National Geographic : 1934 May
YOUTH EXPLORES ITS WORLD BY FREDERICK SIMPICH AUTHOR OF "MEN AND GOLD," "PIECES OF SILVER," "ONTARIO, NEXT DOOR," ETC., IN THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE O THE sound of Indian drums, Scottish bagpipes, Chinese music, Australian yells, and assorted noises made by boys of 56 different nationalities, the Scouts' Fourth World Jamboree opened at Godollo, near Budapest, Hungary, in August, 1933. Few of the visiting boys could even pro nounce G6dollo, much less speak any Hun garian. "I'm glad," said one, "I was born in a country where I can understand the language!" The mile-long field where these boys camped was once the hunting ground of the Hungarian emperors. Near here, in 1849, the Austrian Prince Windischgraz was de feated by Gorgei, the Hungarian com mander. From now on the region will best be known to Hungarian school children be cause there, in 1933, more than 25,000 boys from all over the world held an interna tional conference. Symbolizing the fact that the Boy Scout's oath, "Duty to God and to others," is in harmony with every faith, the Scout flags were blessed at an opening ceremony in Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Moslem services. A CAMP OF A MODERN CRUSADE In one day 70,000 visitors came to see this vast camp of the world's youth; 30,000 peasants paraded in costume. Each boy tried to get acquainted with five other boys from five different countries. They swapped food, badges, uniforms, and yarns-when they could talk together. Outwardly they were Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Ameri cans, English, Austrians, Arabs, or French black, white, yellow, and brown. But under the skin they were just boys, with the com mon mannerisms of boyhood and a universal language all their own. Nobody was happier than the Chief Scout, Lord Baden-Powell. With Admiral Horthy, Regent of Hungary, he rode about the Scout lines, then galloped back to the reviewing stand, albeit not so steady in the saddle as when, some 35 years ago, he first got the idea which led to this world-wide movement. It has been a long time since Mafeking. When it was all over, 25,000 boys massed on the field to lift flags and shout "Brother!" Then, as one observer wrote, the camel that Syrian boys had brought got lazily to his feet for the long walk back home; Texas boys boxed their bull snake, and a 16-year-old North American Indian, who had explained the art of scalping, put his tomahawk back in his belt. The idea of training boys so they will make useful men is, of course, as old as mankind. You see it even among savages. They fall short of what we teach Boy Scouts about thrift, kind acts, and telling the truth. But, like us, they do teach their boys to swim, jump, make traps, build fires, use the bow and arrow, track wild animals, and to endure hard knocks without whimpering. Take the Zulu and Swazi tribes in Africa. They never heard of Boy Scouts; yet their sons, before they are taken into the tribe as warriors, get a training in woodcraft and self-reliance which is superb. Stripped naked, his body painted white by men of the tribe, the Zulu boy at 15 is given a shield and spear and sent into the jungle. He is warned that he will be killed if he allows himself to be caught by any human. It takes about a month for the paint to wear off. During that time, the boy has to kill his own meat with his one spear, skin an animal to make his body covering, and also learn what kinds of wild plants, berries, and leaves are good as food. Failure may mean death at the hands of enemies, wild beasts, or by starvation. But if he succeeds, as he is supposed to by this severe initiation, he returns to the village when the paint has worn off, and with great rejoicing is received into the tribe as a warrior. ZULUS SING WHILE MARCHING "Zulus on the march form always a fine sight," writes Lord Baden-Powell, "and I shall never forget the first time I saw a Zulu army on the move. As a matter of fact, I heard it before I saw it. For the moment I thought that a church organ was play ing, when the wonderful sound of their singing came to my ears from a neighboring valley.