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BSA Congressional Charter
Scouting in 1938
by Ernest Thompson Seton
The Woodcraft Laws
The following short form is that usually given by the Chief in his brief explanation of
the Fourfold Fire
The four Lamps lighted from the Great Central Fire are Beauty, Truth, Fortitude and Love.
From each of these Lamps issue three rays:
|Be brave, be silent and obey, |
be strong, protect wild life always;|
|Speak true, be reverent, play fair when you strive,|
|Be kind, be helpful, glad you are alive.|
The following slightly longer form is that usually used when one member other than the
Chief lights the four Lamps and recites the Laws
|This is the Lamp of Beauty:|
1. Be clean; both yourself and the place you live in.
2. Understand and respect your body. It is the Temple of the Spirit.
3. Be the friend of all harmless wild life. Conserve the woods and flowers, and
especially be ready to fight wild-fire in forest or in town.
|This is the Lamp of Truth:|
4. Word of honor is sacred.
5. Play fair; foul play is treachery.
6. Be reverent. Worship the Great Spirit and respect all worship of Him by others.
|This is the Lamp of Fortitude:|
7. Be brave. Courage is the noblest of all attainments.
8. Be silent while your elders are speaking and otherwise show them deference.
9. Obey. Obedience is the first duty of the Woodcrafter.
|This is the Lamp of Love:|
10. Be kind. Do at least one act of unbargaining service each day.
11. Be helpful. Do your share of the work.
12. Be joyful. Seek the joy of being alive.
In the case of Grand Council, the long, titanic form as follows, may be used:
|This is the Lamp of Beauty. From it are these three rays:|
1. Be clean, both yourself and the place you live in. For there is no perfect beauty
without cleanliness of body, soul and estate. The body is the sacred temple of the spirit,
therefore reverence your body. Cleanliness helps first yourself, then those around, and
those who keep this law are truly in their country's loving service.
2. Be strong. Understand and respect your body. It is the temple of the spirit, and
without health can neither strength nor beauty be.
3. Protect all harmless wild life for the joy its beauty gives. Conserve the woods and
flowers, and especially be ready to fight wild-fire in forest or in town.
|This is the Lamp of Truth. From it are these three rays:|
4. Hold your word of honor sacred. This is the law of truth, and any one not bound by
this cannot be bound, and truth is wisdom.
5. Play fair, for fair play is truth and foul play is treachery.
6. Be reverent. Worship the Great Spirit, and respect all worship of Him by others, for
none have all the truth and all who reverently worship have claims on our respect.
|This is the Lamp of Fortitude. From it are these three rays:|
7. Be brave. Courage is the noblest of all attainments. Fear is in the foundation of
all ill; unflinchingness is strength.
8. Be silent while your elders are speaking and otherwise show them deference. It is
harder to keep silence than to speak in the hour of trial, but in the end it is stronger.
9. Obey. Obedience is the first duty of the Woodcrafter. Obedience means self-control,
which is the sum of the law.
| This is the blazing Lamp of Love. From it are these are three rays|
10. Be kind. Do at least one act of unbargaining service each day, even as ye would
enlarge the crevice whence a spring runs forth to make its blessings more.
11. Be helpful. Do your share of the work for the glory that the service
brings, for the strength one gets in serving.
12. Be joyful. Seek the joy of being alive -- for every reasonable gladness that you
can get or give, is treasure that can never be destroyed, and, like the springtime
gladness, doubles, every time with others it is shared.
The Birch Bark Roll