It’s the story of a passionate young gull who rejects the notion that at the end of the day, flying is merely a means to get food. Instead, he believes the craft is an end in itself which should be perfected — and the hell with food.
Predictably, a time comes when his mother observes he’s become just a bag of “bones and feathers”. That doesn’t stop him, however, from making increasingly dangerous forays all day in the sky and over water attempting stunts that only other good flyers like eagles and albatrosses are meant to do and dare to pull off. But sure enough, soon he’s doing the same, too. For various reasons thereafter including, mainly, his failure to conform to the rules of the flock, he gets banished.
In exile, he continues honing his aerial skills until the day comes when he meets up with two highly evolved seagulls who explain to him that though he’s learned much, they are there now to teach him more and, ultimately, with them he transcends into a society where all the gulls enjoy flying.
Nevertheless, that’s not the end of the story because along the way, he also learns that it’s not about flying but forgiving and that he must now go back and become a teacher to the same flock that had cast him out. The idea that the strong can achieve more by leaving the weak behind is totally rejected. Because in real life, the survival of the fittest also depends on the weakest.
One of the most profound and beautiful books that I have read, so many times.