Young Knights of the Empire

by Sir Robert Baden-Powell


Law 4. A SCOUT IS A FRIEND TO ALL and a Brother to every other Scout, no matter to what social class the other belongs.

_If a Scout meets another Scout, even though a stranger to him, he must speak to him and help him in any way that he can, either to carry out the duty he is then doing, or by giving him food, or, so far as possible, anything that he may be in want of.

A Scout must never be a snob.

A snob is one who looks down upon another because he's poorer, or who is poor and resents another because he is rich. A Scout accepts the other man as he finds him and makes the best of him--

"Kim," the boy scout, was called by the Indians "Little friend of all the world," and that is the name which every Scout should earn for himself._

The Arabs of the desert are some of the finest Scouts in the world, not only because they are brave and manly fellows who can shift for themselves, but also because they are gentlemen at heart, kind to strangers, and men of honour.

When you come to an Arab encampment, he does not ask whether you are rich or lowly born. Once you are within the neighbourhood of his tent, he expects you to be his guest, and while you are with him he will do everything that he can to protect you from your enemies.

These kindly people, who always live in tents, have a habit of using very long tent ropes for the support of their tents, and these stretch out some distance on to the plain around their encampment.

This is done in order that any stranger passing near will find himself within the Arab's tent ropes--which means that he must come and be his guest. He expects you to stay with him for about five days, during which time he feeds you, houses you, and protects you, and he expects no kind of payment when you depart.

One of his first acts when you come into his camp is to offer you water. This is partly in order that you may refresh yourself, but it is also a secret sign meaning that he will not betray you.

It is considered bad form to decline hospitality offered in this way, and even if you are in a hurry you must suppress your own desire to get forward in order to be courteous to the man who wishes to be your host.

The Arabs have a saying, "None but the base and ungrateful refuse generosity"; but this does not mean that he will take a reward for being kind to you. To offer a tip is to insult him, and I hope that Boy Scouts will take it in the same light.

If you pitch your tent near that of an Arab, and become good friends with him, he will alter his tent-pegs so that they come within the line of your own and the tent ropes cross each other.

This again is a secret sign which means that he and those who live in his tent are for ever friends of you and any who are living with you.

Arabs are honourable fellows, and may be trusted to stick to such understanding.

One point in which an Arab shows himself more of a gentleman than, say, the Germans in South-west Africa, is that he will never poison wells, even though he knows his enemy may use them.

True comradeship does not take any account of what the other fellow's position in life may be.

I remember that when I took a troop of Boy Scouts to Canada, they all worked in pairs during the whole of the trip, and one of these pairs consisted of two boys who were respectively the son of an Earl and the son of a sergeant in an infantry regiment. Yet, although they had been brought up on totally different lines, they were boys, they were Scouts, they were not snobs, and they were the best of pals.

And we see very much the same thing at the Front to-day, where, in the ranks of every battalion, are to be found men of every class and standing--

"Cook's son, duke's son, son of a belted earl!"

And so, too, between officers and men there is a splendid feeling of comradeship, each working for the other so far as he possibly can. And that is a result that the Germans cannot possibly arrive at, for the one reason that they are not gentlemen.

I hope to see this spirit kept up and strengthened by the Scouts, and especially that rule which makes a Scout a friend to every other Scout, no matter what his class, creed, or country may be. I am certain that if this rule is carried out in full it will be a very great help after the war towards bringing real peace between the different nations, since the Boy Scouts in each will be true friends and comrades to those in the others.

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A Scout ought to know a little about most injuries and diseases, and to be able to treat them. In uncivilised countries the natives all look on a white man as a born doctor, and they bring you cases of every kind to deal with.

When I was in Kashmir, a lad was brought to me who had just fallen down a steep bank. He was in great pain, and his friends and relatives were already considering him as good as dead. On examination, I found no bones broken, but his right shoulder out of joint at the socket. So I told them to lay him flat on his back, and I began to take off my right shoe, or rather the grass sandal that I was wearing.

Some of the bystanders, seeing me do this, said: "Oh! he is going to pray," and immediately began unfastening my other sandal for me.

You see, these people take off their shoes when they go into church or to pray, just as we take off our hats. But I wasn't going to pray, and only took my right sandal off.

Then I sat down alongside the patient, facing towards his head, my right leg against his right side, so that my heel came into the armpit of the injured shoulder, I got one of his friends to sit on the other side of him to hold him down; then catching tight hold of his wrist with both hands, I gave a long, steady, strong pull at his arm, using my heel as a lever, till the shoulder suddenly clicked into its place again. Such a nice feeling to me, just as if I had hooked a salmon!

Then he fainted.

His mother howled? and said I had made a nice mess of the job, and had killed him. But I grinned and put on my sandal, and told her that was all part of the show, and that I would now bring him to life quite sound and well, which I proceeded to do by sprinkling a little water over his face. He gradually came to his senses, and then found that his arm was practically all right.

His own astonishment and theirs was very great, and within half an hour my tent was full of fruit and chickens and eggs as thank-offerings.

But during the next three days all the sick, the maimed, and the blind were brought in from the country round for me to cure. You never saw such a lot. Men, women, and children with every conceivable ailment, including bad eyes, which I treated by bathing with warm weak tea. One poor chap had had half his face bitten off by a bear, losing his eye and the whole of his cheek, so that all his teeth were showing in a horrible grin--the more horrible because the wound had never been properly dressed.

Then one enormously fat man asked me to do something for him. Now, what would you have done in such a case? I only had some lead lotion, some disinfectant, and a few mustard poultice leaves. So I gave him one of these mustard leaves, and told him if that wouldn't cure him I didn't know what would, and in saying that I was speaking the exact truth. I told him to wet it and put it on his "chest" when he went to bed.

Next day he came with tears of gratitude and said I had done more for him in one night than all the doctors had done for him in years. He felt that he was already growing thinner.

I moved my camp twenty miles off that day, as I thought it better to get away while I had such a good reputation, and, besides, they were beginning to bring in patients from all over the district, and I had nothing to cure them with.

But that is the kind of thing you may expect when you are travelling, and you should learn while you can how to deal with the usual ailments, so that you can be of some help to the poor creatures when you come across them.

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All the nations of the world have customs of their own, which bear a curious resemblance to each other. For instance, when a Zulu has to undertake the dangerous job of crawling up to a lion, he likes to dress himself in his war-paint before beginning.

That same sort of idea is to be found in other parts of the world. Even in our own country, not one hundred years ago, our sailors, before going into action with an enemy, always liked to wash and shave themselves, tie their pigtails nattily, and put on their best neckerchiefs. And even now in Canada the Cree Indians, when they are hunting a bear, put on their best clothes and decorate themselves before tackling the danger.

[Illustration: THE "SWASTIKA."]

So you see we are all alike in some ways in different parts of the world. If you sneeze in Scotland people say: "God bless you." If you sneeze in Masailand (British East-Africa) a native will say: "Good health to you!"

There are hundreds of these little customs which are used by people in different corners of the earth who have never had anything to do with each other.

But perhaps the most wonderful of all is the sign of the "Swastika," which we Scouts use as our "Badge of Brotherhood."

Nobody knows the exact history of where it came from, or what it means; but it is found in almost every part of the world, and is very, very old.

Rudyard Kipling believes it was made by a man in ancient days, who put two twigs crossed on the ground and trod them down into the mud so as to leave a mark to act as a guide to others, like a Scout's ground-mark.

But another story is this:

Where the Atlantic Ocean now is, people in old days believed that there was a great land called Atlantis, which has since sunk under the sea.

This land was watered by four great rivers, which ran across the whole in different directions--north, south, east, and west. This cross is meant for the four rivers, and is the crest of the Continent of Atlantis.

But whatever the meaning of it was, the Swastika Cross is found in all parts of the world as an ancient mark.

Thus, in Norway it appears on the sword-scabbard of the ancient Norsemen as a sign to bring good luck; also in Iceland, Germany, and France on old pottery.

In the south it is found in West Africa, in Greece, and Egypt.

In the west it is found in America, in Arizona, and Mexico, and South America.

And in the east in India, Tibet, Japan, China, and Persia.

Thus, it stands for Europe, Asia, Africa, and America--all the world; and it is, in each of them, considered to be a sign of friendliness and good wishes.

That is how we come to use it in the Scouts, whose business is to do good turns and to help other people wherever we may be.

When, therefore, we want to show particular goodwill to anyone, especially those who have done us a good turn, we give to them a "Swastika," or "Badge of Brotherhood," to wear. This makes them members of the brotherhood of Scouts, although they are not actual Scouts themselves; and when they show their badge to a Scout he will do all he can to help them in whatever part of the world they may be.

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I expect most Scouts have found, like I have done, that wherever you go in the streets, or in a strange town, or far out in the country, you come across a boy wearing a buttonhole badge. As you get nearer you see that it is the well-known three-pointed badge of the Scouts.

You make the salute sign, shake hands with left hands, and there you are, in company with a friend and brother, who a minute before was a total stranger to you.

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Our World-roving Commissioner--for we have one who travels about to all countries now--was once in Chile, which, as you know, is a long, narrow strip of country in South America, three thousand miles long, and not one hundred miles wide, packed in between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

The Boy Scouts of Chile are among the best in the world. They have done a lot of tramping-camps and other expeditions. Finally, their Government arranged a cruise for them on board a man-of-war, and they lived for over a week on the ship, about two hundred of them, learning swimming, boating, navigation, engine-room work; in fact, all the duties of Sea Scouts.

These boys all had to pay their messing and other expenses, so it was only the richer ones that were able to go; but since then they have arranged to go another cruise, and each of the richer ones is going to take a poorer Scout with him as his guest, and will pay his expenses for him.

That's what I like to see, and it tells me more than any other reports that the Chilian Scouts have got the right spirit in them.

A lad from Brixham, in Devonshire, went out to take up some work in Chile. He was a Boy Scout, and continued while away to wear his buttonhole badge. One day, when he was out in the back parts of that out-of-the-way country, a Chilian boy came up to him, gave the Scout salute, and pointing to his badge, said:

"You Boy Scout? Me Scout too!" and he took him home to tea, and looked after him, and thus they became good friends.

So you see the use of being a Scout and of wearing your badge.

Even in everyday life at home it is also a good thing to do, because you may often have a chance of doing a good turn to a stranger Boy Scout if he could only recognise that you were a scout.

I suppose there is not a day passes without my coming across a Scout, in plain clothes, wearing his buttonhole badge and so I am able to spot him and to have a chat with him. Whereas, if he had not had his badge on, I should probably never have noticed him.

Also, it is a sign to outsiders. People have got to know now how useful the Scouts are, and they are often anxious to get hold of one to help them in some difficulty. Well, if they see a boy coming along with the badge on, they know that he is a Scout, though not in uniform, and they are able to ask him to do them the good turn.

So wear your buttonhole badge for the sake of other people.

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