A Fable for Tomorrow

Gap-fill exercise

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There once a town in the heart of America where all life to live in harmony with its surroundings. The town in the midst of a checkerboard of prosperous farms, with fields of grain and hillsides of orchards where, in spring, white clouds of bloom above the green fields. In autumn, oak and maple and birch up a blaze of colour that and across a backdrop of pines. Then foxes in the hills and deer silently the fields, half hidden in the mists of the autumn mornings.

Along the roads, laurel, viburnum and alder, great ferns and wildflowers the traveller's eye through much of the year. Even in winter the roadsides places of beauty, where countless birds to feed on the berries and on the seed heads of the dried weeds rising above the snow. The Countryside , in fact, famous for the abundance and variety of its bird life, and when the flood of migrants pouring through in spring and autumn people from great distances to observe them. Others to fish the streams, which clear and cold out of the hills and shady pools where trout . So it been from the days many years ago when the first settlers their houses, their wells, and their barns.

Then a strange blight over the area and everything to change. Some evil spell settled on the community: mysterious maladies the flocks of chickens; the cattle and sheep and . Everywhere a shadow of death. The farmers of much illness among their families. In the town the doctors become more and more puzzled by new kinds of sickness appearing among their patients. There been several sudden and unexplained deaths, not only among adults but even among children, who would be stricken suddenly while at play and die within a few hours.

There a strange stillness. The birds, for example - where they gone? Many people of them, puzzled and disturbed. The feeding stations in the backyards deserted. The few birds seen anywhere moribund; they violently and not fly. It a spring without voices. On the mornings that once throbbed with the dawn chorus of robins, catbirds, doves, jays, wrens, and scores of other bird voices there now no sound; only silence over the fields and woods and marsh.

On the farms the hens , but no chicks . The farmers that they unable to raise any pigs the litters small and the young only a few days. The apple trees coming into bloom but no bees among the blossoms, so there no pollination and there be no fruit.
The roadsides, once so attractive, now lined with browned and withered vegetation as though swept by fire. These, too, silent, deserted by all living things. Even the streams now lifeless. Anglers no longer them, for all the fish died.

In the gutters under the eaves and between the shingles of the roofs, a white granular powder still a few patches; some weeks before it fallen like snow upon the roofs and the lawns, the fields and streams.
No witchcraft, no enemy action silenced the rebirth of new life in this stricken world. The people done it themselves.

(From: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson)