The Dance of Akela

by Peter Van Houten

Setting: Lights low, fake fire with red bulb, tepee, drum.

(Cubmaster does Cub Scout sign for silence.)

Cubmaster: Hear now the tale of the tribe of Webelos and their great chieftain, Akela.

Asst. CM: Many many moons ago, a small boy sat outside his tepee watching the stars in the sky, and listening to the rustle of the trees in the night. Somewhere in the distance he could hear the call of the Bobcat, the Wolf, and the Bear. Close by was the sound of the ceremonial drum calling all braves of the tribe to the council ring. The boy listened and wished he could answer that call.

Quick and as true as an arrow in flight, quiet as the hush of the night, to the beat of that ceremonial drum, before a great fire they gathered, awaiting Akela, their chief. Here in the great council fire ring, on top of the mountain, they met. Here too, they sought the help of the Great Spirit as they strived to do their duty. Here they met Chief Akela, and awaited his words.

Now with the last "boom" of the great drum, all was silent. The night was still. The great ceremonial fire was lit and it began to light up the night. As the fire grew and grew ever larger, the tom-tom started slowly and set the rhythm. Akela stepped into the ring as the tom-tom beat first low and slow and then like thunder. Akela danced and with his movement told of his life. He told of the strength of his father, the one they called the Arrow of Light. He told of how his father taught him the signs of the tribe; how to make a bow and let an arrow fly true to its target. Akela obediently followed the Arrow of Light and gained great knowledge. Akela learned that the arrow for which his father was named was one that pointed upward, truly to the Eagle so high above.

Akela's dance showed how he, as a young brave, was trusted to set out into the forest. There he met the Wolf who taught him the ways of the wild life, of the ground, of the tracks, and ways to find food. He next faced the Bear and learned the meaning of courage and the importance of being brave. And with this Akela stopped his dance!

Akela, the wise, had closed his dance and presented the sign of the tribe and all of the tribe did likewise. No one spoke until Akela said: "Our tribe can only be strong when the boys of the tribe are strong. The future is hidden, but if we are courageous and brave; if we teach our boys truth and knowledge, to aim high like the eagle, to be fair, our great tribe will continue to be strong.


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