An Indian Magic show
Indian jugglers are famous, though, as far as my experience goes, their skill is rather overrated. Some of them are certainly clever, but not more so than conjurers in other countries. And some of the famous tricks attributed to them, like the much talked of rope-trick, seem to be mythical.
I will describe one of the conjuring entertainments I have seen. The juggler, an old man with a grizzled beard and naked except for a lion-cloth, chattered all the time he was doing his tricks in a shrill, sing-song voice, talking a queer mixture of Hindustani and broken English. After a few minor tricks had been done with cards and cups, he proceeded to the famous mango-trick
I had heard much of the mango-trick and was prepared to be impressed, but it was done so clumsily that anyone could see through it. The conjurer first took an old dry mango stone and buried it in the earth in a flower pot. He then covered it with a big cloth, and while he chattered you could see he was fumbling under the cloth with both hands. When he removed the cloth, there was a small branch of a mango tree stuck in the pot. Again the pot was covered, and there was more chatter and fumbling under the cloth, and when it was removed there was another mango branch in the pot, this time bearing a small green mango. The trick could not have deceived a child.
The basket-trick was better done. A shallow round basket was produced, and a young lad got into it and lay down. The lid was put on, and the whole was covered with cloth. The conjurer then took an old sword and very carefully pierced the basket, always in the middle. The cloth was then removed and the basket opened and it was empty. A few minutes after, the boy came in from the outside of the crowd.
But the cleverest trick I saw was the mysterious disappearance of a ring. The juggler borrowed a silver ring from a bystander. He tied this up tightly in the corner of a cloth and gave it to me to hold. I could feel the ring in the cloth, and held it tightly between my finger and thumb. He then told me to let go of the ring and shake the cloth, he all the time sitting down at some distance. I did so, and when I examined the cloth, the ring had disappeared. He then came forward and picked up an apple which had been lying on the ground out of his reach, and told me to cut it open. I did so, and there was the ring! It certainly was the same ring, for its owner recognised and claimed it. How the ring got out of the cloth and into the middle of an uncut apple, is a mystery.