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How The Cub Scout Program Started



Back in England, Boy Scout troops were being bombarded by younger boys who were eager to become Boy Scouts. In 1914, Baden-Powell began experimenting with a program for younger boys, based on Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book. In this story you will meet a little East Indian boy named Mowgli. While Shere Khan-the tiger was terrifying his village, Mowgli wandered away from his home and was saved by a family of wolves. Mowgli, the name the wolves gave him, means "little frog", for the boy's skin was smooth and hairless. To keep this man-cub, mother and father wolf had to get the approval of the wolf pack, and Akela, the leader of the pack. In addition, two others had to speak for Mowgli. The first to speak was Baloo, the serious old bear who taught the young wolves the law of the pack, and the second was Bagheera, the black panther who taught the skills of the pack. With their good works. Mowgli was accepted over the angry snarls of Shere Khan.

As Mowgli grew older, Baloo taught him the law of the pack and the secret master words that enabled him to talk to the other creatures of the jungle; all except the Bandar-log, the monkey people who did not observe the law of the pack. They were going to make their own law, but they would forget what it was they were doing and never did. So, the other creatures of the jungle paid no attention to them.

One day while Mowgli was sleeping, the Bandar-log swept down from their tree tops and carried him away to a deserted village where none of the jungle creatures lived except the cobras. While he was being carried aloft a hawk swooped down low enough for Mowgli to give the master word and ask for help. The hawk flew back to Baloo and Bagheera who raced to Kaa, the 30 foot python and dreaded enemy of the Bandar-log. Kaa was as much at home in the tree tops as the monkey people and often would be mistaken for a limb or branch by an unlucky monkey.

These three, the python, the panther, and the bear closed in on the village at nightfall. Bagheera and Baloo moved in first. Now, the Bandar-log are not brave, but fight only when the odds are 100 to one in their favor. Swarms of the monkey people jumped biting and scratching on the backs of Bagheera and Baloo. Meanwhile, Mowgli was carried away and dropped through the roof of an enclosure that had no escape and only cobras for company.

Then Kaa appeared. The Bandar-log froze in terror. Bagheera and Baloo shook themselves free of the monkey people. Kaa slithered toward the ancient building that held Mowgli prisoner, and using his head as a battering ram, knocked a hole in the lattice work large enough for Mowgli to climb through and join Baloo and Bagheera.

In the dim moonlight, Kaa began his hunger dance, fascinating all who watched, the Bandar-log, Baloo, and Bagheera. Mowgli shook his friends who were falling under the spell of Kaa and, just in time, the three made their escape back to their own part of the jungle.

Today, each young boy is like Mowgli. He needs a leader and a friend who can help him learn those things that will protect him. Parents and leaders are the Akelas, Bagheeras, and Baloos. Everywhere today's youth turns there are the monkey people who would lure him into trouble, urging him or daring him to join them. Our Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts must be armed against this danger, for when they join the Bandar-log they are swallowed by the python Kaa whose real name is laziness, boredom, and drugs.


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