Magic Trick: A Water Trick

This is considered one of the best of the tricks produced in recent years. When the curtain goes up seven large metal jars are seen standing in a row on a board. This rests with one end on the back of a chair and the other on a small table that also supports a tub. In order that our explanation may be clear let us suppose that the jars are numbered 1 to 7, beginning with the one on the left of the stage. Picking up Number One, the performer holds it with its mouth toward the audience, to show that it is empty, and to prove that Number Two also is empty, he drops Number One into it. A moment later he removes Number One and places it on the board in its original position. He continues in this way, first showing a jar empty and then dropping it momentarily into another until all the jars are shown to be empty. When Number Six is taken out of Number Seven the performer shakes a duck out of the latter, and then proceeds to pour from the jars, beginning with Number Six, enough water to fill the tub.

Should you ask us whence the water and the bird, we, in the language of Hiawatha,

"…should answer your inquiries Straightway in such words as follow:"

While only seven jars are seen by the audience at any one time, thirteen are used in the trick. Six of these are perfect, while each of the seven others has a longitudinal oval hole near the bottom. As they appear on the board at the start Number One, which has a hole in it, stands first. Number Two is made up of two jars, the outer jar with a hole in it, the inner jar perfect (really a lining) and nearly filled with water. Five other jars are arranged in the same way. Care is taken always to cover the hole in a jar, so that it may not be seen by the audience.

Fig. 192 The dotted lines show the hidden jar with the hole.

To begin the trick the performer picks up the first jar, which, the reader will remember, has a hole in it and is not double, and holding it with the mouth toward the audience, remarks, "This jar, as you may see, is absolutely empty, and so also is this next one." As he says this he drops Number One into Number Two and immediately brings it out again, and with it the perfect lining of Number Two. Number One is now filled with water, and the performer stands it in its place on the board. Then he picks up Number Two, which is now without its lining and has a hole in it, drops it into Number Three and at once takes it out with the lining of Number Three. In this way he goes on to the end. All the jars are now full, except Number Seven, which has a hole in it and is without lining. This he picks up and shows it is empty. He rests it for a moment on the end of the little table with the mouth toward him, ostensibly to move the tub a little. As he leans forward, his left hand seizes a duck that lies, tied up, at the back of the table, and brings it up into the mouth of the jar. This is not done rapidly as that would attract attention, but by drawing back the left side, which is away from the audience, and leaning forward with the right and stretching out the right arm, as if to move the tub, he introduces the duck into the jar. Then the right hand grasps the lower end of the jar, and shakes the duck out on to the stage. Immediately following this he catches up Number Six, empties it into the tub and follows it with the other jars until the tub is filled with water.

One performer substitutes lemonade for water and serves it to his audience.

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