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Class 10 english

two stories about flying
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Q1)Why was the young seagull afraid to fly? Do you think all young birds are afraid to make their first flight, or are some birds more timid than others? Do you think a human baby also finds it a challenge to take its first steps?

The young seagull was afraid to fly as it was his first flight. On seeing the great expanse of sea stretched beneath, he became scared that if he takes off , his wings would give away. All birds are afraid to make their first flight. Some birds just take more time and need to be pushed to overcome their fear.

Q2)“The sight of the food maddened him.” What does this suggest? What compelled the young seagull to finally fly?

The young seagull had not eaten anything since a long time. Hisq hunger was only intensified when he saw his mother tearing a piece of fish just the way he loved to do. This sight absolutely maddened him and he was ready to do anything to satisfy his hunger. It was this irresistible hunger that compelled the young seagull to fly. His mother had flown towards him with a piece of fish but halted almost within reach of his beak. Maddened by hunger, he leapt at the fish completely forgetting his fear of flying.

Q3)“They were beckoning to him, calling shrilly.” Why did the seagull’s father and mother threaten him and cajole him to fly?

In spite of a maddening hunger and seeing his brothers and sisters flying, the young seagull could not gather enough courage to take his first flight. The young seagull’s mother and father threatened to starve him because they wanted to him to overcome his fear of flying.

Q4) Have you ever had a similar experience, where your parents encouraged you to do something that you were too scared to try? Discuss this in pairs or groups.

Yes, I had a similar experience when I first started learning swimming. My parents forced me through different tactics to overcome my fear of water.

Q5) In the case of a bird flying, it seems a natural act, and a foregone conclusion that it should succeed. In the examples you have given in answer to the previous question, was your success guaranteed, or was it important for you to try, regardless of a possibility of failure?

Success in swimming is not guaranteed. However, if I had not given it a few shots I could never know if I could do it or not. It is necessary to at least try irrespective of the fear of failure.

The Black Aeroplane

Thinking about the text

Q1) “I’ll take the risk.” What is the risk? Why does the narrator take it?

The risk was to fly the aeroplane through the black , stormy clouds. The narrator was ready to take the risk as he badly wanted to reach home in time for his big, English breakfast.

Q2) Describe the narrator’s experience as he flew the aeroplane into the storm.

As the narrator flew his aeroplane into the storm, everything went black and it became impossible to see the surroundings. The old aeroplane twisted and jerked in the stormy weather. Soon, the compass too died down. The narrator tried to contact for help through the radio but it too was not functioning. Feeling very hopeless, the narrator was pleasantly surprised to see another aeroplane. It’s pilot waved at him instructing him to follow his directions. Having fuel enough to carry him over for five to ten minutes, the narrator closely followed the other pilot. Soon, he could find his way out of the clouds and spotted a runaway.

Q3) Why does the narrator say, “I landed and was not sorry to walk away from the old Dakota…”?

Initially, the narrator was excited about his flight and about reaching home for breakfast. However, after having a life-threating experience in the black, stormy clouds, he was not at all sorry to leave behind his old Dakota aeroplane.

Q4) What made the woman in the control centre look at the narrator strangely?

When the narrator asked to the woman in the control room about the identity of the other pilot who had saved him, she gave him a strange look. She then told him that his was the only aeroplane visible on the radar.

Q5) Who do you think helped the narrator to reach safely? Discuss this among yourselves and give reasons for your answer.

There might actually have been another pilot, undetected on the radar, who knew his way around and so he guided the narrator out of the storm and himself flew to another safe place. Another possibility is that the narrator might have been hallucinating in panic and it was his subconscious self that helped him to steer his way out of the storm.

I. Study the sentences given below.

Thinking about text

  • (a) They looked like black mountains.
  • (b) Inside the clouds, everything was suddenly black.
  • (c) In the black clouds near me, I saw another aeroplane.
  • (d) The strange black aeroplane was there.

The word ‘black’ in sentences (a) and (c) refers to the very darkest colour. But in (b) and (d) (here) it means without light/with no light. ‘Black’ has a variety of meanings in different contexts. For example:
(a) ‘I prefer black tea’ means ‘I prefer tea without milk’.
(b) ‘With increasing pollution the future of the world is black’
means ‘With increasing pollution the future of the world is very depressing/ without hope’.

Now, try to guess the meanings of the word ‘black’ in the sentences given below. Check the meanings in the dictionary and find out whether you have guessed right.

  • 1. Go and have a bath; your hands and face are absolutely black.
  • 2. The taxi-driver gave Ratan a black look as he crossed the road when the traffic light was green.
  • 3. The bombardment of Hiroshima is one of the blackest crimes against humanity.
  • 4. Very few people enjoy Harold Pinter’s black comedy.
  • 5. Sometimes shopkeepers store essential goods to create false scarcity and then sell these in black.
  • 6. Villagers had beaten the criminal black and blue.


  • 1.Here, ‘black' means being covered with dust and soot.
  • 2.Here, ‘black' means a dirty look.
  • 3.Here, ‘blackest' indicates one of the gravest and darkest crimes/action.
  • 4.‘Black' here refers to a gloomy, depressing comedy movie.
  • 5.‘Black' here means that the criminals were beaten badly and mercilessly.

II. Look at these sentences taken from the lesson you have just read:

(a) I was flying my old Dakota aeroplane.
(b) The young seagull had been afraid to fly with them.
In the first sentence the author was controlling an aircraft in the air. Another example is: Children are flying kites. In the second sentence the seagull was afraid to move through the air, using its wings. Match the phrases given under Column A with their meanings given under Column B:

Column-A Column-B
Fly a flag Display a flag on a long pole
Fly into rage Become suddenly very angry
Fly along Move quickly/suddenly
Fly high Be successful
Fly the coop Escape from a place