lecture28 melville


Here is a very easy effect that I have just begun to perform – ideal for Christmas. I found the story and immediately saw the possibilities.

At Christmas in Mexico, most houses display the Poinsettia. Just as we have Holly, Misletoe and the Christmas Tree, the Mexicans have the poinsettia. They believe that the beautiful plant brings a blessing that will last all year. The tradition has existed since 1834 when a miracle occurred in a tiny village.

In those days it was customary for people in the villages to take gifts to the Baby Jesus at Christmas Eve. Little Maria, a poor peasant girl had no gift, but she did so want to enter the church and see the Baby Jesus in His crib.

She stood outside, watching others as they entered, carrying their gifts. Some took food, some took crochet and lacework. Others carried flowers. But little Maria had nothing. One lady passed her with a huge bundle of flowers in her arms. As she walked by, a leaf fell from the enormous bunch and landed at Maria’s feet (1) She picked it up and thought, "I will take this leaf".

Others saw Maria pick up the leaf and smiled as she carefully wrapped it in her small handkerchief (2) And then, clutching her tiny gift, Maria entered the church. She took her place at the end of the line of people waiting to make their offerings. Then at last, it was Maria’s turn. She stretched out her arm and carefully opened her fingers to place the leaf on the altar in front of the crib.

There was a gasp from the adults who had seen Maria fold the leaf into her tiny handkerchief. For as her fingers separated (3) , it was seen that the little peasant girl was now holding a beautiful flower. The miraculous bloom was formed like a star with brilliant scarlet leaves.

Word of the miracle spread quickly through the church and people fell to their knees. The gift of the Poinsettia came to be known as "The Flower of the Holy Night".

I searched around and bought a cheap artificial Christmas wreath that was decorated with small poinsettias and pulled one off. I next obtained a small artificial leaf (mine has three ‘blades’, approx five  five inches maximum width). All you now need is a nine inch white silk and a thumb-tip! – You should be ‘way ahead of me by now!

I am left-handed and I begin with the small poinsettia and thumb-tip held in my left hand - fairly tightly closed. The silk handkerchief is in my left trouser pocket and the leaf is in my right-hand. Begin the story:

At (1) show the leaf and drop it on the ground, then pick it up as
indicated in the story. Immediately reach into your pocket and take out the silk. Drape it over your already closed fist and
(2) push the leaf into the well and into the thumb-tip. Fold the silk into the thumb - tip also and steal away – Job done! At (3), follow the action to the words and slowly open your fingers to reveal the miraculous transformation!

Simple though this is, it produces a BIG reaction so don’t sell it short.

N.B. Just a quick word on stealing thumb-tips. I have NEVER stolen a thumb-tip away with my thumb! I believe that it is most unnatural to do so. I poke the silk (or whatever) a couple of times with my fore-finger, once with my third finger, once again with my fore-finger and then STEAL the tip away with my second finger. Just as you do with a silk dye-tube. I will sometimes have a further prod with my fore-finger after the tip has gone. But NEVER with my thumb! – I just thought I would mention it.

Stories....?.....That's telling!
Leslie Melville.


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All the material in this lecture is copyrighted with all rights reserved to Leslie Melville, 2002. The routine is copyrighted to Leslie Meliville, 1992.