The Prairie Chicken Eaglet
This traditional Native American tale from the plains peoples makes a wonderful closure to an awards ceremony, especially one as auspicious as the awarding of the Arrow of Light. Though humorous, it carries a somber ending with a very meaningful message that the only successful journeys are the ones never taken.
Telling this story just before awarding each boy their very own Honor Arrow really helps each scout feel the importance of the award they are receiving. Now until December 20, 2019, you can get a free arrow, an $18 dollar discount essentially, when you order two or more items. Use code FREE1 to save on your Pack's AOL awards this year.
Many people know the minds and hearts of the animals. But few are more notorious than the weasel. Sneaky. Lying. Mean-spirited. They are renowned for their taking of joy in others’ misfortunes. And our story begins with one of these conniving creatures.
A young weasel was speaking with his weasel brothers in the perch of a tree on the mountain, as they sought a way to have fun. They argued and spit at each other as one idea after another was discussed and discarded. Finally, the young weasel said, “Listen! I have a great idea, a great idea!
“Here’s what I’ll do,” he snickered, pointing further up the mountain, “I’ll climb up there, to the nest of the eagle, waiting until she’s away, hunting. And then.. I’ll steal one of her eggs!”
“That’s not enough!” his brothers argued.
“Wait,” he said, “I’m not done. After I steal it, I’ll sneak back down to the prairie at the foot of the mountain. And I’ll sneak up behind one of the nests of those STUPID old prairie chickens... and I’ll stick the egg right underneath her! I’ll be she wouldn’t even KNOW!”
The others laughed and cackled, and agreed this would indeed be fun. So the weasel set off to his malicious task. He crept up the mountain to the nest of the eagle, and while she was off hunting, he stole one of her precious eggs. He slithered back down to the prairie at the foot of the mountain, snuck up behind a poor, old, dumb prairie chicken and stuck it right underneath her. She didn’t even notice.
He went back to his brothers, as they all laughed and cavorted at the funny sight. But in their villainous mirth, they forget about the noise they were making, and the eagle that was hunting. The weasel and his brothers were never seen again.
But the damage was done. The eagle had no idea where her egg had gone, and the poor, old, dumb prairie chicken couldn’t tell the difference between an eagle’s egg and a prairie chicken’s egg. So as the weeks passed, she sat on it, warmed it, and hatched it like she did all the others. And she taught the little eaglet how to be a prairie chicken. How to scratch for food, and talk loudly, and incessantly gripe and complain - just like prairie chickens do.
And one day, this little eaglet prairie chicken was out with the others, scratching for food and griping and complaining - when he happened to look out upon the horizon and see a gorgeous golden eagle with its wings spread wide, sailing on the wind currents. It wasn’t even flapping its wings... it was just... sailing.
Back and forth. And back and forth.
And the little eaglet said to the others, “Oh... wouldn’t that be great? Wouldn’t it be amazing if I could just spread my wings and fly like an eagle? Wouldn’t that be GREAT?”
And the other prairie chickens said to him, quickly, “Well you can FORGET it! It’s not going to happen! You’re just a prairie chicken! That’s all you are, and that’s all you’ll ever be. So just keep on scratching for food and complaining like the rest of us!”
The eaglet thought on this. And that’s exactly what he did.
And many years later, he died of old age, never knowing what he truly was inside.