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Fun with a Pocket Knife: How to Play Mumbley Peg [Mumblety-Peg]
The Art of Manliness ^ | June 7, 2011 | Brett & Kate McKay

Posted on 01/07/2014 3:41:39 AM PST by Maceman

Every man should carry a pocketknife. It’s handy for cutting open packages, severing twine, and, of course, eating an apple like a bad ass.

But it can also be a source of instant, anywhere entertainment. Because it’s all you need to play the game of mumbley peg.

Never heard of the game? Don’t worry. Today we’ll give you the scoop on how to play this knife throwing pastime that was once popular among 19th century schoolboys, Wild West cowboys, and World War II soldiers. All you need to play mumbley peg is a friend, a couple of pocket knives, and a bit of skill. It’s the perfect way to pass the time when hanging outside with your friends, relaxing around the fire on a camping trip, and bonding with your son. The History of Mumbley Peg

Versions of mumbley peg (also known as mumblety-peg, mumblepeg, mumble-the-peg, mumbledepeg or mumble-de-peg) have been around as long as jackknives have been in the pockets of boys and men who had time to kill. The game gets its name from a stick driven into the ground by the winner of the game, which the loser must pull out of the ground with his teeth. Mumbley peg was an insanely popular schoolyard game in the 19th century among boys. It was right up there with marbles and jacks. In fact, Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, Detective, mentions “mumbletypeg” as being a favorite game with the children at old Tom’s school.

The game continued in popularity well into the first half of the 20th century.

. . .

The game waned in popularity starting in the 1970s as over-protective adults put a kibosh on the game at summer camps and as pocket knife-carrying became less prevalent among the male population.

(Excerpt) Read more at artofmanliness.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 01/07/2014 3:41:39 AM PST by Maceman
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To: Maceman

Its been several years since I played that game and I carry a pocket knife every day. Brings back some memories.


2 posted on 01/07/2014 3:43:45 AM PST by DaveA37
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To: Maceman

Lovingly that was taught to my brother and me by our uncle and aunts. Back then.....it....was....meant to be a ....game.


3 posted on 01/07/2014 3:49:04 AM PST by lysie
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To: Progov

Same here. Played it a lot as a kid. Don’t recall any serious injuries. Hey, I still eat my apple with my pocket knife.


4 posted on 01/07/2014 3:53:07 AM PST by NWHawk (Not Quirky)
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To: Maceman

5 posted on 01/07/2014 3:55:26 AM PST by JoeProBono (SOME IMAGES MAY BE DISTURBING VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED;-{)
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To: Maceman

Any relation to the game of Mumble Peg?

http://youtu.be/7MoEDG5YsMo


6 posted on 01/07/2014 3:58:59 AM PST by peyton randolph (Proverbs 13:20)
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To: Maceman

We used to play it a lot during recess, a very long time ago.


7 posted on 01/07/2014 4:00:13 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: Maceman

8 posted on 01/07/2014 4:05:49 AM PST by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: Maceman
Played it often in Boy Scouts.

Back when boys were all boys.

9 posted on 01/07/2014 4:06:22 AM PST by eCSMaster ("It is not the color of his skin, ... it is the blackness that fills his soul")
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To: JoeProBono

That reminds me of another game we played, we called it “chicken”. Two people would stand facing each other, legs spread wide. You’d throw your knife and stick it in the ground between your opponent’s feet. You’d move a foot beside the knife. It took only a few throws before your feet were only a few inches apart. The first one to quit was chicken.


10 posted on 01/07/2014 4:07:45 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: Progov

Used to play it in the schoolyard. ALWAYS had my blue handled Cub Scout knife on my person.No one batted an eyelash if you had a pen knife at 8 years old in the 50’s.


11 posted on 01/07/2014 4:31:17 AM PST by Renegade
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To: Maceman
The first player takes his pocket knife and throws it at the ground, so that it sticks into the ground as close as possible to his own foot

Back in a past century we wharf rats played a game something like this. We started facing each other 8-10 feet apart with our feet spread apart shoulder width or so. Then one would toss his fish knife, which wasn't a pocket knife but rather a 10 inch Old Hickory or a 9 inch Dexter, and toss it to stick in the ground between the other's feet. The other guy would then draw one foot up to the knife and return the favor. Mostly we got so both parties' feet were together before one or the other quit. We played for a quarter or a dollar, depending how much we had made off the tourists on the head boats that day. I caught one right in the top of my right foot and before it registered that it was, indeed, in my foot, I reached down and pulled it up to make my own next toss when Robert yelled,"Okay, you win!" and held out a dollar. Only then did it occur to me that the thing had been standing up in my foot. It passed between the laces of my shoe and left only a wee slit in the tongue. There was a bit of blood on the underside of the tongue and only a trace on my foot. It never did actually hurt.

12 posted on 01/07/2014 4:41:40 AM PST by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson ONLINEhttp://steshaw.org/economics-in-one-lesson/)
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To: JoeProBono

is that the new Leatherworking/Woodworking merit badge?


13 posted on 01/07/2014 4:43:25 AM PST by Cyclone59 (Where are we going, and what's with the handbasket?)
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To: Maceman

In grade school in the late 1950’s we played mumbley peg at recess. Most of the boys had a knife in their pocket at school.


14 posted on 01/07/2014 4:45:41 AM PST by Senator_Blutarski
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To: Renegade
"No one batted an eyelash if you had a pen knife at 8 years old in the 50’s."

I'm about the same age. I used to drive myself to high school, take my .22 Cal target rifle out of the back seat, walk through the halls and put it in the Rifle Team coach's closet, then get it at the end of the day for practice. No one ever raised an eye and certainly no one ever got hurt.

15 posted on 01/07/2014 4:48:19 AM PST by muir_redwoods (When I first read it, " Atlas Shrugged" was fiction)
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To: Maceman

I was just talking about mumbley-peg with some guys at work the other day, and they had no idea what I was talking about. Funny, because both of them carried pocket knives.


16 posted on 01/07/2014 4:48:46 AM PST by cincinnati65
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To: Maceman
My leatherman isn't particularly good for throwing.
17 posted on 01/07/2014 4:49:48 AM PST by The_Victor (If all I want is a warm feeling, I should just wet my pants.)
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To: Maceman

Mumbly peg isn’t mumbly peg until play it barefooted!


18 posted on 01/07/2014 5:03:49 AM PST by Bushbacker1 (Molon Labe! (Oathkeeper))
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To: arthurus
Back in a past century we wharf rats played a game something like this. We started facing each other 8-10 feet apart with our feet spread apart shoulder width or so. Then one would toss his fish knife, which wasn't a pocket knife but rather a 10 inch Old Hickory or a 9 inch Dexter, and toss it to stick in the ground between the other's feet. The other guy would then draw one foot up to the knife and return the favor. Mostly we got so both parties' feet were together before one or the other quit. We played for a quarter or a dollar, depending how much we had made off the tourists on the head boats that day. I caught one right in the top of my right foot and before it registered that it was, indeed, in my foot, I reached down and pulled it up to make my own next toss when Robert yelled,"Okay, you win!" and held out a dollar. Only then did it occur to me that the thing had been standing up in my foot. It passed between the laces of my shoe and left only a wee slit in the tongue. There was a bit of blood on the underside of the tongue and only a trace on my foot. It never did actually hurt.

We called this game "DARE." The game was more about losing than winning: The person throwing the knife lost if he tossed the knife so that it stuck outside the other person's feet or if it hit the other person. The other person lost if he bailed out of position before the knife stuck. Thus, the goal was to toss the knife so that it stuck in the ground as close as possible to the inside of the opponent's foot without hitting him in the hopes that the opponent would bail out of position to avoid getting hit with the knife.

19 posted on 01/07/2014 5:06:16 AM PST by Labyrinthos
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To: Maceman
Aliens Bishop vs. Ted's Ted:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPEZdl7BvjA

20 posted on 01/07/2014 5:13:15 AM PST by Yo-Yo
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To: Maceman

Thanks for the memories and a good link to the site!

Played the game as a kid and later went to “stretch’, where we started with feet together and straight bladed knives (ie. hunting knives) were thrown outside of the opponent’s feet, forcing them to stretch to that point, until one person could stretch no further or would fall down.

Playing with my kid sister, I made a bad throw and nailed her foot to the ground. Fortunately it was just in the fleshy part of the outside of her foot, but it scared the crap out of me ...and her. I took care of the wound and her, as I was 7 years older.


21 posted on 01/07/2014 5:17:14 AM PST by octex
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To: R. Scott

LOL, I remember that game. My brothers were playing chicken one morning before school. I was too little so they wouldn’t let me play. They left for school so I dedecided to play by myself. I stuck the knife in my foot. Mom was not impressed.


22 posted on 01/07/2014 5:18:39 AM PST by Lurkina.n.Learnin (This is not just stupid, we're talking Democrat stupid here.)
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To: Maceman

We played the game everyday at lunch when I was in the 8th grade at Jr High


23 posted on 01/07/2014 5:30:04 AM PST by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... Travon... Felony assault and battery hate crime)
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To: Maceman

for later....


24 posted on 01/07/2014 5:34:33 AM PST by Vaquero (Don't pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)
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To: Maceman

Boys don’t carry pocketknives anymore. Now they carry hand sanitizer.


25 posted on 01/07/2014 5:35:01 AM PST by albie
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To: Senator_Blutarski
In grade school in the late 1950’s we played mumbley peg at recess. Most of the boys had a knife in their pocket at school.

That game plus Marbles were all the rage at my school in the early 50s. With marbles, you dare not let your parents know that you were playing "for keeps" because that was "gambling".

26 posted on 01/07/2014 5:35:12 AM PST by Graybeard58 (_.. ._. .. _. _._ __ ___ ._. . ___ ..._ ._ ._.. _ .. _. .)
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To: Progov

YOu are not going through any metal detectors are you


27 posted on 01/07/2014 5:35:30 AM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: octex
Playing with my kid sister, I made a bad throw and nailed her foot to the ground. Fortunately it was just in the fleshy part of the outside of her foot, but it scared the crap out of me ...and her. I took care of the wound and her, as I was 7 years older.

I got my first b.b. gun when I was 7 years old, my sister was 12. We lived next door to my grandparents and my uncle was 14. He dared me to shoot my sister in the back. Wanting to impress my older uncle, I promptly shot her.

After my whoppin' from my dad and his belt, my b.b. gun was put away for an entire year and I got regular lectures from my dad about even pointing it at anybody. My uncle, who was somewhat coddled, as a child of my grandparent's "old age", got no punishment at all.

That sister is now 73 years old and is in hospice care, dying of liver cancer, she still well remembers the b.b. gun incident but gave up on being mad at me a long, long time ago.

28 posted on 01/07/2014 5:50:17 AM PST by Graybeard58 (_.. ._. .. _. _._ __ ___ ._. . ___ ..._ ._ ._.. _ .. _. .)
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To: Maceman

Two words; Tetanus!


29 posted on 01/07/2014 6:03:10 AM PST by BraveMan
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To: Maceman
We called it Mumbley Peg and every self respecting boy carried a jack knife and knew how to play the game.

But that was back in a time when Americans were free, before the federal government decided to pussify the country
and before liberals embarked on their crusade to turn boys into girls.

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

-- Leslie Poles Hartley


30 posted on 01/07/2014 6:12:59 AM PST by Iron Munro (Orwell: There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.)
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To: albie
Boys don’t carry pocketknives anymore. Now they carry hand sanitizer.

They now carry virtual pocket knives.

31 posted on 01/07/2014 6:17:57 AM PST by crusty old prospector
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To: Senator_Blutarski

“In grade school in the late 1950’s we played mumbley peg at recess. Most of the boys had a knife in their pocket at school.”

In the old movie “Boystown” Mickey Rooney gives a jacknife to a kid about 6 or 7 and no one raises an eyebrow. How society has changed, and not for the better.


32 posted on 01/07/2014 6:20:21 AM PST by Brooklyn Attitude (Things are only going to get worse.)
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To: Graybeard58

We used to play a game (the name escapes me) where you tossed pocket change against the wall and whoever was the closest, got to keep the money. I lost my lunch money on several occasions.


33 posted on 01/07/2014 6:21:03 AM PST by crusty old prospector
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To: albie

Boy aint that the truth.

Couple of years ago I went to dinner with a buddy of mine with the wives along. We started comparing our pocketknives. After a little while, I noticed some of the other patrons looking at us with a look of horror. I thought “What the hell?”.

I carry a knife and a leatherman everyday and encourage my son to carry a knife as well. His mom encourages the hand sanitizer, but he fights her on that.


34 posted on 01/07/2014 6:21:59 AM PST by Texas resident
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To: muir_redwoods
No one ever raised an eye and certainly no one ever got hurt

Each time this subject comes up in its many forms, I immediately recall an episode of the Andy Griffin show.

This episode was about Opie wanting to win a gift for his father at the carnival shooting gallery. Picture Opie with a loaded .22 semi-auto rifle and strolling in the midway behind him is a mother with a child in hand. This scene was normal then but today they would call out the SWAT Team.

"If you protect a man from folly, you will soon have a nation of fools." -- William Penn

35 posted on 01/07/2014 6:30:20 AM PST by MosesKnows (Love many, trust few, and always paddle your own canoe.)
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To: Maceman

BB guns were the first guns boys received in days past. My boys didn’t shoot humans or animals with them but they did get into trouble for taking potshots at laundry hanging on the line and putting holes in their sisters’ underwear.


36 posted on 01/07/2014 6:35:26 AM PST by Liberty Wins ( The average lefty is synapse challenged)
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To: Maceman

How times have changed.

When I was in the 1st grade in Atlanta, during recess I used to play Mumbly-peg with my Case. Nowadays that would get you dosed with Ritalin, suspended, parents jailed and you in the care of Child Protective Services....with a Federal rap sheet, to boot!


37 posted on 01/07/2014 6:35:55 AM PST by BwanaNdege (Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. J.F. Kennedy)
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To: Maceman

We played it all the time when I was a kid...often at recess. Having a pocket knife at school today would probably get a kid arrested and expelled.


38 posted on 01/07/2014 6:37:58 AM PST by pgkdan
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To: Iron Munro

WOW! Great quote!

I’ve never heard of L.P. Hartley, so I did a search and found this page of his quotes.

http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/51606.L_P_Hartley

These are a few I like:

“To see things as they really were—what an empoverishment!”

” He had very little to laugh about, I thought, and yet he laughed. His gaiety had a background of the hospital and the battlefield. I felt he had some inner reserve of strength which no reverse, however serious, would break down.”


39 posted on 01/07/2014 6:56:47 AM PST by BwanaNdege
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To: Maceman

LOL, this reminds me. We used to play this at school when I was in high school.


40 posted on 01/07/2014 7:42:28 AM PST by Yogafist
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To: R. Scott

Every boy brought their pocket knife everywhere they went, particularly to school. The nanny state would have a stroke. Tops sharpened to split the other kid’s top was fun as well. Can you bring yo yos to school now?


41 posted on 01/07/2014 8:55:17 AM PST by JimSEA
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To: Maceman

We used to do that in grade school. Every kid had a pocket knife. I guess they don’t allow that anymore. :-)


42 posted on 01/07/2014 9:49:12 AM PST by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: Maceman

We played a variation called “stretch.” We’d stand facing each other and take turns throwing a Bowie knife at the ground on either side of the opponent’s feet. If the knife stuck, he had to move his foot where the knife was. Once the knife was stuck in the ground at a point that he couldn’t stretch his foot to, you won.


43 posted on 01/07/2014 10:11:58 AM PST by afsnco
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To: Senator_Blutarski

Dittos. Before school, recess, lunch and after school. All the fellas played. I can remember teachers and staff, on occasion, checking our games out as we played! We used to stone our blade’s tips on our desktops right in class! Today the SWAT teams, crisis counseling, shrinks etc. etc. would be called in. A long, long time ago in a very different America.....I miss that America.


44 posted on 01/07/2014 10:31:08 AM PST by bobby.223 (Retired up in the snowy mountains of the American Redoubt and it's a GREAT life!)
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To: muir_redwoods

The good old days.Got by first BB gun at 8 and got hit by many a ricochet.


45 posted on 01/07/2014 11:28:51 AM PST by Renegade
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To: Renegade

It never even occurred to us that a high school kid with a rifle was a problem we actually had an indoor range in the basement of an elementary school and the little kids used to love the “fireworks” they could hear.


46 posted on 01/07/2014 11:32:34 AM PST by muir_redwoods (When I first read it, " Atlas Shrugged" was fiction)
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To: Maceman; Titan Magroyne

Mumbley peg was an art form from my youth. Long before Jethro Gibbs rule #9 all the boys I knew didn’t leave home without a pocket knife and a bag of marbles. I still have a cigar box full of Aggies, catseyes, toothpaste and Oxbloods. We played marbles and Mumbley peg for “keepsies”.

We also used to carry our shotguns to elementary school on the bus, leave them in the coatroom during class and then walk home after school, locked and loaded for dove hunting.

My son will never know the freedoms or the joys of being a boy I once enjoyed. The kids today play Mario and Pokémon on their tablets. The world has changed.


47 posted on 01/07/2014 12:29:52 PM PST by Drumbo ("Democracy can withstand anything but democrats." - Jubal Harshaw (Robert A. Heinlein))
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To: Drumbo

Sad, innit?

Last I looked, Dad still keeps his Daisy BB on the back porch for stray cats. (Nobody likes fresh pawprints on a newly washed car or strewn baby rabbit guts after watching them grow all Spring.) As for popping the offender while it’s lazing on top of your car - oops, that Daisy shoots left!

Thanks, BTW, as I hadn’t a clue how mumblety-peg was played!


48 posted on 01/07/2014 11:49:51 PM PST by Titan Magroyne (What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.)
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