Close Up Magic

'The Tramps and The Ducks'

If you, Mr. Reader, are one of the host of Conjurers who delight in Conjuring for Conjurers, then don't waste your time in reading any further, for you won't find here anything new to show them. The effect is as old as the hills—granted it has one little addition which is not so old—and the only reason for including it is that I have found it most entertaining to the lay people, especially the accompanying patter story. On second thoughts, although most conjurers do know the effect and the secret, it might be that they too find it entertaining. In any case, read it, include it in your repertoir if you will, and to heck with conjurers !

The performer, seated at a table, brings forth a box of matches, and removing a number of them, sets five of them in an arc in front of him. and, nearer to himself a solitary match. "I want to tell you a most intriguing story of Two tramps " (accent on the 'two') "and Five Ducks" (pointing to the five matches laid in an arc).

Someone will soon remind him that, apart from the five matches, representing Ducks there is only one match to represent the Tramps. He apologises, and taking up the closed matchbox, says:—"Careless of me. Well, it is no use being a conjurer if one cannot rectify mistakes like that", saying which he carefully shows each hand, in turn, to be empty, transferring the box from hand to hand to do so. Then he shows the box with meticulous care, by turning it slowly between the

fingers of each hand, to display, first the top, then one edge, then the bottom and finally, the other (striking) edge.

With the box back to its original position, he pushes out the drawer, shakes the matches it contains to show them loose, then deliberately shows the cover to be empty, and replaces the drawer. The spectators have been shown everything. The hands, the box all round, the drawer and the cover.

He places the box on the palm of the left hand, gives the box a tap with the right hand, and remarking "This is how a conjurer removes a match", he lifts the box and displays a solitary match resting on the palm. This he places along with the single match on the table and proceeds with his story.

"As I was telling you, once upon a time there were two tramps—now there are thousands of 'em". He picks up the two matches, one in each hand, and as he patters on he carelessly tosses the matches up and down on each open palm. "These two tramps were dead tired—they'd been breathing all day—and one, an Englishman.

said to the other, a Scotsman, 'Gosh I'll be glad when we can hit the hay'. Suddenly they came across a milestone and the Englishman, having read it, burst into loud peals of laughter. 'What are you laughing at?' said the Scotsman, and the Englishman replied, 'Well, read the darned thing for yourself'."

The Scotsman read <One-mile--to-the-village. In-case-you-can't-read-apply-at-the-blacksmiths.' But he didn't laugh! 'Aw, skip it' said the Englishman, and eventually, they found a barn and got down to sleep. About two o'clock in the morning the Scotsman woke the Englishman up, saying -Jock, I've just seen that joke, its jolly good. The Blacksmith mightn't be in!' By now the performer has closed each hand into a fist, each containing one match.

"Back to sleep they went, but not for long. Suddenly they heard a loud quacking and looking out they saw five lovely ducks. With a view to some easy money, they decided to steal them. 'Right', said the Englishman. 'I'll take one, you take one, I'll take one. you take one', and this went on until all the ducks were safely in the barn". Each hand has taken up a match, in turn, until there are none left on the table.

"Just then they heard the heavy tramptramp-tramp of feet—no relation to these two tramps— and they realised that a policeman was passing on his beat. 'Quick!' said the Englishman, 'We'd better put them back. You put one back. I'll put one back. You put one back, I'll put one back', and this went on until all five ducks were back in the yard". Each hand replaces a match in turn, on the table, until five are there again, as at first.

"Wishing the policeman in Hades—they hated policeman anyway, said they were always interfering with their work !—they waited until the heavy tread of feet died away and then the Englishman said 'He's gone! Let's steal 'em again', and they did. 'You take one, I'll take one. You take one. I'll take one, and so on, until all the five ducks were stolen".

"I'm sorry to have to tell you that the policeman didn't go to Hades, neither was he as dumb as the tramps thought he was. He came back, arrested the two tramps" (performer opens the left hand to show two matches only, which are allowed to fall to the table) "and recovered the five ducks". Here the right hand is opened to reveal five matches which are also dropped on to the table. "And that, my friends, is the story of the Tramps and the Ducks".


As I mentioned above, this is an item in Story Magic which has served me in good stead. It needs very little preparation (and that only for the magical appearance of the extra match needed, as described in the effect) and the matches may be casually borrowed if you, unfortunately, happen to be caught on the off beat without a box.

The preparation mentioned is the mere concealment of one match, prior to commencing. Take a match, and with the box partly open, insert it between the cover and the bottom of the drawer. Close the box and you are ready.

Open the box and lay out five matches in an arc before you, and, without particularly noticing it, one match nearer to yourself. Close the box and lay it aside. The hidden match will not have been disturbed.

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