Ritual of the Third Degree
Fraternal Order of American Lions
The "Lionís Den" is set up and when everything is in readiness the convicted candidate is brought in between two guards with rifles. The room should be darkened so that the illusion of the lion in the cage may have the proper effect. The Lion Keepers will stand at either side of the cage with forks in their hands and be ready at the proper time to open the door so that the candidate may be put in. One man with bandages and red marks on his face and arms may sit near by to give the impression of having had an encounter with the animal.
CAPT.: Commander, this is the new member who was found guilty of failing to properly guard the passwords and sentenced to the lionís cage.
SOME MEMBER: Worthy Commander, canít we let him off this time, it being his first offense; besides, the lion is in a bad humor tonight. See what he did to the poor fellow who helped to bring the cage in. Also comments by other members.
COMMANDER: I am sorry for him, but we must carry out the sentence now. Fasten a long rope to his waist, so that he can be pulled out of the cage in case the situation becomes too dangerous. Which is done. Captain, you will proceed.
CAPT.: Forward, Guards. Keepers, be in readiness to open the door at the proper time. When I say "three," in he goes. Now, one, two, three.
As soon as the candidate is inside, the member who took the part of the lion throws off the lion skin and taking the candidate by the hand says:
MEMBER: My brother, when you are in this Den of Lions you are among friends.
COMMANDER: The brother, for such he now is, has fully proven his fitness for membership in our Fraternal Order. Let him now be seated among us.
Lung Tester and Chair.
CAPT., bringing in candidate: This is our friend, Mr. Ö I believe this is the gentleman that
there was some doubt about passing him on account of his lungs.
MEMBER: If the doctor had any doubts about him, why did he pass him?
FINANCIAL SECíY.: I suggest that his lungs be tested. If he can register 50 I would recommend him as all right.
CAPT.: Are you ready to take the test? Candidate answers.
COMMANDER: Let the candidate be tested.
The members should refrain from smiling or laughing until after the explosion.
COMMANDER: His kings are first-class. Captain, you will now conduct the brother to a seat.
The Captain conducts him to the "Chair of Rest," which is in readiness; one of the members being seated in it so as not to arouse any suspicion.
CAPT. to member in the chair: Brother, kindly let our friend have this seat now.
Candidate is seated. First Lieutenant slips behind the chair and takes hold of rope.
CAPT.: Please put your hands up over your head and repeat after me "I hope"
CAND.: "I hope"
CAPT.: "We will now"
CAND.: "We will now"
CAPT.: "Drop the subject"
CAND.: "Drop the subject."
Lieutenant pulls the rope and drops the subject with a loud report, after winch he is allowed to take a seat among the members.
In this part the Captain will be assisted by the two Lieutenants and the two Keepers.
Two of the candidates are selected to undergo this test. They are brought before the altar.
CAPT.: Worthy Commander, here are two of our friends who have promised to defend and protect their fellow-brothers in the Order.
COM.: My friends, if it were necessary, would you be willing to fight to defend a brother from harm?
COM.: Brothers, you have heard the answers of the candidates, what is your pleasure?
MEMBERS: Let them be tested to demonstrate their fighting qualities and courage.
COM.: Lieutenant, bring in the boxing gloves and let them give us an exhibition of their skill and courage.
Lieutenants retires and get the boxing gloves, two pairs for the candidates, also two belts with long straps attached to them The Second Lieutenant secures two extra gloves with strings fastened to them; these he must keep out of sight so that candidates shall not see them. Candidates are seated on chairs, one at each end of the room. The members will make various remarks as to the possible fighting qualities of the candidates, etc. After the gloves have been put on their hands, they are asked to stand up and the belts are fastened around the waist and the long strap securely fastened to the rear of the belt. One of the keepers will take hold of the strap of one of the candidates and the other Keeper will take the other. The duties of the Keepers will be to hold time candidates so that they will not injure each other or anyone else.
CAPT.: Worthy Commander, the friends are ready.
MEMBER: it is a shame to let them fight that way, they might hurt each other.
COM.: Well, Brother, what would you suggest?
MEMBER: Let them be blindfolded so that they canít see each other.
COM.: That is a good idea; Lieutenant, get the hoodwinks and make sure that they cannot see.
They are blindfolded.
CAPT.: Now, when I say "shake hands," you will shake hands; when I say "fight," you will fight, and when I say "time," you must stop. Are you ready?
The Lieutenants now stand in the centre of the room, each of them with one of the odd gloves. As the candidates advance to the middle of the room they do not shake hands with each other as they suppose, but each one shakes hands with one of the boxing gloves held by one of the Lieutenants.
CAPT.: Shake hands. Fight.
Each Lieutenant, keeping out of the way of his man, gives him an occasional tap in the face or on the head with the glove, either holding the glove in his hand or swinging it by its string. Care must be taken not to injure any one. After a few moments the Captain shouts Ďtime," and the candidates are allowed to rest. After two or three rounds the candidates are brought together and allowed to shake hands with each other, and their blindfolds and other trappings removed.
COM.: My Brothers, you have certainly proved yourself in every way worthy of members in our noble Order. You have the necessary valor and manhood. I congratulate you on the manner in which you have stood the tests imposed upon you. You will now take a seat in the Den as our equals. To the members: Brothers and friends, you are at liberty to welcome our new members.
After a short intermission the den is called to order to proceed with regular business.