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The Seagulls

In the town the people made a living from fishing, mainly catching shell fish, but some ordinary fish too. After the fish had been hauled out and cleaned the seagulls sometimes descended for a feast but they knew to keep their distance from the alert and often short tempered fishermen. But the fisherman sometimes relied on the seagulls to lead them to the fishing grounds. A flock of gulls could often mean a shoal of fish beneath the waters.

The town grew famous for its sea air and delightful harbour and beach. Tourists came and made it wealthier. The fishing declined but still existed. The tourists loved to buy fish and chips and ice creams and over the years the number of outdoor restaurants increased. The friendly tourists wanted the sea gulls to like them. They wanted to be friendly to the world and they dropped chips and bits of food for the seagulls to eat.

The gulls did not change at first. But then the tourist numbers increased so much that one day it was possible to get more food from swooping down on chip wrappers and hapless kids with ice cream cones than from going out to sea to catch fish. On that day the first professional seagull was born, the first modern and well-adapted-to-current-life seagull. 

Very soon everything changed. Seagulls now preyed on the people. Who defended themselves with curses and thrown stones. The tourists still came and some still fed the gulls but that hardly mattered as the gulls now knew how to feed themselves. They grew more aggressive and daring by the month.

How does it end? Some believe the people will simply live indoors, give up their outdoor eating. Others believe in a mass cull of the pesky gulls…meanwhile the fishermen shrug their shoulders and head out to sea, guided by their electronic fishfinders and not their old pals the gulls…

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