Everyone in India knows the Indian juggler. He travels about from village to village and town to town, generally with a boy to carry his things and help him with his tricks. He is always welcome, for he amuses the people with his clever tricks and the jokes he makes as he does them.
Some of these jugglers are quite clever; and, although we know that the wonderful things they do are only tricks, we are puzzled to know how they do them. However closely we watch, we cannot see the juggler remove the little ball which we saw him put under the cup; and yet when he lifts the cup again, the ball has gone. Such tricks are done by what is called “sleight”, or quickness, of hand; for the skilled juggler by long practice has learnt to move his hands quicker than the eye can follow them.
The basket trick is a famous trick of the Indian juggler. He places on the ground a large round shallow basket, and his boy gets into it and lies down. The juggler then puts the cover of the basket on, with the boy inside. He then takes a sword and runs it through the middle of the basket-cover several times, and one can hear the boy screaming, and see that the sword is all red when he draws it out. We feel frightened and angry because we think the poor boy has been killed. But the juggler does not seem to care and covers the basket up with a big cloth. Then he takes the cloth off, and lifts the cover of the basket; but when we look eagerly inside, the basket is empty and the boy was gone. A minute afterward, the boy walks up, laughing quite well and happy. It has all been a trick; but when we ask the juggler how it was done, he only smiles and says nothing.
The mango trick is another well-known show of the Indian juggler. He plants a mango stone in a flower pot and covers it with a cloth. After a time he takes the cloth off and there is a tiny mango tree growing in the pot!