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How to Grow Strong

A Scout lay sick in hospital in India with that dangerous disease called cholera. The doctor told the servant attending him that the only chance of saving his life was to warm up his feet and keep the blood moving in his body by constantly rubbing him.

The moment the doctor's back was turned, the servant gave up rubbing and squatted down to have a quiet smoke.

The poor patient, though he could not speak, understood all that was going on, and he was so enraged at the conduct of the attendant that he resolved then and there that he would get well if only to give the servant a lesson. Having made up his mind to get well he got well.

A Scout saying is "Never say die till you're dead"-and if he acts up to this, it will pull him out of many a bad place when everything seems to be going wrong for him. It means a mixture of pluck, patience, and strength, which we call "endurance".

A Sample of Endurance

The great South African hunter and scout, F. C. Selous, gave a good example of scouts' endurance on a hunting expedition in

Barotseland, north of the Zambesi River, some years ago. In the middle of the night his camp was suddenly attacked by a hostile tribe, that fired into it at close range and charged in.

He and his small party scattered at once into the darkness and hid themselves away in the long grass. Selous himself had snatched up his rifle and a few cartridges and got safely into the grass. But he could not find any of his men, and, seeing that the enemy had taken possession of his camp, and that there were still a few hours of darkness before him in which to make his escape, he started off southward, using the stars of the Southern Cross as his guide.

He crept past an outpost of the enemy whom he overheard talking, then swam across a river and finally got well away, only dressed in a shirt, shorts, and shoes. For the next few days and nights he kept walking southward, frequently hiding to avoid the enemy. He shot deer for food.

But one night, going into what he thought was a friendly village, he had his rifle stolen from him, and was again a fugitive, without any means of protecting himself or of getting food. However, he was not one to give in while there was a change of life left, and he pushed on and on till at length he reached a place where he met some of his men who had also escaped. After further tramping they got safely back into friendly country.

But what a terrible time they must have had!

Three weeks had passed since the attack, and the great part of that time Selous had been alone-hunted, starving, bitterly cold at night, and in sweltering heat by day.

None but a scout with extraordinary endurance could have lived through it, but then Selous was a man who as a lad had made himself strong by care and exercise. And he kept up his pluck all the time.

It shows you that if you want to get through such adventures safely when you are a man and not be a "slopper," you must train yourself to be strong, healthy, and active as a lad.

The Wrong Way to Endurance

A man told me recently with great pride that he was teaching his son endurance by making him do long marches and bicycle runs. I told the man that he was likely to do just the opposite for his boy -that the way for a lad to gain endurance was not by trying to perform feats, as these would very probably injure his heart and break him down, but by making himself strong and healthy, by good feeding and moderate exercise, so that when he became a man and his muscles were all "set" he could then go through hardships and strains where another weaker man would fail.


Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

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