Although several of the materials for the amusements suggested in this section may not be readily available, the old reliable handkerchief dolls that used to entertain grandmother are suitable and available for almost any situation except church. For limited space such as on a train, bus, or in the sickroom, The Bather will occupy juvenile attention for as long a period as the imagination can provide a suitable scenario. As illustrated in Figure 6.1, the personality of this animated doll is more or less dependent upon the size, style, and angle of the knot which constitutes its timidly turbaned head. With bare legs the delicate miss tiptoes toward the icy water which is represented by the edge of the seat, bed, or a newspaper, hesitatingly tests its temperature with one pink "foot," and withdraws precipitately innumerable times before archly venturing in, only to stumble and fall, with shrieks from all concerned.
Fig. 6.1. The Bather.
A second bather for the other hand will provide a congenial companion who can often sustain long, pointless conversations as they both mince daintily along the strand. The introduction of a hand mirror will often prolong the young producers' manipulations of their actresses, after the original star has relaxed in peace.
Another old favorite is the limp little doll formed from a man-sized handkerchief, which can be animated to furnish considerable entertainment for today's young worldlings. Figure 6.2 shows the various steps, commencing with the rolling of the two edges to the center. The corners are then pulled well out of the rolls and the top marked X folded about two-thirds of the way down to form the legs, which are revealed when the lower edge Y is folded up far enough to form a proportionate head when the rolled ends are tied in back. These ends are then tugged outward to represent the arms.
While very young misses may be content for a time to mother this makeshift doll, a longer period of interest will be insured if a strong black thread is attached to its back and brought over a wall bracket or a chair rung to breathe life into the puppet. Several handkerchief dolls on threads will create an impromptu marionette show, or one child can act as a magician if the others are not in the know.
For this purpose a small open safety pin can be tied to the doll's end of the invisible thread and allowed to lie on the floor after the thread has been passed over its overhead axis. After the "magician" has either publicly constructed the doll or permitted the audience to inspect it, he or she makes magic passes over it while hooking the pin into its back unobserved. Concealing the hand which controls the thread, the magician startles the audience by causing the huddled handkerchief to slowly raise its head at command. Recognizing its occult master, it then painfully arises to its wobbling feet, upon which it later leaps and bounds in mysterious abandon.
Fig. 6.2. Making a handkerchief doll.