Which Came First?


Here is another story for children that watching adults will also enjoy.

(Performer holds up an egg) – "What’s this?" – (“An egg!” the children will shout) – "Quite right. Now, where do eggs come from?" (“Hens lay them!” – they’re smart, these kids!) – "Yes, that’s good. Can anyone tell me where hens come from?" – (“From eggs!”). "Right again. Now which do you think came first, the hens or the eggs?" – (Lots of confused shouting here) – "Well…no one knows for sure which came first and it is a question that grown-ups have been asking for years! I am now going to tell you a story that may give you a clue to the answer.

Many, many years ago, in a land far away, there lived a very wise and powerful magician. Everyone was a little afraid of him, although he had never been known to actually hurt anyone who told the truth, and washed behind their ears. They said that there was nothing he didn’t know, nor anything he couldn’t do – a bit like your Dad (or headmaster, if you are playing a school).

One day there was a loud banging at the magician’s door(I ring a bicycle bell!), and in burst the Prime Minister accompanied by other members of the government. “Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!” said the Prime Minister. “Dear Mr. Magician, we are in terrible trouble. Please help us!” “Yes, yes, we are in terrible trouble” repeated the others. “Stop all of this catawauling!” boomed the magician. “How dare you come barging in here like this?”

“Oh Dear, Dear Mr. Magician”, cried the Prime Minister. “You are our only hope!” “Yes, you are our only hope!” echoed the others. “It’s Her Majesty, you see”, went on the P.M. “She sent a message down to the Royal Kitchen this morning, telling the Chef that she wanted a boiled egg for her tea!” “Yes”, said the others, “a boiled egg for her tea!” “Then give her a boiled egg for her tea!” thundered the magician “Give her one! Don’t come bothering me with your trivialities!” He turned away.

“Oh, but Mr. Magician, Dear, Dear, Dear Mr. Magician, don’t you see? Eggs haven’t been invented yet!.” “No, they haven’t been invented yet!” cried the others. “And she says that if she doesn’t get one, she’ll cut off all our heads!” “She’ll cut off all our heads!” wailed the others, echoing the Prime Ministers words once again.

The magician slowly turned back. “So-oo, you want me to create an egg, hey?…Hmmm, well perhaps I can,… perhaps I just can!” “Oh Dear, Dear, Dear, Dear, Mr. Magician. If only you would!” “If only you would!” parotted the others. “Well”, said the magician, “I shall need some ingredients”. “Tell us tell us, we will get them for you!” offered the Prime Minister, eagerly. “Yes, yes” repeated others, “We will get them!”

“Very well” said the magician. “First of all, I shall require some pieces of white cloud taken from a clear blue sky!” –(here the performer picks up a few small pieces of tissue paper, representing the white cloud) This they very quickly brought to him and he placed the white cloud into the mixing bowl (performer suits actions to words).

“Very good”, said the magician. “Now I want some rain water taken from the bottom of the sea!” Off they went again and brought back some rain water taken from the very bottom of the deepest sea (performer picks up a glass half-filled with water and pours a small quantity into the bowl and on to the tissue paper).

“Good”, said the magician. “Now I want a bowl of the hottest and brightest sunshine that you can find on a dark night! – Mind now”, he reminded them, “The very hottest!” Off they went again and soon returned with exactly what the magician had asked for.(I built a flat shaped battery torch into the bottom of a plastic bowl and lit it as I picked up the bowl, then switched it off as I simulated pouring it into the mixing bowl. N.B. Children are very good at suspending their disbelief on these occasions!).

“You have done very well”, said the magician, “Now to get to work”. He mixed all of the ingredients together while he continually muttered mysterious incantations. Finally, he lifted some of the wet mixture from the bowl and fanned it with his beautiful oriental fan. Then he dropped some of the mixture onto the fan and began bouncing it up and down (performer is suiting the actions to the words).Then a strange thing began to happen. The little ball began to grow. And as he bounced it up and down, it got larger – but not too larger! Then it became rounder and rounder – but not too round! Until finally, what do you think? It turned into an egg!

The magician held it up in the air to show them all, and then he cracked it into the glass to show that it was real! The Prime Minister was overjoyed, “Oh thank you, thank you, Dear, Dear, Dear, Dear, Dear, Mr. Magician. You have saved our lives” – Then he suddenly stopped. “Oh but you’ve broken it! How can we give Her Majesty a ‘Boiled egg’, when you’ve broken it?!”

The magician roared with laughter and he handed them the glass containing the remainder of the mixture. “Feed this to your hens”, he said, “And they will lay eggs forever!” So the Prime Minister and his government took the mixture away and fed the hens and they did lay eggs and…wait a minute…where did all those hens come from?!

If you want to perform this as written and actually produce a real egg, as described in the story, You are advised to click here and visit Hank Lees Magic Factory. Type EGG ON FAN in the search box and you will be taken to the appropriate purchasing page.

Hank Lees is a magic dealer in the U.S. who markets this trick. He can supply all you need for $29.95 (about £15.00).

It is possible for you to make up the necessary bits and pieces yourself, but you will need to be really keen! Full directions can be found in my book, "Magictales! - The definitive book of storytelling magic" The book also contains over 20 additional storytelling magic presentations and can be obtained by clicking here

However, I have many times presented the story without any magic at all (twice on the radio) and it works very well as it is. So the choice is yours. As I mentioned at the beginning, adults seem to enjoy this as much as the children.
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