The Gull and the Bear


There was once a gull and a bear who fished in the ocean where the tide washed upon a beach. The gull fished for little fish and the bear fished for big fish.

The bear was very large and powerful but was no match for the natural ups and downs of the ocean as it swelled and ebbed from one moment to the next, and always had much difficulty whenever he was in the ocean.

The bear always walked out into the ocean as far as he could manage with his feet still touching the sand beneath the powerful tide. He kept a close eye out always, and when a big fish would swim by, he would duck his head beneath the surface and snatch it from where it swam with his powerful jaws and teeth.

The gull floated upon the waves, and kept a close eye out always, and when a little fish would swim by, he would duck his head beneath the surface and snatch it from where it swam with his sharp little beak.

The great bear had an awful time of it, always. Every time a new swell came, it would wash over the bear and cover him up until his head poked up on the other side, where he choked and coughed on the ocean water until he regained his footing with his clawed feet again on the sandy ocean floor, and just generally had a very hard time of it all.

Meanwhile, the gull always fished in relative peace.

After many days of watching the bear nearly drown every time a new swell raised the waters around him, the gull decided to try to advise the bear.

“Mr. Bear,” said the gull, “why do you have so much trouble in the ocean?”

“Can’t you see, these swells are too much for even an animal as great and powerful as I,” said the saddened and tired bear. “Each swell nearly kills me every time. Each one rips my claws from the sand! It washes over me with a force that is just too great for any strength I can ever summon, and almost does me in every time. I simply cannot overcome it every time!”

“Lift your feet,” said the gull.

“Whatever do you mean?” asked the bear. “Without my grasp on the ground beneath the waves, I will surely die!”

“But the waves lift your feet anyway,” the gull pointed out. “Look at me.”

The bear stood upon the beach and watched the gull during several swells. He observed that the gull sat upon the ocean with his feet tucked up beneath him and, whenever another swell came, the gull would rise and fall with each wave, effortlessly, and without fear or threat from the ever-changing ocean.

“I don’t know if I can do that,” worried the bear, “I simply must try to keep my claws embedded in the sand where it is still and stable.”

“The sand may stay still,” said the gull, “if you can still reach it after all the ocean has to say. Try as you might, but the ocean will have its way with you.”

And the bear tried again. But each time the bear had his head above the water and thought everything would be OK, another swell came and washed over the bear, covered him up for a while and left him coughing and struggling for breath when he eventually came out on the other side.”

“See?” teased the gull, as he delicately rose and fell on the surface of the waves as each swell came, lifted him, and then passed him by.

So, the bear tried. The great bear let go his hold on the sand, lifted his feet up beneath him, and he floated upon the surface of the water. When the next swell came, instead of washing over the bear, he rose up, bobbed up upon the wave and was safe.

When the next swell came, he rose up upon it, and then sunk down again to the peaceful side behind it with hardly a worry, and for a while, fished in peace as he was not tired, and struggled not.

And, from then on, the great and powerful bear and the tiny but very-wise gull fished beside each other in peace, and rose and fell upon the surface of the ocean without worry.

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