is to convince a bird that he is free, and that he can prove it for
himself if he'd just spend a little time practicing? Why should that be so
Fletcher still blinked from the change of scene. "What did you just
do? How did we get here?"
"You did say you wanted to be out of the mob, didn't you?"
"Yes! But how did you..."
"Like everything else, Fletcher. Practice." By morning the Flock had
forgotten its insanity, but Fletcher had not. "Jonathan, remember what you
said a long time ago, about loving the Flock enough to return to it and
help it learn?"
"I don't understand how you manage to love a mob of birds that has
just tried to kill you."
"Oh, Fletch, you don't love that! You don't love hatred and evil, of
course. You have to practice and see the real gull, the good in every one
of them, and to help them see it in themselves. That's what I mean by
love. It's fun, when you get the knack of it.
"I remember a fierce young bird for instance, Fletcher Lynd Seagull,
his name. Just been made Outcast, ready to fight the Flock to the death,
getting a start on building his own bitter hell out on the Far Cliffs. And
here he is today building his own heaven instead, and leading the whole
Flock in that direction."
Fletcher turned to his instructor, and there was a moment of fright
in his eye. "Me leading? What do you mean, me leading? You're the
instructor here. You couldn't leave!"
"Couldn't I? Don't you think that there might be other flocks, other
Fletchers, that need an instructor more than this one, that's on its way
toward the light?"
"Me? Jon, I'm just a plain seagull and you're... "
" ...the only Son of the Great Gull, I suppose?" Jonathan sighed and
looked out to sea. "You don't need me any longer. You need to keep finding
yourself, a little more each day, that real, unlimited Fletcher Seagull.
He's your in structor. You need to understand him and to practice him."
A moment later Jonathan's body wavered in the air, shimmering, and
began to go transparent. "Don't let them spread silly rumors about me, or
make me a god. O.K., Fletch? I'm a seagull. I like to fly, maybe..."
"Poor Fletch. Don't believe what your eyes are telling you. All they
show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you
already know, and you'll see the way to fly."
The shimmering stopped. Jonathan Seagull had vanished into empty air.
After a time, Fletcher Gull dragged himself into the sky and faced a
brand-new group of students, eager for their first lesson.
"To begin with " he said heavily, "you've got to understand that a
seagull is an unlimited idea of freedom, an image of the Great Gull, and
your whole body, from wingtip to wingtip, is nothing more than your