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The Tame Sea-gull

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Many years ago a gentleman had accidentally caught a sea-gull, whose wings
he cut, and put it into his garden. The bird remained in that situation
for several years, and being kindly treated, became so familiar as to come
at call to be fed at the kitchen door. It was known by the name of Willie.
This bird became at last so tame that no pains were taken to preserve it,
and its wings having grown to full length it flew away, joined the other
gulls on the beach, and came back, from time to time, to pay a visit to
the house. When its companions left the country at the usual season,
Willie accompanied them, much to the regret of the family. To their great
joy, however, it returned next season; and with its usual familiarity came
to its old haunt, where it was welcomed and fed very liberally. In this
way it went and returned for forty years, without intermission, and kept
up its acquaintance in the most cordial manner; for while in the country
it visited them almost daily, answered to its name like any domestic
animal, and ate almost out of the hand. One year, however, very near the
period of its final disappearance, Willie did not pay his respects to the
family for eight or ten days after the general flock of gulls were upon
the coast, and great was the lamentation for his loss, as it was feared he
was dead; but to the surprise and joy of the family, a servant one morning
came running into the breakfast-room in ecstasy, announcing that Willie
had returned. The whole company rose from the table to welcome Willie.
Food was soon supplied in abundance, and Willie with his usual frankness
ate of it heartily, and was as tame as any barn-yard fowl about the house.
In a year or two afterwards this grateful bird discontinued his visits for
ever.





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