Adapted from Scouting for Boys, “Campfire Yarn #20,” by Lord Baden-Powell.
Chivalry — that is, the order of the knights — was started in England some 1500 years ago by King Arthur. On the death of his father, King Uther Pendragon, he was living with his uncle, and nobody knew who was to be King. He did not himself know that he was the son of the late King. Then a great stone was found in the churchyard, into which a sword was sticking, and on the stone was written:
“Whosoever pulleth this sword out of this stone is the rightwise King born of all England.”
All the chief lords had a try at pulling it out, but none could move it. That day there was a tournament at which Arthur’s cousin was to fight, but when he got to the ground he found he had left his sword at home, and he sent Arthur to fetch it. Arthur could not find it, but remembering the sword in the churchyard he went there and pulled at it. It came out of the stone at once, and he took it to his cousin. After the sports he put it back again into the stone; and then they all tried to pull it out, but could not move it. But when Arthur tried he drew it out quite easily. So he was proclaimed King.
He afterwards got together a number of knights, and used to sit with them at a great round table, and so they were called the “Knights of the Round Table.”
They had as their patron saint St. George, because he was the only one of all the saints who was a horseman. He is the Patron Saint of cavalry and a special saint of England.
He is also the Patron Saint of Explorers everywhere. Therefore, all Explorers should know his story.
St. George was born in Cappadocia in the year AD 303. He enlisted as a cavalry soldier when he was seventeen, and soon became renowned for his bravery.
On one occasion he came to a city named Selem, near which lived a dragon who had to be fed daily with one of the citizens, drawn by lot.
The day St. George came there, the lot had fallen upon the king’s daughter, Cleolinda. St. George resolved that she should not die, and so he went out and attacked the dragon, who lived in a swamp close by, and killed him.
St. George was typical of what an Explorer should be:
When he was faced by a difficulty or danger, however great it appears — even in the shape of a dragon — he did not avoid it or fear it, but went at it with all the power he could put into himself and his horse. Although inadequately armed for such an encounter, having merely a spear, he charged in, did his best, and finally succeeded in overcoming a difficulty which nobody had dared to tackle.
That is exactly the way in which an Explorer should face a difficulty or danger, no matter how
great or terrifying it may appear to him or how ill-equipped he may be for the struggle. He should SD at it boldly and confidently, using every power that he can to try to overcome it, and the probability is that he will succeed.
St. George’s Day is April 23rd. On that day all good Explorers make a special point of thinking about the Promise and the Law. Remember this on the next 23rd April and send greetings to brother Explorers around the world.