Afar in our dry southwestern country was an Indian village, behind
which a high mountain towered above the desert. It was considered a
great feat to climb this mountain, so all the young braves of the
village were eager to attempt it.
One day, the chief said, "Now, braves, you may all go today and try to
climb the mountain. Start right after breakfast, and go as far as you
can. Then when you are tired, come back; but each of you must bring me
a twig from the place where you turned.
Away they all went, full of hope, each feeling that he surely could
reach the top.
An hour later the first brave returned. He carried a cattail. "Well" said the chief,
"very good, you reached the marsh at the foot of the mountain." This is
the Cub Scout who has earned his Bobcat badge; he is progressing on his
journey and is ready to start climbing.
After another hour, the second brave came back. He held out some mountain wildflowers. "Good" said
the chief, "you made it to the meadow." This is the Cub Scout who has
reached the first level of his climb and received his Wolf badge.
A while later, another brave came back. He held out some Foxtail. "Good" said the chief, "you
got as far as the springs," half-way up. This is the Cub Scout
who has progressed halfway up the advancement trail and earned his Bear
Later in the afternoon, the next brave returned carrying a branch of pine. To him the chief
said, "Good, you went to the third level. You made three-quarters of
the climb. Keep working. Next year you will undoubtedly reach the top."
The Cub Scout who has earned his Webelos badge has reached the
three-quarter mark and is in sight of the top."
The sun was low when the last brave returned. He was a tall, splendid
boy of noble character. He approached the chief and held up his hand.
It was empty. But he was radiant as he spoke. "My chief, there were no
trees where I went. I saw no plants, no living thing upon the peak. But
far and away I saw other mountain peaks, and beyond them the shining
Now the old chiefs face glowed as he said, "I knew it! I knew it when I
looked upon your face. You have reached the top. It is written in your
eyes and it rings in your voice. My boy, you need no twigs for token,
you have seen the glory of the mountain."
This is the Cub Scout who has reached the top and has earned the Arrow
of Light Award. But, beyond the top are the peaks of the Boy Scouting
program that wait to be conquered. Beyond them is the
shining sea of adulthood.
It is with great pleasure that I now award the Arrow of Light to these