The Pride of Gull

Like most children’s fables, this story features a simple sentence structure, but an upper-intermediate word list, perfect for picking up a lot of vocabulary and a couple of tame colloquialisms.
The most difficult paragraph here is probably the fourth, particularly the part: 几句刺耳的话从海岸的岩石那边儿飞过来. We can break this down this way:
几句 – Several sentences [of]
刺耳的话 – Ear-piercing words
从海岸的岩石那边 – From a seashore rock direction (from the direction of a seaside rock)
飞过来 – Flew in (in this case, this is best translated as “drifted over”.)
This tells us that there was more than one speaker, in this case the nest of swifts, who are screeching at Little Gull from nearby.
Interesting Vocabulary
爱美 – ài měi – Set store by appearance
天底下 – tiān dǐ xià – Under the sun
得意 – dé yì – Pleased with oneself
刺耳 – cì ěr – Ear-piercing
七嘴八舌 – qī zuǐ bā shé – Chattering, everyone talking at once
哼 – hēng – Sound for “Hmph!”
海礁 – hǎi jiāo – Reef
大海妈妈 – dà hǎi mā ma – Sea Mother (Mythical)

早晨,小海鸥拍打着翅膀飞到大海上。 大海是小海鸥的镜子,她每天都到这儿来梳洗打扮。
大海妈妈对她说:“劳动,是最高尚的美德,你为什么不和他们一起劳动呢?” 小海鸥点了点头。

Little Gull was very beautiful, and she set great store by her appearance.
In the mornings, Little Gull would flap her wings and fly out onto the ocean. The ocean was her mirror, and she went there every day to wash and make herself up.
Looking into the mirror [lit: opposite the mirror], Little Gull would gaze, and stare, twisting this way and that and combing her feathers. She thought she was the most beautiful girl under the sun.
Just when she was feeling quite proud of herself, she heard some piercing screeches coming from the vicinity of a seaside rock: “Show off! Show off!”, chattered a bunch of nest-making swifts, “You don’t work, no one likes you!”
“Hmph! You’re just jealous of me!” said Little Gull, refusing to accept the truth, and she continuing to turn about in the mirror.
At noon, Little Gull flew out to a reef, and began to peck at some fish she found drying in the sun. Suddenly, a swallow ran up to her and said, “Hey lazybones! Don’t eat that, we [swallows] caught that fish!”
Little swallow sat on the reef and cried, cried from such sadness! The gull she saw in the mirror didn’t look at all beautiful.
The great Sea Mother said to her, “To work is one of the noblest virtues. Why don’t you go work with them?” Little Gull nodded her head.
After that, the ranks of worker seabirds grew by one, and that one was Little Gull.

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