The Oyster and the Eagle


Ted Eagle (2016_03_24 19_22_43 UTC)

Naturalist and writer Ernest Thompson Seton, who drafted the first American Boy Scout handbook, wanted to name Scouting’s highest rank after the wolf. In fact, the proof edition of the handbook describes the Silver Wolf, an award to be given to any Scout who earned all 14 “badges of merit” that Seton envisioned.

I mention the Silver Wolf because I was recently reminded of an interesting little poem of sorts called “The Oyster and the Eagle.” In describing the differences between these two creatures, the piece does a good job of invoking some of the majesty of eagles—and of Eagle Scouts.

You might find “The Oyster and the Eagle” a fitting addition to your next court of honor. Here’s the text:

When God made the oyster, he guaranteed him social security.

He built the oyster a house … a shell to protect him from his enemies.

When hungry, the oyster simply opens his shell and the food rushes in.

But when God made the eagle, He said, “The blue sky is the limit. Go and build your own house.”

And the eagle went and built his house upon the highest mountain peak, where storms threatened him every day. For food, he must fly through miles of rain and snow and wind.

The eagle then—not the oyster—is the symbol of the United States of America, and Scouting’s highest award.


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