BESIDES BEING HANDY–a found poem

You have read about the Wars
against the Red Indians,
of the gallantry of your soldiers
against the cunning of the Red Man
and what is more, of the pluck
of your women on those dangerous frontiers.

Well, we have had much the same sort of thing
in South Africa.
Over and over again I have seen
the wonderful bravery of the women
when the tribes of Zulu or Matabeles
have been out on the war path against the white settlers.
They were full of pluck and energy,
but unfortunately they had never
been trained to do anything,
and so they were of no use.

So I gave them a smart blue uniform
and the names of “Guides.”
The pick of our frontier forces in India
is the Corps of Guides.
The term cavalry or infantry
hardly describes it
since it is composed of all-round handy men
ready to take on any job.
Then, too, a woman who can be a good
and helpful comrade to her brother or husband
or son along the path of life is really a guide to him.

The name Guide therefore just describes
the members of our sisterhood
who besides being handy
and ready for any kind of duty
are also a jolly happy family
and likely to be good, cheery comrades
to their mankind.

If the women of the different nations
are to a large extent members of the same society,
they will make a real bond between the Peoples
and they will see to it that it means Peace
and that we have no more of War.

 

Robert Baden-Powell, “How Scouting Began”
Forward to Girl Scout Handbook, 1920

 

(Nowadays, I find this extremely disturbing and very strange.)

 

 

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