IGCSE English (First Language): Specimen Questions with Answers 35 - 35 of 179

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The young seagull was alone on his ledge. His two brothers and his sister had already flown away the day before. He had been afraid to fly with them. Somehow, when he had taken a little run forward to the brink of the ledge and attempted to flap his wings, he became afraid.

The great expanse of sea stretched down beneath, and it was such a long way down miles down. He felt certain that his wings would never support him; so, he bent his head and ran away back to the little hole under the ledge where he slept at night.

Even when each of his brothers and his little sister, whose wings were far shorter than his own, ran to the brink, flapped their wings, and flew away, he failed to muster up courage to take that plunge which appeared to him so desperate.

His father and mother had come around calling to him shrilly, scolding him, threatening to let him starve on his ledge, unless he flew away.

But for the life of him, he could not move.

Now there was not a single scoop of food left. He had searched every inch. He even gnawed at the dried pieces of eggshell. It was like eating a part of himself.

He stepped slowly out to the brink of the ledge, and, standing on one leg with the other leg hidden under his wing, he closed one eye, then the other, and pretended to be falling asleep.

He saw his two brothers and his sister lying on the plateau dozing, with their heads sunk into their necks.

His father was preening the feathers on his white back. Only his mother was looking at him.

She was standing on a little high hump on the plateau, her white breast thrust forward. Now she tore at a piece of fish that lay at her feet, and then scraped cache side of her beak on the rock. The sight of the food maddened him. How he loved to tear food that way.

Scraping his beak now and again to whet it! He uttered a low cackle. His mother cackled too.

and looked at him.

“Ga, ga, ga” he cried, begging her to bring him over some food. Gawl-ool-ah, she screamed back mockingly. But he kept culling plaintively.

Mother had picked up a piece of fish and was flying across to him with it. He learned out eagerly, tapping the rock with his feet, trying to get nearer to her as she flew across. But when she was just opposite to him, abreast of the ledge, she halted, her legs hanging limp, her wings motionless, the piece of fish in her bank almost within reach of his beak.

He waited a moment in surprise, wondering why she did not come nearer, and then maddened by hunger, he dived at the fish. With a loud scream he fell outwards and downwards into space. His mother had swooped upwards. As he passed beneath her, he heard the swish of her wings. Then a monstrous terror seized him and his heart stood still. He could hear nothing. But it only lasted a moment. The next moment, he felt his wings spread outwards the wind brushed against his breast feathers, then under his stomach and against his wings He could feel the tips of his wings cutting through the air. He was not falling headlong now. He was soaring gradually, downwards, and outwards. He was no longer afraid. He just felt a bit dizzy. Then, he flipped his wings once and he soared upwards.

He uttered a joyous scream and flapped them again. He soared higher. He raised his breast and banked against the wind. “Ga, ga, ga. Ga, ga, ga.”

His mother swooped past him, her wings making a loud noise. He answered her with another scream. Then, his father flew over him screaming Then, he saw his two brothers and sister flying around him, soaring and diving.

Then, he completely forgot that he had not always been able to fly, and commenced to dive and soar, shrieking shrilly. He was near the sea now flying straight over it, facing out over the ocean. He saw A Vast green sea beneath him, with little ridges moving over it: he turned his beak sideways and crowed amusedly. His parents and his brothers and sister had landed on this green floor in front of him. They were beckoning to him, calling shrilly.

He dropped his legs to stand on the green sea.

His legs sank into it. He screamed with fright and attempted to rise again, flapping his wings.

But he was tired and weak with hunger and he could not rise exhausted by the strange exercise.

His feet sank into the green sea, and then his belly touched it and he sank no farther. He was floating on it. And around him, his family was screaming, praising him, and their beaks were offering him scraps of dog-fish. He had made his first flight.

Question 35 (1 of 11 Based on Passage)


Write in Short

Short Answer▾

Your parents sometimes behave like the young bird՚s parents. They may seem cruel and unrelenting. Does it mean that they do not care for you? Explain your views about it with reference from the story.


  • Parents are our first teachers. Guiding their children at every stage is their primary responsibility. If they fail to do this, the children cannot attain perfection.
  • It is said that children start learning and responding even when they are in the womb of the mother. A child which grows, without the guidance of the parents, lack in the art of speech, walking, holding things, eating, and even doing their day-to-day basic activities. They even need toilet training.
  • Some children can learn easily as the young seagull՚s siblings. But few hesitate or struggle while learning new things like the young seagull. To them, the parents must be harsh for the betterment of their life as we see the parents of the young seagull in this lesson who must starve until it flies. As the old proverb says “bend the twig, bent the tree.” They may seem cruel and unrelenting but it is for the good of their children. It is the duty of every parent to educate and teach their young ones the art of life.

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