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THE GAMES WE PLAYED.  4. Where were our girls?  & Five Stones.  [12min read].

                                                                                              Our girls of today!

So where were these beautiful ladies sixty years ago?

The streets were the domain of the boys.  An occasional tomboy joined in and took us on, but girls were a rare sight.  They joined us for drie blikkies [three tins].  On a neighbour’s open grass patch, they also played bok-bok [goat-goat] and rounders with us.

When I hit senior school, I was rather naive and some of the early evening games we played attracted a few of the girls.  I could never understand why it took so long to find them with hide-and-seek.  A few of them always turned up with a sheepish-looking boy or girl in tow.

Was this the reason most girls were kept at home and off the streets?

“Me too” is not just a phenomenon of today?  It’s an age-old problem. The news and social media quickly highlight youngsters issues. Is today’s world a more or less safe?  Were the good old days actually the bad old days?


Five Stones had to be THEE cheapest of all games.  There are many other combinations of stone numbers that one could throw for this ancient Asian game.

These innocen

t-looking stones drove me to distraction.  I could not master their variables. Here, the girls ruled supreme.

Cemented surfaces were preferred, and the five stones placed on the smooth surface.  They were about a plum or apricot pip in size.  One stone was flicked into the air and caught in the hand.  Another pebble was picked up, tossed into the air and caught while holding onto the first stone. Sounds easy!

As the hand filled with stones, it became more difficult to hold onto them, and it was also more difficult to toss one into the air.  A stone landing on the other stones could bounce out of a slow-closing hand.

The five stones were cast back on the ground close to each other.  One stone was flicked into the air, two picked up, and the thrown stone caught on its way down.

The same was repeated with the last two stones on the ground.

With all five in hand, the stones were again gently cast to the ground.  Re-arranging of the objects was not allowed when widely dispersed.

Two stones picked up, one flipped into the air, and the remaining three on the ground were scooped up.  Whew!  Not easy.

Five stones back on the ground, one chosen to flip and four stones picked up before the flipped stone hit the ground.

Any dropping of stones and you were history.

I am pretty convinced that I never got this far.

Now the five stones had to be tossed up and caught on the back of the hand.  I never saw this feat achieved.  Did any of you?  Number of stones on back of hand added to one’s score?

How the girls loved beating us guys when we tried to play the game.  It questioned one’s dexterity, and, without a doubt, it was about hand-eye co-ordination which meant I was always going to be doomed.

The good players handled their stones like slick knife handlers or gunslingers.  I can still picture the way they picked up, threw, and caught their stones with flexible wrists and fingers and flat backs of hands.  It may have been to intimidate the opposition!  I knew of no boy who excelled at Five Stones.

An Australian(Thanks, MV) told me that they used lamb knuckle bones [maybe mid-foot tarsal bones as the knuckle is part of a long bone].  Painted in different colours, each bone had a different numerical value.  With all five stones eventually in hand, flip them up and catch as many as you can on the back of the hand.  Called Jack, there were different versions.

Sounds like a nice innovation, but that would have been too expensive for our mob!


Any different rules in your area?

Any boy that excelled?


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