By Dan Beard
Fig. 24 shows the Wooden Chip Stone Shovel or spoon which each player should
make for himself with his own pocketknife.
Sweet smelling red cedar is the choice wood, but almost any other kind will
Whip-Tops--Eel-Skin Whips the Best.
As a rule boys use old rags for their whips. These soon become very
much soiled and look untidy, but the real sportsman, be he man or boy, takes
great pride in his guns, fish-rods, skates, golf-sticks, or top-whips; and such
boys prefer for a top-whip an eel-skin fastened to a short wooden handle.
Country boys catch their own eels, city boys get the skins at the fish
A whip-top can be made of any sort of wood, and in place of a brass
hollow-headed furniture-tack is driven into the point where the peg of an
ordinary top is located.
To Spin the Top
Put your whip under your felt arm and take the top in your right hand, and
grasping it with your thumb and second finger give it a smart twirl. If this is
skillfully done the top will spin long enough for you to grasp the handle of
your eel-skin whip and give it a lash, striking outward and drawing the whip
toward you at the end of the stroke.
At the word "Go!" two boys spin their tops and then thrash the poor
things until they bump together. The top that knocks its opponent out of the
bull ring in which they are spun is the King Top. It is considered a foul for
one boy to strike his opponent's top with his whip or in any way interfere with
it except by guiding his own top in the path of the other. A top that stops
spinning is beaten, not with the whip, but by the other top that keeps alive.
Two taw lines are drawn on the hard ground or sidewalk, and at the word
"Go!" all the boys in the game spin their tops and belabor them with
might and main, endeavoring at the same time to compel them to travel over the
space between the taw lines before their opponents can cover the distance.
requires no little skill to drive a successful race.
Whipping tops, like most of the favorite games of boys, is a very old sport.
The little boys in Old Testament times played the game just as you are playing
it now. West of the Allegheny Mountains the whip-top is not as often seen as in
the neighborhood of New York City.