THE SCOUT JAMBOREE BOOK
As we passed through the Copenhagen Gate, we suddenly jumped from a tour in geography to a lesson in history.
Directly in front of us was the Royal Castle, with its domes, surrounded by the private park with its clipped hedges and its colorful flower beds.
And so we stopped a couple of minutes to allow two hundred years of history to pass in review before our eyes.
It was about 1737, that Anthony Grassalkovich had become the Master of Gödöllö and had the castle built in the style of the time, with gorgeous ornamentations, squandering great sums of money upon his estate.
He planted the park, built the chapel and the church, laid out roads and squares and erected costly monuments. And the town prospered.
Elaborate festivities took place in the magnificent halls of the castle. Winter and summer, a small court resided here as the family of Grassalkovich was raised to Barons, Counts and later, Dukes.
More and more extravagant became the feasts, until they culminated one summer day, when the Count took Queen Maria Theresa on a sled drive along the very road on which we were standing.
It was a melting hot day, as hot as the one we were experiencing-100 degrees Fahrenheit -yet that did not deter the Count. There was -no snow to melt. The sled sped, with its four white horses, along a road covered thickly with -salt! And salt was then a luxury, more expensive than our sugar is now.
The Queen was thrilled. . . .
The castle remained the property of the Grassalkovich family for a hundred years. Then the family died out and the glorious days of Gödöllö ended. The castle was sold and sold, and resold until it was finally purchased by the Hungarian Government and presented in 1869 to Emperor Franz-Joseph of Austria when he was crowned a King of Hungary with the holy crown of Saint Stephen.
Again, a golden age was ushered in for the castle of Gödöllö. It soon became the favorite summer residence of the Empress of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Elizabeth. The court would move to Gödöllö practically every summer and the gala feasts were resumed. The Empress loved the castle and the park, through which she used to stroll, or ride each day, enjoying its beautiful surroundings.
A sudden and tragic end came to this golden age. . . .
A fanatical assassin's dagger killed the beloved Empress while she was walking the streets of Geneva and Francis Joseph's happiness and the glory of Gödöllö died with her.
Now, the castle is again the summer residence of a ruler, this time of Admiral Horthy, the Regent of Hungary the Kingdom without a King and also the Chief Patron of the Hungarian Boy Scout Movement.
He it was who had placed the magnificent parks surrounding the castle at the disposal of the Fourth World Jamboree.
All through the camp he resided at Gödöllö That was the reason for our being saluted by a member of the royal guard as we left the castle park to walk up the Ferenc Jozsef Ter the main parkway of Gödöllö, on our way to the Western Hemisphere.
Myriads of visitors from Budapest and the Scouts of the World and residents of the town with-the-unpronounceable-name were swarming around us, making the road hard. But
was made truly dangerous by the peasant girl who in their quaint national costumes ha come to sell the products of their hands-gorgeous embroideries and, knitted laces. We hastened past their tempting displays and down through the B. P. gate.
We had arrived in the other part of the world!
The day grew hotter and hotter. Our tongues yearned for something cool and refreshing. And they got it. At a nearby stand, we had to choose between Harmatviz and Fagylalt. Fagylalt came out the winner. It proved to be a good choice for it was a refreshing raspberry ice.
We continued on our way up Elizabeth Street. Here a big booth displayed its "Lost and Found" signs in many languages. What a conglomerate mixture of things had been turned in! Everything from cameras and hats to toothbrushes and axes.
While we were standing there, a small English boy came up.
"Have you found my soap and bathing suit?" he asked.
After a long description of the suit and a systematic search, it was actually located, to the great joy of the small Scout.
He signed a receipt for it and hurried off, so quickly that he hardly heard a fellow running after him and yelling, "You forgot your bathing suit! You forgot your bathing suit!"
A little further up the road, we found ourselves at the foot of a statue of Queen Elizabeth. There she stood in a simple frock, bareheaded, with a parasol in her hands, the way she used to walk in the park. Behind her was a simple yet most impressive monument a mighty pile of rocks, about fifty feet high, adorned on top with the Royal Crown of Hungary. Every stone had its own significance. Each of the sixty-three counties which had made up the old country had sent a rock to this national monument.
As we walked around it, we came upon B. P.'s tent, which had been erected directly against the back of it. Through a gateway of hand-carved and richly ornamented posts we climbed tip the platform on which the tent was raised.
And what a tent it was!
It was a big square one with a pyramid shaped top. The entrance was thrown wide open and we could see the gorgeous interior decorations of embroideries in age-old motifs.
In front of it, on two big poles, were raised two horse craniums, old tokens indicating the abode of the leader.
In the open square before it was another impressive arrangement-the totem of the camp, a mighty structure flying aloft our emblem and a mighty Hungarian flag. Two Scouts stood guard over it throughout the day and were the target of all amateur photographers.
After turning around a few times to get our bearings, we shot out in a west, southwesterly direction and landed in an exciting corner of the world. Here, gathered together in one spot, were the representatives of four continents.
In front of the large green wall tent put up by the dark-skinned boys of Trinidad, there seemed to be a great disturbance. Closer investigation showed that the boys themselves were in the midst of it. We rushed to their rescue only to find that the visitors were simply indulging in their favorite outdoor sport, autogram hunting.
It was much easier getting in to visit the sixty Scouts who had arrived from South Africa, from Durban, Transvaal, Kimberley and Capetown. The Zulu war shields and spears which formed their gateway and the stuffed head of a springbok that crowned it, made their camp look really exciting.
Next to them, was the camp of the Rhodesia Scouts, decorated with crocodile skin shields and beyond this the camp of the English county of Lancashire with a decoration of a mighty spider's web.
We suddenly saw a great palm leaf fan being moved back and forth. To get over to it, we had to cross through Canada and Newfoundland.
We were hailed from a tent. . . .
"Hello, Canada!" we yelled back. "How are things?"
"Fine. We aren't many here, but we are mighty glad we came!"
The fan was still waving-over Ceylon, where the brown boys were training for one of their spectacular dances.
One of the dancers came rushing toward us, sword in hand, with a devil mask covering his face. He looked very ferocious, and involuntarily we stepped back.
At the same moment, the mask came off and the Ceylonese Scout greeted us with a real Scout handclasp.
"Nothing to worry about," he said. "We are all through practicing for the day. Do come in and have a look around!"
The Scouts from the far-off island south of India had certainly done themselves proud.
Mighty fans decorated the entrance and our new-made friend told us that they were used when a Buddhist relic was carried in procession.
A moment later he had us seated in one of the tents and was eagerly showing us treasures which he and his companions had brought from their homeland.
Here was the mighty flag of the Singhalese Kings, with the Lion of Ceylon embroidered on it, attached to two poles. Here, also, was a religious banner with emblems of the sun and the moon. Queer-shaped drums, bereis, were standing around. But the beautiful fans of palm leaves, decorated with symbols in bright colors, attracted us most.
"And I'll bet you 'don't know how these were painted!" teased our friend.
We figured out that it must have been done with small brushes, using different colors of lacquer.
"Not at all!" he said. "You see, the decorating of these fans is a secret art in certain of our families, handed down from generation to generation. The paint is made according to old secret formulas with great ceremonies, and the painting is not done with brushes, but with the long specially shaped fingernails of our artists!"
The decorations suddenly took on greater significance. We studied them in the light of this new information and had to admire the magnificent craftsmanship.
As we finally bid farewell to Ceylon, one of the boys placed a couple of small envelopes in our hands.
"Take these with you!" he said. "That's Ceylon for you!"
The envelopes contained samples of real Ceylon tea!
We changed our route again, this time to straight north, where we entered an open square with a large red and white flag waving over it.
Imagine finding yourself in Poland by going straight north from Ceylon! What a topsy turvy world was ours at this amazing Jamboree!
However, here we were surrounded by Troop Camps, each with a picturesque gateway with the Polish Eagle in as many artistic interpretations-some made of white sticks, others of cardboard, still others painted. But that wasn't the only similarity. Most of the camps also had small decorated altars and big wall tents, with a clever device for storing extra clothing under the roof tops.
We stuck our heads in through a tent door and were immediately greeted with the friendly Polish "Czuwaj! "Be prepared! We answered with the Hungarian "Jo munkat!" which was perpetually on our lips, and a conversation was on.
It was rather hard to keep it up. We knew no Polish and our friend knew no English.' German and French words proved mutually understandable, and finally, with some difficulty, we made the startling discovery that we had run right into the South Pole!
We found out, though, a moment later, that he wasn't the only South Pole present, but that there were many more around. And that boys from North Poland had their camp in another part of the grounds.
We had a good look at the Polish uniform. While the shirt and shorts were the same as ours, their hat and neckerchief were different. In fact, the Polish Scouts wear a multicolored hand-woven tie instead of a neckerchief. Sometimes it is so long that it ties around the waist and functions as a belt as well. Instead of a hat, they use a four-pointed khaki-colored cap. Altogether they look quite picturesque.
We walked up the camp street and heard from all sides the thuds of hands being banged against balls the Scouts were playing their favorite camp game, Volley Ball.
We stepped into a camp of the Polish River Scouts under a portal of white paddles and bright signal flags and finally left Poland through a back door, thereby getting a chance to admire the swinging adjustable cranes and the elevated fireplaces in the well-kept kitchens.
A big exhibition tent invited us to Norway. You simply had to enter it and be guided by ropes all through it before you could get into the camp itself. We didn't mind at all. The display was well worth looking at.
There were posters showing the Norwegian countryside and excellent photographs of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. How the last were taken is still a mystery to us.
On a large table were a number of interesting handicraft projects in wood, metal and birch-bark, besides a lot of Norwegian literature.
Outside, on the camp site the pyramid tents, consisting of taped together triangles, looked inviting, but particularly intriguing was the clever way in which the guy-rope problem of the large wall tents had been solved.
A couple of Norwegian Scouts were lying in the shade of the locust trees surrounding their camp.
"Hot enough for you?" we asked one of them.
"I should say so I" 'he answered. "But we don't feel so badly about it since even the South Africans are complaining about the heat!"
A few hundred feet west of Norway, we ran into Latvia.
Two big automobiles were rolled up at one side of the camp. The boys had made their trip to Gödöllö by bus through Poland and Czechoslovakia.
Their camp was made up of large wall tent, with flies and a big mess hall tent with room for all fifty of them. Their leader told us they were the type best suited for their home climate.
On top of each tent pole was a queer, wood carved ornament, somewhat in the style of the spread wings of an eagle. We were wondering what it might be.
"That is a symbol used by the peasants of our country," explained our Latvian friend "They place it on the tips of the gables of their houses for good luck and prosperity."
The fellow excused himself for a moment walked up to the flag pole in the center of the camp, took a mallet which hung there and struck it several times against a big, solid wood board, which was suspended like a sign from a gallows attached to the pole. The hollow sound of the primitive gong rang through the camp and several of the campers came running.
"Just a signal for a rehearsal. We are scheduled for the camp-fire tonight!"
We studied the gong carefully. That too was a symbol, yet an article of usefulness also, used by the peasants of Latvia. It consisted of a heavy birchwood board, about three inches thick, a foot wide and a foot and a half long, decorated with a simple carved design. Yet the sound of it called forth the picture of an old master of the farm calling home his hands from the fields at eventide by striking his worn klabatas.
As we slipped into the next country on our route, we saw rows of wooden shoes lined up in front of every tent. We had no difficulty in guessing where we were Holland.
The tents of the different Troops of the contingent were erected around a common parade ground, while all the kitchens were established away to one side, hidden among the trees. It gave the camp itself the suggestion of immaculate order.
The kitchens were well worth a study. White-aproned boys were walking around making things ship-shape. They had erected pot holders, plate racks, cup trees and numerous models of fireplaces, all to simplify their work.
We didn't disturb them long and were on our way across the territory of Sub-camp Nine.
For some unknown reason, we turned around. And what a surprise we got!
We hadn't noticed that, since Norway, we had been climbing, until we now stood on the highest point of our world.
A beautiful view spread out before us.
At our feet, beyond the Elizabeth Park, we saw the domes of the Royal Castle, behind which we knew the American camp was hiding itself.
Further beyond that, we could see the hills and trees and houses of the village of Maria besnyö. To our right, was the rally ground with the grandstand, the altar and the mighty cross and everywhere we looked, were tent upon tent, Scout upon Scout and thousands of visitors.
It was a glorious panorama which had suddenly been unrolled before us under the beaming rays of the sun. It gave a great feeling of ease and peace to know that, on all sides, we were surrounded by friends.
All the races of the world were here, all religions, all nationalities. Yet all of us were brothers, having the same aims, the same ideals.
And here we were viewing them all-truly standing on top of the world!