trust his abilities because fear is only an illusion that holds us back. The young seagull could fly only when he let his guards down and did not think of the outcome but only gather the courage to reach his goal.

When he overcomes his fear, he forgets that he was afraid of flying. He did everything he used to worry about. He flew directly over the sea and saw the green area and the mountains below him. He yelled happily, happy for the victory.