On the Islands there were diamonds

Back in 2015 Alona Tester posted the “When I was Young Challenge”  question 22 was

“What is something that an older family member taught you to do?”

Well my Grandfather Mullins was a bit of a card shark,  it’s said that on his way back from India on the troop ship he won 2 months wages,  and on the way back from visiting his brother in Manchester he paid for the trip on his winnings playing cards on the train.  On Christmas day,  my Father, Grandad and Uncle Reg would play “Brag” all afternoon for pennies and sometimes us kids would sit and watch for a while.

Grandad did not teach me to play brag,  but he did teach me a card trick, when I was about 6 or 7.

Take the Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks and 4 of each suit of the numbers cards from a pack of cards.

Create 4 piles of cards as follows, saying the phrases as you place the cards down.

  • “There were 4 islands”  place the aces down making 4 piles
  • “On the islands were diamonds”  put the diamond cards on the Aces
  • “The Queens came to see the diamonds” put the Queens on the piles
  • “The Queens had good hearts” put the hearts on the piles
  • “The Jacks came to steal the Diamonds” put the Jacks on the piles
  • “They brought their Spades to Dig the Diamonds” put the spades on the piles
  • “The Kings came to save the Queens” put the Kings on the piles
  • “They brought their Clubs to beat the Thieves” put the clubs on the piles
  • “and huge fight ensued”

Now stack all the stacks in to a single pile and turn them over.

Cut and stack the pack 3 times.  Then deal the the cards into 8 piles.

The cards will have sorted themselves into the sets to start again.


One thought on “On the Islands there were diamonds

  1. I’ve recently seen and learned this trick…a couple of variations (order of the cards, seven cuts rather than three) but essentially the same. On laying out the 8 piles, turning up the very last card, which indicates the order overall. The trick is to know where the Aces are from that hint, and restock the deck in the correct order so the story can be told again. What WHY/HOW do they sort themselves into the eight sets of four again? It seems impossible with random cuts.
    Anybody knows this, please email me at mike@prosperitysystems.co.nz

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