Hawaiian String Puzzles

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49. O-ki-kau-la STRING-CUTTING

String Puzzle

[Page 223] One person prepares a string which another cuts at a place indicated, whereupon the first puts the two ends in his mouth and withdraws them united.

50. Pu-kau-la

[Page 224] A trick of twisting a cord around the fingers or tying it around the arm or leg in such manner that, while seemingly secure, it comes off with a slight pull. The name is from pu, and kau-la, a rope. Pu or puu among other meanings is explained by Andrews as "to cast or draw lots (a Hawaiian custom formerly in practice) by using a knotted string." This is a common amusement in Japan, but my Japanese acquaintances have no particular name for it. Dr Bolton tells me that in Austria-Hungary a similar trick is played by Bauern Fänger and is called Kettelziehen.

Last update February 2, 2010