What's the best way to predict the weather?

David McNew, Getty Images

It was the beginning of winter, and Indians on a remote reservation in South Dakota asked their new chief if the winter would be cold or mild.

Since he was the chief of a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets, and when he looked at the sky he couldn't tell what the winter was going to be like.

Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he told his tribe the winter would be cold, and members should collect firewood and be prepared. Being a practical leader, after several days, he got an idea. He went to a phone booth, called the National Weather Service, and asked if the coming winter would be cold.

"It looks like this winter will be quite cold," the meteorologist at the Weather Service responded. The chief went back to his people and told them to gather even more firewood in order to be prepared.

A week later he called the National Weather Service again and again he was told that the winter would be very, very cold. The chief went back and told his people to be sure and collect every single scrap of firewood they could find.

Two weeks later the chief called the National Weather Service again, and asked, "are you absolutely sure it's going to be a cold winter?"

"Yes," the meteorologist replied, "it looks like it's going to be the coldest winter we've ever seen!"

"How can you be so sure?"

"Because I noticed the Indians are collecting firewood like crazy."