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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/385

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369
Collectanea.

Miss A. Hingston showed me a third variety of this trick, in which the loop after being placed over the index remained pendent on the back of the hand, while the thumb strings were placed between the fingers, with the result that the string ran out between thumb and index.

There is a Melanesian trick called Au mokeis, or "Rat," known to Dr. Haddon's pupils, which has a striking resemblance to the "Hand string-trick." As to their exact relations I find it difficult to express an opinion. In point of cleverness there is no comparison between them. The English trick depends on one method of undoing the double half-hitch, the Melanesian utilises two or three, and besides, baffles the onlooker by shifting the play from the free to the fixed end of the loop. Au mokeis is a riot in the double half-hitch. It is hard to learn, and I could believe that the English trick is an attempt to reproduce it. Perhaps one or both of them may at some time have been used as a means of shortening an inconvenient length of rope, the thumb representing a horn or belaying-pin, whose release would free the remainder of the rope when wanted.

The following "Mouse" trick was communicated to Dr. Haddon by Dr. H. H. Weir, formerly of Toynbee Hall:


The Mouse Alternative.

Take string in right hand and loop one end over little finger of left hand, pressing against ulnar side of little finger. Twist strings of little finger loop once between little finger and ring finger, and pass over ring finger so that dorsal string of little finger is palmar string on ring finger, and vice versa. Repeat twist and pass over middle finger, taking care to twist in opposite direction and so keep one string proximal and the other distal on each finger.

Repeat for index finger. Repeat for thumb (Fig. 23). Each string now passes on palmar and dorsal aspect of each finger alternately, one being proximal and one distal the whole way.

Bring distal string round thumb to other aspect, and lay it along the same aspect of index finger, i.e. that which it is already against.

Remove proximal string from thumb, and between thumb

2 A