A Burning Word

Here is a message from Baden Powell from the Chief Scout yarns… from 1919 to today.. timeless message.

April 05, 1919

There was a man named Garnier who wanted to know whether monkeys talked to each other with any meaning when they chatter. So he went and lived in the jungle for a time and took a gramophone with him.
This was a recording one which took down what the monkeys said. He discovered in this way that they used a number of sounds which meant something to them, and there was one word in particular which had a tremendous effect on them.
He learnt it himself, and when he mentioned it in the monkey-house at the Zoo it had just the same effect that it had amongst the wild monkeys in the jungle. The animals went nearly mad with rage.
Well, there is one word in our language which also, in a similar way, has a very strong effect on anyone who is a gentleman and a man of honour. It is the word “liar.”
In the old days if you called a man a liar he would challenge you to a duel with swords or pistols, and would try to kill you for the insult.

Nowadays duels are forbidden, but still the word rankles just as strongly, and a fellow who cares about his honour, if accused of lying, will knock the man down who says it or will ask him to step outside and have the matter out with fists.
A Scout, if he is a Scout and keeps his Promise, is a gentleman; that is, he is chivalrous and helpful to others, and is also a man of honour who can be trusted. So a Scout could not stand being called a liar without putting a stopper upon the man who said it. This alone is a reason why he needs to know how to box, otherwise he has to take the insult “lying down.”
I don’t mean that he is therefore to attack or bully people whenever he gets a chance, but it will make other fellows very careful about calling him a liar when they know that to the Scout this is an insult which is likely to bring a thrashing in its train.
Don’t forget either that just as it is not a word that a Scout likes to hear, so also it is not a word that he should ever use against another fellow without very good cause.
I remember when I first joined the Army an old officer gave me this advice: “Never mention the word lie nor call a man a liar, and never let a man call you one-it is a word or burning disgrace.”


Have a Great Scouting Day!


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