IRiddle ef the Stony

EDITOR'S NOTE. This effect of M. Giraud's was designed for children's shows. It gives scope for excellent comedy without any detra-tion from the magical element. Properly presented the conpirer has an item that will play for ten minutes, making use of articles that take up a minimum of packing space. Effect.

The conjurer remarks that he wishes to try a most difficuJt magical experiment ; for this he Mill require the services of four children and the loan of a lady's ring. All these being forthcoming, the ring is placed for safekeeping in the folds of a handkerchief, which is then handed to one of the temporary assistants whom we shall designate A. To the second assistant, B, an empty matchbox is given, with the request that they see that it is no more than the conjurer claims it to be. For the third assistant, C, a piece of paper is rolled into a cone and into this is dropped a short length of coloured silk ribbon ; the top of the cone is folded over before it is placed in the assistant's hands. The fourth child, D, is handed a toy pistol and placed on the right (performer's) near the edge of the platform. The remaining children are then lined up so that they stretch across the platform thus :— D (with pistol), C (with cone), B (with matchbox) , A (with handkerchief containing ring).

The conjurer now takes a tumbler and covers it with a handkerchief, and positions himself on the left of the child holding the ring. He then tells his audience what he will try to do, which is this : D, on command, will press the trigger of the pistol, the resultant shot causing the piece of silk to fly into the empty matchbox and the ring to fly into the glass under the handkerchief. The child holding the handkerchief containing the ring is asked to hold one* corner with her free hand, and when she hears the shot to let go of that part containing the ring. All being understood, the conjurer gets ail the participants, including himself, into line with the holder of the pistol. On word of command the pistol is fired, the result being a mild explosion (it is a toy pistal of the cap variety), the ring vanishes, the glass vanishes, and when the cone is opened it is seen that the ribbon has vanished. The opening of the matchbox shows that no single article has found its way inside. All the participants take part in a fruitless search for the ring. Then the conjurer has an inspiration ; he will make use of his emergency ring finder. Thus saying, he dismisses all the children with the exception of the one who held (or, as the performer puts it, the one who lost) the ring.

A parcel is removed from the table. Near the top it is tied with ribbon or tape, and the child is asked to undo this. This being done, the cloth covering the parcel falls down, to reveal another similar parcel tied with another ribbon. This, too, is undone, and the procedure continues ad lib. or ad nauseum. Finally, the contents of the several nested parcels are revealed ; they are a glass (the missing one) and containing a small sprig of flowers. The child is asked to remove the latter, when the audience see that tied round the flowers is the missing ribbon, whilst tied on to this is the missing ring. The assistant is asked to present the flowers, ribbon and ring to the lender. The Requirements.

Two pieces of coloured silk ribbon twelve inches in length.

One bottomless tumbler.

One unfaked tumbler to match.

One double sheet of paper to make up the cone.

One empty matchbox.

One cambric handkerchief with a ring sewn into one corner.

One toy pistol with necessary caps.

One handkerchief with a shape sewn into the centre to simulate the presence of the tumbler.

A small bunch of violets.

Several pieces of coloured linen each measuring about eighteen inches square.

Several lengths of tape or ribbon. Preparation.

First of all, the pieces of linen are taken and stacked into a pile. In the centre of the top piece a circle equal in size to the base of the bottomless tumbler is marked with chalk and the pieces of linen are stitched together (see illustration 1). In the centre of the circle a slit measuring

two inches in length is made in all the pieces of linen. Next, one length of ribbon is tied around the stalks of the flowers so that a loop is left that will hang down some two and a half inches below the lowermost parts of the stalks. The bottomless tumbler is now stood on the centre of the pieces of linen so that the slit comes immediately beneath it ; the flowers are now placed inside the tumbler and the loop of ribbon pushr-d through the slits so that it protrudes the full distance allowed (see illustration 2). The edges of the topmost piece of the linen are now brought up and around the tumbler and tied by means of one of the pieces of tape. All the other pieces of linen are similarly

placed around the glass (see illustration 3). When complete, the whole affair can be stood upon a table ; the fact that there is a slight resilience where the tumbler is bottomless allows for complete masking of ribbon without any kind of wobble. The remainder of the preparation simply consists in the laying out of the articles that are required on the table.

Presentation.

The children are first enveigled on to the platform and the ring borrowed and taken with the right hand; this is placed under the handkerchief, at the same time the corner containing the dummy ring being carried to the centre, where it is retained and gripped between the folds by the free left hand, and then handed to one of the assistants ; the hand containing the ring is meanwhile withdrawn with the borrowed ring finger-palmed. " The next thing we require is a matchbox," says the perfor mer. • His left hand goes to his pocket for this without result, and so the right hand goes to the pocket, leaves the ring there, and brings out the empty matchbox. This is handed to the boy for inspection. The piece of double paper is made into a cone, the ribbon dropped inside, the top folded over and handed to C (alternatively the performer could use the method of envanishment described by Mr. Noakes in " Magical Originalities " and Hugard's Magic Monthly, No. V., 1945). The glass is now covered with the handkerchief containing the fake, and here for the envanishment of the glass the performer has at least two alternatives. M. Giraud uses a black art well for getting rid of the glass, but I feel certain that many performers would prefer a direct steal from the shape into a pocket.

The conjurer now stands in line with the others, and gives the assistant with the pistol the order to fire. The result is known, the conjurer, should he use the double sheet of paper for the cone, having, of course, to take this from the assistant and open it out. The situation of the lost ring is played out b.y the performer, and when he apparently remembers his emergency ring finder, he dismisses all but the one child. Whilst he is doing this his right hand goes to the pocket in which the borrowed ring was dropped, and it is held in a finger-palm position, the hand at the most convenient moment being withdrawn. He turns to the table, and with the left hand holding the top of the bundle, the right goes underneath arid it is lifted. This has the effect of not only hiding the hanging piece of silk, but also of bringing the ring against it. The left hand releases its hold on the top of the parcel, the assistant being asked to undo the ribbon which keeps the ends in place. This being done, the outermost piece of linen falls down and around the performer's right hand, which it should be remembered is still underneath the bundle. The importance of sewing the pieces together will now be apparent, for instead of what was the outermost piece of linen draping around the performer's hand, and thus impeding or showing any movement he might make with that hand, he now has a solid (or almost solid) surface the same size as the base of the tumbler apparently over his right hand. The left hand now steadies the parcel, as the assistant is requested to undo the second tape. Actually the parcel is tightly gripped, for at this moment the vital piece of work is done under cover of the draped cloth, the right hand pushing the silk loop through the ring and thence engages the former around the latter, giving the semblance of the ring being tied on silk ribbon (see illustration 4). The assistant goes on untying the tapes until he reaches the penultimate piece, and at this stage, under cover of the draped cloths, the performer pushes the ring and ribbon through the slit and thus into the glass. The undoing of the last piece of ribbon leaves the effect finished.

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