He said, “I don’t have any idea, and I can’t even believe that this has happened.”
…Because the magician threw up a rope which stood in the air just like a pillar – a rope which has no bones, nothing. It was just coiled and he had carried it on his shoulder; an ordinary rope. He went on uncoiling it and throwing it out, and soon we could not see the other end. What happened to the other end?
All magicians used to have a child who was their helper. He called the boy, “Are you ready to go up the rope?”
The boy said, “Yes, master” – and he started climbing the rope. And just as the other end of the rope had disappeared, at a certain point the boy also disappeared. Then the magician said to the crowd, “I will bring the boy down, piece by piece.”
I was sitting by the side of the principal. He said, “Are you going to create some trouble for me? If the police come here and see that a boy is cut into pieces….”
I said, “Don’t be worried, he is just performing a magic trick. Nothing is going to be wrong. I have been watching him in many shows – but this I have never seen.”
The magician threw a knife up and one leg of the boy came down, and everybody was almost breathless. He went on throwing knives…another leg…one hand…another hand…and they were lying there on the ground in front of us, not bleeding at all, as if the boy was made of plastic or something. But he was speaking…he was doing all the things the magician was saying. Finally his body came, and just the head remained.
My principal said, “Don’t cut his head!”
I said, “Don’t be worried. If he has cut him…what does it mean? If the police come, you will be caught.”
He said, “I was saying from the very beginning, ‘No nonsense here’ and now you are talking about police. I have always been suspicious of you. Perhaps you have informed the police beforehand to come at the right time.”
I said, “Don’t be worried.”
And then the magician shouted into the sky, “Boy, only your head is there; let it drop.” The head came rolling down, and he started putting the boy together again. He joined him perfectly well, and the boy started collecting his things and said, “What about the rope? Should I start pulling it back?” The magician said, “Yes” and the boy started pulling the rope back and coiling it.
I had only heard about the rope trick, which is world famous. Akbar mentions in his Akbarnama, his autobiography. Since Akbar it has been a rumor in the air that there are magicians who can perform it, but no authoritative account is available. One British viceroy, Curzon, mentions in his memoirs that he saw the rope trick in New Delhi before his whole court.