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THE OPENING CEREMONY

Source: Indian Games
Category: Ball Games





The two Judges rise in their places. The north side Judge holds the four
tally-rods in his right hand, the south side Judge holds the four
tally-rods in his left hand; the two then walk abreast to the standard.
There they face the North, move forward a few steps, pause, and each Judge
holds up his tally-rods to the North, while all the players on both sides
of the circle sing the following song:

Song

1

Hail! O North! Thy wind send
To blow care away,
To bring joy to-day;
Makes Eyes keen,
Make Hands swift for play.

[Music]

At the close of the stanza the two Judges lower their tally-rods, turn,
walk toward the East, pause, then elevate their tally-rods, and all the
players sing the second stanza.

2

Hail! O East! Thy wind send
To blow care away,
To bring joy to-day;
Makes Eyes keen,
Make Hands swift for play.

At the close of the stanza the two Judges lower their tally-rods, turn,
walk toward the South, pause, again elevate their tally-rods, while all the
players sing the third stanza.

3

Hail! O South! Thy wind send
To blow care away,
To bring joy to-day;
Make Eyes keen,
Make Hands swift for play.

At the close of this stanza the two Judges lower their tally-rods, turn,
walk toward the West, pause, once more elevate their tally-rods, and all
the players join in singing the fourth stanza.

4

Hail! O West! Thy wind send
To blow care away,
To bring joy to-day;
Make Eyes keen,
Make Hands swift for play.

At the close of the song the Judges lower their tally-rods and walk to the
rug, where they take their appointed seats behind the respective wands.
They then lay all the tally-rods on the space between them.


Chaputer THE CONTEST

A contest now takes place between the two persons chosen by the Judges to
be the two Guessers, one for each side, to decide which shall begin the
game. The Judge for the north side calls the name of the person chosen to
be the Guesser for that side and the Custodian escorts him to his place
within the circle. The Judge for the south side calls the name of the
person chosen to be Guesser for that side, and the Custodian escorts him to
his place within the circle. The Custodian then gives to each the wand
belonging to his side and also one of the small balls.

The Guesser from the north side hides his ball in one of his hands,
shifting it behind his back, then he holds out both hands in front of him
with all the fingers closed except the index finger, which is extended as
if pointing to the other Guesser. Both hands and forearms must be
rhythmically moved up and down. The south side Guesser watches for a moment
and then points with his wand to the hand he thinks has the ball. As soon
as he points to a hand, it must be immediately opened, palm upward. Should
the ball be in the other hand, it must be shown to be lying there. If the
guess was correct, the ball being in the hand pointed at, it counts one.
Three correct guesses must be made by one of the Guessers in order to
secure for his side the right to open the game. In this contest the
Guessers must alternate, first the north side Guesser, then the south side
Guesser, and so on until one of the Guessers has won three correct guesses.
That decides it. His side is to hide the ball and the other side's Guesser
is to do the guessing.

THE GAME

The Custodian takes the drum from its position in front of the rug, carries
it to the side of the successful Guesser and sets it before the three
Singers who are to lead in the singing of the song belonging to that side
of the circle of players. Every one on that side must sing the song as they
hide the balls. Only those on the side that is hiding the balls sing. They
can only sing the song that belongs to their side.

SONG FOR THE NORTH SIDE

[Music]

SONG FOR THE SOUTH SIDE

[Music]

There are no words for either of these songs. The vocables given are those
used with these songs when the Indians sing them as they hide the balls.

The Custodian takes the two balls from the Guessers and hands them to two
persons designated by the Guesser who has won the right for that side to
begin. The two persons designated must be two who are sitting together.
They each take a ball, and they must hide the balls in the same manner as
did the Guessers during the contest. The fingers of the hands are closed,
all but the index finger, which is extended as if pointing. The hands and
arms move up and down and also from one side to the other; all of these
movements must be in exact time to the song and the drum-beats. These
swaying, rhythmic movements are pleasing to the eye and add to the
enjoyment of the game. While the two persons having the balls are hiding
them, swaying their hands and arms, the Guesser, who is of the opposite
side, is watching intently the hands of the players. When he is ready to
make a guess he points his wand to where he thinks the balls are--directly
in front, if he suspects the balls to be in the two inside hands. If he
thinks the balls are in the two outside hands, he points his wand to one of
the hands and extends his empty hand toward the other; in that case the
Guesser stands with both of his arms extended. As soon as the Guesser
points with his wand, the hands indicated must be at once opened, palms
upward, so that all can see whether the guess is right or wrong.

Every correct guess counts one for the side of the Guesser. As soon as a
correct guess is made, the Judge for that side takes up one of the
tally-rods and lays it toward his side; this shows that a point has been
won for that side. If the guess is wrong, the Judge for the other side
takes up one of the tally-rods and lays it over on his side. The other side
has lost one, while his side has gained by the other's loss.

To win a sweep, all the eight tally-rods must be gained by one side. Three
sweeps by a side gives that side the game.

Whenever a sweep is made the balls are handed over to the Custodian. The
two Judges rise, go to the standard, stand there, one facing North (his
side), the other the South (his side). The two Guessers go to the standard,
stand there, one facing East, the other West. All the winning side rise, go
toward the standard and form a circle around it. There they sing the
Victory Song.

VICTORY SONG

[Music]

As they sing they sway their arms as though hiding the balls, and dance to
the rhythm of the song. Four times they dance around the standard and sing
the Victory Song. All movements must be in time with the song. At the close
of the fourth circuit of the standard, all return to their appointed places
and the game is resumed.

The Custodian takes up the drum, carries it to the side that has just
danced and sets it before the three Singers of that side. The Guesser, who
is of the opposite side, designates the two who are to hide the balls and
the game proceeds as described above.

Whenever a side that has been hiding the balls fails three times to elude
the Guesser, then the Custodian takes the drum from that side and carries
it to the other side of the circle, puts it before the Singers and gives
the balls as directed. Sometimes there are disputes as to these transfers
and as to the points lost; three must be lost to secure a transfer. It then
becomes the duty of the Judges to decide.

With every transfer of the drum the song changes. The balls and the right
to sing go together, but the song belonging to one side must not be sung by
the other side. The songs are not interchangeable.

This game is provocative of fun and merriment as well as dexterity of hand
and quickness of vision. It also presents a very pretty spectacle. It is
greatly enjoyed by Indian men, women and children. It has also found favor
with merrymakers of our own race.





Next: INTRODUCTION

Previous: IOU'TIN



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