INTRODUCTORY





INTRODUCTORY NOTE.--This game, Dr. Culin states, is played among eighty-one

Indian tribes of the United States. The game bears different names in the

various languages of these tribes. Hand Game is a descriptive term and not

a translation of any native name; it refers to the fact that the object is

held in the hand during the play. The following form of this game is the

way it was formerly played among the Nez Perce Indians of the State of

Idaho. Lewis and Clark, who were the first white men to record their

meeting with these Indians, mention this game, and Capt. Bonneville gives

an account of it when he visited the tribe during the third decade of the

last century.



_Properties_.--A bone or wooden bead about two inches in length and half an

inch in thickness; thirty counting sticks (these are sometimes spoken of as

arrows, and there are indications that they were once arrows--the arrows of

the twin gods); a mat oblong in shape; two logs or pieces of board about

the length of the mat, and as many sticks (to be used as drum-sticks) as

players can sit on one side of the mat.



_Directions_.--The mat should be laid east and west, the logs or boards put

on the north and south edges and the counting sticks placed in two piles of

fifteen each on the ends of the mat. The players sit on the ground, a row

on each side of the mat to the north and south. Lots are drawn to decide

which side shall have the bead "in hand." The Leader and the singers must

always stand behind the row of players who have the bead "in hand." The

opposite side must have the drum-sticks and beat on the log or board in

time with the singers.



When the players are seated in two rows, one on each side of the mat, the

Leader hands the bead to a player on the side that has drawn the right to

have the bead "in hand," and then takes his place beside the singers, who

stand behind that row, and starts the following song. All in that row join

in the singing.



HAND GAME SONG



[Music]



The players on the opposite side, who are to guess who is hiding the bead,

at once begin to beat the time of the song on the log or board that is in

front of them, on the edge of the mat, and at the same time they must watch

the other side where the players are trying to pass the bead from one hand

to the other and from one person to another without exposing the bead to

view. In all these actions the movements of hands, arms and body must be

rhythmical and in time with the song. All the players in the row that has

the bead "in hand" must act as if each one either had the bead or was

trying to pass it on, whether he actually has the bead or does not have it.



When one on the opposite side thinks he detects the whereabouts of the bead

and is willing to risk a guess, he points his drum-stick to the hand he

thinks has the bead and cries, "Hi-i!" and the hand indicated must be

immediately opened so that all may see whether the guess is correct or not.

If the bead is seen to be in the opened hand, the Leader calls out,

"Success!" and goes to the pile of counting sticks belonging to the side of

the guesser, takes one and stands it in the ground in front of the

successful guesser. The Leader then hands the bead to the player who has

won and proceeds to gather the drum-sticks and distribute them to the

players on the opposite side. The singers pass around and take their places

behind the row of players who now have the bead "in hand." When all are in

readiness, the Leader starts the song again and the players begin their

movements of secretly passing the bead, while the other side beat time with

their drum-sticks on the log or board in front of them. The side that has

the bead "in hand" always does the singing, led by the Leader and singers,

who must stand at the rear of the row having the bead.



If a guess is incorrect the Leader goes to the pile of counting sticks that

belongs to the side which has the drum-sticks, takes a counting stick and

thrusts it in the ground in front of the row opposite to the guesser; that

means one lost to his side. The bead in that instance remains on the same

side until it is won by the opposite side through a successful guess.



In this manner the game goes on until one side or the other has won all the

thirty counting sticks and become the victor in the game.





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