History of a Hedgehog in the Cage puzzle



A puzzle similar to a Hedgehog in the cage was created in the USA in Connecticut in 1895 under the name Trilby. In the Czech Republic, it was popularized by the writer Jaroslav Foglar. He placed it in a trilogy known as The Mystery of a puzzle. The story takes place in a district called Shadow District, the oldest part of the city, main characters are five boys who call themselves the Fast Arrows and they search for the Hedgehog in the cage which is kept secret from others by the organization called the Vonts.




The adventures proved enormously popular generating fan clubs, collecting, a book series and film version, etc. One of the stories, called The Mystery of a Puzzle, concerned a revolutionary invention of a flying bicycle, the plan which was hidden inside a body of the hedgehog. The description of the puzzle was very specific and the story also included a detailed description of the solution. The key feature of the solution is to locate the biggest cage opening and the longest spike on the body of the hedgehog. Today there are many different versions of this puzzle. The Hedgehog in the Cage is the most famous Czech Puzzle. Over the years various types of this puzzle were created, from wooden, to plastic to metal versions.





In the year 2009, RADEMIC PUZZLES came up with another classical Hedgehog in the Cage, which was considerably improved technicaly. The next realization of our production was JEŽIVAL '66 in 2010, which was a new form of the original Czech puzzle from the year 1966. In 2011 the Hedgehog was specially modified for ŠKODA AUTO car maker, and in 2012 a new revolutionary model GEN was created. The last act then the Hedgehog ORIGINAL, which is still the most credible implementation Jezek ever created.



For more information about a Hedgehog in the Cage please visit this website: www.jezcivkleci.cz 

(We recommend you to visit rarities and complete history of a puzzle.)


Shadow Trilogy:


1. The Mystery of a Puzzle (1940)

In the Shadow District, the oldest part of the city, boys call themselves Vonts and keep the rules of their organization secret from the boys from other districts. The gang's history is linked with a mysterious puzzle – Hedgehog in the cage. In the district called The Other Side, five friends meet regularly in the club of the group the Fast Arrows. It is Mirek Dušín, Jarka Metelka and Jindra Hojer and two boys nicknamed Red Cap and Fast Leg. They want to introduce the readers of their magazine, called Tom-Tom, to the history of the puzzle. But the Cat Paw Brotherhood with its own magazine Collector is faster. Its members – Long Pole, Bristle and Bohouš – also similarly succeed in the next issue, mysteriously learning about and publishing a story of the orphan Jan Tleskač, a locksmith's apprentice, who tragically died years ago, falling from the bell tower of the St James church. Its old sexton told the Fast Arrows about him.


The five boys secretly infiltrate the Shadow District (with yellow pins in the lapel - the symbol of the Vonts) where preparations for the election of the Big Vont are being held. Both the candidates – Losna and Mažňák – try to get voters. The Fast Arrows find Tleskač's diary and thus learn about an invention whose plan was hidden by the talented boy in the hedgehog inserted in the cage. The boys almost separate in fear that a traitor is among them, but then they fortunately discover a device by which the Brotherhood was bugging them. The boys find out from a part of the diary that Tleskač was threatened by the locksmith's master, named Em, who wanted to get hold of his ingenious invention – a flying bicycle. The Fast Arrows help the upright and noble Losna win over the malicious Mažňák in the elections. They show Losna how to remove the hedgehog – the talisman of the Vont organization – from the cage after Tleskač's description in the diary. But the deceitful Em – Mažňák's father, who murdered his apprentice Tleskač years ago – seizes the puzzle and loses it in a gutter where he falls during his escape. The locksmith subsequently dies of an infection caused by the mud. The discovery of the flying bicycle is lost for ever.



2. The Shadow district revolts (1946)


After the collapse of the Vont organization caused by the loss of the badge of the Great Vont, the Shadows are coming to life again.
Jiří Rymáň from the Second Party tries to find out the cause of the commotion, but is trapped by the Vontes. Quick Arrows sets out to rescue him, which is successful, but Mirek and Jindra are captured on their way home. They manage to escape by trickery, only to discover that a certain Hačiřík has found the lost hedgehog in a cage.

During the next search, the boys get to know the Rusty Keys Club, to which Emil Hačiřík also belonged. The Fast Arrows next explore the Gingo Worshippers' shrine, where they discover a note in the room behind the four locks that someone has buried something on the Red Steps. On leaving the shrine, the Fast Arrows are shown a masked figure, Širokko, holding a hedgehog in a cage. Despite their best efforts, the boys are unable to catch him.

After a few days, the Fast Arrows go to the Red Steps, where they find the first Vontes Chronicle. The Rusty Keys want to hand it over, but the Fast Arrows manage to escape through the Black Water Tunnel, where they accidentally meet their old friend Vonta Losna. He tells them that he will no longer seek the Great Vont Kingdom himself, but wants to help his group gain it.

However, the Fast Arrows have a run of bad luck, as the club nearly falls apart due to Mirko's alleged betrayal by his double in the Shadows. In the ensuing confusion, the club's dog Bubble also gets lost in the alleyways. He is being held by Mirek Daneš, Mirek Dušín's double, and he wants the first Vont chronicle in exchange for his release. The Fast Arrows, with the help of Losno's group of Vontes, the Yellow Flower, prepare a plan for liberation, but it fails and Daneš kills the dog.

The Fast Arrows participate in the Hunt for Širokko, organized by the Gingo Worshippers. Širokko is injured while escaping and is only caught by the Fast Arrows at the scene. They help him, and he gives them a hedgehog in a cage for the chief of the Yellow Flower, Vláďa Dratuš. He wins the election convincingly, and peace and tranquility prevail in the Shadows.

3. The secret of the Big Vont (1986)


After returning from an autumn expedition, the Fast Arrows meet Otakar Losna in front of their clubhouse, who tells them that the Great Vont Vláďa Dratuš has some problems, but he doesn't want to talk about them. What is even worse is the fact that Vláďa does not have a hedgehog in his cage - the badge of the Great Vont.

Fast Arrows then sets out to find him. By this time, Sběrač, a magazine published by Tonda Plíhal's group, has already brought information about an important Vont who goes by the name of Brejlovec. As it turns out later, Sběrač has mangled the name and it is actually Rejholec. However, the Fast Arrows are captured by the Vontes of the Dabinel group as they travel through the Shadows. They leave them locked in an abandoned house's yard overnight. However, a Vonte advises them of the possibility of escape through a window. In addition, the Fast Arrows find a supply of paper in the destroyed house, which they take to print their magazine TAM-TAM.

The Fast Arrows continue their search for the Rejholec. On their way to the Shadows, they notice that Tonda Plíhal's group and the Brotherhood of the Cat's Claw are heading for Dabinel again. They interrogate them and discover that Dabinel has tasked them with the task of cutting down the gingo tree in the Worshippers' shrine. They soon put this information to good use when they meet Rejholec, who in turn tells them what happened at that Yellow Flower meeting that made Vláďa Dratuš so despondent. But the Great Vont himself does not want the help of the Fast Arrows. But he and Losna are not about to give up. When they discover that Rejholec is keeping the hedgehog in a cage, they try to capture it from him, but this fails due to the intervention of the Amazon Girls' Club.


Another search leads them to a half-decayed house called the Cat's Castle. In its attic lives a boy called the Stranger, who has escaped from an orphanage. While wandering around the old house, he discovers a letter accusing Vláďa's father Dratuš of killing his friend. In return for his silence, he wants a hedgehog in a cage so he can start making it in bulk. Vláďa agrees to lend him the puzzle, but Quick Arrows and Losna are worried that the Stranger will disappear with him forever. On one visit to the Cat's Causeway, they manage to seize the hedgehog, and the paper blaming Vláďa's father. They subsequently return both to Dratuš, who, however, gives up the Grand Vonthood and Otakar Losna takes his place.



* The legendary TV series "The Mystery of a puzzle" was first aired in December 24, 1969.

* Širokko - mysterious figure of the Shadow District

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