The Real Cat's Cradle and Four Other String Figures
The following movements put the loop on the hands in what for convenience
may be called the First position. Very many string games begin in this way, and the
movements should be learned now, as we shall not repeat the description with every figure.
First: Put the little fingers into the loop of string and separate the hands. You now have a
single loop on each little finger passing directly and uncrossed to the opposite little finger.
Second: Turning the hands with the palms away from you, put each thumb into
the little finger loop from below, and pick up on the back of the thumb the near little finger
string: then, allowing the far little finger string to remain on the little finger, turn the hands
with the palms away from you, put each thumb into the little finger loop from below, and
pick up on the back of the thumb the near little finger string; then, allowing the far little
finger string to remain on the little finger, turn the hands with the palms facing each other,
return the thumbs to their extended position, and draw the strings tight.
In the first position, therefore, there is, on each hand, a string which crosses the
palm, and passing behind the thumb runs to the other hand to form the far little finger string.
It is not essential that the loop shall be put on the hands by the movements just
described; any method will answer, so long as the proper position of the string is secured.
This method, however, has been found to be as easy as any other. The first position is, of
course, absurdly simple, yet it not infrequently puzzles the beginner, largely because it is
the reverse of the first steps in the ordinary Cat's-cradle known to every child.
More than half of the string figures open in the same way; to avoid constant
repetition therefore, we may follow Drs. Rivers and Haddon and call this very general
method of beginning opening A. It should be learned now, because in the descriptions of the
figures in which it occurs, the first movement will be simply noted as Opening A. It is
formed by three movements.
First: Put the loop on the hands in the First Position.
Second: Bring the hands together, and put the right index up under the string which crosses
the left palm, and draw the loop out the back of the finger by separating the hands.
Third: Bring the hands together again, and put the left index up under that part of the string
crossing the palm of the right hand which is between the strings on the right index, and draw
the loop out on the back of the left index by separating the hands.