why does he not put much faith in what the veterans say?
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Henry could tell that that the veterans liked scaring the new recruits. He thinks their stories are fake or embellished.
Still, he could not put a whole faith in veteran's tales, for recruits were their prey. They talked much of smoke, fire, and blood, but he could not tell how much might be lies. They persistently yelled "Fresh fish!" at him, and were in no wise to be trusted.