The Story of Smokey Bear

The Story of Smokey Bear

Smokey was born on August 9, 1944. The U.S. Forest Service wanted a spokes person to continually remind people that "Care will prevent 9 out of 10 fires", and the fictitious bear was just the ticket... as they said back then.  In 1947, Smokey's message changed to the familiar "Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires".

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First Dog Story

Two Ojibwa Indians in a canoe had been blown far from shore by a great wind. They had gone far and were hungry and lost. They had little strength left to paddle, so they drifted before the wind.

At last their canoe was blown onto a beach and they were glad, but not for long. Looking for the tracks of animals, they saw some huge footprints that they knew must be those of a giant. They were afraid and hid in the bushes. As they crouched low, a big arrow thudded into the ground close beside them. Then a huge giant came toward them. A caribou hung from his belt, but the man was so big that it looked like a rabbit. He told them that he did not hurt people and he like to be a friend to little people, who seemed to the giant to be so helpless. He asked the two lost Indians to come home with him, and since they had no food and their weapons had been lost in the storm at sea, they were glad to go with him.

An evil Windigo spirit came to the lodge of the giant and told the two men that the giant had other men hidden away in the forest because he like to eat them. The Windigo pretended to be a friend, but he was the one who wanted the men because he was an eater of people. The Windigo became very angry when the giant would not give him the two men, and finally the giant became angry too. He took a big stick and turned over a big bowl with it.

A strange animal which the Indians had never seen before lay on the floor, looking up at them. It looked like a wolf to them, but the giant called the animal 'Dog.' The giant told him to kill the evil Windigo spirit. The beast sprang to its feet, shook himself, and started to grow, and grow, and grow. The more he shook himself, the more he grew and the fiercer he became. He sprang at the Windigo and killed him;
then the dog grew smaller and smaller and crept under the bowl.

The giant saw that the Indians were much surprised and pleased with Dog and said that he would give it to them, though it was his pet. He told the men that he would command Dog to take them home. They had no idea how this could be done, though they had seen that the giant was a maker of magic, but they thanked the friendly giant for his great gift.

The giant took the men and the dog to the seashore and gave the dog a command. At once it began to grow bigger and bigger, until it was nearly as big as a horse. The giant put the two men onto the back of the dog and told them to hold on very tightly. As Dog ran into the sea, he grew still bigger and when the water was deep enough he started to swim strongly away from the shore.

After a very long time, the two Ojibwa began to see a part of the seacoast that they knew, and soon the dog headed for shore. As he neared the beach, he became smaller and smaller so that the Indians had to swim for the last part of their journey. The dog left them close to their lodges and disappeared into the forest. When the men told their tribe of their adventure, the people though that the men were speaking falsely. "Show us even the little mystery animal, Dog, and we shall believe you," a chief said.

A few moons came and went and then, one morning while the tribe slept, the dog returned to the two men. It allowed them to pet it and took food from their hands. The tribe was very much surprised to see this new creature. It stayed with the tribe.

That, as the Indians tell, was how the first dog came to the earth.

Rocks In A Jar


  • a glass jar
  • some rocks
  • pebbles
  • sand
  • water

or for more fun, use doughnut holes, M&Ms, sugar, and milk
Before doing this, make sure you have enough rocks, pebbles, sand, and water that will fit in the jar.

Put pebbles, sand, and water into separate cans so the contents can not be seen.
This was WAY fun to do with doughnut holes. I don't know if the scouts got the point, but they loved watching.
There is only so much a person can do. I have a real job (put rock in jar). I teach a Sunday School class (add a rock). I volunteer at school (add a rock) I run to stay in shape (add a rock) ... continue listing other main things you do.

So, there, I'm full. I can't do anything else, even if someone asked. I expect most of you are the same way. You are so busy, you can't possibly take on anything else. Your jar is full like mine.

But, maybe if its not too big, I can do it. Like drive for a weekend campout, or arrange a fundraiser, or help at church one week, or plan a service project, or organize a parent's picnic. (add pebbles to the jar as you list the activities. Shake the jar to settle them until it is full.)

Wow, I guess I could do a little more than I thought. But, now, that's it, really. I couldn't possibly do more. Just like you, I'm doing too much now. Well, maybe if its just a small thing, I could. Like shoveling my neighbor's walk, or leading a game at a meeting, or helping someone with schoolwork, or cleaning the church for an hour. (pour the sand in as you list the items. Shake to settle).

Huh! Well, what do you know. Looks like I could do a bit more than I thought. I guess I just needed to make the time. As you can see, my jar is definitely full. I did more than I thought I could and I'm really able to accomplish a lot. No way could I fit anything else in.

But, now I don't have time for just relaxing. How can I just have fun? There's no room left. (Pour water in as you list things). I want to watch TV, play video games, see a movie, play football, ...

So, what does this mean? It seems I can do much more than I thought and I still have a little time to play. The point is that you need to get the big rocks - the important things - scheduled into your life first. Decide what is most important to you and make time for it. Then, fill in your time with other worthwhile, meaningful activities. That time left over is your relaxing time. 

Be careful not to fill your life with the little things first or there won't be room for the big, important things.

How Turtle's Shell Got Cracked

In the days when the People and the animals still spoke the same language, Possum and Turtle were best friends. Many people thought it odd that two such very different creatures would be so close, but Possum and Turtle knew they had a lot in common. Neither of them liked to go anywhere in a hurry, and they both loved persimmons.

Here is how they shared persimmons together. Possum would climb a persimmon tree, wrap his strong tail around a limb, and hang. Turtle would come and stand at the foot of the tree, and Possum would swing up and pick a persimmon for himself and eat it. Then he would swing up and pick another one, and Turtle would open his mouth as wide as it would go. Possum would take careful aim and drop the persimmon into Turtle's mouth. They could do this for hours.

They were sharing persimmons in this way one day when a wolf came along. The wolf watched the two friends for a while and he saw a way to play what he thought was a pretty funny joke and get a free lunch at the same time.
He went and stood behind Turtle, and when Possum dropped a persimmon, the wolf leaped into the air and snatched it before it could land in Turtle's mouth. When Turtle opened his mouth, he closed his eyes, so he did not see the wolf, all he knew was that he saw Possum drop the persimmon, but it didn't land in his mouth. And after he saw many, many persimmons dropped that he did not eat, Turtle began to get angry. 
Possum, up in the tree saw the wolf and realized what was happening. Now if you have a best friend, and you're trying to make a present to him, and someone comes along and steals it, it can make you angry. And that's how it was with Possum. He decided to fix that wolf. He looked all around the tree and found the biggest, ripest persimmon he could find.
Then instead of just dropping the persimmon down to Turtle, he threw it with all the strength he had, and the greedy wolf leaped into the air with his mouth wide open. The persimmon flew down his throat and stuck there, and he choked to death. Possum thought no more about it. He went back to eating persimmons.
When Turtle opened his eyes and saw the dead wolf, he realized where his persimmons had gone. And the more he thought about how the wolf had stolen his food, the angrier he became. He began to scold the wolf saying, "You were a very greedy wolf! You got what you deserved!" Then he said "Possum and I sure showed you! You wont be stealing any more persimmons." And then, "That was a very brave thing for me to do!" And finally he convinced himself that he alone, Turtle the Mighty Hunter, had slain the greedy wolf.
Now it is a custom for a hunter to take what is call a tribute from an animal he has killed. In this way he captures a piece from the animals spirit, which then belongs to him. Turtle decided he had the right to take a tribute from the dead wolf, so he cut off the wolf's ears. He took them home and fixed them onto two long wooden sticks and made wolf-ear spoons.
In the old days it was another custom to offer a visitor food to eat the very first thing. And there was a special dish that was usually kept cooking at all times just to offer a guest. This was a kind of thick corn soup. Turtle took his wolf-ear spoons and went visiting.

First Turtle visited all his friends. Then he began visiting people he had met once or twice. And then he began to visit people he had not even been introduced to, just so they would offer him a bowl of corn soup, and he could pull out his wolf-ear spoons and eat with them. Pretty soon everyone was talking about what a mighty hunter Turtle must be if he ate corn soup with wolf-ear spoons.

It wasn't long before word got back to the rest of the wolves, and they were angry. This was a terrible insult, for such an insignificant creature as Turtle to be eating corn soup with wolf-ear spoons. The wolves are faster than turtles, and they had no trouble catching Turtle. But then, in the manner of wolves everywhere, they began to argue over what to do with him. Turtle listened, and decided that the only thing he could do would be to keep his wits about him and be ready for any chance that he saw.
Finally one wolf said, "I know what we'll do with you Turtle. We'll build a roaring fire, throw you in it, and burn you alive." Turtle thought very quickly and said, "Oh please do. I'd love it. You see these big strong feet? I could stamp out every spark of your fire before I even got warm." 
Well the wolves didn't like that and so they argued some more. Finally one of the wolves said, "I have a idea. Turtle, we'll build that roaring fire. We'll put a clay pot of water on the fire, throw you in, boil you, and make turtle soup!"
Turtle thought very quickly and said, "Oh, please do. I'd love it. You see these big strong feet? I could stamp your pot to pieces before the water could get warm!"
The wolves didn't like that either. They argued and argued and finally one wolf said, "Well then, Turtle, I know what we'll do with you. We'll carry you down to the deepest part of the river and throw you in. We'll stand on the bank and watch you drown!" And Turtle thought very quickly and said, "Oh, no, not the river! Anything but the river!"
Well, as soon as the wolves heard that, of course they carried Turtle down to the riverbank.
They threw him into the water as hard as they could, which should have been fine. Turtles live in the river. But Turtle didn't land in the water the way he thought he would. The wolves threw him so hard, he went spinning end over end as he fell. And landed on his back on a rock in the middle of the river, and then he bounced into the water.
As Turtle swam to the other side of the river, he could feel his back shifting and moving. When he crawled out of the water and looked over his shoulder, he saw that his beautiful shiny shell had been cracked into a dozen pieces.
Now, Turtle wasn't a mighty hunter, but he was a very good doctor. He knew many conjuring secrets. He knew the healing plants and how to prepare them. When he had gathered all the plants he need, he went about the business of doctoring himself, singing, "Gu`daye`wu, Gu`daye`wu I have sewn myself together, I have sewn myself together."

And over the time that has passed from that day to this, Turtle's shell has grown strong again. But if you look closely, you can still see the lines where Turtle's back was cracked, and you will never see another turtle eating corn soup from wolf-ear spoons.

Horrible Pirate Story

One time I was down by the docks and I saw this old sailor that I swear looked just like a pirate; peg-leg, eye-patch, and even a hook for a hand.
But I guess I was staring at him because he comes stumping over and says...
Arr, I saw yez lookin at me! Bet yer wond'rin hows I got this peg-leg? Well... it was HORRIBLE!
Me ship was a cannonading another ship, when they lets go with a broadside themselves. Whoooom, off goes me leg. Arr!
Then he turned to walk away when suddenly he turns back and says...

Arr, I saw yez still lookin at me! Bet yer wond'rin hows I got this hook fer a hand? Well... it was HORRIBLE!
Me ship was boarded by Malay pirates and we all draws swords and thrusts and parrys and parrys and thrusts! But I thrusted when I should'a parried. Whomp, off goes me hand! Arr!
Then he turned to walk away when suddenly he turns back and says...
Arr, I saw yez STILL lookin at me! Bet yer wond'rin hows I got this eyepatch? Well... it was HORRIBLE! One day I gots me an itch
(hook your finger up to your eye as you yell )
ARRR! I'd forgots I'd lost me hand!

The Story of the Purple Gorilla

The anticipation and telling is scary, but the funny ending is a release. The sound effects of the different doors makes the story.

When I was younger, I had an old pick-up that didn't run very well. I was constantly needing to repair it, but I couldn't afford anything better.
One evening, I was driving home from a camping trip out in the mountains and it started sputtering which was a good sign it would soon stop running. Luckily, there was a farm up ahead so I pulled in and stopped. 
I knocked on the door and asked the farmer if I could use his phone to call for help. Unfortunately, he didn't have a phone way out there. So, I asked him if I could spend the night in his barn and maybe use his tools to fix my truck in the morning. Now, you know how farmers are - always willing to help folks out and all - so he said that would be just fine. He even invited me to have dinner before turning in for the night.

We had a nice dinner of beef, potatoes, and beans and then he showed me to the barn so I could lay out my sleeping bag on the straw. It was a real nice barn and I was sure I'd get a good night's sleep. But, just as he was leaving, he said there was one thing he figured I should know about. 
So, he tool me over to a pile of straw and pushed it out of the way, revealing a trap door in the floor. He grabbed the iron ring on the door, and pulled it up - creeeeeeeeeeek. There I saw stairs heading down into the dark and I followed the farmer down the stairs - squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak.
At the bottom of the stairs there was a large oak door with an iron bolt. The farmer pushed the bolt across - clunk - and pulled the door open - creeeeeeeeeek - and walked through.
Down a narrow, dark tunnel we encountered a steel door with a solid crossbar holding it closed. The farmer lifted the crossbar - groooooooan - and struggled to pull the door open - uuumph, grunt - and we walked on.
A few yards further on was a clear door made of bullet-proof glass 12 inches thick. It had a combination lock and I watched as the farmer opened it - 12-23-7 - click, click, click and then swung the door open - swooooosh.
Past this door was a huge cage made of 3-inch round titanium bars. But, that wasn't what caught my eye. What I saw was the huge monster inside the cage. It was gigantic! It was covered with purple fur! And, it was asleep.
The farmer said, 'This is what I needed to show you. This is my purple gorilla and you've got to promise me, I mean really promise me, that you will NOT touch him!'
Well, I thought that was about the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard. Of course, I'm not going to touch a gigantic purple gorilla! And, so I promised him. And, I thanked him for showing my his secret.

Then, we made our way back to the surface. He closed the glass door - swooosh - and spun the lock - click, click, click. He closed the steel door - uumph, grunt - and lowered the crossbar - groooan. He closed the oak door - creeeeeek - and slid the bolt in place - clunk. We climbed the stairs - squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak and then dropped the trapdoor closed - ker-thump! Then, he spread straw back over the trapdoor to hide it.

Well, I was tired so I laid out my sleeping bag and 'hit the hay' (ha-ha) and the farmer went back to his house. But, I just couldn't stop thinking about that purple gorilla. What a magnificent creature! I wonder why the farmer didn't want me to touch it? Hmmmm, it was asleep so what harm would there be?

Finally, my curiosity got the best of me and I couldn't fight it any longer. I jumped up and went over and brushed the straw from the trapdoor.
I grabbed the iron ring on the door, and pulled it up - creeeeeeeeeeek. I went down the stairs - squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak.
I pushed the bolt on the oak door open - clunk - and pulled the door open - creeeeeeeeeek - and walked through.
I raised the crossbar on the steel door - groooooooan - and struggled to pull the door open - uuumph, grunt - and walked on.
I came to the 12-inch thick bullet-proof glass door and opened the combination lock - 12-23-7 - click, click, click and then swung the door open - swooooosh.
I walked up to the huge cage made of 3-inch round titanium bars and gazed at the purple gorilla that was still fast asleep. I reached out my hand. I softly touched his fur.
And, he immediately jumped up and let out a blood-curdling roar, turning and staring at me with huge, blood-red eyes!
Needless to say, I tore out of there as fast as I could! When I got to the glass door, I could hear the gorilla tearing at the bars of the cage. I turned around in time to see him ripping and bending the bars and forcing his way through.
I closed the glass door - swooosh - and spun the lock - click, click, click - and ran on. Just as I was closing the steel door - uumph, grunt - I heard the gorilla hit the glass door and it shattered into millions of shards of glass. I lowered the crossbar - groooan - and ran on. I slammed the oak door closed - creeeeeek - just as the steel door exploded off its hinges. I slid the bolt in place - clunk - and scurried up the stairs - squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak. Just as I was dropping the trapdoor - ker-thump - the oak door disintegrated into slivers no bigger than a toothpick. 
I didn't bother spreading straw over the trap door - instead I ran to my truck hoping to escape. As I opened my truck's door, straw and wood flew out the door of the barn as the trapdoor was thrown from its hinges and the gorilla leapt out into the barnyard. He saw me as I jumped in the truck and tried to get it started.
I turned the key and could see the gorilla running across the yard toward me. The truck didn't start. I tried again, and this time the engine turned over and came to life.
Just as I was putting the truck in gear, the purple gorilla reached the door, grabbed the handle and ripped the door completely off the truck. I stomped on the gas, the engine raced, but nothing happened - the gorilla had lifted the truck off the ground and I was helpless.
As I sat there helplessly, that enormous purple gorilla reached into the cab, stretched out his giant hairy hand towards me, grabbed my arm, and said, 'Tag, you're it!'

Falling Rock

An Indian chief, Rising Sun, was concerned with how white men were expanding across the forests, plains, and mountains. His tribe was very small, but as every tribe and nation was being overpowered and sent to reservations, he came up with a plan to save the People.
His son, Falling Rock, was a strong, intelligent, and trustworthy young man and Rising Sun loved him very much. Rising Sun asked Falling Rock to travel across the whole of the country and talk to every tribe he met. He was to convince them to join forces and repel the invasion of the white men.
Falling Rock left in the spring with 4 other braves.

When the leaves fell in late summer, one brave returned to Rising Sun to tell him that they had contacted all the tribes in the desert South West.
When the snow began, another brave returned telling of their success with the Great Lakes tribes.
A third brave arrived home just as the spring flowers bloomed and told how the strong tribes of the Rocky Mountains were ready.
Finally, the last brave returned in high summer from the Eastern tribes with their promise to fight. This last brave also said that Falling Rock was now racing back to all the tribes, telling them to meet at the Mississippi river in the spring for the great war.

Rising Sun's small tribe prepared for battle and, when the snow melted, they traveled to the Mississippi. They waited there through spring and summer, but no other warriors arrived. At the end of summer, Rising Sun sent braves out in all directions to track down Falling Rock while the tribe waited.
By snowfall, all the warriors had reached the other tribes and returned to Rising Sun. All the tribes had waited to hear when the war was to take place, but Falling Rock had not been seen by any of them so they had stayed put. This worried Rising Sun terribly since he loved his son and missed him terribly.

The small tribe was forced to wait there through the harsh winter and when spring arrived, so did the white soldiers. They surrounded Rising Sun's tribe. Rising Sun knew they could never win without the other tribes so he talked to the leader of the soldiers.

Rising Sun promised to go peacefully to a reservation if the white men would promise to help him find his lost son. This was a small price for avoiding a fight so the white men agreed and Rising Sun's tribe did not resist.

To this day, Rising Sun waits for his son to return. And, to this day, the white men have held up their end of bargain struck that day. People across the country are still searching and everyone is asked to help. That is why you will see signs along the road that say, "Watch for Falling Rock".

How 10,000 Lakes Were Made

Many, many years ago when the world was new, the Mississippi river was much longer than it is now. It meandered back and forth across the area that is now Minnesota. Fish in great numbers lived in this river, and its water was so pure and sweet that all the animals came there to drink.

A giant moose that lived way up north heard about the river and he too came there to drink. But he was so big, and he drank so much, that soon the water began to sink lower and lower. The beavers were worried. The water around their lodges was disappearing. Soon their homes would be destroyed. The muskrats were worried, too. What would they do if the water vanished? How could they live? The fish were very worried. The other animals could live on land if the water dried up, but they couldn't. All the animals tried to think of a way to drive the moose from the river, but he was so big that they were too afraid to try. Even the bear was afraid of him.

At last the Fly said he would try to drive the moose away. All the animals laughed and jeered. How could a tiny fly frighten a giant moose? The fly said nothing, but that day, as soon as the moose appeared, he went into action. He landed on the moose's foreleg and bit sharply. The moose stamped his foot to shake off the fly. But, the fly landed again and bit again and the moose stomped harder, and each time he stamped, the ground sank and the water rushed in to fill it up.

Then the fly jumped about all over the moose, biting and biting and biting until the moose was in a frenzy. He dashed madly about the banks of the river, shaking his head, stamping his feet, snorting and blowing, but he couldn't get rid of that pesky fly. Finally, the moose could take it no longer and ran far away back up to the far north country where he had come from.

All the thrashing and stomping that the giant moose did across the country created large and small holes. As these filled with water, they became the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota. And, the giant moose told all the other moose to never go south because of the terrible biting flies there. That is why there are no longer moose in Minnesota except way up north by Canada.

The fly was very proud of his achievement, and the other animals were very thankful. They made a promise to Fly that whenever any animal dies of old age or disease, the fly can have the entire body to feed on and lay eggs. That is how it is done to this day.