Chief's Message




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Title Page
Child Spirit of Woodcraft
Woodcraft Way
Woodcraft History
The Woodcraft Idea
Chief's Message
Twelve Secrets
Woodcraft Aims
Seven Secrets
Things to Know and Do

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by Ernest Thompson Seton

A Message From the Chief

There is a winding deer trail by a stream in the pine woods, and the glint of a larger breadth of water through the alders, with stars in the grass, a high shady rock for the nooning, and a bell-bird softly chiming.

I have always found it very, very pleasant to go there whenever my life would permit. But for long the entrance was hidden from me, and I never should have seen it had I not found a Guide. I was struggling and heart hungry, worn out and lost, hoping to find the way and fearing I never should, when one day a wonderful creature appeared to me. She was very old, I know, but She seemed very young, fresh and athletic, and She had a kind look in her eyes. She said, "Ho, Wayseeker, I have seen your struggle to find the pathway, and I know you will love the things you will see there. Therefore, I will show you the trail, and this is what it will lead you to: a thousand pleasant friendships that will offer honey in little thorny cups, the seven secrets of the underbrush, the health of sunlight, suppleness of body and force unfailing, the unafraidness of the night, the delight of deep water, the goodness of rain, the story of the trail, the knowledge of the swamp, the aloofness of knowing, the power to see a bird when you hear its note, the upbuilding things which are never taught in schools; a crown and a little kingdom measured to your power, but all your own.

"These are the things I offer, because you have persevered, but there is a condition attached: When you discover the folksiness of some tree, the compact of bee and bloom, the all-aboutness of some secret, the worthwhileness of the swamp, or the friendship of a frog-pond, you must in some sort note it down and pass it on to another truly a Wayseeker, that the liquid gold turn not to vitriol in your hand; for those who have won power, must with it bear responsibility."

Woodcrafter ! that same Fairy Godmother is waiting for you just beyond that bank of pussy willows in the Springtime, she is waiting in the alder bloom of Summer, and later when the maple reddens the swamp. Faunima, Spirit of the Wild Things and of Woodcraft is she, and very willing to show you the trail if you are of good stuff proven. She it was that told me to write this book, in keeping of the promise that I gave her over forty years ago, when she held the bushes back for me to see the guide-blaze on the tree. Not that I needed any urge to write it, for I know no greater pleasure than showing others the things that mean so much to me. Perhaps you also will come to think of them as the best and most enduring things of life; and know why in the "Two Little Savages," I wrote:

"Because I have known the torment of thirst, I would dig a well where others may drink."

The Birch Bark Roll






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Peer- Level Topic Links:
Title Page ] Copyright ] Child Spirit of Woodcraft ] Woodcraft Way ] Preface ] Woodcraft History ] Officers ] The Woodcraft Idea ] [ Chief's Message ] Twelve Secrets ] Woodcraft Aims ] Seven Secrets ] Organization ] Things to Know and Do ]

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Birch Bark Roll ] Book of Woodcraft ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.