Great tales have come out of the Orient about the remarkable mango tree growth performed by the magicians. Descriptions of the effect vary according to the imaginations of the people who tell about it. Many who have never seen the effect but have merely read or heard about it discuss it as if they knew all about it. Everyone seems to consider this experiment in which the magician puts a seed into the ground and suddenly causes a tree to spring up as a mystery of mysteries.
Because of this peculiar respect which the public has for the mysteries of the Hindus and because of the public's overwrought imagination regarding the mango tree mystery, the modern magician would do well to capitalize on this effect.
Here is your opportunity to work up a feature number which will give you excellent publicity. Accent the fact that this Hindu Mango Tree Mystery is one of the most difficult in all the world to fathom and that you came across the secret in a peculiar manner. Impress it on the public that it is a rare privilege for them to be able to see this profound bit of magic of the Far East performed before their very eyes. If you study this effect and present it with good Showmanship, it will seem a veritable miracle to your audiences.
Hindu Magic is, of necessity, different from ours here in the Occident, because of the difference in conditions under which it is practiced. The Hindu sits on the ground out in the open with the sky as the roof of his theater. He must employ methods of performing his magic which are adapted to his environment. We, on the other hand, perform our magic in rooms, clubs, theaters, and we can utilize methods for gaining an effect which is impossible for the Hindu to use.
First, I shall describe the Hindu Mango Tree Growth as it is performed by the Hindu Magician on the streets of India. Then I shall discuss the presentation in our own modern environment.
Performer plants a seed in a can of earth or sand. He shows a cloth and then covers the jar of earth with it. After a moment, the cloth is removed and a small sprout with leaves is found growing in the earth. The can is covered again and behold! — when the cloth is removed, a mango tree about eighteen inches tall with pieces of fruit on it has grown up in the can.
1 — A tin can or jar full of earth. Sand may be used, if desired, Figure 29.
2 — A cloth about five feet square — must be opaque.
4 — A plant or small leafy piece cut from a tree. This should be about a foot and a half high. To this fasten a few small lemons, limes, kumquats, or plums, Figure 30.
7 — A few pieces of cloth or articles of clothing to be piled up to right and left of performer.
SECRET AND PATTER TO PREPARE:
To facilitate the handling of the plant it is necessary to wrap it in a cloth bag arrangement which will hold it in as small a space as possible. At the same time, this cloth must be fixed so that it will slip from plant easily. A satisfactory bag is made by using a piece of black cloth or cloth the same color as the covering cloth to be used later. This should be cut long and fairly narrow and small rings sewed to the long edges, Figure 31.
Wrap this cloth tightly around the plant and hold in place with nails put through the rings. Attach a string to the tops of the nails as shown in Figure 32, next page.
When string is pulled from the top, all the nails are pulled out of rings and covering of plant is released. Nails are kept together by string, Figure 33.
At top of covering for plant, sew a three-inch strip of cloth, Figure 34.
Place pile of clothing to your left. This pile may be performer's coat with one or two turban cloths. Place plant under clothes so that it is completely concealed except for the three-inch strip at top of plant covering. This should be toward you so that it can be easily grasped. This strip is used merely for facility in working. It can be arranged so as not to attract any attention. On top of pile place the five-foot cloth used later to cover can of earth, Figure 35.
The impression conveyed to audience is that this pile contains articles to be used during the performance.
In performer's right pocket are the large seed and the small leafy sprout. Or sprout may be in sash which he wears round waist.
The Hindu sits on the ground, his jar of earth in front of him. The pile of clothes with plant concealed under it is at his left side. Other cloths and apparatus, including a musical instrument known as a flageolet, are at the right, Figure 36.
He picks up the jar of earth and shows it freely. He may even turn the earth out of the jar and fill it up again. Or he may have the can empty and fill it from a box of earth or sand nearby.
He pats the earth down in the can. Then takes a seed from his pocket, shows it, and then plants it into the earth in the can. If he has a can of water nearby, he waters it a little.
He then picks up the five-foot cloth from the pile on his left and shows it on both sides. Next he covers the can of earth by holding this cloth over it, tent-fashion, in his left hand, Figure 37.
After a few moments, he lifts off cloth and throws it back on his lap. While directing attention of audience to jar of earth, he palms out the small sprout from his pocket under cover of cloth on his lap.
"Nothing happen. Maybe seed no good. Water him more."
He picks up can of water and wets earth a bit more. "We try him again."
He covers jar again, holding center of cloth in left hand as before. Under cover of cloth, he reaches under with right hand and plants leafy sprout into earth in can, Figure 38.
Perhaps at this time he drops cloth over can and sprout, and picking up his flageolet, plays an oriental tune, Figure 39.
He picks up center of cloth over can again and tosses it onto pile of clothes at left so that center comes over strip of cloth on plant cover. He spreads cloth out and then calls attention to the leafy growth in the can, Figure 40.
"See, plant grow better now."
With left hand he quickly pulls up covering cloth again, grasping it at the center and pulling up under it the strip of cloth attached to plant cover, Figure 41.
As cloth is pulled up in this manner, plant is drawn up also and concealed inside of it. This movement is made in a careless manner, handling cloth as before, Figure 42, next page.
Covering is again held tent-fashion over. jar and performer spreads lower edges of cloth down on ground around jar. He then reaches up under cover with right hand and pushes center stalk of plant down into the earth in can, Figure 43.
He quickly pulls the string up from plant cover, freeing the nails and releasing the cover from plant. Plant cover is still held by left hand through large cover over jar, as in Figure 43.
"Him grow maybe three inches, maybe four inches."
Performer spreads the plant out a little under cover of cloth and suddenly removes cloth, carrying with it the small plant cover, and tosses it aside.
Audience can now see full-grown plant. Hindu may pick off one of the pieces of fruit and give it to a spectator to taste, Figure 44.
This is one of the favorite methods for performing the Mango Tree Growth used in India. It is simple to work, yet it is very puzzling. Showmanship must be put into the performance, however. Care must be taken in handling the cloth in a free and easy manner to give impression of merely tossing it aside to show jar and then holding it up just to cover jar. Eyes and attention of performer must be kept on the jar for MISDIRECTION.
Pile of clothing may be to right or left, as desired. The small leafy sprout may also be concealed in the pile instead of in the pocket.
This effect is designed for work out in the open and on the ground, yet it can be produced Hindu fashion on the stage by using similar properties to those which the Hindu uses in performing the experiment. The effect will have to be worked up to a little quicker tempo, however. The Hindu takes his time about growing the plant. He is not working in vaudeville, and fifteen minutes more or less doesn't mean much to the magician in India. The effect may be produced on the floor or on a large table on a stage with excellent results in a modern program if presented with snap and good magical Showmanship.
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