Tub Tilting




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by Ernest Thompson Seton

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Tub tilting is immensely popular at night by the blazing campfire, as well as in the city at the indoor councils. It is an exciting game, tests the ability of the contestants, and can be made quite scientific. 

For this, we use two small tubs, about flour-barrel size, or, better still, two stools made with a heavy plank top, circular, 14 inches in diameter, and supported by four strong legs spreading widely at the bottom. The top of the stool should be about two feet off the ground. 

The stools are set level, exactly a spear length apart, center to center. Each fighter takes his place on a stool, and his game is to put the other off the stool with a thrust of his spear. To prevent accidents, we have usually a catcher behind each man. The umpire stands alongside, near the middle. 

It is a foul to use the spear as a club, or to push below the knees, to push the stool, to seize the other man's spear in your hands, or to to touch the ground with the spear. A foul gives the round to the other man. 

The round is over when one man is off or when he fouls. 

It is a draw when both go off together. 

They change stools and spears after each round. 

The battle is usually for three or five rounds. 

Several good parries are well known. One is to use your spear handle as in bayonet parries. The best players parry much by wriggling the body. Often, when over-balanced, one can regain by spinning completely around. 

The correct spears are made thus: Take six feet of the butt-end of a bamboo an inch thick. Make a ball of hardwood, about two inches in diameter, with a central projecting peg about 3 inches long and 3/4 inch thick. Stick this into the top of the bamboo. Make it secure with a lashing and one or two very thin nails driven in. 

Pad the head an inch thick with the ordinary horsehair stuffing that is used in furniture, and bind all with strong burlap, sewing it at the seams and lashing it around the bamboo with string. This completes the dry land spear. If for use in the water, make a final cover out of rubber cloth. This keeps the spear dry. A completed spear weighs about 1 1/2 pounds. 

I have seen a good many campers try tilting on the land or on the water and make an utter failure of it, by reason of the absurdly clumsy, heavy spears used. A green sapling was cut for handle, and the end tied up in a bundle of rags that was 18 inches through. This was hard enough to lift, when dry, and as it usually soon fell into the water and got sopping wet, its weight became trebled, and one could not use it as a spear at all.

The Birch Bark Roll






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.