It wasn+t long efore #onathan 6ull was off " himself again, far out at sea, hungr", happ", learning.The su3ect was speed, and in a week+s practice he learned more aout speed than the fastest gull ali%e.!rom a thousand feet, flapping his wings as hard as he could, he pushed o%er into a la7ing steep di%e toward the wa%es, and learned wh" seagulls don+t make la7ing steep pewerdi%es. In 3ust si- seconds he was mo%ing se%ent" miles per hour, the speed at which one+s wing goes unstale on the upstroke.Time after time it happened. 8areful as he was, working at the %er" peak of his ailit", he lost control at high speed.8lim to a thousand feet. !ull power straight ahead first, then push o%er, flapping, to a %ertical di%e. Then, e%er" time, his left wing stalled on an upstroke, he+d roll %iolentl" left, stall his right wing reco%ering, and flick like fire into a wild tumling spin to the right. 'e couldn+t e careful enough on that upstroke. Ten times he tried, and all ten times, as he passed through se%ent" miles per hour, he urst into a churning mass of feathers, out of control, crashing down into the water.The ke", he thought at last, dripping wet, must e to hold the wings still at high speeds(to flap up to fift" and then hold the wings still. !rom two thousand feet he tried again, rolling into his di%e, eak straight down, wings full out and stale from the moment he passed fift" miles per hour. It took tremendous strength, ut it worked. In ten seconds he had lurred through ninet" miles per hour. #onathan had set a world speed record for seagulls2But %ictor" was shortli%ed. The instant he egan his pullout, the instant he changed the angle of his wings, he snapped into that same terrile uncontrolled disaster, and at ninet" miles per hour it hit him like d"namite. #onathan &eagull e-ploded in midair and smashed down into a rickhard sea.hen he came to, it was well after dark, and he floated in moonlight on the surface of the ocean. 'is wings were ragged ars of lead, ut the weight of failure was e%en hea%ier on his ack. 'e wished, feel", that the weight could e 3ust enough to drug him gentl" down to the ottom, and end it all.As he sank low in the water, a strange hollow %oice sounded within him. There+s no wa" around it. I am a seagull. I am limited " m" nature. If I were meant to learn so much aout fl"ing, I+d ha%e charts for rains. If I were meant to fl" at speed, I+d ha%e a falcon+s short wings, and li%e on mice instead of fish. )" father was right. I must forget this foolishness. I must fl" home to the !lock and e content as I am, as a poor limited seagull.The %oice faded, and #onathan agreed. The place for a seagull at night is on shore, and from this moment forth, he %owed, he would e a normal gull. It would make e%er"one happier.'e pushed wearil" awa" from the dark water and flew toward the land, grateful for what he had learned aout worksa%ing lowaltitude fl"ing. But no, he thought. I am done with the wa" I was, I am done with e%er"thing I learned. I am a seagull like e%er" other seagull, and I will fl" like one. &o he climed painfull" to a hundred feet and flapped his wings harder, pressing for shore.'e felt etter for his decision to e 3ust another one of the !lock. There would e no ties now to the force that had dri%en him to learn, there would e no more challenge and no more failure. And it was prett", 3ust to stop thinking, and fl" through the dark, toward the lights ao%e the each.4ark2 The hollow %oice cracked in alarm. &eagulls ne%er fl" in the dark2#onathan was not alert to listen. It+s prett", he thought. The moon and the lights twinkling on the water, throwing out little eacontrails through the night, and all so peaceful and still...6et down2 &eagulls ne%er fl" in the dark2 If "ou were meant to fl" in the dark, "ou+d ha%e the e"es of an owl2 9ou+d ha%e charts for rains2 9ou+d ha%e a falcon+s short wings2There in the night, a hundred feet in the air, #onathan $i%ingston &eagull(linked. 'is pain, his resolutions, %anished.