Skip to main content

The Parable of the Seagull or Why Honest Works

I am a parent, futurist, and technologist. My career has spanned the birth of personal computers to the rise of cloud computing.

The pang of hunger made the bird scan the ground


The Parable of the Seagull

The Seagull, flying around in the sky, looked down upon the beach. It did not see people or embarrass. It did not see children playing in the surf. It saw a hotdog. A half-eaten hotdog seen from around a mile away. One hotdog, but that was enough for the Seagull to stop and turn to fly towards the hotdog. Its needs drove the Seagull.

Banking into its turn, the Seagull began flying slower, dropping 100, 200, and then finally 300 feet so that in its first pass, it was 10 feet over the head of the person holding the hotdog. Oh yes, the hot dog was still there. The Seagull could see the yellow mustard. The Seagull could see the green and red of the delightful pickle relish glistening in the sun. The Seagull could smell the relish. The Seagull could smell the bun. The Seagull could taste the hotdog and mustard. The Seagull banked again and slowing once more dropped to the level of the hotdog.

Picking up speed, the Seagull came within a foot of the hotdog when its forward progress stopped. A single hand had grabbed the Seagull.

"What is it you want," a voice said to the Seagull.

"I was simply flying by as I am wont to do," the Seagull said. The Seagull was embarrassed. In all of the Seagulls years of thieving food, of stealing and dashing madly off this time, it was caught. Stopped and prevented from taking the food it wished. Oh, there had close times. There had times that were almost but never had a human caught the Seagull. Not only caught but speaking to the gull.

"why then, "the voice asked, "did you fly straight towards my hotdog?" The voice responded. With that, the hotdog moved to the mouth and was gone. The Seagull slumped, held by a hand unable to wriggle free as lunch disappeared.

"I sincerely did not know," the Seagull said.

"Hiding deeds of ill-repute behind sincerely are you?" the voice asked.

The Seagull stopped. The voice, connected to the hand, was not an average person. A bumbling beachgoer. A distracted parent, one eye on the children in the water one eye on the sand in front of them. The voice, the hand all belonging to one that saw beyond. To one that understood, there was more than simply what was in front of them.

What would you say facing possible death?


What would you do when guile is seen for being fake?

What could the Seagull do? There would be no lies to get out of this. There would be no hiding the deed beyond the word sincerely, or sincerity. Those were buffer words, and this creature that had the Seagull knew the keys.

"yes," The Seagull answered. "I used sincerity to hide behind. It was never my intent to be truthful; I wished to steal your hotdog." The Seagull found no solace in sharing the truth. It realized that its life hung now in the balance. That at any moment, the other hand could come crashing down and kill the Seagull.

"did you succeed on your quest, my bird friend?" the voice asked.

"As you know, I failed," the Seagull replied. "I used guile instead of truth. I hid behind the words of obscurity. I preferred the lie to reality." The Seagull hung its head, preparing for its doom.

"Did you fail?" the voice asked.

The Seagull was unsure how to proceed. Honesty had spared its life, but guile had created the problem. What was the right course of action? What should the Seagull do next?

"I know you are thinking," the voice said, speaking softly. "I know that you are afraid. You have used guile to get your way for so long, you have forgotten the simplest rule of life. Ask nicely. Be kind." The voice stopped.

Scroll to Continue

The Seagull paused was this true? The words rang in the Seagull's head for a time. Was it true? Could you be nice and ask? Could you say what you meant without guile? Could you?

"Would you let me go?" The Seagull asked.

The hand released. The Seagull gathered itself to spring into the air.

"Wait," the voice said, "was there not more you wanted?" the voice asked.

The Seagull paused again; this was a trap it had to be. Was this the time to fly rapidly away as the Seagull had always done.

Or was it time to do things a different way. The Seagull considered and thought for a moment. I have always swooped in, stolen, or fouled and left quickly. What if I did things another way? Would that work.

The Seagull looked up to the gentle face of the human above. The Seagull felt a strange thing a connection to something it did not understand.

"May I have a hot dog?" The Seagull stammered.

"of course," the voice said, producing a hotdog for the Seagull.

Once consumed, the Seagull prepared to fly away, but before it did, it looked again on the face.

"I am sorry for the guile. I am sorry for attempting to steal your food. I am sorry I was not honest." The Seagull said.

"All is forgiven." The voice said.

The Seagull flew away, full and happy. I knew that it was ok, to be honest. That is saying sincerity and using guile were not the answer.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 DocAndersen


DocAndersen (author) from US on August 04, 2020:

Thank you so much!!!! you made my day!!!

RoadMonkey on August 03, 2020:

What a great story, really original and good reading.

Related Articles