Volume 5 Issue 10
May 1999


Climbing the Mountain
Simon Kenton Council

Divide the group into three smaller groups and assign each group one of the words listed below. Read the story. After each of the words is read, pause for the group to make the appropriate response.

BOY I'll get this right!
CHIEF (hits thighs rhythmically)
MOUNTAIN Poof, pooff!

Far away in our dry southwestern country is an Indian village, set in front of a high MOUNTAIN, towering up out of the desert. It is considered a great feat to climb this MOUNTAIN, so that all the BOYS of the village were eager to attempt it. One day the CHIEF said, "Now BOYS, you may all go today and try to climb the MOUNTAIN. Start right after breakfast, and go each of you as far as you can. Then when you are tired, come back; but let each BOY bring a twig from the place where he turned.

Away the BOYS went full of hope, each feeling that he surely could reach the top. But soon a small BOY came back, and in his hand he held a leaf of cactus and gave it to the CHIEF. The CHIEF smiled and said, "My BOY, you did not reach the foot of the MOUNTAIN; you did not even get across the desert," Later a second boy returned. He carried a twig of sagebrush. "Well," said the CHIEF, "You got as far as the MOUNTAIN springs." Another came later with some bucks horn. The CHIEF smiled when he saw it and spoke thus, "You were climbing: you were up to the first slide rock."

Later in the afternoon, one BOY arrived with a cedar spray, and the old CHIEF said, "Well done, you went halfway up." An hour afterward, a BOY came with a switch of pine. To him the CHIEF said, "Good, you went to the third belt, you made three quarters of the climb.

The sun was low when the last BOY returned. He was a tall, splendid BOY of noble character. His hand was empty as he approached the CHIEF but his face was radiant. He said, "My father, there were no trees where I turned back. I saw no twigs, but I saw the shining sea." Now the old CHIEF'S face glowed too as he said aloud and almost sang. "I knew it! When I looked on your face, I knew it. You have been to the top. You need no twigs for token. It is written in your eyes and it rings in your voice. My BOY, you have felt the uplift; you have seen the glory of the MOUNTAIN.

Oh, ye Scouters, keep this in mind, then; the badges we offer for attainment are not prizes. Prizes are things of value taken from another. Scout badges, though are merely tokens of what you have done, or where you have been.. There are mere twigs from the trail to show how far you have gotten in climbing the MOUNTAIN.

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