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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "Climbing the Mountain"

Climbing the Mountain

"Well done, my boy," said the Chief. "You made it half way up! You have seen the heart of the mountain. Very good job."

An hour after that, one came with a branch of Ponderosa Pine, and to him the Chief said, "Good job. You went to the third life zone. It looks like you made it three quarters of the way. I bet if you keep trying, next year you will undoubtedly reach the top!"

The sun was low, and even the Chief was starting to worry a bit. There were many pitfalls on that mountain to overcome, and the last of his boys was still outside of camp. Could a Grizzly Bear have ambushed him? Or maybe he fell off a tall rock facing somewhere, never to be heard from again ? Maybe he had lost his way, or ran out of water.

As it happened, just when the Chief was to send out a search party to look for the boy, he was at last returned. He was a tall, splendid boy of noble character, everyone already knew he was marked to be successful in life. He approached the Chief and held out his hand. It was empty, but his face was glowing with happiness when the boy said, "My Chief, there were no trees where I came from. I saw no twigs, no living thing up on that peak. And far away I could see the glorious sight of the sun shining off the sea."

Now the old man's face started to glow too! He turned around, and said aloud with an almost musical tone in his voice, "I knew it! I just knew it when I looked upon your face. You have been all the way to the top! It was written in your eyes! It rings in your voice! And it is alive in the way you carry your body! My boy, you need no twigs for token. You have felt the uplift in your spirit because you have seen the glory of the mountain!"

Dearest Scouts, keep this in mind, that the badges that are offered you for your achievements, are not "prizes" to be "won". For prizes are things of value, taken by force or contest from their rightful owners. These badges, are then, just tokens, of what you have done, and where you have been. Remember this that as fun as these badges are to earn, they are just twigs collected from the trail, to show how far you got, during your climb to manhood.

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