Zorba's Three Promises

New Crown English Series

A gull landed next to Zorba.
"Help me," the gull cried. "I'm covered with oil. I'm dying."
"What can I do?"
"Soon I'll lay an egg. Promise me three things. Please don't eat it."
"OK," Zorba said. "I won't."
"Please take care of the egg."
"OK. I will."
"And please teach flying to my baby."
"Me?"
"Yes, you."
"Ok. I'll try."
"Thank you," the gull said.
She soon died. Under her body was an egg.

Taking care of the egg was difficult. Zorba warmed it. Day and night he held it. Early one morning he woke up. A small white head looked at him. "Mommy." "I'm not your mommy. But you're lucky. That's your name. Lucky." Zorba and his friends took care of Lucky. Rats and strange cats attacked her. But Zorba and his friends protected her.
In time, Lucky became a beautiful gull.

"Lucky," Zorba said. "Now it's time to fly."
"Why do I have to fly? Cats don't fly," Lucky said.
"You're wrong. You're not a cat. You're a gull."
"Me? A gull?"
"Yes. You are a gull. I am a cat. Cats do cat things. Gulls do gull things. Each is good. Each is different. We must respect differences."
"So I must fly," Lucky said.
"Yes. Gulls fly."
"I can't fly without your help. Will you teach me?"
"Of course. I promise you now. And I promised your mother."

Lucky's flying lessons started. She tried to fly many times, but always failed. One rainy night Zorba and Lucky went to a tall tower.
"Lucky, all the sky is yours. Open your wings and fly."
"I can't," she cried.
"Yes, you can. You can if you want."
Lucky stepped into the air. At first she fell. Then she caught the wind and started to fly.
"Zorba, you're right. I love you," Lucky said and flew away.
"I love you too," Zorba said to the empty sky.

New Crown English Series (Heisei 24) pg. 108-111

The title changed to Zorba's Promise.

Suddenly, a gull landed next to Zorba. "Help me," the gull cried. "I'm dying. I'm covered with oil."
"What can I do?"

"Soon I'll lay an egg. Promise me this. Please take care of my egg and teach flying to my baby."
"Me?"
"Yes, you."
"OK. I'll try."
"Thank you," the gull said.

She soon died. Under her body Zorba found an egg.


Taking care of the egg was difficult. But Zorba never gave up.
One morning he opened his eyes. A small white head looked back at him. "Mommy."
"I'm not your mommy. But you're lucky. So that's your name. Lucky."

Zorba and his friends took care of Lucky. Rats and strange cats attacked her. But Zorba and his friends protected her.
In time, Lucky became a beautiful gull.


"Lucky," Zorba said. "Now it's time to fly."
"Why do I have to fly? Cats don't fly," Lucky said.
"Well, you're not a cat. You're a gull."
"Me? A gull?"
"Yes. You are a gull. I am a cat. Cats do cat things. Gulls do gull things. Each is different. Each is good. We must respect differences."
"So I must fly," Lucky said.
"Yes. Gulls fly."
"I can't fly without your help. Will you teach me?"
"Of course. I promised your mother. And now I promise you."


Lucky's flying lessons started. She tried to fly many times, but always failed. One rainy night, Zorba and Lucky went to a tower.
"Lucky, all the sky is yours. Open your wings and fly."
"I can't," she cried.
"Yes, you can. You can if you want."
Lucky stepped into the air. At first she fell. Then her wings caught the wind and she started to fly.
"Zorba, you're right. I can!" Lucky said and flew away.
"Yes. You can," Zorba said to the empty sky.

New Crown English Series 3 (2021) pg. 64-67

Zorba was relaxing on a balcony near the port. Suddenly, a gull landed near him.
"Help me," the gull cried. "I'm covered with oil. I'll soon be dead."
"What can I do?" asked Zorba.

"I've just laid an egg. Please promise to take care of it, feed my child, and teach it how to fly. Will you?"
"Me?"
"Yes, you," said the gull.
"I promise."
"Thank you," the gull said. She soon died. Under her body, Zorba found the egg.


Every night Zorba kept the egg warm. This was difficult, but he never gave up.
One morning Zorba opened his eyes. A small white head was looking in his direction.
"Mom."
"I'm not your mom. But you're lucky. So that's your name. Lucky."

Zorba took care of Lucky. When dirty, fat rats and mean cats attacked her, Zorba protected her.
In time, Lucky became a beautiful gull.


"Lucky," Zorba said. "Now it's time to fly."
"Why do I have to fly? Lucky said.
"You're a gull."
"Me? A gull?"
"Yes. You're a gull. I'm a cat. Each is different. Each is good. I love and respect you even though we're different."
"So I must fly?" Lucky asked.
"That's correct. Cats do cat things. Gulls do gull things. Gulls fly."
"I can't fly without your help. Will you teach me?"
"Of course. I promised your mother. And now I promise you."


Lucky's flying lessons started. She tried to fly many times, but she always failed. One rainy night, Zorba and Lucky went to a tower.
"Lucky, all the sky is yours. Open your wings and fly."
"I can't," she cried and pulled away from the edge.
"Yes, you can. You can if you really want."
Lucky got back into position and stepped into the air. She fell a little at first. Moments later she gained control. Her wings caught the wind and she started to fly.
"Zorba, you're right. I can fly!" Lucky said and flew away.
"Yes. You can," Zorba said to the wide, empty sky.

See also