The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and Ireland (Vol I of II), by Alice Bertha Gomme This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: The Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and Ireland (Vol I of II) With Tunes, Singing-Rhymes and Methods of Playing etc. Author: Alice Bertha Gomme Release Date: December 29, 2012 [EBook #41727] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK TRADITIONAL GAMES, VOL I *** Produced by David Edwards, Harry Lamé, the Music Team (Anne Celnik, monkeyclogs, Sarah Thomson and others) and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)
Please see Transcriber’s Notes at the end of this document.
This is Volume I of a two-volume work. Volume II (including the Addenda) is available on the Project Gutenberg website here. The hyperlinks to Volume II work when this book is read on the Project Gutenberg website; when read elsewhere or when the files have been downloaded, the hyperlinks to Volume II may not work.
G. LAURENCE GOMME, Esq., F.S.A.
PRESIDENT OF THE FOLK-LORE SOCIETY, ETC.
BY THE SAME EDITOR.
Small 4to. In Specially Designed Cover.
ENGLISH SINGING GAMES.
A Collection of the best Traditional Children’s Singing Games, with their Traditional Music harmonised, and Directions for Playing. Each Game, Text and Music, is written out and set within a Decorative Border by Winifred Smith, who has also designed Full-page Illustrations to each Game, and Initials and Decorative Border to the playing directions.
[All rights reserved.]
TUNES, SINGING-RHYMES, AND METHODS OF PLAYING
ACCORDING TO THE VARIANTS EXTANT AND
RECORDED IN DIFFERENT PARTS
OF THE KINGDOM
COLLECTED AND ANNOTATED BY
ALICE BERTHA GOMME
ACCROSHAY-NUTS IN MAY
DAVID NUTT, 270-71 STRAND
Soon after the formation of the Folk-lore Society in 1878 my husband planned, and has ever since been collecting for, the compilation of a dictionary of British Folk-lore. A great deal of the material has been put in form for publication, but at this stage the extent of the work presented an unexpected obstacle to its completion.
To print the whole in one alphabet would be more than could be accomplished except by the active co-operation of a willing band of workers, and then the time required for such an undertaking, together with the cost, almost seemed to debar the hope of ever completing arrangements for its publication. Nevertheless, unless we have a scientific arrangement of the enormously scattered material and a close comparison of the details of each item of folk-lore, it is next to impossible to expect that the full truth which lies hidden in these remnants of the past may be revealed.
During my preparation of a book of games for children it occurred to me that to separate the whole of the games from the general body of folk-lore and to make them a section of the proposed dictionary would be an advantageous step, as by arranging the larger groups of folk-lore in independent sections the possibility of publishing the contemplated dictionary again seemed to revive. Accordingly, the original plan has been so far modified that these volumes will form the first section of the dictionary, which, instead of being issued in one alphabet[viii] throughout, will now be issued in sections, each section being arranged alphabetically.
The games included in this collection bear the important qualification of being nearly all Children’s Games: that is to say, they were either originally children’s games since developed into games for adults, or they were the more serious avocations of adults, which have since become children’s games only. In both cases the transition is due to traditional circumstances, and not to any formal arrangements. All invented games of skill are therefore excluded from this collection, but it includes both indoor and outdoor games, and those played by both girls and boys.
The bulk of the collection has been made by myself, greatly through the kindness of many correspondents, to whom I cannot be sufficiently grateful. In every case I have acknowledged my indebtedness, which, besides being an act of justice, is a guarantee of the genuineness of the collection. I have appended to this preface a list of the collectors, together with the counties to which the games belong; but I must particularly thank the Rev. W. Gregor, Mr. S. O. Addy, and Miss Fowler, who very generously placed collections at my disposal, which had been prepared before they knew of my project; also Miss Burne, Miss L. E. Broadwood, and others, for kindly obtaining variants and tunes I should not otherwise have received. To the many versions now printed for the first time I have added either a complete transcript of, where necessary, or a reference to, where that was sufficient, printed versions of games to be found in the well-known collections of Halliwell and Chambers, the publications of the Folk-lore and Dialect Societies, Jamieson’s, Nares’, and Halliwell’s Dictionaries, and other printed sources of information. When quoting from a printed authority, I have as far as possible given the exact[ix] words, and have always given the reference. I had hoped to have covered in my collection the whole field of games as played by children in the United Kingdom, but it will be seen that many counties in each country are still unrepresented; and I shall be greatly indebted for any games from other places, which would help to make this collection more complete. The tunes of the games have been taken down, as sung by the children, either by myself or correspondents (except where otherwise stated), and are unaltered.
The games consist of two main divisions, which may be called descriptive, and singing or choral. The descriptive games are arranged so as to give the most perfect type, and, where they occur, variable types in succession, followed, where possible, by any suggestions I have to make as to the possible origin of the game. The singing games are arranged so as to give, first, the tunes; secondly, the different versions of the game-rhymes; thirdly, the method of playing; fourthly, an analysis of the game-rhymes on a plan arranged by my husband, and which is an entirely novel feature in discussing the history of games; fifthly, a discussion of the results of the analysis of the rhymes so far as the different versions allow; and sixthly, an attempt to deduce from the evidence thus collected suggestions as to the probable origin of the game, together with such references to early authorities and other facts bearing upon the subject as help to elucidate the views expressed. Where the method of playing the game is involved, or where there are several changes in the forms, diagrams or illustrations, which have been drawn by Mr. J. P. Emslie, are inserted in order to assist the reader to understand the different actions, and in one or two instances I have been able to give a facsimile reproduction of representations of the games from early MSS. in the Bodleian and British Museum Libraries.
[x]Although none of the versions of the games now collected together are in their original form, but are more or less fragmentary, it cannot, I think, fail to be noticed how extremely interesting these games are, not only from the point of view of the means of amusement (and under this head there can be no question of their interest), but as a means of obtaining an insight into many of the customs and beliefs of our ancestors. Children do not invent, but they imitate or mimic very largely, and in many of these games we have, there is little doubt, unconscious folk-dramas of events and customs which were at one time being enacted as a part of the serious concerns of life before the eyes of children many generations ago. As to the many points of interest under this and other heads there is no occasion to dwell at length here, because the second volume will contain an appendix giving a complete analysis of the incidents mentioned in the games, and an attempt to tell the story of their origin and development, together with a comparison with the games of children of foreign countries.
The intense pleasure which the collection of these games has given me has been considerably enhanced by the many expressions of the same kind of pleasure from correspondents who have helped me, it not being an infrequent case for me to be thanked for reviving some of the keenest pleasures experienced by the collector since childhood; and I cannot help thinking that, if these traditional games have the power of thus imparting pleasure after the lapse of many years, they must contain the power of giving an equal pleasure to those who may now learn them for the first time.
ALICE BERTHA GOMME.
Barnes Common, S.W.,
|Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes.|
|Halliwell’s Dictionary, ed. 1889.|
|Holloway’s Dictionary, ed. 1838.|
|Strutt’s Sports and Pastimes, ed. 1831.|
|Brand’s Popular Antiquities, ed. 1875.|
|Nares’ Glossary, ed. 1872.|
|Grose’s Dictionary, 1823.|
|Notes and Queries.|
|English Dialect Society Publications.|
|Folk-lore Society Publications, 1878-1892.|
|Fernham, Longcot||Miss I. Barclay.|
|Newbury||Mrs. S. Batson, Miss Kimber.|
|Sulhampstead||Miss Thoyts (Antiquary, vol. xxvii.)|
|Cheshire||Darlington’s, Holland’s, Leigh’s, and Wilbraham’s Glossaries.|
|Congleton||Miss A. E. Twemlow.|
|Cornwall||Folk-lore Journal, v., Courtney’s Glossary.|
|Penzance||Miss Courtney, Mrs. Mabbott.|
|Derbyshire||Folk-lore Journal, vol. i., Mrs. Harley, Mr. S. O. Addy.|
|Dronfield, Eckington, Egan||Mr. S. O. Addy.|
|Dorsetshire||Barnes’ Glossary, Folk-lore Journal, vol. vii.|
|Durham||Brockett’s North Country Words, ed. 1846.|
|South Shields||Miss Blair.|
|Bocking||Folk-lore Record, vol. iii. pt. 2.|
|Colchester||Miss G. M. Francis.|
|Gloucestershire||Holloway’s Dictionary, Midland Garner.|
|Shepscombe, Cheltenham||Miss Mendham.|
|Forest of Dean||Miss Matthews.|
|Hampshire||Cope’s Glossary, Miss Mendham.|
|Hartley, Winchfield, Witney||Mr. H. S. May.|
|Southampton||Mrs. W. R. Carse.|
|Isle of Man||Mr. A. W. Moore.|
|Isle of Wight—|
|Cowes||Miss E. Smith.|
|Kent||Pegge’s Alphabet of Kenticisms.|
|Bexley Heath||Miss Morris.|
|Crockham Hill, Deptford||Miss Chase.|
|Wrotham||Miss D. Kimball.|
|Lancashire||Nodal and Milner’s Glossary, Harland and Wilkinson’s Folk-lore, ed. 1882, Mrs. Harley.|
|Lincolnshire||Peacock’s, Cole’s, and Brogden’s Glossaries, Rev. —— Roberts.|
|Anderby, Botterford, Brigg, Frodingham, Horncastle, North Kelsey, Stixwould, Winterton||Miss Peacock.|
|East Kirkby||Miss K. Maughan.|
|Metheringham||Mr. C. C. Bell.|
|Hanwell||Mrs. G. L. Gomme.|
|London||Miss Chase, Miss F. D. Richardson, Mr. G. L. Gomme, Mrs. G. L. Gomme, Mr. J. P. Emslie, Miss Dendy, Mr. J. T. Micklethwaite (Archæological Journal, vol. xlix.), Strand Magazine, vol. ii.|
|Norfolk||Forby’s Vocabulary, Spurden’s Vocabulary, Mr. J. Doe.|
|Sporle, Swaffham||Miss Matthews.|
|Northamptonshire||Baker’s Glossary, Northants Notes and Queries, Revue Celtique, vol. iv., Rev. W. D. Sweeting.|
|Maxey||Rev. W. D. Sweeting.|
|Northumberland||Brockett’s Provincial Words, ed. 1846.|
|Hexham||Miss J. Barker.|
|Long Eaton||Miss Youngman.|
|Nottingham||Miss Winfield, Miss Peacock.|
|Oxfordshire||Aubrey’s Remains, ed. 1880.|
|Summertown||Midland Garner, vol. ii.|
|Shropshire||Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore.|
|Madeley, Middleton||Miss Burne.|
|Tong||Miss R. Harley.|
|Somersetshire[xiii]||Elworthy’s Dialect, Somerset and Dorset Notes and Queries, Holloway’s Dictionary.|
|Hanbury||Miss E. Hollis.|
|Tean, North Staffordshire Potteries||Miss Keary, Miss Burne, Mrs. T. Lawton.|
|Suffolk||Moor’s Suffolk Words, Forby’s Vocabulary, Lady C. Gurdon’s Suffolk County Folk-lore.|
|Barnes||Mrs. G. L. Gomme.|
|Clapham||Miss F. D. Richardson.|
|Hersham||Folk-lore Record, vol. v.|
|Redhill||Miss G. Hope.|
|Sussex||Parish’s Dialect, Holloway’s Dictionary, Toone’s Dictionary.|
|Shipley, Horsham, West Grinstead||Miss R. H. Busk (Notes and Queries).|
|Ninfield||Mr. C. Wise.|
|Warwickshire||Northall’s Folk Rhymes, Notes and Queries, Northants Notes and Queries, Mr. C. C. Bell.|
|Marlborough, Manton, Ogbourne||Mr. H. S. May.|
|Yorkshire||Atkinson’s, Addy’s, Easther’s, Hunter’s, Robinson’s, Ross and Stead’s Glossaries, Henderson’s Folk-lore, ed. 1879.|
|Epworth, Lossiemouth||Mr. C. C. Bell.|
|Earls Heaton, Haydon, Holmfirth||Mr. H. Hardy.|
|Settle||Rev. W. S. Sykes.|
|Sharleston||Miss Fowler, Rev. G. T. Royds.|
|Sheffield||Mr. S. O. Addy, Miss Lucy Garnett.|
|Chambers’ Popular Rhymes, ed. 1870.|
|Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia, ed. 1871.|
|Jamieson’s Etymological Dictionary, ed. 1872-1889.|
|Folk-lore Society Publications.|
|Pitsligo||Rev. W. Gregor.|
|Duthil, Keith, Strathspey||Rev. W. Gregor.|
|Fochabers||Rev. W. Gregor.|
|Auchencairn||Prof. A. C. Haddon.|
|Biggar||Mr. Wm. Ballantyne.|
|Lanark||Mr. W. G. Black.|
|Nairn||Rev. W. Gregor.|
|Folk-lore Society Publications.|
|Notes and Queries.|
|Antrim and Down||Patterson’s Glossary.|
|Kilkee||G. H. Kinahan (Folk-lore Journal, vol. ii.)|
|Cork||Mrs. B. B. Green, Miss Keane.|
|Ballynascaw||Miss C. N. Patterson.|
|Belfast||Mr. W. H. Patterson.|
|Holywood||Miss C. N. Patterson.|
|Annaverna, Ravendale||Miss R. Stephen.|
|Portarlington||G. H. Kinahan (Folk-lore Journal, vol. ii.)|
|Folk-lore Society Publications.|
On page 15, line 12, for “Eggatt” read “Hats in Holes.”
On pp. 24, 49, 64, 112, for “Folk-lore Journal, vol. vi.” read “vol. vii.”
On page 62, last line, insert “vol. xix.” after “Journ. Anthrop. Inst.”
On page 66, line 4, delete “Move All.”
On page 224, fig. 3 of “Hopscotch” should be reversed.
On page 332, diagram of “London” omitted.
A cap or small article is placed on the back of a stooping boy by other boys as each in turn jumps over him. The first as he jumps says “Accroshay,” the second “Ashotay,” the third “Assheflay,” and the last “Lament, lament, Leleeman’s (or Leleena’s) war.” The boy who in jumping knocks off either of the things has to take the place of the stooper.—Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 58).
“A meere children’s pastime” (A Curtaine Lecture, 1637, p. 206). This is no doubt the game of “Hide and Seek,” though Cotgrave apparently makes it synonymous with “Hoodman Blind.” See Halliwell’s Dictionary. It is alluded to in Dekker’s Satiromastix, “Our unhansomed-fac’d Poet does play at Bo-peepes with your Grace, and cryes All-hidde, as boyes doe.” Tourneur, Rev. Trag., III., v. 82, “A lady can at such Al-hid beguile a wiser man,” is quoted in Murray’s Dictionary as the first reference.
—Northall’s English Folk Rhymes, p. 386.
This is a marching game for very little children, who follow each other in a row.
(b) Halliwell gives the first two lines only (Nursery Rhymes, No. dxv., p. 101), and there is apparently no other record of this game. It is probably ancient, and formerly of some significance. It refers to days of bows and arrows, and the allusion to the killing of the wren may have reference to the Manx and Irish custom of hunting that bird.
A juvenile game in Newcastle and the neighbourhood. A circle is made, about eight inches in diameter, termed the well, in the centre of which is placed a wooden peg four inches long, with a button balanced on the top. Those desirous of playing give buttons, marbles, or anything else, according to agreement, for the privilege of throwing a short stick, with which they are furnished, at the peg. Should the button fly out of the ring, the player is entitled to double the stipulated value of what he gives for the stick. The game is also practised at the Newcastle Races and other places of amusement in the North with three pegs, which are put into three circular holes made in the ground about two feet apart, and forming a triangle. In this case each hole contains a peg about nine inches long, upon which are deposited either a small knife or some copper. The person playing gives so much for each stick, and gets all the articles that are thrown off so as to fall on the outside of the holes.—Northumberland (Brockett’s North Country Glossary).
—Hampshire (from friend of Miss Mendham).
—Deptford (Miss Chase).
—Belfast (W. H. Patterson).
—Earls Heaton (Herbert Hardy).
(b) A full description of this game could not be obtained in each case. The Earls Heaton game is played by forming a ring, one child standing in the centre. After the first verse is sung, a child from the ring goes to the one in the centre. Then the rest of the verses are sung. The action to suit the words of the verses does not seem to have been kept up. In the Hampshire version, after the line “As a bird upon a tree,” the two children named pair off like sweethearts while the rest of the verse is being sung.
(c) The analysis of the game rhymes is as follows:—
|Hants.||Deptford (Kent).||Belfast.||Earls Heaton (Yorks.).|
|1.||Village life.||Village life.||Hunting life.||Roving life.|
|2.||All the boys happy.||All the boys happy.||All lusty bachelors.||—|
|3.||Except [ ], who wants a wife.||Except [ ], who wants a wife.||Except [ ], who courts [ ].||—|
|4.||He shall court [ ].||He shall court [ ].||He courted [ ].||Seeks for a bride.|
|5.||Huddles and cuddles, and sits on his knee.||Kisses and cuddles, and sits on his knee.||Huggled and guggled, and took on his knee.||—|
|6.||—||—||—||Catch the bride.|
|7.||Mutual expressions of love.||Mutual expressions of love.||—||—|
|8.||—||—||Asking to marry.||—|
|9.||Wife makes a pudding.||Girl makes a pudding.||Girl makes a pudding.||Girl makes a pudding.|
|10.||Husband cuts a slice.||Boy cuts a slice.||Asks boy to taste.||Asks boy to taste.|
|11.||Fixing of wedding day.||Fixing of wedding day.||Fixing of wedding day.||Fixing of wedding day.|
|12.||Wife in carriage, husband in cart.||Wife with domestic utensils.||Bride with rings on fingers and bells on toes.||—|
|13.||—||Grief if wife should die.||—||—|
|14.||—||—||Bride with a baby.||—|
|15.||—||Doctor, cat, and devil.||—||—|
|16.||—||—||Applause for the bride.||Applause for bride.|
It appears by the analysis that all the incidents of the Hants version of this game occur in one or other of the versions, and these incidents therefore may probably be typical of the game. This view would exclude the important incidents of bride capture in the Earls Heaton version; the bride having a baby in the Belfast version, and the two minor incidents in the Deptford version (Nos. 13 and 15 in the analysis), which are obviously supplemental. Chambers, in his Popular Rhymes of Scotland, pp. 119, 137, gives two versions of a courtship dance which are not unlike the words of this game, though they do not contain the principal incidents. Northall, in his English Folk Rhymes, p. 363, has some verses of a similar import, but not those of the game. W. Allingham seems to have used this rhyme as the commencement of one of his ballads, “Up the airy mountain.”
(d) The game is clearly a marriage game. It introduces two important details in the betrothal ceremony, inasmuch as the “huddling and cuddling” is typical of the rude customs at marriage ceremonies once prevalent in Yorkshire, the northern counties, and Wales, while the making of the pudding by the bride and the subsequent eating together, are clearly analogies to the bridal-cake ceremony. In Wales, the custom known as “bundling” allowed the betrothing parties to go to bed in their clothes (Brand, ii. 98). In Yorkshire, the bridal cake was always made by the bride. The rudeness of the dialogue seems to be remarkably noticeable in this game.
 Miss Chase says, “I think the order of verses is right; the children hesitated a little.”
 Mr. Hardy says, “This was sung to me by a girl at Earls Heaton or Soothill Nether. Another version commences with the last verse, continues with the first, and concludes with the second. The last two lines inserted here belong to that version.”
—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).
The children form into a ring and sing the above words. They “bop down” at the close of the verse. To “bop” means in the Suffolk dialect “to stoop or bow the head.”—Moor.
A little amusing game played by young girls at country schools. The same as “Drop Handkerchief,” except that the penalty for not following exactly the course of the child pursued is to “stand in the circle, face out, all the game afterwards; if she succeed in catching the one, the one caught must so stand, and the other take up the cap and go round as before” (Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia). No explanation is given of the name of this game.
See “Drop Handkerchief.”
—Middleton (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 523).
—Shepscombe, Gloucestershire (Miss Mendham).
—Warwickshire (Northall’s Folk Rhymes, p. 394).
—Hersham, Surrey (Folk-lore Record, v. 87).
—Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, p. 121.
(b) The children form pairs, one pair following the other, with their arms linked behind. While the first four lines are repeated by all, they skip forward, and then skip back again. At the end of the last line they turn themselves about without loosing hands.
(c) Miss Burne includes this among obscure and archaic games, and Halliwell-Phillips mentions it as a marching game. The three first versions have something of the nature of an incantation, while the fourth and fifth versions may probably belong to another game altogether. It is not clear from the great variation in the verses to which class the game belongs.
An old English game undescribed.—Useful Transactions in Philosophy, 1709, p. 43.
One child is called the “Angel,” another child the “Devil,” and a third child the “Minder.” The children are given the names of colours by the Minder. Then the Angel comes over and knocks, when the following dialogue takes place.
Minder: “Who’s there?”
Minder: “What do you want?”
Minder: “What colour?”
Minder retorts, if no child is so named, “Go and learn your A B C.” If the guess is right the child is led away. The Devil then knocks, and the dialogue and action are repeated.—Deptford, Kent (Miss Chase).
See “Fool, fool, come to School.”
The children join hands, and dance in a circle, “with a front step, a back step, and a side step, round an invisible May-pole,” singing—
Then follows kissing.—Brigg, Lincolnshire (Miss Peacock).
—Biggar (Wm. Ballantyne).
—Biggar (W. H. Ballantyne).
(b) Mr. Ballantyne describes the dance as taking place at the end of a country ball. The lads all sat on one side and the girls on the other. It began with a boy taking a handkerchief and dancing before the girls, singing the first verse (fig. 1). Selecting one of the girls, he threw the handkerchief into her lap, or put it round her neck, holding both ends himself. Some spread the handkerchief on the floor at the feet of the girl. The object in either case was to secure a kiss, which, however, was not given without a struggle, the girls cheering their companion at every unsuccessful attempt which the boy made (fig. 2). A girl then took the handkerchief, singing the next verse (fig. 3), and having thrown the handkerchief to one of the boys, she went off to her own side among the girls, and was pursued by the chosen boy (fig. 4). When all were thus paired, they formed into line, facing each other, and danced somewhat like the country dance of Sir Roger.
(c) Chambers’ Popular Rhymes, p. 36, gives a slightly different version of the verses, and says they were sung by children at their sports in Glasgow. Mactaggart alludes to this game as “‘Bumpkin Brawly,’ an old dance, the dance which always ends balls; the same with the ‘Cushion’ almost.”
The tune of this song is always played to the dance, says Mactaggart, but he does not record the tune. To bab, in Lowland Scottish, is defined by Jamieson to mean “to play backward and forward loosely; to dance.” Hence he adds, “Bab at the bowster, or Bab wi’ the bowster, a very old Scottish dance, now almost out of use; formerly the last dance at weddings and merry-makings.” Mr. Ballantyne says that a bolster or pillow was at one time always used. One correspondent of N. and Q., ii. 518, says it is now (1850) danced with a handkerchief instead of a cushion as formerly, and no words are used, but later correspondents contradict this. See also N. and Q., iii. 282.
(d) Two important suggestions occur as to this game. First, that the dance was originally the indication at a marriage ceremony for the bride and bridegroom to retire with “the bowster” to the nuptial couch. Secondly, that it has degenerated in Southern Britain to the ordinary “Drop Handkerchief” games of kiss in the ring. The preservation of this “Bab at the Bowster” example gives the clue both to the origin of the present game in an obsolete marriage custom, and to the descent of the game to its latest form. See “Cushion Dance.”
A rude kind of “Cricket,” played with a bat and a ball, usually with wall toppings for wickets. “Bad” seems to be the pronunciation or variation of “Bat.” Halliwell says it was a rude game, formerly common in Yorkshire, and probably resembling the game of “Cat.” There is such a game played now, but it is called “Pig.”—Easther’s Almondbury Glossary.
The game of “Hockey” in Cheshire.—Holland’s Glossary.
A rough game, sometimes seen in the country. The boy who personates the Bear performs his part on his hands and knees, and is prevented from getting away by a string. It is the part of another boy, his Keeper, to defend him from the attacks of the others.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.
This is a boys’ game, and is called “Buffet the Bear.” It may be taken part in by any number. One boy—the Bear—goes down on all fours, and lowers his head towards his breast as much as possible. Into his hand is placed one end of a piece of cord, and another boy, called the Keeper, takes hold of the other end in one hand, while he has in the other his cap. The other boys stand round, some with their caps in hand, and others with their neckties or pocket-handkerchiefs, and on a given signal they rush on the Bear and pelt him, trying specially to buffet him about the ears and face, whilst the Keeper does his best to protect his charge. If he happens to strike a boy, that boy becomes the Bear, and the former Bear becomes the Keeper, and so on the game goes.—Keith, Banffshire (Rev. W. Gregor).
I saw this game played on Barnes Green, Surrey, on 25th August 1892. The boys, instead of using their hats, had pieces of leather tied to a string, with which they struck the Bear on the back. They could only begin when the Keeper cried, “My Bear is free.” If they struck at any other time, the striker became the Bear. It is called “Baste the Bear.”—A. B. Gomme.
Chambers (Popular Rhymes, p. 128) describes this game under the title of “The Craw.” It was played precisely in the same way as the Barnes game. The boy who holds the end of the long strap has also a hard twisted handkerchief, called the cout; with this cout he defends the Craw against the attacks of the other boys, who also have similar couts. Before beginning, the Guard of the Craw must call out—
The first one he strikes becomes the Craw. When the Guard wants a respite, he calls out—
(b) Jamieson defines “Badger-reeshil” as a severe blow; borrowed, it is supposed, from the hunting of the badger, or from the old game of “Beating the Badger.”
Mr. Emslie says he knows it under the name of “Baste the Bear” in London, and Patterson (Antrim and Down Glossary) mentions a game similarly named. It is played at Marlborough under the name of “Tom Tuff.”—H. S. May.
See “Doncaster Cherries.”
—Northall’s English Folk Rhymes, p. 394.
Two children stand back to back, linked near the armpits, and weigh each other as they repeat these lines.
See “Weigh the Butter.”
—Chambers’ Pop. Rhymes of Scotland, p. 115.
—Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 530.
(b) Children throw a ball in the air, repeating the rhyme, and divine the length of their lives by the number of times they can catch it again. In some places this game is played with a cowslip ball, thence called a “tissy-ball.”
(c) I have heard other rhymes added to this, to determine whether the players shall marry or not, the future husband’s calling, dress to be worn, method of going to church, &c. (A. B. Gomme). Strutt describes a handball game played during the Easter holidays for Tansy cakes (Sports, p. 94). Halliwell gives rhymes for ball divination (Popular Rhymes, p. 298) to determine the number of years before marriage will arrive. Miss Baker (Northamptonshire Glossary) says, “The May garland is suspended by ropes from the school-house to an opposite tree, and the Mayers amuse themselves by throwing balls over it. A native of Fotheringay, Mr. C. W. Peach,” says Miss Baker, “has supplied me with the reminiscences of his own youth. He says the May garland was hung in the centre of the street, on a rope stretched from house to house. Then was made the trial of skill in tossing balls (small white leather ones) through the framework of the garland, to effect which was a triumph.”
This is a boys’ game. The players may be of any number. They place their caps or bonnets in a row. One of the boys takes a ball, and from a fixed point, at a few yards’ distance from the bonnets, tries to throw it into one of the caps (fig. 1). If the ball falls into the cap, all the boys, except the one into whose cap the ball has fallen, run off. The boy into whose cap the ball has been thrown goes up to it, lifts the ball from it, and calls out “Stop!” The other boys stop. The boy with the ball tries to strike one of the other boys (fig. 2). If he does so, a small stone is put into the cap of the boy struck. If he misses, a stone is put into his own cap. If the boy who is to pitch the ball into the cap misses, a stone is put into his own cap, and he makes another trial. The game goes on till six stones are put into one cap. The boy in whose cap are the six stones has to place his hand against a wall, when he receives a certain number of blows with the ball thrown with force by one of the players. The blows go by the name of “buns.” The game may go on in the same way till each player gets his “buns.”—Nairn (Rev. W. Gregor).
See “Hats in Holes.”
A row of boys’ caps is set by a wall. One boy throws a ball into one of the caps. The owner of the cap runs away, and is chased by all the others till caught. He then throws the ball.—Dublin (Mrs. Lincoln).
—Epworth, Doncaster; and Lossiemouth, Yorkshire (Charles C. Bell).
(b) The children form a ring, joining hands, and dance round singing the two first lines. Then loosing hands, they waltz in couples, singing as a refrain the last line. The game is continued, different coloured ribbons being named each time.
(c) This game was played in 1869, so cannot have arisen from the political movement.
A game played with an inflated ball of strong leather, the ball being struck by the arm, which was defended by a bracer of wood.—Brand’s Pop. Antiq., ii. 394.
(b) It is spelt “balloo” in Ben Jonson, iii. 216, and “baloome” in Randolph’s Poems, 1643, p. 105. It is also mentioned in Middleton’s Works, iv. 342, and by Donne.
—Donne’s Poems, p. 133.
Toone (Etymological Dict.) says it is a game rather for exercise than contention; it was well known and practised in England in the fourteenth century, and is mentioned as one of the sports of Prince Henry, son of James I., in 1610. Strutt (Sports and Pastimes, p. 96) gives two illustrations of what he considers to be baloon ball play, from fourteenth century MSS.
A game played with sticks called “bandies,” bent and round at one end, and a small wooden ball, which each party endeavours to drive to opposite fixed points. Northbrooke in 1577 mentions it as a favourite game in Devonshire (Halliwell’s Dict. of Provincialisms). Strutt says the bat-stick was called a “bandy” on account of its being bent, and gives a drawing from a fourteenth century MS. book of prayers belonging to Mr. Francis Douce (Sports, p. 102). The bats in this drawing are nearly identical with modern golf-sticks, and “Golf” seems to be derived from this game. Peacock mentions it in his Glossary of Manley and Corringham Words. Forby has an interesting note in his Vocabulary of East Anglia, i. 14. He says, “The bandy was made of very tough wood, or shod with metal, or with the point of the horn or the hoof of some animal. The ball is a knob or gnarl from the trunk of a tree, carefully formed into a globular shape. The adverse parties strive to beat it with their bandies through one or other of the goals.”
A game played with a nurr and crooked stick, also called “Shinty,” and much the same as the “Hockey” of the South of England. “Cad” is the same as “cat” in the game of “Tip-cat;” it simply means a cut piece of wood.—Nodal and Milner’s Lancashire Glossary.
A game at ball common in Norfolk, and played in a similar manner to “Bandy” (Halliwell’s Dictionary). Toone (Etymological Dictionary) says it is also played in Suffolk, and in West Sussex is called “Hawky.”
The game of “Cricket,” played with a bandy instead of a bat (Halliwell’s Dictionary). Toone mentions it as played in Norfolk (Dict.), and Moor as played in Suffolk with bricks usually, or, in their absence, with bats in place of bails or stumps (Suffolk Words).
Each boy provides himself with a button. One of the boys lays his button on the ground, near a wall. The other boys snap their buttons in turn against the wall. If the button drops within one span or hand-reach of the button laid down, it counts two (fig. 2); if within two spans, it counts one. When it hits the button and bounces within one span, it counts four (fig. 1); within two spans, three; and above three spans, one. Each player snaps in turn for an agreed number; the first to score this number wins the game.—Deptford, Kent, and generally in London streets (Miss Chase).
This game is known in America as “Spans.”—Newell, p. 188.
To play at “Bar,” a species of game anciently used in Scotland.—Jamieson.
This game had in ancient times in England been simply denominated “Bars,” or, as in an Act of James IV., 1491, edit. 1814, p. 227: “That na induellare within burgh . . . play at bar,” “playing at Bars.”
See “Prisoner’s Base.”
—Deptford, Kent (Miss Chase).
—Clapham, Surrey (Miss F. D. Richardson).
—Lady Camilla Gurdon’s Suffolk County Folk-lore, p. 63.
—Penzance (Mrs. Mabbott).
(b) Two children stand together joining hands tightly, to personate a fortress; one child stands at a distance from these to personate the King of Barbarie, with other children standing behind to personate the soldiers (fig. 1). Some of the soldiers go to the fortress and surround it, singing the first verse (fig. 2). The children in the fortress reply, the four first verses being thus sung alternately. The soldiers then go to the King singing the fifth verse (fig. 3), the remaining verses being thus sung alternately. One of the soldiers then goes to the fortress and endeavours by throwing herself on the clasped hands of the children forming the fortress to break down the guard (fig. 4). All the soldiers try to do this, one after the other; finally the King comes, who breaks down the guard. The whole troop of soldiers then burst through the parted arms (fig. 5).
This is the Deptford version. The Clapham version is almost identical; the children take hold of each others’ skirts and make a long line. If the brave soldier is not able to break the clasped hands he goes to the end of the line of soldiers. The soldiers do not surround the fortress. In the Suffolk version the soldiers try to break through the girls’ hands. If they do they have the tower. The Cornwall version is not so completely an illustration of the capture of a fortress.
Barley-break, or the Last Couple in Hell, was a game played by six people, three of each sex, who were coupled by lot. A piece of ground was then chosen, and divided into three compartments, of which the middle one was called Hell. It was the object of the couple condemned to this division to catch the others who advanced from the two extremities (figs. 1, 2), in which case a change of situation took place, and Hell was filled by the couple who were excluded by pre-occupation from the other place (fig. 3). In this catching, however, there was some difficulty, as by the regulations of the game the middle couple were not to separate before they had succeeded, while the others might break hands whenever they found themselves hard pressed. When all had been taken in turn, the last couple was said to be “in Hell,” and the game ended.—Dekker’s Works, iv. 434.
Jamieson calls this “a game generally played by young people in a corn-yard. Hence called barla-bracks about the stacks, S. B.” (i. e., in the North of Scotland). “One stack is fixed on as the dule or goal; and one person is appointed to catch the rest of the company, who run out from the dule. He does not leave it till they are all out of sight. Then he sets off to catch them. Any one who is taken cannot run out again with his former associates, being accounted a prisoner; but is obliged to assist his captor in pursuing the rest. When all are taken the game is finished; and he who was first taken is bound to act as catcher in the next game. This innocent sport seems to be almost entirely forgotten in the South of Scotland. It is also falling into desuetude in the North.”
(b) The following description of Barley-break, written by Sir Philip Sidney, is taken from the song of Lamon, in the first volume of the Arcadia, where he relates the passion of Claius and Strephon for the beautiful Urania:—
Sir John Suckling also has given a description of this pastime with allegorical personages, which is quoted by Brand. In Holiday’s play of the Marriages of the Arts, 1618, this sport is introduced, and also by Herrick (Hesperides, p. 44). Barley-break is several times alluded to in Massinger’s plays: see the Dramatic Works of Philip Massinger, 1779, i. 167. “We’ll run at barley-break first, and you shall be in hell” (Dekker’s The Honest Whore). “Hee’s at barli-break, and the last couple are now in hell” (Dekker’s The Virgin Martir). See Gifford’s Massinger, i. 104, edit. 1813. See also Browne’s Britannia’s Pastorals, published in 1614, Book I., Song 3, p. 76.
Randle Holme mentions this game as prevailing in his day in Lancashire. Harland and Wilkinson believe this game to have left its traces in Yorkshire and Lancashire. A couple link hands and sally forth from home, shouting something like
and trying to tick or touch with the free hand any of the boys running about separately. These latter try to slip behind the couple and throw their weight on the joined hands to separate them without being first touched or ticked; and if they sunder the couple, each of the severed ones has to carry one home on his back. Whoever is touched takes the place of the toucher in the linked couple (Legends of Lancashire, p. 138). The modern name of this game is “Prison Bars” (Ibid., p. 141). There is also a description of the game in a little tract called Barley Breake; or, A Warning for Wantons, 1607. It is mentioned in Wilbraham’s Cheshire Glossary as “an old Cheshire game.” Barnes, in his Dorsetshire Glossary, says he has seen it played with one catcher on hands and knees in the small ring (Hell), and the others dancing round the ring crying “Burn the wold witch, you barley breech.” Holland (Cheshire Glossary) also mentions it as an old Cheshire game.
—Played about 1850 at Hurstmonceux, Sussex (Miss Chase).
This is probably a forfeit game, imperfectly remembered. See “Old Soldier.”
An undescribed Suffolk game.—Moor’s Suffolk Words. See “Rounders.”
—London (A. B. Gomme).
In this game the children all follow one who is styled the “mother,” singing:
The mother presently turns and catches or pretends to beat them.—Dorsetshire (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 231).
—Hersham, Surrey (Folk-lore Record, v. 84).
A version familiar to me is the same as above, but ending with
The mother then chased and beat those children she caught. The idea was, I believe, that the children were imitating or mocking their mother (A. B. G.). In Warwickshire the four lines of the Surrey game are concluded by the additional lines—
When the mother runs after them and buffets them.—Northall’s English Folk Rhymes, p. 393.
A number of boys agree to play at this game, and sides are picked. Five, for example, play on each side. A square is chalked out on a footpath by the side of a road, which is called the “Den;” five of the boys remain by the side of the Den, one of whom is called the “Tenter;” the Tenter has charge of the Den, and he must always stand with one foot in the Den and the other upon the road; the remaining five boys go out to field, it being agreed beforehand that they shall only be allowed to run within a prescribed area, or in certain roads or streets (fig. 1). As soon as the boys who have gone out to field have reached a certain distance—there is no limit prescribed—they shout “Relievo,” and upon this signal the four boys standing by the side of the Den pursue them, leaving the Tenter in charge of the Den (fig. 2). When a boy is caught he is taken to the Den, where he is obliged to remain, unless the Tenter puts both his feet into the Den, or takes out the one foot which he ought always to keep in the Den. If the Tenter is thus caught tripping, the prisoner can escape from the Den. If during the progress of the game one of the boys out at field runs through the Den shouting “Relievo” without being caught by the Tenter, the prisoner is allowed to escape, and join his comrades at field. If one of the boys out at field is tired, and comes to stand by the side of the Den, he is not allowed to put his foot into the Den. If he does so the prisoner calls out, “There are two Tenters,” and escapes if he can (fig. 3). When all the boys out at field have been caught and put into the Den, the process is reversed—the boys who have been, as it were, hunted, taking the place of the hunters. Sometimes the cry is “Delievo,” and not “Relievo.” One or two variations occur in the playing of this game. Sometimes the Tenter, instead of standing with one foot in the Den, stands as far off the prisoner as the prisoner can spit. The choosing of sides is done by tossing. Two boys are selected to toss. One of them throws up his cap, crying, “Pot!” or “Lid!” which is equivalent to “Heads and Tails.” If, when a prisoner is caught, he cries out “Kings!” or “Kings to rest!” he is allowed to escape. The game is a very rough one.—Addy’s Sheffield Glossary.
Jamieson gives this as the Scottish name for “Hopscotch;” also Brockett, North Country Words.
—Stanton Lacey (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 520).
—Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, p. 283.
(b) The children form long trains, standing one behind the other. They march and sing the first four lines, then the fifth line, when they stand and begin again as before.
(c) Miss Burne suggests a connection with the old pack-horses. Mr. Addy (Sheffield Glossary) gives the first two lines as a game. He says, “The first horse in a team conveying lead to be smelted wore bells, and was called the bell-horse.” I remember when a child the two first lines being used to start children a race (A. B. G.). Chambers (Pop. Rhymes, p. 148) gives a similar verse, used for starting a race:—
and these lines are also used for the same purpose in Cheshire (Holland’s Glossary) and Somersetshire (Elworthy’s Glossary). Halliwell, on the strength of the corrupted word “Bellasay,” connects the game with a proverbial saying applied to the family of Bellasis; but there is no evidence of such a connection except the word-corruption. The rhyme occurs in Gammer Gurton’s Garland, 1783, the last words of the second line being “time to away.”
The name for “Blind Man’s Buff” in Upper Clydesdale. As anciently in this game he who was the chief actor was not only hoodwinked, but enveloped in the skin of an animal.—Jamieson.
See “Blind Man’s Buff.”
The name for “Blind Man’s Buff” in Roxburgh, Clydesdale, and other counties of the border. It is probable that the term is the same with “Billy Blynde,” said to be the name of a familiar spirit or good genius somewhat similar to the brownie.—Jamieson.
See “Blind Man’s Buff.”
A boys’ phrase for a slide on a pond when the ice is thin and bends. There is a game on the ice called playing at “Bend-leather.” Whilst the boys are sliding they say “Bend-leather, bend-leather, puff, puff, puff.”—Addy’s Sheffield Glossary.
—Kent (J. P. Emslie).
Two children cross their hands in the fashion known as a “sedan chair.” A third child sits on their hands. The two sing the first line. One of them sings, “You’re the lock,” the other sings, “and I’m the key,” and as they sang the words they unclasped their hands and dropped their companion on the ground. Mr. J. P. Emslie writes, “My mother learned this from her mother, who was a native of St. Laurence, in the Isle of Thanet. The game possibly belongs to Kent.”
In Somersetshire the game of “Hide and Seek.” To bik’ee is for the seekers to go and lean their heads against a wall, so as not to see where the others go to hide.—Elworthy’s Dialect.
See “Hide and Seek.”
A Lincolnshire name for “Prisoner’s Base.”—Halliwell’s Dictionary; Peacock’s Manley and Corringham Glossary; Cole’s S. W. Lincolnshire Glossary.
Name for “Blind Man’s Buff.”—Dickinson’s Cumberland Glossary.
The Derbyshire name for “Tip-cat.”—Halliwell’s Dictionary.
A name for “Prisoner’s Base.”—Halliwell’s Dictionary.
—Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy).
—Market Drayton, Ellesmere, Oswestry (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 513).
—Liphook, Hants; Wakefield, Yorks (Miss Fowler).
—Tean, Staffs.; and North Staffs. Potteries (Miss Keary).
—Nottinghamshire (Miss Winfield).
—Maxey, Northants (Rev. W. D. Sweeting).
—Eckington, Derbyshire (S. O. Addy).
—Enbourne, Berks (Miss Kimber).
(b) In the Lancashire version, one child represents the Miller. The rest of the children stand round in a circle, with the Miller in the centre. All dance round and sing the verses. When it comes to the spelling part of the rhyme, the Miller points at one child, who must call out the right letter. If the child fails to do this she becomes Miller. In the Shropshire version, a ring is formed with one player in the middle. They dance round and sing the verses. When it comes to the spelling part, the girl in the middle cries B, and signals to another, who says I, the next to her N, the third G, the fourth “O! his name was Bobby Bingo!” Whoever makes a mistake takes the place of the girl in the middle. In the Liphook version, at the fourth line the children stand still and repeat a letter each in turn as quickly as they can, clapping their hands, and at the last line they turn right round, join hands, and begin again. In the Tean version, the one in the centre points, standing still, to some in the ring to say the letters B.I.N.G; the letter O has to be sung; if not, the one who says it goes in the ring, and repeats it all again until the game is given up. In the other Staffordshire version, when they stop, the one in the middle points to five of the others in turn, who have to say the letters forming “Bingo,” while the one to whom O comes has to sing it on the note on which the others left off. Any one who says the wrong letter, or fails to sing the O right, takes the place of the middle one. The Northants version follows the Lancashire version, but if the answers are all made correctly, the last line is sung by the circle, and the game begins again. In the Metheringham version the child in the centre is blindfolded. When the song is over the girls say, “Point with your finger as we go round.” The girl in the centre points accordingly, and whichever of the others happens to be opposite to her when she says “Stop!” is caught. If the blindfolded girl can identify her captive they exchange places, and the game goes on as before. The Forest of Dean and the Earls Heaton versions are played the same as the Lancashire. In the West Cornwall version, as seen played in 1884, a ring is formed, into the middle of which goes a child holding a stick; the others with joined hands run round in a circle, singing the verses. When they have finished singing they cease running, whilst the one in the centre, pointing with his stick, asks them in turn to spell Bingo. If they all spell it correctly they again move round singing; but should either of them make a mistake, he or she has to take the place of the middle man (Folk-lore Journal, v. 58). In the Hexham version they sing a second verse, which is the same as the first with the name spelt backwards. The Berks version is practically the same as the Tean version. The Eckington (Derbyshire) version is played as follows:—A number of young women form a ring. A man stands within the ring, and they sing the words. He then makes choice of a girl, who takes his arm. They both walk round the circle while the others sing the same lines again. The girl who has been chosen makes choice of a young man in the ring, who in his turn chooses another girl, and so on till they have all paired off.
(c) The first verse of the Shropshire version is also sung at Metheringham, near Lincoln (C. C. Bell), and Cowes, I. W. (Miss E. Smith). The Staffordshire version of the words is sung in Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire (Miss Matthews), West Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 58), Earls Heaton, Yorkshire (H. Hardy), Hexham, Northumberland (Miss Barker), Leicester (Miss Ellis). Miss Peacock says, “A version is known in Lincolnshire.” Tunes have also been sent from Tean, North Staffs. (Miss Keary), and Epworth, Doncaster (Mr. C. C. Bell), which are nearly identical with the Leicester tune; from Market Drayton (Miss Burne), similar to the Derbyshire tune; from Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy), which appears to be only the latter part of the tune, and is similar to those given above. The tune given by Rimbault is not the same as those collected above, though there is a certain similarity.
The editor of Northamptonshire Notes and Queries, vol. i. p. 214, says, “Some readers will remember that Byngo is the name of the ‘Franklyn’s dogge’ that Ingoldsby introduces into a few lines described as a portion of a primitive ballad, which has escaped the researches of Ritson and Ellis, but is yet replete with beauties of no common order.” In the Nursery Songs collected by Ed. Rimbault from oral tradition is “Little Bingo.” The words of this are very similar to the Lancashire version of the game sent by Miss Dendy. There is an additional verse in the nursery song.
A row of boys or girls stands parallel with another row opposite. Each of the first row chooses the name of some bird, and a member of the other row then calls out all the names of birds he can think of. If the middle member of the first row has chosen either of them, he calls out “Yes,” and all the guessers immediately run to take the place of the first row, the members of which attempt to catch them. If any succeed, they have the privilege of riding in on their captives’ backs.—Ogbourne, Wilts (H. S. May).
This is a slate game, and two or more children play. One writes the initial and final letters of a bird’s, beast’s, or fish’s name, making crosses (×) instead of the intermediate letters of the word, stating whether the name is that of bird, beast, or fish. The other players must guess in turn what the name is. The first one who succeeds takes for himself the same number of marks as there are crosses in the word, and then writes the name of anything he chooses in the same manner. If the players are unsuccessful in guessing the name, the writer takes the number to his own score and writes another. The game is won when one player gains a certain number of marks previously decided upon as “game.”—Barnes (A. B. Gomme).
The Sussex game of “Stoolball.” There is a tradition that this game was originally played by the milkmaids with their milking-stools, which they used for bats; but this word makes it more probable that the stool was the wicket, and that it was defended with the bittle, which would be called the bittle-bat.—Parish’s Sussex Dialect.
Bishop Kennet (in MS. Lansd. 1033) gives this name as a term for “Prisoner’s Base.”—Halliwell’s Dictionary.
A long rope is tied to a gate or pole, and one of the players holds the end of the rope, and tries to catch another player. When he succeeds in doing so the one captured joins him (by holding hands) and helps to catch the other players. The game is finished when all are caught.—Cork (Miss Keane).
—Earls Heaton, Yorks.
—Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy).
—Harland and Wilkinson’s Lancashire Folk-lore, p. 150.
—Addy’s Sheffield Glossary.
—Earls Heaton, Yorkshire (Herbert Hardy).
(b) One set of children stand against a wall, another set stand opposite, facing them. The first set sing the first line, the others replying with the second line, and so with the third and fourth lines. The two sides then rush over to each other, and the second set are caught. The child who is caught last becomes one of the first set for another game. This is the Earls Heaton version. The Lancashire game, as described by Miss Dendy, is: One child stands opposite a row of children, and the row run over to the opposite side, when the one child tries to catch them. The prisoners made, join the one child, and assist her in the process of catching the others. The rhyme is repeated in each case until all are caught, the last one out becoming “Blackthorn” for a new game. Harland and Wilkinson describe the game somewhat differently. Each player has a mark, and after the dialogue the players run over to each other’s marks, and if any can be caught before getting home to the opposite mark, he has to carry his captor to the mark, when he takes his place as an additional catcher.
(c) Miss Burne’s version (Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 521) is practically the same as the Earls Heaton game, and Easther in his Almondbury Glossary gives a version practically like the Sheffield. Mr. Hardy says it is sometimes called “Black-butt,” when the opposite side cry “Away we cut.” Miss Dendy quotes an old Lancashire rhyme, which curiously refers to the different subjects in the Lancashire game rhyme. It is as follows:—
Another version is given in Notes and Queries, 3rd Series, vii. 285.
(d) This is a dramatic game, in which the children seem to personate animals, and to depict events belonging to the history of the flock. Miss Burne groups it under her “dramatic games.”
A game formerly common in Berwickshire, in which all the players were hoodwinked except the person who was called the Bell. He carried a bell, which he rung, still endeavouring to keep out of the way of his hoodwinked partners in the game. When he was taken, the person who seized him was released from the bandage, and got possession of the bell, the bandage being transferred to him who was laid hold of.—Jamieson.
(b) In “The Modern Playmate,” edited by Rev. J. G. Wood, this game is described under the name of “Jingling.” Mr. Wood says there is a rougher game played at country feasts and fairs in which a pig takes the place of the boy with the bell, but he does not give the locality (p. 7). Strutt also describes it (Sports, p. 317).
In Somersetshire the game of “Blind Man’s Buff.” Also in Cornwall (see Couch’s Polperro, p. 173). Pulman says this means “Blind buck and have ye” (Elworthy’s Dialect).
A name for “Blind Man’s Buff.”—Jamieson.
The Suffolk name for “Blind Man’s Buff.”—Halliwell’s Dictionary; Moor’s Suffolk Glossary.
—Shrewsbury (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 525).
—Deptford (Miss Chase).
—Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 57, 58).
—Cumberland (Dickinson’s Glossary).
(b) In the Deptford version one of the players is blindfolded. The one who blindfolds ascertains that the player cannot see by putting the first question. When the players are satisfied that the blindfolding is complete, the dialogue follows, and the blind man is turned round three times. The game is for him to catch one of the players, who is blindfolded in turn if the blind man succeeds in guessing who he is. Players are allowed to pull, pinch, and buffet the blind man.
(c) This sport is found among the illuminations of an old missal formerly in the possession of John Ives, cited by Strutt in his Manners and Customs. The two illustrations are facsimiles from drawings in one of the Bodleian MSS., and they indicate the complete covering of the head, and also the fact that the game was played by adults. Gay says concerning it—
And another reference is quoted by Brand (ii. 398)—
—The Newe Metamorphosis, 1600, MS.
Other names for this game are “Belly Mantie,” “Billy Blind,” “Blind Bucky Davy,” “Blind Harie,” “Blind Hob,” “Blind Nerry Mopsey,” “Blind Palmie,” “Blind Sim,” “Buck Hid,” “Chacke Blynd Man,” “Hoodle-cum-blind,” “Hoodman Blind,” “Hooper’s Hide,” “Jockie Blind Man.”
(d) There is some reason for believing that this game can be traced up to very ancient rites connected with prehistoric worship. The name “Billy Blind” denoted the person who was blindfolded in the game, as may be seen by an old poem by Lyndsay, quoted by Jamieson:
And also in Clerk’s Advice to Luvaris:
“It is probable,” says Jamieson, “that the term is the same as Billy Blynde, said to be the name of a familiar spirit or good genius somewhat similar to the brownie.” Professor Child identifies it with Odin, the blind deity. Another name in Scotland is also “Blind Harie,” which is not the common Christian name “Harry,” because this was not a name familiar in Scotland. Blind Harie may therefore, Jamieson thinks, arise from the rough or hairy attire worn by the principal actor. Auld Harie is one of the names given to the devil, and also to the spirit Brownie, who is represented as a hairy being. Under “Coolin,” a curious Highland custom is described by Jamieson, which is singularly like the game of “Belly Blind,” and assists in the conclusion that the game has descended from a rite where animal gods were represented. Sporting with animals before sacrificing them was a general feature at these rites. It is known that the Church opposed the people imitating beasts, and in this connection it is curious to note that in South Germany the game is called blind bock, i. e., “blind goat,” and in German blinde kuhe, or “blind cow.” In Scotland, one of the names for the game, according to A. Scott’s poems, was “Blind Buk”:
It may therefore be conjectured that the person who was hoodwinked assumed the appearance of a goat, stag, or cow by putting on the skin of one of those animals.
He who is twice crowned or touched on the head by the taker or him who is hoodwinked, instead of once only, according to the law of the game, is said to be brunt (burned), and regains his liberty.—Jamieson.
A boys’ game, played with the eggs of small birds. The eggs are placed on the ground, and the player who is blindfolded takes a certain number of steps in the direction of the eggs; he then slaps the ground with a stick thrice in the hope of breaking the eggs; then the next player, and so on.—Patterson’s Antrim and Down Glossary.
The Whitby name for “Blind Man’s Buff.”—Robinson’s Glossary.
One of the names given to the game of “Blindman’s Buff.”—Jamieson.
Suffolk name for “Blind Man’s Buff.”—Forby’s Vocabulary of East Anglia.
This is a boys’ game, and requires seven players. One boy, the Block, goes down on all fours; another, the Nail, does the same behind the Block, with his head close to his a posteriori part. A third boy, the Hammer, lies down on his back behind the two. Of the remaining four boys one stations himself at each leg and one at each arm of the Hammer, and he is thus lifted. He is swung backwards and forwards three times in this position by the four, who keep repeating “Once, twice, thrice.” When the word “Thrice” is repeated, the a posteriori part of the Hammer is knocked against the same part of the Nail. Any number of knocks may be given, according to the humour of the players.—Keith (Rev. W. Gregor).
A fellow lies on all fours—this is the Block; one steadies him before—this is the Study; a third is made a Hammer of, and swung by boys against the Block (Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia). Patterson (Antrim and Down Glossary) mentions a game, “Hammer, Block, and Bible,” which is probably the same game.
Strutt considers this to have been a children’s game, played by blowing an arrow through a trunk at certain numbers by way of lottery (Sports, p. 403). Nares says the game was blowing small pins or points against each other, and probably not unlike “Push-pin.” Marmion in his Antiquary, 1641, says: “I have heard of a nobleman that has been drunk with a tinker, and of a magnifico that has played at blow-point.” In the Comedy of Lingua, 1607, act iii., sc. 2, Anamnestes introduces Memory as telling “how he played at blowe-point with Jupiter when he was in his side-coats.” References to this game are also made in Apollo Shroving, 1627, p. 49; and see Hawkins’ English Drama, iii. 243.
A children’s game, consisting in jumping at cherries above their heads and trying to catch them with their mouths (Halliwell’s Dictionary). It is alluded to in Herrick’s Hesperides as “Chop Cherry.” Major Lowsley describes the game as taking the end of a cherry-stalk between the teeth, and holding the head perfectly level, trying to get the cherry into the mouth without using the hands or moving the head (Berkshire Glossary). It is also mentioned in Peacock’s Manley and Corringham Glossary. Strutt gives a curious illustration of the game in his Sports and Pastimes, which is here reproduced from the original MS. in the British Museum.
The Staffordshire St. Clement Day custom (Poole’s Staffordshire Customs, &c., p. 36) and the northern Hallowe’en custom (Brockett’s North-Country Words) probably indicate the origin of this game from an ancient rite.
A favourite play among young people in the villages, in which one hunts several others (Brockett’s North-Country Words). The game is alluded to in one of the songs given by Ritson (ii. 3), and Jamieson describes it as a Scottish game.
The child’s play of finding the hidden person in the company.—Robinson’s Whitby Glossary. See “Hide and Seek.”
This is a boys’ game. The players place their bonnets or caps in a pile. They then join hands and stand in a circle round it. They then pull each other, and twist and wriggle round and round and over it, till one overturns it or knocks a bonnet off it. The player who does so is hoisted on the back of another, and pelted by all the others with their bonnets.—Keith, Nairn (Rev. W. Gregor).
—Norfolk, 1825-30 (J. Doe).
(b) One boy lies down and personates Booman. Other boys form a ring round him, joining hands and alternately raising and lowering them, to imitate bell-pulling, while the girls who play sit down and weep. The boys sing the first verse. The girls seek for daisies or any wild flowers, and join in the singing of the second verse, while the boys raise the prostrate Booman and carry him about. When singing the third verse the boys act digging a grave, and the dead boy is lowered. The girls strew flowers over the body. When finished another boy becomes Booman.
(c) This game is clearly dramatic, to imitate a funeral. Mr. Doe writes, “I have seen somewhere [in Norfolk] a tomb with a crest on it—a leek—and the name Beaumont,” but it does not seem necessary to thus account for the game.
A game at marbles. Strutt describes it as follows:—“One bowls a marble to any distance that he pleases, which serves as a mark for his antagonist to bowl at, whose business it is to hit the marble first bowled, or lay his own near enough to it for him to span the space between them and touch both the marbles. In either case he wins. If not, his marble remains where it lay, and becomes a mark for the first player, and so alternately until the game be won.”—Sports, p. 384.
The same as “Boss-out.” It is mentioned, but not described, in Baker’s Northamptonshire Glossary.
—The Dancing Master, 1728, vol. ii., p. 138.
—Useful Transactions in Philosophy, p. 44.
This rhyme is repeated when it is decided to begin any game, as a general call to the players. The above writer says it occurs in a very ancient MS., but does not give any reference to it. Halliwell quotes the four first lines, the first line reading “Boys and girls,” instead of “Boys, boys,” from a curious ballad written about the year 1720, formerly in the possession of Mr. Crofton Croker (Nursery Rhymes). Chambers also gives this rhyme (Popular Rhymes, p. 152).
A game formerly common at fairs, called also “Hit my Legs and miss my Pegs.”—Dickinson’s Cumberland Glossary.
A game at marbles. The boys have a board a foot long, four inches in depth, and an inch (or so) thick, with squares as in the diagram; any number of holes at the ground edge, numbered irregularly. The board is placed firmly on the ground, and each player bowls at it. He wins the number of marbles denoted by the figure above the opening through which his marble passes. If he misses a hole, his marble is lost to the owner of the Bridgeboard.—Earls Heaton (Herbert Hardy). [The owner or keeper of the Bridgeboard presumably pays those boys who succeed in winning marbles.]
See “Nine Holes.”
A boys’ game, undescribed.—Patterson’s Antrim and Down Glossary.
Ebenezer is sent out of the room, and the remainder choose one of themselves. Two children act in concert, it being understood that the last person speaking when Ebenezer goes out of the room is the person to be chosen. The medium left in the room causes the others to think of this person without letting them know that they are not choosing of their own free will. The medium then says, “Brother Ebenezer, come in,” and asks him in succession, “Was it William, or Jane,” &c., mentioning several names before saying the right one, Ebenezer saying “No!” to all until the one is mentioned who last spoke.—Bitterne, Hants (Mrs. Byford).
A child’s game, undescribed.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.
The name of a game probably the same as “Nine Holes.”—Halliwell’s Dictionary.
A boy stoops so that his arms rest on a table; another boy sits on him as he would on a horse. He then holds up (say) three fingers, and says—
The stooping boy guesses, and if he says a wrong number the other says—
When the stooping boy guesses rightly the other says—
The boy then gets off and stoops for the other one to mount, and the game is played again.—London (J. P. Emslie).
Similar action accompanies the following rhyme:—
—Almondbury (Easther’s Glossary).
A different action occurs in other places. It is played by three boys in the following way:—One stands with his back to a wall; the second stoops down with his head against the stomach of the first boy, “forming a back;” the third jumps on it, and holds up his hand with the fingers distended, saying—
Should the stooper guess correctly, they all change places, and the jumper forms the back. Another and not such a rough way of playing this game is for the guesser to stand with his face towards a wall, keeping his eyes shut.—Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 59).
In Nairn, Scotland, the game is called Post and Rider. One boy, the Post, takes his stand beside a wall. Another boy stoops down with his head touching the Post’s breast. Several other boys stoop down in the same way behind the first boy, all in line. The Rider then leaps on the back of the boy at the end of the row of stooping boys, and from his back to that of the one in front, and so on from back to back till he reaches the boy next the Post. He then holds up so many fingers, and says—
The boy makes a guess. If the number guessed is wrong, the Rider gives the number guessed as well as the correct number, and again holds up so many, saying—
This goes on till the correct number is guessed, when the guesser becomes the Rider. The game was called “Buck, Buck” at Keith. Three players only took part in the game—the Post, the Buck, and the Rider. The words used by the Rider were—
If the guess was wrong, the Rider gave the Buck as many blows or kicks with the heel as the difference between the correct number and the number guessed. This process went on till the correct number was guessed, when the Rider and the Buck changed places.—Rev. W. Gregor.
(b) Dr. Tylor says: “It is interesting to notice the wide distribution and long permanence of these trifles in history when we read the following passage from Petronius Arbiter, written in the time of Nero:—‘Trimalchio, not to seem moved by the loss, kissed the boy, and bade him get up on his back. Without delay the boy climbed on horseback on him, and slapped him on the shoulders with his hand, laughing and calling out, “Bucca, bucca, quot sunt hic”?’—Petron. Arbitri Satiræ, by Buchler, p. 84 (other readings are buccæ or bucco).”—Primitive Culture, i. 67.
A rude game amongst boys.—Dickinson’s Cumberland Glossary.
“A kind of play used by boys in London streets in Henry VIII.’s time, now disused, and I think forgot” (Blount’s Glossographia, p. 95). Hall mentions this game, temp. Henry VIII., f. 91.
For this the boys divide into sides. One “stops at home,” the other goes off to a certain distance agreed on beforehand and shouts “Buckey-how.” The boys “at home” then give chase, and when they succeed in catching an adversary, they bring him home, and there he stays until all on his side are caught, when they in turn become the chasers.—Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 60).
|1st player, thumping the floor with a stick: “Knock, knock!”|
|2nd ditto:||“Who’s there?”|
|2nd:||“What says Buff?”|
|1st:||“Buff says Buff to all his men,|
|And I say Buff to you again!”|
|2nd:||“Methinks Buff smiles?”|
|1st:||“Buff neither laughs nor smiles,|
|But looks in your face|
|With a comical grace,|
|And delivers the staff to you again” (handing it over).|
—Shropshire (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 526).
Same verses as in Shropshire, except the last, which runs as follows:—
—Cheltenham (Miss E. Mendham).
Same verses as in Shropshire, except the last, which runs as follows:—
—London (J. P. Emslie).
(b) Five or six children stand in a row. Another child comes up to the first of the row, and strikes smartly on the ground with a stick. The child facing him asks the first question, and the one with the stick answers. At “strokes his face” he suits the action to the words, and then thumps with his stick on the ground at the beginning of the last line. The object of all the players is to make Buff smile while going through this absurdity, and if he does he must pay a forfeit.
Another version is for one child to be blindfolded, and stand in the middle of a ring of children, holding a long wand in his hand. The ring dance round to a tune and sing a chorus [which is not given by the writer]. They then stop. Buff extends his wand, and the person to whom it happens to be pointed must step out of the circle to hold the end in his hand. Buff then interrogates the holder of the wand by grunting three times, and is answered in like manner. Buff then guesses who is the holder of the wand. If he guesses rightly, the holder of the stick becomes Buff, and he joins the ring (Winter Evening’s Amusements, p. 6). When I played at this game the ring of children walked in silence three times only round Buff, then stopped and knelt or stooped down on the ground, strict silence being observed. Buff asked three questions (anything he chose) of the child to whom he pointed the stick, who replied by imitating cries of animals or birds (A. B. Gomme).
(c) This is a well-known game. It is also called “Buffy Gruffy,” or “Indian Buff.” The Dorsetshire version in Folk-lore Journal, vii. 238, 239, is the same as the Shropshire version. Halliwell (Nursery Rhymes, cclxxxii.) gives a slight variant. It is also given by Mr. Addy in his Sheffield Glossary, the words being the same except the last two lines, which run—
This seems to be an old name for some game, probably “Blindman’s Buff,” Sw. “Blind-bock,” q. “bock” and “hufwud head” (having the head resembling a goat). The sense, however, would agree better with “Bo-peep” or “Hide and Seek.”—Jamieson.
One child places himself in the centre of a circle of others. He then asks each of the circle in turn, “Where’s the key of the park?” and is answered by every one, except the last, “Ask the next-door neighbour.” The last one answers, “Get out the way you came in.” The centre one then makes a dash at the hands of some of the circle, and continues to do so until he breaks through, when all the others chase him. Whoever catches him is then Bull.—Liphook, Hants (Miss Fowler).
“The Bull in the Barn” is apparently the same game. The players form a ring; one player in the middle called the Bull, one outside called the King.
Bull: “Where is the key of the barn-door?”
Chorus: “Go to the next-door neighbour.”
King: “She left the key in the church-door.”
Bull: “Steel or iron?”
He then forces his way out of the ring, and whoever catches him becomes Bull.—Berrington (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, pp. 519, 520).
Another version is that the child in the centre, whilst the others danced around him in a circle, saying, “Pig in the middle and can’t get out,” replies, “I’ve lost my key but I will get out,” and throws the whole weight of his body suddenly on the clasped hands of a couple, to try and unlock them. When he had succeeded he changed the words to, “I’ve broken your locks, and I have got out.” One of the pair whose hands he had opened took his place, and he joined the ring.—Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 50).
(b) Mr. S. O. Addy says the following lines are said or sung in a game called “T’ Bull’s i’ t’ Barn,” but he does not know how it is played:—
A play amongst boys, in which, all having joined hands in a line, a boy at one of the ends stands still, and the rest all wind round him. The sport especially consists in an attempt to heeze or throw the whole mass on the ground.—Jamieson.
A play of children. “Bummers—a thin piece of wood swung round by a cord” (Blackwood’s Magazine, Aug. 1821, p. 35). Jamieson says the word is evidently denominated from the booming sound produced.
A hole is scooped out in the ground with the heel in the shape of a small dish, and the game consists in throwing a marble as near to this hole as possible. Sometimes, when several holes are made, the game is called “Holy.”—Addy’s Sheffield Glossary; Notes and Queries, xii. 344.
Played by children in pairs (one kneeling and one standing) in a ring. The inner child of each pair kneels. The following dialogue begins with the inner circle asking the first question, which is replied to by the outer circle.
“What time does the King come home?”
“One o’clock in the afternoon.”
“What has he in his hand?”
“A bunch of ivy.”
The rhyme is repeated for every hour up to six, the outer circle running round the inner as many times as the number named. The children then change places and repeat.—Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy).
—London (J. P. Emslie).
A number of boys divide themselves into two sides. One side, the Buckets, stoop down, as for “Leap-frog,” arranging themselves one in front of the other. The hindmost supports himself against the one in front of him, and the front one supports himself against a wall (fig.). They thus make an even and solid row of their backs. The other side, the Bungs, leap on to the backs of the Buckets, the first one going as far up the row as possible, the second placing himself close behind the first, and so on. If they all succeed in getting a secure place, they cry out twice the two first lines—
If no breakdown occurs, the Buckets count one in their favour, and the Bungs repeat the process. When a breakdown occurs the Bungs take the place of the Buckets.—Barnes, Surrey (A. B. Gomme).
(b) Mr. Emslie, to whom I am indebted for the tune to this game, gives me the words as—
He says, “I once heard this sung three times, followed by ‘Ha! ha! he!’ to the tune of the last bar.” Mr. W. R. Emslie says the game is known at Beddgelert as “Horses, Wild Horses,” he believes, but is not quite certain.
Northall (Rhymes, p. 401) describes a game very similar to this under “Buck,” in which the rhyme and method of play is the same as in that game. He continues, “This is closely allied to a game called in Warwickshire ‘Jack upon the Mopstick.’ But in this there is no guessing. The leaping party must maintain their position whilst their leader says—
Name for “Tip-cat.”—Cole’s S. W. Lincolnshire Glossary.
A game played at with a ball. The ball is thrown up by one of the players on a house or wall, who cries on the instant it is thrown to another to catch or kep it before it falls to the ground. They all run off but this one to a little distance, and if he fails in kepping it he bawls out “Burly Whush;” then the party are arrested in their flight, and must run away no farther. He singles out one of them then, and throws the ball at him, which often is directed so fair as to strike; then this one at which the ball has been thrown is he who gives “Burly Whush” with the ball to any he chooses. If the corner of a house be at hand, as is mostly the case, and any of the players escape behind it, they must still show one of their hands past its edge to the Burly Whush man, who sometimes hits it such a whack with the ball as leaves it dirling for an hour afterwards.—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.
Two or more boys take two buttons in their right hands, and try to throw them both into a small hole in the ground about two yards off. The boy who succeeds in getting both buttons in begins first next game, and takes a button as prize. [This seems merely a mild form of marbles.]—Lincolnshire (Rev. —— Roberts).
There were several games played with buttons—some on level ground, in a ring or square; but the most approved was with a hole dug in the earth near a wall, or near the trunk of a large tree. The hole should be about the cavity of a small tea-cup, the players toeing a scratched line about four or five feet from the hole, after tossing for first innings. Each of the players (mostly two) contribute an equal number of buttons, say from two to ten, and of equal value or quality. The one having first turn takes the whole of them in his hand, and by an under-throw, or rather a pitch, endeavours to get the whole, or as many as possible, into the hole. If all go clean into the hole, he wins the game, and takes the whole of the buttons started with; but if one or more of the buttons are left outside the hole, the non-player has then the choice of selecting one which he considers difficult to be hit, and requesting the player to hit it with his nicker. This is made of solid lead, about the size of a florin, but twice its substance, and each player is provided with one of his own. Much judgment is required in making this selection, the object being to make it most difficult not only to hit it, but to prevent it being hit without being knocked into the hole, or sending the nicker in, or sending another button in, or even not striking one at all. In any one of these cases the player loses the game, and the non-player takes the whole of the stakes. In playing the next game, the previous non-player becomes the player.—London (C. A. T. M.).
The following was the value of the buttons:—
(1.) The plain metal 3 or 4-holed flat button, called a Sinkie, say, value 1 point.
(2.) The same kind of button, with letters or inscription on the rim, valued at 2 points.
(3.) The small metal shank button, called a Shankie, without any inscription, valued at 3 points; if with inscription, at 4 points; the large sizes and corresponding description were valued relatively 4 and 5 points.
(4.) The small Shankies, with a crest (livery waistcoat buttons), 6 points, and the large corresponding, 7 points.
(5.) The small Shankies, with coat of arms, value 8 points, and the large corresponding, 9 points.
(6.) Ornamental and various other buttons, such as regimental, official, mounted and engraved in flowers, and other designs according to arrangement, up to 20 points.
A local name for “Hockey,” which was formerly a very popular game among the young men of Shrewsbury and Much Wenlock. Called simply “Bandy” at Ludlow and Newport.—Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 525.
The game of “Tennis.”—Jamieson.
The game of “Handball.”
—Lyndsay’s S. P. Repr., ii. 243.
This language Lyndsay puts into the mouth of a Popish parson. The game seems to be that of ball played with the hand, as distinguished from “Football.”—Jamieson.
This game is supposed by Jamieson to be equivalent to “Drive the Goose,” and the game seems to be the same with one still played by young people in some parts of Angus, in which one of the company, having something that excites ridicule unknowingly pinned behind, is pursued by all the rest, who still cry out, “Hunt the Goose!”—Jamieson.
A game formerly much in use among schoolboys, and occasionally played by men in those parts of Suffolk on the sea coast—more especially in the line of Hollesley Bay between the Rivers Orwell and Alde, sometimes school against school, or parish against parish. It was thus played: Goals were pitched at the distance of 150 or 200 yards from each other; these were generally formed of the thrown-off clothes of the competitors. Each party has two goals, ten or fifteen yards apart. The parties, ten or fifteen on a side, stand in line, facing their own goals and each other, at about ten yards distance, midway between the goals, and nearest that of their adversaries. An indifferent spectator, agreed on by the parties, throws up a ball, of the size of a common cricket-ball, midway between the confronted players, and makes his escape. It is the object of the players to seize and convey the ball between their own goals. The rush is therefore very great: as is sometimes the shock of the first onset, to catch the falling ball. He who first can catch or seize it speeds therefore home, pursued by his opponents (thro’ whom he has to make his way), aided by the jostlings and various assistances of his own sidesmen. If caught and held, or in imminent danger of being caught, he throws the ball—but must in no case give it—to a less beleaguered friend, who, if it be not arrested in its course, or be jostled away by the eager and watchful adversaries, catches it; and he hastens homeward, in like manner pursued, annoyed, and aided, winning the notch (or snotch) if he contrive to carry, not throw, it between his goals. But this in a well-matched game is no easy achievement, and often requires much time, many doublings, detours, and exertions. I should have noticed, that if the holder of the ball be caught with the ball in his possession, he loses a snotch; if, therefore, he be hard pressed, he throws it to a convenient friend, more free and in breath than himself. At the loss (or gain) of a snotch, a recommence takes place, arranging which gives the parties time to take breath. Seven or nine notches are the game—and these it will sometimes take two or three hours to win. Sometimes a large football was used—and the game was then called “Kicking Camp”—and if played with the shoes on, “Savage Camp.”—Moor’s Suffolk Words.
(b) The sport and name are very old. The “Camping pightel” occurs in a deed of the 30 Henry VI.—about 1486; Cullum’s Hawstead, p. 113, where Tusser is quoted in proof, that not only was the exercise manly and salutary, but good also for the pightel or meadow:
And he says, in p. 56:
Ray says that the game prevails in Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex. The Rev. S. Arnot, in Notes and Queries, 8th series, vol. ii. p. 138, who was rector of Ilket’s Hall, in the county of Suffolk, says the ball was about the size of a cricket-ball, and was driven through a narrow goal; and from the evidence of the parish clerk it seems certain that it was not “Football.” See also Spurden’s East Anglian Words, and County Folk-lore, Suffolk, pp. 57-59.
There are Upper Campfield and Lower Campfield at Norton Woodseats. They are also called Camping fields. This field was probably the place where football and other village games were played. These fields adjoin the Bocking fields. In Gosling’s Map of Sheffield, 1736, Campo Lane is called Camper Lane. The same map shows the position of the old Latin school, or grammar school, and the writing school. These schools were at a very short distance from Campo Lane, and it seems probable that here the game of football was played (Addy’s Sheffield Glossary). “The camping-land appropriated to this game occurs in several instances in authorities of the fifteenth century” (Way’s Note in Prompt. Parv., p. 60). In Brinsley’s Grammar Schoole, cited by Mr. Furnivall in Early English Meals and Manners, p. lxii., is this passage: “By this meanes also the schollars may be kept euer in their places, and hard to their labours, without that running out to the Campo (as they tearme it) at school times, and the manifolde disorders thereof; as watching and striuing for the clubbe and loytering then in the fields.”
A very common game in Aberdeen, played by a number of boys, one of whom is by lot chosen to act the part of Canlie. A certain portion of a street or ground, as it may happen, is marked off as his territory, into which, if any of the other boys presume to enter, and be caught by Canlie before he can get off the ground, he is doomed to take the place of Canlie, who becomes free in consequence of the capture. The game is prevalent throughout Scotland, though differently denominated: in Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire it is called “Tig,” and in Mearns “Tick.”—Jamieson.
A hole is made in the ground, and a certain line drawn, called a Strand, behind which the players must take their stations. The object is at this distance to throw the bowl into the hole. He who does this most frequently wins. It is now more generally called “The Hole,” but the old designation is not quite extinct. It is otherwise played in Angus. Three holes are made at equal distances. He who can first strike his bowl into each of these holes thrice in succession wins the game (Jamieson). It is alluded to in The Life of a Scotch Rogue, 1722, p. 7.
Old name for “Shinty” in Fife.—Jamieson.
—Belfast (W. H. Patterson).
—Notes and Queries, 4th series, xii. 479.
—Northall’s English Folk Rhymes, p. 353.
(b) In this game two children cross hands, grasping each other’s wrists and their own as well: they thus form a seat on which a child can sit and be carried about. At the same time they sing the verse.[Addendum]
The King and Queen have a throne formed by placing two chairs a little apart, with a shawl spread from chair to chair. A messenger is sent into the room with a letter to the Queen, who reads it, and joins the King in a courteous entreaty that the bearer of the missive will place himself between them. When he has seated himself on the shawl, up jumps the King and Queen, and down goes the messenger on the floor.—Bottesford and Anderly (Lincolnshire), and Nottinghamshire (Miss M. Peacock).
(b) This is virtually the same game as “Ambassador,” described by Grose as played by sailors on some inexperienced fellow or landsman. Between the two chairs is placed a pail of water, into which the victim falls.
A game played with clubs by two opposite parties of boys, the aim of each party being to drive a ball into a hole belonging to their antagonists, while the latter strain every nerve to prevent this.—Jamieson.
A game at marbles. Each boy makes a small pyramid of three as a base, and one on the top. The players aim at these from a distant stroke with balsers, winning such of the castles as they may in turn knock down (Lowsley’s Glossary of Berkshire Words). In London, the marble alluded to as “balser” was called “bonsor” or “bouncer” (J. P. Emslie).
An ancient game played in Angus and Lothian. Three play, and they are provided with clubs. These clubs are called “dogs.” The players cut out two holes, each about a foot in diameter, and seven inches in depth. The distance between them is about twenty-six feet. One stands at each hole with a club. A piece of wood about four inches long and one inch in diameter, called a Cat, is thrown from the one hole towards the other by a third person. The object is to prevent the Cat from getting into the hole. Every time that it enters the hole, he who has the club at that hole loses the club, and he who threw the Cat gets possession both of the club and of the hole, while the former possessor is obliged to take charge of the Cat. If the Cat be struck, he who strikes it changes places with the person who holds the other club; and as often as these positions are changed one is counted in the game by the two who hold the clubs, and who are viewed as partners.—Jamieson.
(b) This is not unlike the “Stool-Ball” described by Strutt (Sports and Pastimes, p. 76), but it more nearly resembles “Club-Ball,” an ancient English game (ibid., p. 83). The game of “Cat,” played with sticks and a small piece of wood, rising in the middle, so as to rebound when struck on either side, is alluded to in Poor Robin’s Almanack for 1709, and by Brand. Leigh (Cheshire Glossary) gives “Scute” as another name for the game of “Cat,” probably from scute (O.W.), for boat, which it resembles in shape.
The name of a game played by young people in Perthshire. In this game, one, unobserved by all the rest, cuts with a knife the turf in very unequal angles. These are all covered, and each player puts his hand on what he supposes to be the smallest, as every one has to cut off the whole surface of his division. The rate of cutting is regulated by a throw of the knife, and the person who throws is obliged to cut as deep as the knife goes. He who is last in getting his bed cut up is bound to carry the whole of the clods, crawling on his hands and feet, to a certain distance measured by the one next to him, who throws the knife through his legs. If the bearer of the clods let any of them fall, the rest have a right to pelt him with them. They frequently lay them very loosely on, that they may have the pleasure of pelting.—Jamieson.
One child holds a piece of string joined at the ends on his upheld palms, a single turn being taken over each, and by inserting the middle finger of each hand under the opposite turn, crosses the string from finger to finger in a peculiar form. Another child then takes off the string on his fingers in a rather different way, and it then assumes a second form. A repetition of this manœuvre produces a third form, and so on. Each of these forms has a particular name, from a fancied resemblance to the object—barn-doors, bowling-green, hour-glass, pound, net, fiddle, fish-pond, diamonds, and others.—Notes and Queries, vol. xi. p. 421.
The following forms are those known to me, with their names. They are produced seriatim.
1. The cradle.
2. The soldier’s bed.
4. The cradle inversed, or manger.
5. Soldier’s bed again, or diamonds.
6. Diamonds, or cat’s eyes.
7. Fish in dish.
8. Cradle as at first.
The different orders or arrangements must be taken from the hands of one player by another without disturbing the arrangement.—A. B. Gomme.
(b) Nares suggests that the proper name is “Cratch Cradle,” and is derived from the archaic word cratch, meaning a manger. He gives several authorities for its use. The first-made form is not unlike a manger. Moor (Suffolk Words) gives the names as cat’s cradle, barn-doors, bowling-green, hour-glass, pound, net, diamonds, fish-pond, fiddle. A supposed resemblance originated them. Britton (Beauties of Wiltshire, Glossary) says the game in London schools is called “Scratch-scratch” or “Scratch-cradle.”
|Cat’s Cradle||“Taking off”||Soldier’s Bed|
|“Taking off”||Candles||“Taking off”|
|Cat’s Cradle (upside down)||Cat’s Eyes||Fish.|
The game is known to savage peoples. Professor Haddon noted it among the Torres Straits people, who start the game in the same manner as we do, but continue it differently (Journ. Anthrop. Inst., vol. xix. p. 361); and Dr. Tylor has pointed out the significance of these string puzzles among savage peoples in Journ. Anthrop. Inst., ix. 26.
A child’s game, consisting of jumping over a stick placed at right angles to two others fixed in the ground.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.
(b) In Ross and Stead’s Holderness Glossary this is called “Cat-gallas,” and is described as three sticks placed in the form of a gallows for boys to jump over. So called in consequence of being of sufficient height to hang cats from. Also mentioned in Peacock’s Manley and Corringham Glossary and Elworthy’s West Somerset Words, Brogden’s Provincial Words, Lincs., Dickinson’s Cumberland Glossary, Atkinson’s Cleveland Glossary, Brockett’s North Country Words, Evans’ Leicestershire Glossary, Baker’s Northants Glossary, and Darlington’s South Cheshire Glossary. On one of the stalls in Worcester Cathedral, figured in Wright’s Archæological Essays, ii. 117, is a carving which represents three rats busily engaged in hanging a cat on a gallows of this kind.
A game well known in Fife, and perhaps in other counties. If seven boys are to play, six holes are made at certain distances. Each of the six stands at a hole, with a short stick in his hand; the seventh stands at a certain distance holding a ball. When he gives the word, or makes the sign agreed upon, all the six change holes, each running to his neighbour’s hole, and putting his stick in the hole which he has newly seized. In making this change, the boy who has the ball tries to put it into an empty hole. If he succeeds in this, the boy who had not his stick (for the stick is the Cat) in the hole to which he had run is put out, and must take the ball. There is often a very keen contest whether the one shall get his stick, or the other the ball, or Cat, first put into the hole. When the Cat is in the hole, it is against the laws of the game to put the ball into it.—Jamieson.
(b) Kelly, in his Scottish Proverbs, p. 325, says, “‘Tine cat, tine game;’ an allusion to a play called ‘Cat i’ the Hole,’ and the English ‘Kit-cat.’ Spoken when men at law have lost their principal evidence.”
This game, sometimes called “Threading the Needle,” is played by children forming a ring, with their arms extended and hands clasped; one—the Mouse—goes outside the circle and gently pulls the dress of one of the players, who thereupon becomes the Cat, and is bound to follow wherever the Mouse chooses to go—either in or out of the ring—until caught, when he or she takes the place formerly occupied in the ring by the Cat, who in turn becomes Mouse, and the game is recommenced.—Dorsetshire (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 214).
(b) Played at Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy); Clapham Middle-Class School (Miss Richardson); and many other places. It is practically the same game as “Drop Handkerchief,” played without words. It is described by Strutt, p. 381, who considers “Kiss-in-the-Ring” is derived from this “Cat and Mouse.”
One bicken is required in this game, and at this a lad must stand with a bat and ball in hand. He hits the ball away along the sand. Another boy picks it up and asks the striker “How many?” who replies—
The ball is then thrown to the bicken, and if it does not come within the distance named—two bats—the striker again sends the ball away, when the question is again asked—
And so on until the boy standing out throws the ball in to the required distance.—Old newspaper cutting without date in my possession (A. B. Gomme).
Scotch name for “Blindman’s Buff.”—Jamieson.
In Langley’s abridgment of Polydore Vergile, f. 1., we have a description of this game: “There is a game also that is played with the posterne bone in the hinder foote of a sheepe, oxe, gote, fallow, or redde dere, whiche in Latin is called talus. It hath foure chaunces: the ace point, that is named Canis, or Canicula, was one of the sides; he that cast it leyed doune a peny, or so muche as the gamers were agreed on; the other side was called Venus, that signifieth seven. He that cast the chaunce wan sixe and all that was layd doune for the castyng of Canis. The two other sides were called Chius and Senio. He that did throwe Chius wan three. And he that cast Senio gained four. This game (as I take it) is used of children in Northfolke, and they cal it the Chaunce Bone; they playe with three or foure of those bones together; it is either the same or very lyke to it.”
In this game as many seats are placed round a room as will serve all the company save one. The want of a seat falls on an individual by a kind of lot, regulated, as in many other games, by the repetition of an old rhythm. All the rest being seated, he who has no seat stands in the middle, repeating the words “Change seats, change seats,” &c., while all the rest are on the alert to observe when he adds, “the king’s come,” or, as it is sometimes expressed, change their seats. The sport lies in the bustle in consequence of every one’s endeavouring to avoid the misfortune of being the unhappy individual who is left without a seat. The principal actor often slily says, “The king’s not come,” when, of course the company ought to keep their seats; but from their anxious expectation of the usual summons, they generally start up, which affords a great deal of merriment.—Brand’s Pop. Antiq., ii. 409.
(b) Dr. Jamieson says this is a game well-known in Lothian and in the South of Scotland. Sir Walter Scott, in Rob Roy, iii. 153, says, “Here auld ordering and counter-ordering—but patience! patience!—We may ae day play at Change seats, the king’s coming.”
This game is supposed to ridicule the political scramble for places on occasion of a change of government, or in the succession.
Easther’s Almondbury Glossary thus describes this game. A set of checks consists of five cubes, each about half an inch at the edge, and a ball the size of a moderate bagatelle ball: all made of pot. They are called checkstones, and the game is played thus. You throw down the cubes all at once, then toss the ball, and during its being in the air gather up one stone in your right hand and catch the descending ball in the same. Put down the stone and repeat the operation, gathering two stones, then three, then four, till at last you have “summed up” all the five at once, and have succeeded in catching the ball. In case of failure you have to begin all over again.
(b) In Nashe’s Lenten Stuff (1599) occurs the following: “Yet towards cock-crowing she caught a little slumber, and then she dreamed that Leander and she were playing at checkstone with pearls in the bottom of the sea.”
A game played by children with round small pebbles (Halliwell’s Dictionary). It is also mentioned in the early play of Apollo Shroving, 1627, p. 49.
A game of “Pitch and Toss” played with cherry-stones (Elworthy’s West Somerset Words). Boys always speak of the stones as “ods.”
“Cherry-pit” is a play wherein they pitch cherry-stones into a little hole. It is noticed in the Pleasant Grove of New Fancies, 1657, and in Herrick’s Hesperides. Nares (Glossary) mentions it as still practised with leaden counters called Dumps, or with money.
—Crockham Hill, Kent (Miss Chase).
The children sing the first line as they go round and round. At the second line they move down the road a little, and turn round and round as they end the rhyme.
Several boys, placing their clasped fists against a lamp-post, say these lines, after which they run out, hands still clasped. One in the middle tries to catch as many as possible, forming them in a long string, hand in hand, as they are caught. Those still free try to break through the line and rescue the prisoners. If they succeed in parting the line, they may carry one boy pig-a-back to the lamp-post, who becomes “safe.” The boy caught last but one becomes “it” in the next game.—Deptford, Kent (Miss Chase).
A school-boys’ play, consisting in striking the chin with the knuckles; dexterously performed, a kind of time is produced.—Addy’s Sheffield Glossary.
A game at marbles played by “chocking” or pitching marbles in a hole made for the purpose, instead of shooting at a ring (Northamptonshire, Baker’s Glossary). Clare mentions the game in one of his poems.
A game played in Moray and Banffshire. The ball is called the Chow. The game is the same as “Shinty.” The players are equally divided. After the Chow is struck off by one party, the aim of the other is to strike it back, that it may not reach the limit or goal on their side, because in this case they lose the game, and as soon as it crosses the line the other party cry Hail! or say that it is hail, as denoting that they have gained the victory. In the beginning of each game they are allowed to raise the ball a little above the level of the ground, that they may have the advantage of a surer stroke. This is called the “deil-chap,” perhaps as a contraction of “devil,” in reference to the force expended on the stroke. It may, however, be “dule-chap,” the blow given at the “dule” or goal.—Jamieson.
Strutt says this game was played by boys at the commencement of the last century, and probably bore some analogy to “Pitch and Hustle.” He saw the game thus denominated played with halfpence, every one of the competitors having a like number, either two or four; a hole being made in the ground, with a mark at a given distance for the players to stand, they pitch their halfpence singly in succession towards the hole, and he whose halfpenny lies the nearest to it has the privilege of coming first to a second mark much nearer than the former, and all the halfpence are given to him; these he pitches in a mass toward the hole, and as many of them as remain therein are his due; if any fall short or jump out of it, the second player—that is, he whose halfpenny in pitching lay nearest to the first goer’s—takes them and performs in like manner; he is followed by the others as long as any of the halfpence remain (Sports, pp. 386, 387). There is a letter in the Spectator, supposed to be from the father of a romp, who, among other complaints of her conduct, says, “I have catched her once at eleven years old at ‘Chuck-farthing’ among the boys.”
Same game as “Chuck-farthing,” with this difference, that if the pennies roll outside the ring it is a “dead heat,” and each boy reclaims his penny.—Peacock’s Manley and Corringham Glossary; and see Brogden’s Lincolnshire Words.
A game with marbles played by girls (Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia). A writer in Blackwood’s Magazine, August 1821, p. 36, says “Chucks” is played with a bowl and chucks—a species of shells (Buccinum lapillus) found on the sea-shore [“bowl” here probably means a marble]. Brockett (North Country Words) says this game is played by girls with five sea-shells called chucks, and sometimes with pebbles, called chuckie-stanes. Jamieson says a number of pebbles are spread on a flat stone; one of them is tossed up, and a certain number must be gathered and the falling one caught by the same hand.
A game played in Fifeshire; said to be the same with the “Sow in the Kirk.”—Jamieson.
Two Homes opposite each other are selected, and a boy either volunteers to go Click, or the last one in a race between the Homes does so. The others then proceed to one of the Homes, and the boy takes up his position between them. The players then attempt to run between the Homes, and if the one in the middle holds any of them while he says “One, two, three, I catch thee; help me catch another,” they have to stay and help him to collar the rest until only one is left. If this one succeeds in getting between the Homes three times after all the others have been caught, he is allowed to choose the one to go Click in the next game; if he fails, he has to go himself.—Marlborough, Wilts (H. S. May).
—Isle of Man (A. W. Moore).
These verses and the game are now quite forgotten, both in English and Manx. It was sung by children dancing round in a ring.
“A kinde of playe called clowt-clowt, to beare about, or my hen hath layd.”—Nomenclator, p. 299.
A youthful game something like “Doddart.”—Brockett’s North Country Words.
A Christmas game mentioned in Declaration of Popish Impostures, p. 160.
A game at marbles played by two or three boys bowling a boss marble into holes made in the ground for the purpose, the number of which is generally four.—Baker’s Northamptonshire Glossary.
A school game in which two boys are held by the legs and arms and bumped against a tree, he who holds out the longest being the victor.—Ross and Stead’s Holderness Glossary.
A name for “See-saw.”—Jamieson.
This was danced by a boy stooping till he was nearly in a sitting posture on the ground, drawing one leg under him until its toe rested on the ground, and steadying himself by thrusting forward the other leg so that the heel rested on the ground; the arms and head being thrown forwards as far as possible in order to maintain a balance. The thrust-out leg was drawn back and the drawn-in leg was shot out at the same time. This movement was repeated, each bringing down to the ground of the toe and heel causing a noise like that of hammering on a lapstone. The arms were moved backwards and forwards at the same time to imitate the cobbler’s sewing.—London (J. P. Emslie).
The children in Yorkshire have a game which is probably an ancient English pastime. Numerous hazel-nuts are strung like the beads of a rosary. The game is played by two persons, each of whom has one of these strings, and consists in each party striking alternately, with one of the nuts on his own string, a nut of his adversary’s. The field of combat is usually the crown of a hat. The object of each party is to crush the nuts of his opponent. A nut which has broken many of those of the adversary is a Cob-nut.—Brand, ii. 411; Hunter’s Hallamshire Glossary.
(b) This game is played in London with chestnuts, and is called “Conquers.” In Cornwall it is known as “Cock-haw.” The boys give the name of Victor-nut to the fruit of the common hazel, and play it to the words: “Cockhaw! First blaw! Up hat! Down cap! Victor!” The nut that cracks another is called a Cock-battler (Folk-lore Journal, v. 61). Halliwell describes this game differently. He says “it consists in pitching at a row of nuts piled up in heaps of four, three at the bottom and one at the top of each heap. The nut used for the pitching is called the Cob. All the nuts knocked down are the property of the pitcher.” Alluding to the first described form, he says it “is probably a more modern game,” and quotes Cotgrave sub voce “Chastelet” as authority for the earlier form in the way he describes it (Dictionary). Addy says the nuts were hardened for the purpose. When a nut was broken it was said to be “cobbered” or “cobbled” (Sheffield Glossary). Evans’ Leicestershire Glossary also describes it. Darlington (South Cheshire Words) says this game only differs from “Cobblety-cuts” in the use of small nuts instead of chestnuts. George Eliot in Adam Bede has, “Gathering the large unripe nuts to play at ‘Cob-nut’ with” (p. 30). Britton’s Beauties of Wiltshire gives the Isle of Wight and Hants as other places where the game is known.
One boy is chosen Cock. The players arrange themselves in a line along one side of the playground. The Cock takes his stand in front of the players. When everything is ready, a rush across the playground is made by the players. The Cock tries to catch and “croon”—i.e., put his hand upon the head of—as many of the players as he can when running from one side of the playground to the other. Those caught help the Cock in the rush back. The rush from side to side goes on till all are captured. To “croon” was the essential point in capturing. When a boy was being pursued to be taken prisoner, his great object was, when he came to close quarters with his pursuers, to save his head from being touched on the crown by one of them.—Nairn (Rev. W. Gregor).
At Duthil, Strathspey, this game goes by the name of “Rexa-boxa-King.” When the players have ranged themselves on one side of the playground, and the King has taken his stand in front of them, he calls out “Rexa-boxa-King,” or simply “Rexa,” when all the players rush to the other side. The rush from side to side goes on till all are captured. The one last captured becomes King in the next game.—Rev. W. Gregor.
Children, under the title of “Cock-battler,” often in country walks play with the hoary plantain, which they hold by the tough stem about two inches from the head; each in turn tries to knock off the head of his opponent’s flower.—Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 61).
In the North, and in Suffolk, it is called “Cocks,” “a puerile game with the tough tufted stems of the ribwort plantain” (Brockett’s North Country Words). Moor (Suffolk Words) alludes to the game, and Holloway (Dictionary of Provincialisms) says in West Sussex boys play with the heads of rib grass a similar game. Whichever loses the head first is conquered. It is called “Fighting-cocks.”
This is a boys’ game. Two boys fold their arms, and then, hopping on one leg, butt each other with their shoulders till one lets down his leg. Any number of couples can join in this game.—Nairn (Rev. W. Gregor).
One boy is chosen as Cock. He is blindfolded, and stands alone, with his legs as far apart as possible. The other boys then throw their caps as far as they are able between the extended legs of the Cock (fig. 1). After the boys have thrown their caps, and each boy has taken his stand beside his cap, the Cock, still blindfolded, stoops down and crawls in search of the caps (fig. 2). The boy whose cap he first finds has to run about twenty yards under the buffeting of the other boys, the blows being directed chiefly to the head. He becomes Cock at the next turn of the game.—Rosehearty, Pitsligo (Rev. W. Gregor).
This game consists simply of one boy mounting on the neck of another, putting a leg over each shoulder and down his breast. The boy that carries takes firm hold of the legs of the one on his neck, and sets off at a trot, and runs hither and thither till he becomes tired of his burden. The bigger the one is who carries, the more is in the enjoyment to the one carried.—Keith (Rev. W. Gregor).
Young wenches have a wanton sport, which they call moulding of Cocklebread; viz. they gett upon a Table-board, and then gather-up their knees and their coates with their hands as high as they can, and then they wabble to and fro with their Buttocks as if the[y] were kneading of Dowgh, and say these words, viz.:—
In Oxfordshire the maids, when they have put themselves into the fit posture, say thus:—
—Aubrey’s Remains, pp. 43, 44.
To make “Barley bread” (in other districts, “Cockley bread”) this rhyme is used in West Cornwall:—
—Folk-lore Journal, v. 58.
The Westmoreland version is given by Ellis in his edition of Brand as follows:—
The term “Cockelty” is still heard among our children at play. One of them squats on its haunches with the hands joined beneath the thighs, and being lifted by a couple of others who have hold by the bowed arms, it is swung backwards and forwards and bumped on the ground or against the wall, while continuing the words, “This is the way we make cockelty bread.”—Robinson’s Whitby Glossary, p. 40.
The moulding of “Cocklety-bread” is a sport amongst hoydenish girls not quite extinct. It consists in sitting on the ground, raising the knees and clasping them with the hand, and then using an undulatory motion, as if they were kneading dough.
—Hunter’s MSS.; Addy’s Sheffield Glossary.
(b) The Times of 1847 contains a curious notice of this game. A witness, whose conduct was impugned as light and unbecoming, is desired to inform the court, in which an action for breach of promise was tried, the meaning of “mounting cockeldy-bread;” and she explains it as “a play among children,” in which one lies down on the floor on her back, rolling backwards and forwards, and repeating the following lines:—
While one of the party so laid down, the rest sat around; and they laid down and rolled in this manner by turns.
These lines are still retained in the modern nursery-rhyme books, but their connection with the game of “Cockeldy-bread” is by no means generally understood. There was formerly some kind of bread called “cockle-bread,” and cocille-mele is mentioned in a very early MS. quoted in Halliwell’s Dictionary. In Peele’s play of the Old Wives’ Tale, a voice thus speaks from the bottom of a well:—
A game among boys. Stones are loosely placed one upon another, at which other stones are thrown to knock the pile down.—Dickinson’s Cumberland Glossary.
A game where boys mount over each other’s heads.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.
A boyish game mentioned but not described by Cope in his Hampshire Glossary. He gives as authority Portsmouth Telegraph, 27th September 1873.
A game among youngsters similar to “Cricket,” a short piece of wood being struck up by a long stick instead of a ball by a bat. Also called “Tip and Go” or “Tip and Slash.”—Robinson’s Whitby Glossary.
A striped snail shell. It is a common boyish pastime to hold one of these shells between the last joints of the bent fingers, and forcibly press the apex against another held in a similar manner by an opponent, until one of them, by dint of persevering pressure, forces its way into the other; and the one which in these contests has gained the most victories is termed the Conqueror, and is highly valued (Northamptonshire, Baker’s Glossary). The game is known as “Fighting Cocks” in Evans’ Leicestershire Glossary. In London it was played with walnut shells.
The top stone of a pile is pelted by a stone flung from a given distance, and the more hits, or “cogglings off,” the greater the player’s score.—Robinson’s Whitby Glossary.
Apparently the same game as “Cockly-jock.”
A game played with a ball and crooked stick (cut from a tree or hedge), with a crook at the end (same game as “Hurl”).—Dublin (Mrs. Lincoln).
The same game as “Cogger.” The game is more generally called “playin at sneel-shells.”—Ross and Stead’s Holderness Glossary.
—Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 531.
—Notes and Queries, 5th series, x. 378.
—Darlington’s Folk-speech of South Cheshire.
—Lawson’s Upton-on-Severn Words and Phrases.
—Chamberlain’s West Worcestershire Glossary.
(b) This game is played with horse chestnuts threaded on a string. Two boys sit face to face astride of a form or a log of timber. If a piece of turf can be procured so much the better. One boy lays his chestnut upon the turf, and the other strikes at it with his chestnut; and they go on striking alternately till one chestnut splits the other. The chestnut which remains unhurt is then “conqueror of one.” A new chestnut is substituted for the broken one, and the game goes on. Whichever chestnut now proves victorious becomes “conqueror of two,” and so on, the victorious chestnut adding to its score all the previous winnings. The chestnuts are often artificially hardened by placing them up the chimney or carrying them in a warm pocket; and a chestnut which has become conqueror of a considerable number acquires a value in schoolboys’ eyes; and I have frequently known them to be sold, or exchanged for other toys (Holland’s Cheshire Glossary). The game is more usually played by one boy striking his opponent’s nut with his own, both boys standing and holding the string in their hands. It is considered bad play to strike the opponent’s string. The nut only should be touched. Three tries are usually allowed.
(c) For information on various forms of this game, see Notes and Queries, 1878. See also Elworthy’s West Somerset Words. The boy who first said the rhyme has first stroke at Oswestry. The game is elsewhere called “Cobbet” (Meole Brace) and “Cobbleticuts” (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 531). In “Conquer-nuts” “obbly” was probably “nobbly” or “knobbly,” expressing the appearance of the string of nuts; and “onkers” was probably invented as a rhyme to “conquers” (Upton-on-Severn Words and Phrases, by R. Lawson).
—Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 52).
—London (A. B. Gomme).
(b) A ring is formed by each child holding one end of a handkerchief. One child stands in the centre and acts as leader. The ring moves round slowly. The leader says the words as above while the ring is moving round, and then suddenly calls out whichever he chooses of the two sayings. If he says “Hold fast!” every one must immediately let go the corner of the handkerchief he holds. They should all fall to the ground at once. When he says “Let go!” every one should retain their hold of the handkerchief. Forfeits are demanded for every mistake.
This game, called “Hawld Hard,” is commonly played about Christmas-time, where a number hold a piece of a handkerchief. One then moves his hand round the handkerchief, saying, “Here we go round by the rule of Contrairy; when I say ‘Hawld hard,’ let go, and when I say ‘Let go,’ hawld hard.” Forfeits are paid by those not complying with the order.—Lowsley’s Berkshire Glossary.
The game of “Chuck-farthing.”—Norfolk and Suffolk (Holloway’s Dict. of Provincialisms).
A square figure is divided by four lines, which cross each other in the crown or centre. Two of these lines connect the opposite angles, and two the sides at the point of bisection. Two players play; each has three men or flitchers. Now there are seven points for these men to move about on, six on the edges of the square and one at the centre. The men belonging to each player are not set together as at draughts, but mingled with each other. The one who has the first move may always have the game, which is won by getting the three men on a line.—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.
A flat stone is obtained called a Hob, upon which those who are playing place equal shares of Cots and Twisses. Cots are brass buttons, and Twisses bits of brass—a Twiss of solid brass being worth many Cots. Each player provides himself with a nice flat [key] stone, and from an agreed pitch tosses it at the Hob. If he knocks off any of the Cots and Twisses nearer to the players than the Hob is, he claims them. The other players try to knock the Hob away with their key-stones from any Cots and Twisses that may not have been claimed; and if any key-stone touches Hob after all have thrown, the owner cannot claim any Cots and Twisses.—Earls Heaton (Herbert Hardy).
Each player selects a Cast or stone to pitch with; on another stone, called the Hob, the Cots and Twys are placed; at some distance Scops are set in the ground. First the players pitch from the Hob to the Scop, and the one who gets nearest goes first. He then pitches at the Hob, and if he knocks off the stakes he has them, provided his Cast is nearer to them than the Hob is; in failure of this, the other player tries. In pitching up, one Cast may rest on another, and if the boy whose stone is underneath can lift it up to knock the other Cast away, it has to remain at the place to which it has been struck; if he does not succeed in doing this, the second player may lift off his Cast and place it by the first. Whoever knocks off the stakes, they go to the boy whose Cast is nearest to them. The Hob and Scop are usually three yards apart. The Cot was a button off the waistcoat or trousers, the Twy one off the coat, and, as its name implies, was equal to two Cots. Formerly, when cash was much more rare than now it is amongst boys, these formed their current coin. The game about 1820 seems to have been chiefly one of tossing, and was played with buttons, then common enough. Now, metal buttons being rare, it is played with pieces of brass or copper of any shape. The expression, “I haven’t a cot,” is sometimes used to signify that a person is without money.—Easther’s Almondbury and Huddersfield Glossary.
The game of “Course of the Park” has not been described, but is referred to in the following verse:—
—The Slighted Maid, 1663, p. 50.
A game played with a bung or ball struck with sticks (Brogden’s Provincial Words, Lincolnshire). This is played on Barnes Common, and is apparently a form of “Hockey” (A. B. Gomme).
The game of “Nine Holes.” This is the game described by John Jones, M.D., in his book called The Benefit of the Auncient Bathes of Buckstones, 1572, p. 12, as having been played by ladies at Buxton for their amusement in wet weather. See Pegge’s Anonymiana, 1818, p. 126, and Addy’s Sheffield Glossary.
A description of this game is not given here; its history and rules and regulations are well known, and many books have been devoted to its study. The word “Cricket” is given in Lawson’s Upton-on-Severn Words and Phrases as a low wooden stool. He continues, “The game of ‘Cricket’ was probably a development of the older game of ‘Stool-ball,’ a dairymaid’s stool being used for the wicket.” Wedgwood (Etym. Dict.) suggests that the proper name for the bat was “cricket-staff,” A.-S. criec, a staff.
An old game called “Crooky” was formerly played at Portarlington, Queen’s co., and Kilkee, co. Clare. Fifty years ago it was played with wooden crooks and balls, but about twenty-five years ago, or a little more, mallets were introduced at Kilkee; while subsequently the name was changed to “Croquet.” I have heard it stated that this game was introduced by the French refugees that settled at Portarlington.—G. H. Kinahan (Folk-lore Journal, ii. 265).
The game now called “Heads and Tails” (Halliwell’s Dictionary). See Nomenclator, p. 299; Addy’s Sheffield Glossary. Strutt points out that anciently the English coins were stamped on one side with a cross. See also Harland’s Lancashire Legends, p. 139.
A boys’ game.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.
Nares (Glossary) mentions this game in a quotation from Wilson’s Inconstant Lady, 1614. “Cross Questions and Crooked Answers” was a popular game at juvenile parties. The players sit in a circle, and each is asked in a whisper a question by the one on his left, and receives also in a whisper an answer to a question asked by himself of the person on his right. Each player must remember both the question he was asked and the answer he received, which have at the conclusion of the round to be stated aloud. Forfeits must be given if mistakes are made.—A. B. Gomme.
One of the players is appointed to be Tig. He calls out the name of the one he intends to chase, and runs after him. Another player runs across between Tig and the fugitive, and then Tig runs after this cross-player until another player runs across between Tig and the fugitive; and so on. Each time a player crosses between Tig and the player he is following he leaves the original chase and follows the player who has crossed. When he captures, or, in some places, touches one of the players he is following, this player becomes Tig, and the game begins again.—Ireland (Miss Keane).
This game is known in and near London as “Cross Touch.”
This is an old game where boys push one of their number into a circle they have made, and as he tries to escape push him back, crying, “No child of mine!” (Leigh’s Cheshire Glossary). He adds, “This may be the origin of the husband’s disclaimer of his wife when he ‘notchils’ her.” To “cry notchil” is for a man to advertise that he will not be answerable for debts incurred by his wife.
A child hides and cries “Cuckoo.” The seekers respond—
—Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 222.
Halliwell calls this a game at ball, and the rhyme runs—
See “Hide and Seek.”
Two boys join hands and feet over the back of a third, the which creeps away with them on hands and knees to a certain distance; and if able to do this, he, the Cuddy, must have a ride as one of the powks on some other’s back.—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.
Four or more boys can play this game, and sides are chosen. Two holes are made in the ground at a distance of about eight or ten feet apart. A ring about a foot in diameter is made round each hole. A boy stands at each hole with a stick, which he puts into the hole to guard it. Two other boys stand behind the holes, who act as bowlers. One of these throws a small piece of wood shaped like a Cat, and tries to pitch it into the hole. The boy guarding the hole tries to hit it with his stick. If he succeeds, he and the boy at the other hole run to each other’s places. Should the boy who throws the piece of wood succeed in getting it into the hole, the batsmen are out. Should the Cat fall into the ring or a span beyond, one of the bowlers picks it up, and both run to a hiding-place. They then agree as to which of them should hold the Cat. This must be carried in such a way that it cannot be seen by the batsmen, both boys assuming the same attitude. Both boys then resume their previous places. They kneel down, still keeping the same attitudes. The batsmen, keeping their sticks in the holes, then agree which of the two holds the Cat. One batsman runs across and puts his stick into the hole behind which the boy kneels whom they consider has the Cat, the other then running to his place. If they are right in their guess, the holder of the Cat throws it across the ground for the opposite bowler to put it in the hole before the second batsman reaches it. If they guess wrongly, the holder of the Cat puts it into the hole as soon as the batsman runs, and they then become the batsmen for the next game. If the batsmen leave their holes unguarded with the stick, the catsmen can at any time put them “out,” by putting the Cat in a hole. If more than two boys on a side play, the others field as in “Cricket.”—Barnes (A. B. Gomme).
See “Cat and Dog.”
—Chambers’ Popular Rhymes, p. 139.
—Biggar (William Ballantyne).
(b) This is a grotesque kind of dance, performed in a shortened posture, sitting on one’s hams, with arms akimbo, the dancers forming a circle of independent figures. It always excites a hearty laugh among the senior bystanders; but, ridiculous as it is, it gives occasion for the display of some spirit and agility, as well as skill, there being always an inclination to topple over. Each performer sings the verse (Chambers; Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia).
Mr. Ballantyne says that each one apart tried to dance by throwing out their feet and jumping sideways.
(c) The first syllable of this word is, says Jamieson, undoubtedly the verb curr, to sit on the houghs or hams. The second may be from Teut. kudde, a flock; kudd-en, coire, convenire, congregari, aggregari; kudde wijs, gregatim, catervatim, q. to curr together. The same game is called Harry Hurcheon in the North of Scotland, either from the resemblance of one in this position to a hurcheon, or hedge-hog, squatting under a bush; or from the Belg. hurk-en to squat, to hurkle.—Jamieson.
—Earls Heaton (Herbert Hardy).
—Dickinson’s Cumberland Glossary.
(b) Two children, a girl and a boy, separate from their fellows, who are not particularly placed, the boy caressing the girl’s curls and singing the verses.
(c) This game is evidently a dramatic representation of wooing, and probably the action of the game has never been quite completed in the nursery. The verses are given as “nursery rhymes” by Halliwell, Nos. cccclxxxiii. and ccccxciv. The tune is from Rimbault’s Nursery Rhymes, p. 70. The words given by him are the same as the Earls Heaton version.
This is a game played “running under a handkerchief;” “something like ‘Oranges and Lemons.’”—Lincoln (Miss M. Peacock).
—Dancing Master, 1686.
This music is exactly as it is printed in the book referred to.
(b) The following is an account of the dance as it was known in Derbyshire amongst the farmers’ sons and daughters and the domestics, all of whom were on a pretty fair equality, very different from what prevails in farm-houses of to-day. The “Cushion Dance” was a famous old North-country amusement, and among the people of Northumberland it is still commonly observed. The dance was performed with boisterous fun, quite unlike the game as played in higher circles, where the conditions and rules of procedure were of a more refined order.
The company were seated round the room, a fiddler occupying a raised seat in a corner. When all were ready, two of the young men left the room, returning presently, one carrying a large square cushion, the other an ordinary drinking-horn, china bowl, or silver tankard, according to the possessions of the family. The one carrying the cushion locked the door, putting the key in his pocket. Both gentlemen then went to the fiddler’s corner, and after the cushion-bearer had put a coin in the vessel carried by the other, the fiddler struck up a lively tune, to which the young men began to dance round the room, singing or reciting to the music:—
After making the circuit of the room, they halted on reaching the fiddler’s corner, and the cushion-bearer, still to the music of the fiddle, sang or recited:—
|Our song it will no further go!|
|The Fiddler:||Pray, kind sir, why say you so?|
|The Cushion-bearer: Because Jane Sandars won’t come to.|
|The Fiddler:||She must come to, she shall come to,|
|An’ I’ll make her whether she will or no.|
The cushion-bearer and vessel-holder then proceeded with the dance, going as before round the room, singing “Frinkum, frankum,” &c., till the cushion-bearer came to the lady of his choice, before whom he paused, placed the cushion on the floor at her feet, and knelt upon it. The vessel-bearer then offered the cup to the lady, who put money in it and knelt on the cushion in front of the kneeling gentleman. The pair kissed, arose, and the gentleman, first giving the cushion to the lady with a bow, placed himself behind her, taking hold of some portion of her dress. The cup-bearer fell in also, and they danced on to the fiddler’s corner, and the ceremony was again gone through as at first, with the substitution of the name of “John” for “Jane,” thus:—
|The Lady:||Our song it will no further go!|
|The Fiddler:||Pray, kind miss, why say you so?|
|The Lady:||Because John Sandars won’t come to.|
|The Fiddler:||He must come to, he shall come to,|
|An’ I’ll make him whether he will or no!|
The dancing then proceeded, and the lady, on reaching her choice (a gentleman, of necessity), placed the cushion at his feet. He put money in the horn and knelt. They kissed and rose, he taking the cushion and his place in front of the lady, heading the next dance round, the lady taking him by the coat-tails, the first gentleman behind the lady, with the horn-bearer in the rear. In this way the dance went on till all present, alternately a lady and gentleman, had taken part in the ceremony. The dance concluded with a romp in file round the room to the quickening music of the fiddler, who at the close received the whole of the money collected by the horn-bearer.
At Charminster the dance is begun by a single person (either man or woman), who dances about the room with a cushion in his hand, and at the end of the tune stops and sings:—
|Man:||This dance it will no further go.|
|Musician:||I pray you, good sir, why say you so?|
|Man:||Because Joan Sanderson will not come to.|
|Musician:||She must come to, and she shall come to,|
|And she must come whether she will or no.|
Then the following words are sung as in the first example:—
|Man:||Welcome, Joan Sanderson, welcome, welcome.|
|Both:||Prinkum-prankum is a fine dance,|
|And shall we go dance it once again,|
|And once again,|
|And shall we go dance it once again?|
|Woman:||This dance it will no further go.|
|Musician:||I pray you, madam, why say you so?|
|Woman:||Because John Sanderson will not come to.|
|Musician:||He must come to, and he shall come to,|
|And he must come whether he will or no.|
And so she lays down the cushion before a man, who, kneeling upon it, salutes her, she singing—
Then, he taking up the cushion, they take hands and dance round singing as before; and this they do till the whole company is taken into the ring. Then the cushion is laid down before the first man, the woman singing, “This dance,” &c., as before, only instead of “come to,” they sing “go fro,” and instead of “Welcome, John Sanderson,” &c., they sing “Farewell, John Sanderson, farewell,” &c., and so they go out one by one as they came in.—Charminster (Notes and Queries, ii. 517, 518).
This description is almost the same as a seventeenth century version. The dance is begun by a single person (either man or woman), who, taking a cushion in his hand, dances about the room, and at the end of the tune he stops and sings:—
The Musician answers:
|I pray you, good sir, why say you so?|
|Man:||Because Joan Sanderson will not come to.|
|Musician:||She must come to, and she shall come to,|
|And she must come whether she will or no.|
Then he lays down the cushion before a woman, on which she kneels, and he kisses her, singing—
Then he rises, takes up the cushion, and both dance, singing—
Then, making a stop, the wo(man) sings as before—
|This dance, &c.|
|Musician:||I pray you, madam, &c.|
|Woman:||Because John Sanderson, &c.|
|Musician:||He must, &c.|
And so she lays down the cushion before a man, who, kneeling upon it, salutes her, she singing—
Then, he taking up the cushion, they take hands and dance round, singing as before. And thus they do till the whole company are taken into the ring. And then the cushion is laid before the first man, the woman singing, “This dance,” &c. (as before), only instead of “come to,” they sing “go fro,” and instead of “Welcom, John Sanderson,” &c., they sing “Farewel, John Sanderson, farewel, farewel;” and so they go out one by one as they came in. Note, that the woman is kiss’d by all the men in the ring at her coming in and going out, and the like of the man by the woman.—The Dancing Master: London, printed by J. P., and sold by John Playford at his shop near the Temple Church, 1686, 7th edition.
Another version gives the words as follows:—
Children form a ring with one in the middle, who lays a cushion on the ground. They sing the first two lines, and the child in the centre points at one, and the others dance round singing the other lines, the centre child dragging the imaginary Mrs. Sargesson on to the cushion by force, kissing her, and leaving her in the centre. Then Mrs. Sargesson points at one in the ring, and the game begins again.—East Kirkby, Lincolnshire (Miss Maughan). The tune sung is the same as the “Mulberry Bush.”
Miss Baker (Northamptonshire Glossary) says the Cushion Dance is still continued, with some variations, and generally closes the evening’s amusements. One of the young men endeavours secretly to bring in a cushion, and locks the doors, to prevent the escape of the young maidens; then all the party unite hands and dance round three times to the left and three times to the right, after which the company all seat themselves, except the young man who holds the cushion. He advances to the fiddler, and says—
|This dance it will no further go.|
|Fiddler:||Why say you so? why say you so?|
|Cushion-holder:||Because the young women will not come to.|
|Fiddler:||They must come to, they shall come to,|
|And tell them I say so.|
The cushion-holder then goes to the girl he fancies most, and drops the cushion at her feet. She kneels down with him on the cushion, and he salutes her, and they then rise and dance round and round to the fiddler. The girls then go through the same thing, saying, “young men,” and then “a young man,” &c., until the whole company have gone through the same ceremony, which concludes with all dancing round three times, as at the commencement.
The Norfolk and London versions are reduced to a simple “Kiss in the Ring” game, with the following verse:—
—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).
(c) Selden, in his Table Talk, thus refers to this game:—“The Court of England is much altered. At a solemn dancing first you have the grave measures, then the Cervantoes and the Golliards, and this is kept up with ceremony. At length to Trenchmore and the Cushion Dance; and then all the company dance, lord and groom, lady and kitchen-maid, no distinction. But in King Charles’s time there has been nothing but Trenchmore and the Cushion Dance,” &c. The “Whishin Dance” (an old-fashioned dance, in which a cushion is used to kneel upon), mentioned by Dickinson (Cumberland Glossary), is probably the same game or dance, “whishin” meaning cushion. Brockett (North Country Words) mentions “Peas Straw,” the final dance at a rustic party; something similar to the ancient “Cushion Dance” at weddings. It is also recorded in Evans’ Leicestershire Glossary, and by Burton in the following passage from the Anatomy of Melancholy: “A friend of his reprehended him for dancing beside his dignity, belike at some cushen dance.” In the version from East Kirkby, Lincolnshire, the expression “in our degree” in the first line of the verse is apparently meaningless, and it is probably a corruption of “highdigees, highdegrees,” a dialect word for roystering, high spirits, merriment, dancing, romping. Elworthy (Somerset Words) gives this word, and quotes the following line from Drayton:—
—Polyolbion, Bk. xxv., l. 1162.
(d) The transition from a dance to a pure game is well illustrated by the different versions, and the connection of the dance with the ceremony of marriage is obvious. A curious account of the merry-makings at marriages is given in Coverdale’s Christen State of Matrimony, 1543: “After the banket and feast there beginneth a mad and unmannerly fashion; for the bride must be brought into an open dauncing-place. Then is there such a running, leaping, and flinging among them that a man might think all these dauncers had cast all shame behinde them, and were become starke mad, and out of their wits, and that they were sworne to the devil’s daunce. Then must the bride keep foote with all dauncers, and refuse none, how scabbed, foule, drunken, rude, and shameless soever he be. . . . After supper must they begin to pipe and daunce again of anew. And though the young persons come once towards their rest, yet can they have no quietness.”—1575 edit., fol. 59, rev. 60. Edward L. Rimbault, writing in Notes and Queries, vi. 586, says it was formerly the custom at weddings, both of the rich as well as the poor, to dance after dinner and supper. In an old Court masque of James I.’s time, performed at the marriage ceremony of Philip Herbert and Lady Susan (MS. in the writer’s possession), it is directed that, at the conclusion of the performance, “after supper” the company “dance a round dance.” This was “dancing the bride to bed.” William Chappell (Notes and Queries, ii. 442) says, “I have a tune called ‘A round dance to dance the bride to bed.’ It dates from about 1630, or earlier, and resembles that of ‘The Hunt is up.’” Dancing was considered so essential at weddings (according to Grose) that if in a family the youngest daughter should chance to be married before her elder sisters, they must dance at her wedding without shoes. May not the custom of throwing of old and worn-out shoes after the bride have arisen from the practice of dancing? The danced-out shoes may have been the ones used. It is curious that the cushion is used in the marriage ceremonies of the Brahmins. Mr. Kearns, in his Marriage Ceremonies of the Hindoos of the South of India, p. 6, says that a stool or cushion is one of the preparations for the reception of the bridegroom, who on entering the apartment sits down on the stool which is presented to him. He says, “I step on this for the sake of food and other benefits, on this variously splendid footstool.” The bride’s father then presents to him a cushion made of twenty leaves of cúsa grass, holding it up with both hands and exclaiming, “The cushion! the cushion! the cushion!” The bridegroom replies, “I accept the cushion,” and taking it, places it on the ground under his feet, while he recites a prayer. It is probable that we may have in the “Cushion Dance” the last relics of a very ancient ceremony, as well as evidence of the origin of a game from custom.
Children clasp their hands under their knees in a sitting posture, and jump thus about the room. The one who keeps up longest wins the game.—Dublin (Mrs. Lincoln).
(b) In Notes and Queries, x. 17, “E. D.” says this amusement was fashionable sixty years ago, and from the low dresses worn then by ladies he mentions its indecency. He gives extracts from a satire called Cutchacutchoo, or the Jostling of the Innocents, 2nd ed., Dublin, in which the game and position are mentioned—
“Uneda,” at same reference (x. 17), speaks of it as a known game in Philadelphia. The analogy which this game has to some savage dances is curious; a correspondent in Notes and Queries, ix. 304, draws attention to the illustration, in Richardson’s Expedition to Arctic Shores (vol. i. p. 397), of a dance by the “Kutchin-Kutcha” Indians, a parallel to the name as well as the dance which needs some research in America.
A remembrance of the old smuggling days. The boys divide into two parties; the Trucklers try to reach some given point before the Cutter catches them.—Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 60).
A game in which a pin is put at random in a school-book, between the leaves of which little pictures are placed. The successful adventurer is the person who puts the pin between two leaves including a picture which is the prize, and the pin itself is the forfeit (Blackwood’s Magazine, Aug. 1821, p. 36). This was a general school game in West London in 1860-1866 (G. L. Gomme).
A game in which the dab (a wooden ball) is caused to spring upwards by a blow on the thricker (trigger), and is struck by a flat, bottle-shaped mallet fixed to the end of a flexible wand, the distance it goes counting so many for the striker.—Ross and Stead’s Holderness Glossary.
This is the same as “Knur and Spell.”
A game at marbles (undescribed).—Patterson’s Antrim and Down Glossary.
A child’s game, played with small bones or pieces of hard wood. The dalies were properly sheep’s trotters.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.
Children amuse themselves on the braesides i’ the sun, playing at “Hide and Seek” with this little flower, accompanying always the hiding of it with this rhyme, marking out the circle in which it is hid with the forefinger:—
—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.
The davie-drap is a little black-topped field-flower.
A school game, not described.—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.
Children sit in a ring or in a line, with their hands placed together palm to palm, and held straight, the little finger down-most between the knees. One of them is then chosen to represent a servant, who takes a ring, or some other small article as a substitute, between her two palms, which are pressed flat together like those of the rest, and goes round the circle or line placing her hands into the hands of every player, so that she is enabled to let the ring fall wherever she pleases without detection. After this she returns to the first child she touched, and with her hands behind her says the above words. The child who is thus addressed must guess who has the ring, and the servant performs the same ceremony with each of the party. They who guess right escape, but the rest forfeit. Should any one in the ring exclaim “I have it!” she also forfeits; nor must the servant make known who has the ring until all have guessed under the same penalty. The forfeits are afterwards cried as usual.—Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, p. 223.
(b) This game was a general favourite at juvenile parties years ago. The hands were held in the posture described by Halliwell, but any child was pitched upon for the first finder, and afterwards the child in whose hands the ring was found had to be finder. There was no guessing; the closed hands were looked into (A. B. Gomme). Mr. Addy has collected a similar game called “My lady’s lost a gold ring,” and Mr. Newell (Games and Songs of American Children, p. 150) has another, “Hold fast my gold ring.”[Addendum]
A game played with the small knuckle-bones taken from legs of mutton; these bones are themselves called “dibs” (Lowsley’s Glossary of Berkshire Words). Holloway’s Dictionary says five of these bones are used by boys, with which they play a game called “Dibs” in West Sussex.
A ring is formed, and a girl stands blindfolded inside. As the verse is sung and finished, Dinah goes to any one in the ring, and, if successful in guessing her name, takes her place, the other taking the place of Dinah, the game going on as before.—Earls Heaton (Herbert Hardy).
“Dinah” was a Christy Minstrel song in the “fifties.” It is probable that the game, which resembles “Buff,” has been played to the tune of the song. Singing a chorus would soon follow.
A rustic game, undescribed and marked as obsolescent.—Peacock’s Manley and Corringham Glossary.
A singular rustic amusement. One lays his hand down on a table, another clashes his upon it, a third his on that, and so on (fig. 1). When all the players have done this, the one who has his hand on the board pulls it out and lays it on the one uppermost (fig. 2): they all follow in rotation, and so a continual clashing and dashing is kept up; hence the name “Dish.” Those who win the game are those who stand out longest—viz., those who are best at enduring pain. Tender hands could not stand it a moment: one dash of a rustic “loof” would make the blood spurt from the tip of every finger. It is a piece of pastime to country lads of the same nature as “Hard Knuckles” (Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia). This is a well-known game for small children in London. After each child’s hands have been withdrawn and replaced on top as many times as possible without deranging the order, a general scramble and knocking of hands together ends the game (A. B. Gomme). Jamieson (Etymological Dict.) gives this as a sport of children.
A game played in a large level field with a bent stick called “doddart.” Two parties, headed by two captains, endeavour to drive a wooden ball to their respective boundaries (Halliwell’s Dictionary). Brockett (North Country Words) adds to this that the captains are entitled to choose their followers by alternate votes. A piece of globular wood called an “orr” or “coit” is thrown down in the middle of the field and driven to one of two opposite hedges—the alley, hail-goal, or boundary. The same game as “Clubby,” “Hockey,” “Shinney,” “Shinneyhaw.”
One boy kneels, holding a long rope, the other end of which is held by another boy; the other players stand round about with handkerchiefs in hands, knotted. The one who holds the rope-end and standing cries out—
—Earls Heaton, Yorkshire (H. Hardy).
This is evidently a version of “Badger the Bear,” with a different and apparently degraded formula.
A school game. The dools are places marked with stones, where the players always remain in safety—where they dare neither be caught by the hand nor struck with balls. It is only when they leave these places of refuge that those out of the doons have any chance to gain the game and get in; and leave the doons they frequently must—this is the nature of the game. Now this game seems to have been often played in reality by our ancestors about their doon-hills.—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.
—Cowes, Isle of Wight (Miss E. Smith).
—West Haddon, Northamptonshire; Long Itchington, Warwickshire (Northants Notes and Queries, ii. 105).
—Shipley, Horsham; Notes and Queries, 8th series, i. 210 (Miss Busk).
(b) The children form a ring by joining hands, one child standing in the centre. They dance round. At the mention of the second name one from the ring goes into the centre. The two kiss at the end of the verse, and the first child takes the place in the ring, and the game begins again.
A game similar to “Trippit and Coit.”—Halliwell’s Dict.
—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).
—Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, Games, cclxxxvii.
—Liphook, Hants (Miss Fowler).
—Berrington and Ellesmere (Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 521).
—Fochabers (Rev. W. Gregor).
—Crockham Hill, Kent (Miss Chase).
—Hampshire (Miss Mendham).
—Northants (Rev. W. D. Sweeting).
—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).
—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).
—Haydon (Herbert Hardy).
—Earls Heaton (Herbert Hardy).
—Anderby, Lincolnshire, and Nottinghamshire near the Trent (Miss Peacock).
—Shepscombe, Gloucestershire (Miss Mendham).
—Belfast (W. H. Patterson).
—Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, Games, cclxxxviii.
(b) The Berrington version of this game is played as follows:—Two girls face each other, holding each other by both hands. Two others face each other, holding both hands across the other two. They see-saw backwards and forwards, singing the lines (fig. 1). One girl gets inside the enclosing hands (fig. 2), and they repeat till all four have “popped under” (fig. 3), when they “jog” up and down till they fall on the floor! (fig. 4). At Ellesmere only two girls join hands, and as many “pop under” as they can encircle. The Lincolnshire and Norfolk versions are played practically in the same way. In the Liphook version the children stand in two and two opposite to each other; the children on one side of the square hold hands up at the third line, and the other two children run under the hands of the first two. There is no pause, but the verse is sung time after time, so that the four children are nearly always moving. In the other Hampshire version four girls stand in a square, each holding the hands of the one opposite to her, pulling each other’s hands backwards and forwards singing the lines. Two arms are then raised, and one girl comes under; this is repeated till all four girls have come under the arms, then their arms encircle each other’s waists and they dance round. In the Scottish version there are only two girls who join hands and pull each other backwards and forwards, repeating the words. Halliwell describes a different action to any of these. A string of children, hand in hand, stand in a row. A child stands in front of them as leader; two other children form an arch, each holding both of the hands of the other. The string of children pass under the arch, the last of whom is taken captive by the two holding hands. The verses are repeated until all are taken.—Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, cclxxxvii.
(c) The analysis of the game rhymes is as follows:—
|Norfolk (1).||Norfolk (2).||Haydon.||Earls Heaton.||Lincoln-
well’s Version (No. 2).
|1.||Draw a pail of water.||Draw a pail of water.||Draw, draw water.||Draw a bucket o’ water.||Drawing a bucket of water.||Draw a pail of water.||Draw a bucket of water.||Draw a bucket of water.||Draw a bucket of water.||Draw a bucket of water.||See saw, a bucket of water.||—||—||—||Draw a bucket of water.|
|2.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Sift the lady’s oatmeal.||Sieve my lady’s oatmeal.||—|
|3.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Sift it into flour.||Grind my lady’s flour.||—|
|4.||For my lady’s daughter.||Send a lady a daughter.||For my lady’s daughter.||For a lady’s daughter.||For my lady’s daughter.||For a lady’s daughter.||For my lady’s daughter.||For the farmer’s daughter.||For my lady’s daughter.||—||—||—||—||—||For a lady’s daughter.|
|5.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||To wash my lady’s garter.||To wash my lady’s garter.||—||—||—||—|
|6.||—||—||—||—||Put it in a chestnut tree.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Put it in a chest of drawers.||Put it in a chestnut.||—|
|7.||—||—||—||—||Let it stay an hour.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Let it lie an hour.||Let it stand an hour.||—|
|8.||My father’s a king and my mother’s a queen.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|9.||My two little sisters are dressed in green.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|10.||Stamping grass and parsley.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|11.||Marigold leaves and daisies.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|12.||One rush, two rush.||One o’ my rush, two o’ my rush.||One in a rush, two in a bush.||One and a hush, two and a rush.||One of you rush, two may rush.||—||One go rush and the other go hush.||—||—||—||One in a rush and two in a bush.||One we go rush, two we go push.||One of my rush, two of my rush.||One may rush, two may rush.||One in a bush, two in a bush, three in a bush, four in a bush.|
|13.||—||—||—||—||—||Give a silver pin for a golden ring.||—||Give a gold ring and a silver watch.||A guinea gold ring and a silver pin.||A guinea gold ring and a silver pin.||—||—||—||—||—|
|14.||Pray thee, fine lady, come under my bush.||Please, young lady, creep under the _briar_ bush.||Pretty my lady, pop under the bush.||Please, young lady, come under my bush.||Please, old woman man, creep under the bush.||Pray, young lady, pop under.||Pretty young lady, bop under my bush.||Pray, young lady, pop under.||Pray, young lady, pop under.||Please, little girl, pop under.||To see a fine lady pop under a bush.||Lady, come under the corner bush.||Please, young lady, come under my bush.||Come, my girls, walk under the bush.||—|
|15.||—||—||—||—||The bush is too high, the bush is too low.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||My bush is too high, my bush is too low.||—||—|
|16.||—||—||—||—||Please, old woman, creep under the bush.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Please, young lady, come under my bow.||—||—|
|17.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Stir up the dumpling.||—||—|
|18.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||And out you go.|
|No.||Halliwell’s Version.||Liphook (Hants).||Shropshire.||Fochabers (Scotland).||Hampshire.||Northants.||Norfolk (1).||Norfolk (2).|
|1.||Draw a pail of water.||Draw a pail of water.||Draw, draw water.||Draw a bucket o’ water.||Drawing a bucket of water.||Draw a pail of water.||Draw a bucket of water.||Draw a bucket of water.|
|4.||For my lady’s daughter.||Send a lady a daughter.||For my lady’s daughter.||For a lady’s daughter.||For my lady’s daughter.||For a lady’s daughter.||For my lady’s daughter.||For the farmer’s daughter.|
|6.||—||—||—||—||Put it in a chestnut tree.||—||—||—|
|7.||—||—||—||—||Let it stay an hour.||—||—||—|
|8.||My father’s a king and my mother’s a queen.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|9.||My two little sisters are dressed in green.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|10.||Stamping grass and parsley.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|11.||Marigold leaves and daisies.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|12.||One rush, two rush.||One o’ my rush, two o’ my rush.||One in a rush, two in a bush.||One and a hush, two and a rush.||One of you rush, two may rush.||—||One go rush and the other go hush.||—|
|13.||—||—||—||—||—||Give a silver pin for a golden ring.||—||Give a gold ring and a silver watch.|
|14.||Pray thee, fine lady, come under my bush.||Please, young lady, creep under the _briar_ bush.||Pretty my lady, pop under the bush.||Please, young lady, come under my bush.||Please, old woman man, creep under the bush.||Pray, young lady, pop under.||Pretty young lady, bop under my bush.||Pray, young lady, pop under.|
|15.||—||—||—||—||The bush is too high, the bush is too low.||—||—||—|
|16.||—||—||—||—||Please, old woman, creep under the bush.||—||—||—|
|No.||Haydon.||Earls Heaton.||Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.||Gloucestershire.||Belfast.||Halliwell’s Version (No. 2).||Crockham Hill.|
|1.||Draw a bucket of water.||Draw a bucket of water.||See saw, a bucket of water.||—||—||—||Draw a bucket of water.|
|2.||—||—||—||—||Sift the lady’s oatmeal.||Sieve my lady’s oatmeal.||—|
|3.||—||—||—||—||Sift it into flour.||Grind my lady’s flour.||—|
|4.||For my lady’s daughter.||—||—||—||—||—||For a lady’s daughter.|
|5.||—||To wash my lady’s garter.||To wash my lady’s garter.||—||—||—||—|
|6.||—||—||—||—||Put it in a chest of drawers.||Put it in a chestnut.||—|
|7.||—||—||—||—||Let it lie an hour.||Let it stand an hour.||—|
|12.||—||—||One in a rush and two in a bush.||One we go rush, two we go push.||One of my rush, two of my rush.||One may rush, two may rush.||One in a bush, two in a bush, three in a bush, four in a bush.|
|13.||A guinea gold ring and a silver pin.||A guinea gold ring and a silver pin.||—||—||—||—||—|
|14.||Pray, young lady, pop under.||Please, little girl, pop under.||To see a fine lady pop under a bush.||Lady, come under the corner bush.||Please, young lady, come under my bush.||Come, my girls, walk under the bush.||—|
|15.||—||—||—||—||My bush is too high, my bush is too low.||—||—|
|16.||—||—||—||—||Please, young lady, come under my bow.||—||—|
|17.||—||—||—||—||Stir up the dumpling.||—||—|
|18.||—||—||—||—||—||—||And out you go.|
The analysis shows that the majority of the variants retain four principal incidents of what must have been the original form of the game, and the fact of the Gloucestershire version having come down with only two of the incidents, namely, the two most common to all the variants (12 and 14), shows that the game has been in a state of decadence. The four principal incidents, Nos. 1, 4, 12, and 14, point distinctly to some water ceremonial; and if it may be argued that the incidents which occur in only one or two of the variants may be considered to have belonged to the original type, we shall be able to suggest that this game presents a dramatic representation of ancient well-worship. The incidents which occur in one version only are those given by Mr. Halliwell, and unfortunately the locality from which he obtained this variant is unknown. Still it is an earlier version than those which are now printed for the first time, and may without doubt be looked upon as genuine. Taking all the incidents of the various versions as the means by which to restore the earliest version, it would appear that this might have consisted of the following lines:—
(d) This restoration of the words, though it probably is far from complete, and does not make so good a game rhyme as the reduced versions, nevertheless shows clearly enough that the incidents belong to a ceremonial of primitive well-worship. The pulling of the hands backwards and forwards may be taken to indicate the raising of water from a well. If this is conceded, the incidents might be grouped as follows:—
All these are incidents of primitive well-worship (see Gomme’s Ethnology and Folk-lore, pp. 82-103). Garland dressing is very general; cakes were eaten at Rorrington well, Shropshire (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 433); pins and portions of the dress are very general offerings; silence is strictly enforced in many instances, and a sacred tree or bush is very frequently found near the well.
The tune of the Hampshire game (Miss Mendham’s version) is practically the same as that of the “Mulberry Bush.”
Newell (Games of American Children, p. 90) gives a version of this game.[Addendum]
Brand, quoting from “an old collection of satires, epigrams, &c.,” says this game is enumerated among other pastimes:
So in the Dutchesse of Suffolke, 1631:
They had shoved Bishop Bonner into a well, and were pulling him out.
We find this game noticed at least as early as Chaucer’s time, in the Manciple’s Prologue:
Nares (Glossary) says this game was a rural pastime, in which Dun meant a dun horse, supposed to be stuck in the mire, and sometimes represented by one of the persons who played.
Gifford (Ben Jonson, vol. vii. p. 283), who remembered having played at the game (doubtless in his native county, Devonshire), thus describes it:—“A log of wood is brought into the midst of the room: this is Dun (the cart horse), and a cry is raised that he is stuck in the mire. Two of the company advance, either with or without ropes, to draw him out. After repeated attempts they find themselves unable to do it, and call for more assistance. The game continues till all the company take part in it, when Dun is extricated of course; and the merriment arises from the awkward and affected efforts of the rustics to lift the log, and sundry arch contrivances to let the ends of it fall on one another’s toes.”
This is a game similar to Cat and Mouse, but takes its name from the use of the handkerchief to start the pursuit. Various rhyming formulæ are used in some places. In Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy), no rhyme is used.
The children stand in a ring. One runs round with a handkerchief and drops it; the child behind whom it is dropped chases the dropper, the one who gets home first takes the vacant place, the other drops the handkerchief again.
In Shropshire the two players pursue one another in and out of the ring, running under the uplifted hands of the players who compose it: the pursuer carefully keeping on the track of the pursued (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 512).
The Dorsetshire variant is accompanied by a rhyme:
This is repeated until the handkerchief is stealthily dropped immediately behind one of the players, who should be on the alert to follow as quickly as possible the one who has dropped it, who at once increases her speed and endeavours to take the place left vacant by her pursuer. Should she be caught before she can succeed in doing this she is compelled to take the handkerchief a second time. But if, as it more usually happens, she is successful in accomplishing this, the pursuer in turn takes the handkerchief, and the game proceeds as before.—Symondsbury (Folk-lore Journal, vi. 212).
—Leicestershire (Miss Ellis).
The Forest of Dean version is the same as the Dorsetshire, except that the child who is unsuccessful in gaining the vacant place has to stand in the middle of the ring until the same thing happens to another child.—Miss Matthews.
In Nottinghamshire the children form in a ring; one walks round outside the ring singing and carrying a handkerchief:
The handkerchief is then dropped at some one’s back, the one at whose back the handkerchief was dropped chasing the other.
Or they say:
At Winterton and Lincoln the children form a circle, standing arms-length apart. A child holding a handkerchief occupies the centre of the ring and sings:
(Here the singer points to each child in turn)
Then she drops the handkerchief before her chosen playmate, who chases her in and out of the ring under the arms of the other children until she is captured. The captor afterwards takes the place in the centre, and the original singer becomes a member of the circle.—Miss M. Peacock.
The Deptford version of the verse is as follows:—
—Deptford, Kent (Miss Chase).
A Staffordshire and Sharleston version gives some altogether different formulæ:—
—Staffordshire (Rev. G. T. Royds, Rector of Haughton).
At Sharleston the centre child says, “What colour is t’ sky?” The other answers, “Blue.” Centre child says, “Follow me true.” Here the centre child runs in and out between the others until the one who was touched catches her, when they change places, the first joining the children in the ring.—Sharleston (Miss Fowler).
At Beddgelert, Wales (Mrs. Williams), this game is called Tartan Boeth. It is played in precisely the same manner as the English game, but the words used are:
At the words, “Very hot!” the handkerchief is dropped.
(b) In this game no kissing takes place, and that this is no mere accidental omission may be shown by Mr. Udal’s description of the Dorsetshire game. He was assured by several persons who are interested in Dorset Children’s Games that the indiscriminate kissing (that is, whether the girl pursued runs little or far, or, when overtaken, whether she objects or not) with which this game is ordinarily associated, as played now both in Dorset and in other counties, was not indigenous to this county, but was merely a pernicious after-growth or outcome of later days, which had its origin in the various excursion and holiday fêtes, which the facilities of railway travelling had instituted, by bringing large crowds from the neighbouring towns into the country. He was told that thirty years ago such a thing was unknown in the country districts of Dorset, when the game then usually indulged in was known merely as “Drop the Handkerchief” (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 212).
An undescribed Suffolk boys’ game.—Moor’s Suffolk Words, p. 238.
Each child chooses a partner, and form in couples standing one before the other, till a long line is formed. Each couple holds a handkerchief as high as they can to form an arch. The couple standing at the end of the line run through the arch just beyond the last couple standing at the top, when they stand still and hold their handkerchief as high as possible, which is the beginning of the second arch; this is repeated by every last couple in succession, so that as many arches as are wanted can be formed.—East Kirkby, Lincolnshire (Miss K. Maughan).
Miss Baker (Northamptonshire Glossary) says the game is played in that county. Formerly in the northern part of the county even married women on May Day played at it under the May garland, which was extended from chimney to chimney across the village street.
A boys’ game, played with round stones and a table-shaped block of stone.—Patterson’s Antrim and Down Glossary.
Probably the same as Duckstone.
—London (A. B. Gomme).
—Northamptonshire, Revue Celtique, iv. 200; Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, No. ccclxxvii.
(b) A number of little girls join hands and form a ring. They all jump round and sing the verses. The game ends by the girls following one of their number in a string, all quacking like ducks.—Northamptonshire.
(c) Halliwell does not include it among his games, but simply as a nursery paradox. The tune given is that to which I as a child was taught to sing the verses as a song. We did not know it as a game. The “Quack, quack!” was repeated as another line to the notes of the last bar given, the notes gradually dying away (A. B. Gomme).
The game of “Leap-frog.”—Apollo Shroving, 1627, p. 83.
A pastime in which flat stones or slates are thrown upon the surface of a piece of water, so that they may dip and emerge several times without sinking (Brockett’s North Country Words). “Neither cross and pile nor ducks and drakes are quite so ancient as hand dandy” (Arbuthnot and Pope, quoted in Todd’s Johnson).
Halliwell gives the words used in the game both formerly and at the present day. If the stone emerges only once it is a duck, and increasing in the following order:—
—Somersetshire (Holloway’s Dict. of Provincialisms).
—Hampshire (Holloway’s Dict. of Provincialisms).
—Peacock’s Manley and Corringham Glossary.
Moor (Suffolk Words and Phrases) gives the names for the number of times the stone emerges, as (1) “a duck;” (2) “a duck an’ a drake;” if thrice, “a duck an’ a drake an’ a fi’epenny cake;” four times is “a duck an’ a drake an’ a fi’epenny cake, an’ a penny to pah the baker.” If more than four, “a duck,” “a duck an’ a drake,” &c., are added. These distinctions are iterated quickly to correspond in time as nearly as may be with the dips of the stone. A flattish stone is evidently the best for this sport.
(b) This game is also given by Mr. Addy in his Sheffield Glossary, and by Holland (Cheshire Glossary), Brogden (Provincial Words, Lincolnshire), Lowsley (Berkshire Glossary), Nares’ Glossary, and Baker’s Northants Glossary. Miss Courtenay gives “Scutter” and “Tic Tac Mollard” as Cornish names for the game (West Cornwall Glossary). See also Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, p. 139, and Strutt’s Sports and Pastimes, p. 326.
Butler, in his Hudibras (p. ii. canto iii. l. 302), makes it one of the important qualifications of his conjurer to tell—
The following description of this sport is given by Minucius Felix, ed. 1712, p. 28, which evinces its high antiquity: “Pueros videmus certatim gestientes, testarum in mare jaculationibus ludere. Is lusus est, testam teretem, jactatione fluctuum lævigatam, legere de litore: eam testam plano situ digitis comprehensam, inclinem ipsum atque humilem, quantum potest, super undas irrorare: ut illud jaculum vel dorsum maris raderet, vel enataret, dum leni impetu labitur; vel summis fluctibus tonsis emicaret, emergeret, dum assiduo saltu sublevatur. Is se in pueris victorem ferebat, cujus testa et procurreret longius, et frequentius exsiliret.”
“From this pastime,” says Moor, “has probably arisen the application of the term to a spendthrift—of whose approaching ruin we should thus speak: ‘Ah, he’ave made fine ducks and drakes of a’s money, that a’ have.’”—Suffolk Words.
A large stone called the Duckstone or Duck-table is placed on the ground, generally with a wall for a background, but this is of little consequence. Several boys take a stone each, and a place pretty near the Duckstone is chosen for “home.” One of the boys puts his stone on the Duckstone, and he is called the Tenter. He has to guard the home and catch the other boys if he can. Each boy in turn throws his stone at the stone on the Duck-table and immediately runs home. The Tenter tries to catch him before he can touch the wall or post or whatever is chosen for the home. If the Tenter can catch him he becomes Tenter, and puts his stone on the Duckstone, and the original Tenter takes his turn in throwing. One rule of the game is that the Tenter’s stone must always be on the Duck-table when he is trying to catch a boy, so if it is knocked off it must be replaced before he can try to catch the boy running “home.” The chance of getting home is increased for the boy who knocks it off.—North-West Lincolnshire (Rev. —— Roberts and Miss Peacock).
(b) Similar versions are from Earls Heaton (Herbert Hardy), Ireland (Folk-lore Journal, ii. 265), Peacock (Mauley and Corringham Glossary). Addy (Sheffield Glossary) gives this game with the following addition: If a duck falls short of the Duckstone, and the one whose duck is on the stone sees that he can wand or span with his hand the distance between the duck thus thrown and the Duckstone, he shouts out “Wands,” and if he can wand or span the distance he takes his duck off, and the duck thus thrown is put on. Holland (Cheshire Glossary), Darlington (South Cheshire), Baker (Northants Glossary), and Brogden (Provincial Words, Lincolnshire), also give this game. Elworthy (West Somerset Words) calls it “Duck,” and “Ducks off” and “Cobbs off” in Dorsetshire. In London the boy repeats the words, “Gully, gully, all round the hole, one duck on,” while he is playing (Strand Magazine, November 1891). Newell (Games, p. 188) calls it “Duck on a Rock.”
Name for “Cat and Mouse” in Cornwall.—Folk-lore Journal, v. 57.
An undescribed game mentioned in Moor’s Suffolk Words, p. 238.
Two sides are chosen, which stand apart from each other inside the line of their den. One side chooses a trade, and goes to the opposite side imitating working at the trade and giving the initial letters of it. If the opposite side guesses the name of the trade, the players run to their own den, being chased by their opponents. If any of the players are caught they must go to the opposite side. In turn the opposite side chooses a trade, and imitates the actions practised.—Cork, Ireland (Miss Keane).
This is called “An Old Woman from the Wood” in Dorsetshire. The children form themselves into two ranks.
The first rank says:
Here comes an old ’oman from the wood.
The second party answers:
What cans’t thee do?
First Party:Do anythin’.
Second Party: Work away.
This the children proceed to do, some by pretending to sew, some to wash, some to dig, some to knit, without any instruments to do it with. If the opposite side guess what they are doing, they change sides. This game, Miss Summers believes, is very old, and has been played by several generations in the village of Hazelbury Bryan.—Dorsetshire (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 230).
A boys’ amusement in Yorkshire, in vogue about half a century ago, but now believed to be nearly obsolete. It is played in this manner. The lads crowd round and place their fists endways, the one on the other, till they form a high pile of hands. Then a boy, who has one hand free, knocks the piled fists off one by one, saying to every boy as he strikes his fist away, “What’s there, Dump?” He continues this process till he comes to the last fist, when he exclaims:—
Every one then endeavours to refrain from speaking in spite of mutual nudges and grimaces, and he who first allows a word to escape is punished by the others in the various methods adopted by schoolboys. In some places the game is played differently. The children pile their fists in the manner described above; then one, or sometimes all of them, sing:
The merriment consists in the bustle and confusion occasioned by the rapid withdrawal of the hands (Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, p. 225). Compare Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 529.
Northall (Folk Rhymes, p. 418) gives the following rhymes as said in Warwickshire while the fists are being piled on one another:—
A game at marbles or taw, played with holes scooped in the ground (Roxburgh, Jamieson). Grose gives dump as signifying “a deep hole of water” (Provincial Glossary).
A game in which boys placed their points in a heap, and threw at them with a stone. Weber and Nares give wrong explanations. It is alluded to in Cotton’s Works, 1734, p. 184.
—Peacham’s Thalia’s Banquet, 1620.
Nares (Glossary) suggests that this game and blow-point resembled the game of Push-pin. See also Halliwell’s Dictionary.
A number of young men and women stand in a line, a tall girl at one end of the line representing the tree. They then begin to wrap round her, saying, “The old eller tree grows thicker and thicker.” When they have all got round her (the tree), they jump all together, calling out, “A bunch of rags, a bunch of rags,” and try to tread on each other’s toes.—Sheffield, Yorks (S. O. Addy).
(b) The tree is the alder. It abounds in the North of England more than in any other part of the kingdom, and seems always to have been there held in great respect and veneration. Many superstitions also attach to the tree. It is possible from these circumstances that the game descends from an old custom of encircling the tree as an act of worship, and the allusion to the “rags” bears at least a curious relationship to tree worship. If this conclusion is correct, the particular form of the game preserved by Mr. Addy may be the parent form of all games in which the act of winding is indicated. There is more reason for this when we consider how easy the notion of clock-winding would creep in after the old veneration for the sacred alder tree had ceased to exist.
—Dronfield (S. O. Addy).
This game is usually played in a house or schoolroom, by boys and girls. A boy or girl is chosen who is considered to be able to stand a joke. He sits on a chair. A stool is put behind, upon which a boy called “Ezzeka” stands. Then the other boys and girls in the room sing the lines. As they are finished, Ezzeka, who has a bottle of water in his hand, takes out the cork, and pours the water upon his victim’s head. This game may be compared with the game of “King Arthur” mentioned by Brand (Pop. Antiq., ii. 393).
This is a boys’ game. One boy says to another, “Divv (do) ye ken (know) aboot my father’s fiddle?” On replying that he does not, the questioner takes hold of the other’s right hand with his left, and stretches out the arm. With his right hand he touches the arm gently above the elbow, and says, “My father had a fiddle, an’ he brook (broke) it here, an’ he brook it here” (touching it below the elbow), “an’ he brook it throw the middle,” and comes down with a sharp stroke on the elbow-joint.—Keith, Fochabers (Rev. W. Gregor).
This is probably the same game as that printed by Halliwell, No. cccxxxv., to which the following rhyme applied:—
An undescribed game mentioned in an old poem called Christmas (i. 285), quoted in Ellis’s Brand, i. 517: “Young men and maidens now at ‘Feed the Dove’ (with laurel leaf in mouth) play.”
—Sheffield (S. O. Addy).
A ring of chairs is formed, and the players sit on them. A piece of string long enough to go round the inner circumference of the chairs is procured. A small ring is put upon the string, the ends of which are then tied. Then one of the players gets up from his chair and stands in the centre. The players sitting on the chairs take the string into their hands and pass the ring round from one to another, singing the lines. If the person standing in the centre can find out in whose hand the ring is, he sits down, and his place is taken by the one who had the ring. The game is sometimes played round a haycock in the hayfield.
Miss Dendy sends a similar rhyme from Monton, Lancashire, where it is known simply as a marching game. For similar rhymes, see Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, p. 3.
“Twice three stones, set in a crossed square, where he wins the game that can set his three along in a row, and that is fippeny morrell I trow.”—Apollo Shroving, 1626.
The players seat themselves in a circle. One of the players has a ball, to which a string is fastened. He holds the string that he may easily draw the ball back again after it is thrown. The possessor of the ball then throws it to one in the circle, calling out the name of either of the elements he pleases. This player must, before ten can be counted, give the name of an inhabitant of that element. When “Fire” is called, strict silence must be observed or a forfeit paid.—Cork, Ireland (Miss Keane).
The players were seated in a half-circle, and the possessor of the ball faced the others. There was no string attached to the ball, but it was necessary that it should hit the child it was thrown to. When “Fire” was called, “Salamander” and “Phœnix” were allowed to be said. The third time “Fire” was called, silence was observed, and every player bowed the head. We called it “Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.” A forfeit had to be paid for every mistake.—London (A. B. Gomme).
It seems probable that a survival of fire-worship is shown by this game.
This game was played by a newspaper boy at Richmond Station for me as follows:—He had five square pieces of tile or stone about the size of dice. He took all five pieces in the palm of the hand first, then threw them up and caught them on the back of the hand, and then from the back of the hand into the palm. Four of the stones were then thrown on the ground; the fifth was thrown up, one stone being picked up from the ground, and the descending fifth stone caught in the same hand; the other three pieces were next picked up in turn. Then two were picked up together in the same manner twice, then one, then three, then all four at once, the fifth stone being thrown up and caught with each movement. All five were then thrown up and caught on the back of the hand, and then thrown from the back and caught in the palm. When he dropped one, he picked it up between his outstretched fingers while the other stones remained on the back of the hand; then he tossed and caught it likewise. Then after throwing up the five stones and catching them on the back of the hand and the reverse, all five being kept in the palm, one was thrown up, and another deposited on the ground before the descending stone was caught. This was done to the three others in turn. Then with two at a time twice, then one and three, then all four together, then from the palm to the back of the hand, and again to the palm. This completed one game. If mistakes were made another player took the stones. Marks were taken for successful play. This boy called the game “Dabs.”—A. B. Gomme.
In South Notts this game was called “Snobs.” It was played with small stones or marbles. There were nine sets of tricks. First One-ers (of which there were five in the set), then Two-ers (two in set), Three-ers (three in set), Four-ers (four in set), Four Squares (four in set), Trotting Donkeys (eight in set, I believe), Fly-catchers (six or seven in set), Magic (five in set), and Magic Fly-catchers (five in set). One-ers is played thus:—The five stones are thrown into the air and caught on the back of the hand. If all are caught they are simply tossed up again and caught in the hollow of the hand, but if any are not caught they have to be picked up, one by one, another stone being at the same time thrown into the air and caught with the one picked up in the hand. Two-ers, Three-ers, and Four-ers, are played in the same way, except that the stones not caught on the back of the hand have to be arranged in twos, threes, and fours respectively by the hand on which the caught stones are lying meanwhile, and then each lot has to be picked up altogether. If the number that fall when the stones are first thrown up won’t allow of this, the player has to drop the required number (but no more) from his hand. In Magic the play is just the same as in One-ers, except that instead of only throwing up a single stone and catching it as the others are in turn picked up, the whole number, except those remaining to be picked up, are thrown and caught. In Four Squares, four of the stones are arranged in a square, each of them is then picked up, whilst the remaining stone is flung upwards and caught; the one picked up is then tossed up, and the one originally tossed up is put down in the place of the other, which is caught as it descends, and the process repeated “all round the square.” Trotting Donkeys is similarly played, except that the four stones are arranged in a line—not in a square—and I believe there is some other slight difference, but I forget what. Fly-catchers is played like One-ers, except that the stone thrown into the air while the others are being picked up, is not simply caught by being allowed to fall into the hand, but by an outward movement of the hand is pounced on, hawk-fashion, from above. Magic Fly-catchers is played in precisely the same way, except that as in simple Magic, not one stone, but all are thrown up and caught—that is, if there are four on the ground one only is thrown up for the first, two for the second, three for the third, and so on until they are all picked up. This is, of course, the most difficult part of all, and, in fact, only experts were expected to do it. Every failure means “out,” and then your opponent has his turn. The winner is the one who gets through first. Such is the game as I remember it, but I have an uneasy suspicion that I have missed something out. I seem to remember one trick in which all the stones on the ground had to be picked up at once where they lay—scrambled up so to speak. Or it may be (and, in fact, I think it was) that sometimes, to add to the difficulty of the game, we picked up the groups of two, three, and four in Two-ers, Three-ers, and Four-ers in this fashion, instead of first placing them together.—Epworth, Doncaster (C. C. Bell).
In Wakefield the set of pot checks, which represents five hucklebones, now consists of four checks and a ball about the size of a large marble. The checks are something like dice, but only two opposite sides are plain, the other four being fluted. The table played on is generally a doorstep, and it is made ready by drawing a ring upon it with anything handy which will make a mark. There are twelve figures or movements to be gone through as follows. Some have special names, but I do not learn that all have.
1. The player, taking the checks and ball in the right hand, throws down the checks, keeping the ball in the hand. If any check fall outside the ring the player is “down.” There is skill needed in the throwing of the checks in this and the following movements, so that they may be conveniently placed for taking up in the proper order. The checks being scattered, the player throws up the ball, takes up one check, and catches the ball as it comes down, or, as it is sometimes played, after it has bounced once from the step. This is repeated till all the checks are taken up.
2. As the last figure, but the checks are taken up two at a throw.
3. As the last, but at the first throw one check, called the Horse, is taken up, and at the second the remaining three checks at once, called the Cart.
4. As before, but all the checks taken up together.
5. Called Ups and Downs. The checks are taken up at one throw, and set down outside the ring at the next. This is done first with one, then with two, and so on.
6. Each check is touched in turn as the ball is thrown.
7. The checks are separately pushed out of the ring.
8. Each check in turn is taken up and knocked against the ground.
9. Each check is taken up and tapped upon another.
10. The checks are first arranged three in a line, touching each other, and the fourth placed at the top of that at one end of the row. This is called the Cradle. It has to be taken down check by check, and if, in taking one, another is moved, the player is out.
11. Like the last, but the checks are put one above another to make a Chimney.
12. Called the Dish-clout—I know not why, unless it be that it wipes up the game. The movement used in taking up the checks is thus described:—“Take hold of the sleeve of the right hand with the left; throw up the ball, and twist your right hand underneath and over your left, and catch the ball. With the hand still twisted throw up the ball and untwist and catch it.” The checks are picked up in the course of the twisting.
These I am told are the orthodox movements; and I do not doubt that in them there is much of very old tradition, although the tenth and eleventh must have been either added or modified since pot checks came into use, for the figures could not be built up with the natural bones. Some other movements are sometimes used according to fancy, as for example the clapping of the ground with the palm of the hand before taking up the checks and catching the ball.—J. T. Micklethwaite (Arch. Journ., xlix. 327-28).
I am told that in the iron districts of Staffordshire, the round bits of iron punched out in making rivet holes in boiler plates are the modern representatives of hucklebones.—Ibid.
In Westminster four stones are held in the right hand, a marble is thrown up, and all four stones thrown down, and the marble allowed to bounce on the hearthstone or pavement, and then caught in the same hand after it has rebounded. The marble is then thrown up again, and one of the four stones picked up, and the marble caught again after it has rebounded. This is done separately to the other three, bringing all four stones into the hand. The marble is again bounced, and all four stones thrown down and the marble caught. Two stones are then picked up together, then the other two, then one, then three together, then all four together, the marble being tossed and caught with each throw. An arch is then formed by placing the left hand on the ground, and the four stones are again thrown down, the marble tossed, and the four stones put separately into the arch, the marble being caught after it has rebounded each time; or the four stones are separately put between the fingers of the left hand in as straight a row as possible. Then the left hand is taken away, and the four stones caught up in one sweep of the hand. Then all four stones are thrown down, and one is picked up before the marble is caught. This is retained in the hand, and when the second stone is picked up the first one is laid down before the marble is caught; the third is picked up and the second laid down, the fourth picked up and the third laid down, then the fourth laid down, the marble being tossed and caught again each time. The stones have different names or marks (which follow in rotation), and in picking them up they must be taken in their proper order, or it is counted as a mistake. The game is played throughout by the right hand, the left hand only being used when “arches” is made. The marble should be thrown up about the same height each toss, and there should be little or no interval between the different figures.—Annie Dicker.
I saw this game played in Endell Street, London, W.C., by two girls. Their game was not so long nor so complete as the above. They did not throw all four stones down as a preliminary stage, but began with the second figure, the four gobs being placed in a square ∷, nor were they particular as to which stones they picked up. They knew nothing of numbering or naming them. Their marble was called a “jack.” They had places chalked on the pavement where they recorded their successful “goes,” and the game was played in a ring.—A. B. Gomme.
An account sent me from Deptford (Miss Chase) is doubtless the same game. It begins with taking two “gobs” at once, and apparently there are eight stones or gobs to play with. The marble or round stone which is thrown up is called a “tally.” The directions for playing are—
Chain eggs—i.e., to pick up one and drop it again until this has been done to each stone. Arches—i.e., gobs in a row. This was described by the player as “while the tally is up to sweep the whole row or line off the ground into the arch of the finger and thumb before catching the tally.”
(b) These games are variants of one common original. It is the same game as that described by F. H. Low in the Strand Magazine, ii. 514, as played in the London streets. The marble there is called a “buck.” “Pegsy” was the name of the No. 5 stage of the Wakefield version, and this varies too, inasmuch as it was the same gob which is picked up and then laid down before catching the buck.
Mr. Kinahan says, “‘Jackstones,’ played with three or four small stones that are thrown up in the air and caught again, seems to have been a very ancient game, as the stones have been found in the crannogs or lake-dwellings in some hole near the fireplaces, similar to where they are found in a cabin at the present day. An old woman, or other player, at the present time puts them in a place near the hob when they stop their game and go to do something else” (Folk-lore Journal, ii. 266). In the Græco-Roman saloon, British Museum, is a statue originally composed of two boys quarrelling at the game of “Tali” (see Townley Gallery, i. 305; Smith’s Dict. Greek and Roman Antiq., s.v. Talus), and it is interesting to note that in the Deptford game the marble is called a “Tally.”
Mr. Kinahan’s note suggests that “Fivestones” may be an independent game, instead of a derivative from “Hucklebones.” If this is so, we have interesting evidence of the spread or transmission of one game from at least two centres. Professor Attwell, in Notes and Queries, 8th ser., iv. 201, suggests that “Hucklebones” was introduced into Europe by the Romans, and was spread throughout the countries which formed the empire by means of Roman colonists and soldiers. Mr. Newell (Games, pp. 190-93) describes a similar game to “Fivestones” played in Boston under the name of “Otadama,” or “Japanese Jacks.” This game is of Japanese origin, “Tedama” (that is, “Handballs”) being its proper name. He says there can be no doubt that the two forms of this amusement are branches of the same root; and we thus have an example of a game which, having preserved its essential characteristics for thousands of years, has fairly circumnavigated the globe, so that the two currents of tradition, westward and eastward, from Europe and Asia, have met in America.
Sides are chosen; each side must have a “home” at the top and bottom of the ground where the children are playing. One side chooses a flower and goes over to the other side, the members of which stand in a row facing the first side. The first side states the initial letters of the flower it has chosen, and when the second side guesses the right flower they run and try to catch as many of the opposite side as they can before they reach their home. The captives then become members of the side which captured them.—Bitterne, Hants (Mrs. Byford).
—Earls Heaton, Yorkshire.
—Earls Heaton, Yorks (Herbert Hardy).
—Redhill, Surrey (Miss G. Hope).
—Luton, Bedfordshire (Mrs. Ashdown).
(b) In the Yorkshire version a ring is formed with one child in the middle as the ’Oary Man. Whatever he, or she, does, all in the ring must mimic, going round and singing at the same time. Any one found late in changing the action or idle in obeying the caperings of the central child becomes the ’Oary Man in place of the child taking that part. Both girls and boys play. In the Redhill version, Holy Gabriel kneels in the middle of the circle. He acts as leader, and always had the fiddle as his instrument, though he now usually plays the pianoforte as his first instrument. The other children choose any instrument they like. Holy Gabriel pretends to play the fiddle, and all the other children play their own instruments until Holy Gabriel changes his to one of theirs, when that one must immediately begin to play the fiddle, and continue until Holy Gabriel takes another instrument or returns to the fiddle. This is done in vigorous pantomime. In the Luton variant the children sit in a semicircle, the Drummer faces them. He plays the drum; all the other children play on any other instrument they like. If the other players do not at once change their instrument, or neglect to sing the lines, a forfeit is demanded.
(c) Mr. Hardy says some sing this game, “Follow my game an holy man.” Mr. Hardy once thought it was the remnant of a goblin story of a hoary man of the gable or house-roof, who presided over the destinies of poor cottagers, and he had begun to make out the folk tale. The fairy would sometimes come down, and, playing his antics, compel whomsoever observed him to follow him in a mimicking procession. Miss Hope writes of “Holy Gabriel” that the game is played at Mead Vale, a small village in Surrey, but is unknown at larger villages and towns a few miles off. Some of the women who played it in their youth say that it began in the Primitive Methodist school at Mead Vale. It is played at Outword, also a remote village, and was introduced there by a stonemason, who stated that he had learned it from a cousin who had been in America. Further inquiry by Miss Hope elicited the fact that the cousin had learned the game, when a boy, in his native place in Lancashire. He did not know whether it was a well-known game there. This information points perhaps to a modern origin, but in such cases it must be borne in mind that people are very fond of suggesting recent circumstances as the cause of the most ancient traditions or customs. The obvious analogy to the incident in the myth of the Pied Piper, and to the Welsh custom at St. Almedha Church, near Brecknock, recorded by Giraldus Cambrensis, where the imitation of a frenzied leader is carried out as a religious ceremony, rather suggests that in this game we may have a survival of a ceremonial so common among early or uncultured people, the chief incident of which is the frenzied dancing of a god-possessed devotee.
 A variant of the second line is, “Ranting, roaring, heely man.” “I suppose he was Irish,” said my informant, “as he was named ‘Healey’” (Miss G. Hope).
This is a boys’ game. Any number can take part in it. It requires a good extent of country to play it well. The boy who is the swiftest runner and the best jumper is chosen as Leader. He sets out at a good speed over the fields, tries to jump as many ditches or burns, jumping such from one side to the other again and again, to scramble over dykes, through hedges, over palings, and run up braes. The others have to follow him as they can. This steeplechase continues till the followers are all tired out.—Keith (Rev. W. Gregor).
This is a very general game among schoolboys, but in Hereford it was a town custom occurring once in seven years on 11th October (Folk-lore Journal, v. 75).
This game is played under the name of “Foolie, Foolie” at Duthil, Strathspey. The players are placed in a row, either standing or sitting. Two are chosen, the one as Namer and the other as Foolie. Foolie withdraws, if not out of sight, at least out of range of hearing. The Namer then gives a name secretly to each player. When this is done, he calls on Foolie—Foolie, Foolie, come to your schoolie.
Foolie pays no attention to this call. It is again repeated, but with the same results. This goes on for several times. At last the Namer calls out—
Foolie always obeys this call, comes and stations himself beside the Namer. A little chaffing generally goes on against Foolie. The Namer says, “Come chise me oot, come chise me in, tae” so and so, naming one by the assumed fancy name. Foolie makes choice of one. If the choice falls right, the one so chosen steps from the line and stands beside Foolie. If the choice falls wrong, the one named remains in the line. All the players’ names are called out in this way. If any stand unchosen by Foolie, the Namer then goes up to each and asks if he wants, e.g., “an aipple,” “an orange,” “a kirk,” “a cottage,” &c. Each one whispers what he wants. The same question is put to Foolie. If he answers, e.g., “orange,” the one so named steps out and stands beside Foolie. All not first chosen are gone over in this way. Those left unchosen take their stand beside the Namer. There is then a tug-of-war, with the Namer and Foolie as the leaders.—Keith (Rev. W. Gregor).
In Hants the children stand vis-à-vis, as in a country dance. One of the number is sent out of earshot, and the others decide with the Captain as to the name of the bird each wishes to personate. The Captain then calls to the child who is out, “Tom Fool, Tom Fool, come home from school, and pick me out a blackbird,” “cuckoo,” or other bird. If Tom Fool is wrong in his guessing after three trials, he is condemned to run the gauntlet, being pelted with gloves or handkerchiefs not too mercifully.—Bitterne, Hants (Miss Byford).
In Sussex there is the same action with the following words, but there is no chasing or hitting—
If the children fail to do so, they say—
—Hurstmonceux, Sussex (Miss Chase).
The same game is played indoors in Cornwall, the reply being—
—Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 99-80).
One boy out of a number stoops in the position for “Leap-frog” at an agreed fixed line. From the players he chooses a Leader and a Foot. The Leader first leaps over the stooping boy at a foot from the line; the other players then leap in turn each at a foot further from the line, the stooping boy moving forward from the line for each player; finally the Foot leaps as far as the distance leapt by the last boy. If this is accomplished, the Leader hops from the line and then leaps; the followers hop and leap each a foot further than each other; finally the Foot hops and leaps as far as the distance covered by the last boy. If this is accomplished, the Leader hops twice and then leaps; the same process going on until one of the boys fails, who then takes the place of the stooping boy, and the game begins again. If the Foot covers any longer distance than the Leader, the Leader stoops down.—Earls Heaton, Yorks. (H. Hardy).
This game is general. Mr. Emslie describes the London version somewhat differently. After all the boys had jumped over the first boy’s back, a cry of “Foot it” was raised, and the boy who had given the back placed one of his feet at a right angle to the other, and in this way measured a “foot’s length” from the starting-place. All the boys then “overed” his back from the original line, the last one crying “Foot it,” and then the measuring ceremony was again gone through, and the game commenced again, and continued in the same manner until one of the boys failed to “over” the back, when he became Back.[Addendum]
The modern game of “Football” is too well known to need description here, and, like “Cricket,” it has become no longer a children’s game. As to its origin, there are many ball games, such as “Camping,” which have been suggested as the original form of “Football.” Every school almost had some peculiarity in the method of playing, and Eton, Winchester, Uppingham, and Rugby are well-known examples. It is not a little interesting to note, now that “Football” has settled down into a national game organised by county committees, that one of the forms of play officially recognised is the old Rugby game, the other form, known as the “Association,” being arrived at by agreement of those interested in the game.
To illustrate the ancient origin of the game, and its serious import as a local contest rather than a sport, some examples may be given. It is still (1877) keenly contested at Workington on Easter Tuesday on the banks of, and not unfrequently in, the river Derwent (Dickinson’s Cumberland Glossary). At Derby there was a football contest between the parishes of All Saints’ and St. Peter’s. The ball was thrown into the market-place from the Town Hall. The moment it was thrown the “war cries” of the rival parishes began, and the contest, nominally that of a football match, was in reality a fight between the two sections of the town; and the victors were announced by the joyful ringing of their parish bells (Dyer’s Popular Customs, p. 75). At Chester-le-Street the game was played between what were termed “up-streeters” and “down-streeters,” one side endeavouring to get the ball to the top of the town, whilst their opponents tried to keep it near the lower or north end. At one o’clock the ball was thrown out from near the old commercial hotel, the Queen’s Head, in the centre of the town, and it has often been received by over three and four hundred people, so great was the interest taken in this ancient sport. At Asborne the struggle was between the “up’ards” and “down’ards.” At Dorking the divisions were between the east and west ends of the town, and there was first a perambulation of the streets by the football retinue composed of grotesquely dressed persons. At Alnwick the divisions were the parishes of St. Michael’s and St. Paul’s. At Kirkwall the contest was on New Year’s Day, and was between “up the gates” and “down the gates,” the ball being thrown up at the Cross. At Scarborough, on the morning of Shrove Tuesday, hawkers paraded the streets with parti-coloured balls, which were purchased by all ranks of the community. With these, and armed with sticks, men, women, and children repaired to the sands below the old town and indiscriminately commenced a contest. The following graphic account of Welsh customs was printed in the Oswestry Observer of March 2, 1887: “In South Cardiganshire it seems that about eighty years ago the population, rich and poor, male and female, of opposing parishes, turned out on Christmas Day and indulged in the game of ‘Football’ with such vigour that it became little short of a serious fight. The parishioners of Cellan and Pencarreg were particularly bitter in their conflicts; men threw off their coats and waistcoats and women their gowns, and sometimes their petticoats. At Llanwenog, an extensive parish below Lampeter, the inhabitants for football purposes were divided into the Bros and the Blaenaus. A man over eighty, an inmate of Lampeter Workhouse, gives the following particulars:—In North Wales the ball was called the Bêl Troed, and was made with a bladder covered with a Cwd Tarw. In South Wales it was called Bél Ddu, and was usually made by the shoe-maker of the parish, who appeared on the ground on Christmas Day with the ball under his arm. The Bros, it should be stated, occupied the high ground of the parish. They were nicknamed ‘Paddy Bros,’ from a tradition that they were descendants from Irish people who settled on the hills in days long gone by. The Blaenaus occupied the lowlands, and, it may be presumed, were pure-bred Brythons. The more devout of the Bros and Blaenaus joined in the service at the parish church on Christmas morning. At any rate, the match did not begin until about mid-day, when the service was finished. Then the whole of the Bros and Blaenaus, rich and poor, male and female, assembled on the turnpike road which divided the highlands from the lowlands. The ball having been redeemed from the Crydd, it was thrown high in the air by a strong man, and when it fell Bros and Blaenaus scrambled for its possession, and a quarter of an hour frequently elapsed before the ball was got out from among the struggling heap of human beings. Then if the Bros, by hook or by crook, could succeed in taking the ball up the mountain to their hamlet of Rhyddlan they won the day; while the Blaenaus were successful if they got the ball to their end of the parish at New Court. The whole parish was the field of operations, and sometimes it would be dark before either party scored a victory. In the meantime many kicks would be given and taken, so that on the following day some of the competitors would be unable to walk, and sometimes a kick on the shins would lead the two men concerned to abandon the game until they had decided which was the better pugilist. There do not appear to have been any rules for the regulation of the game; and the art of football playing in the olden time seems to have been to reach the goal. When once the goal was reached, the victory was celebrated by loud hurrahs and the firing of guns, and was not disturbed until the following Christmas Day. Victory on Christmas Day, added the old man, was so highly esteemed by the whole countryside, that a Bro or Blaenau would as soon lose a cow from his cow-house as the football from his portion of the parish.”
(b) In Gomme’s Village Community, pp. 241-44, the position of football games as elements in the traditions of race is discussed, and their relationship to a still earlier form of tribal games, where the element of clan feuds is more decidedly preserved, is pointed out.
Forfeits are incurred in those games in which penalties are exacted from players for non-compliance with the rules of the game; “Buff,” “Contrary,” “Crosspurposes,” “Fire, Air, and Water,” “Follow my Gable,” “Genteel Lady,” “Jack’s Alive,” “Old Soldier,” “Twelve Days of Christmas,” “Turn the Trencher,” “Wadds,” and others. These games are described under their several titles, and the formula for forfeits is always the same. Small articles belonging to the players must be given by them every time a forfeit is incurred, and these must be redeemed at the close of the game. They are “cried” in the following manner:—One of the players sits on a chair having the forfeits in her lap. A child kneels on the ground and buries his face in his hands on the lap of the person who holds the forfeits. The “crier” then takes up indiscriminately one of the forfeits, and holding it up in the sight of all those who have been playing the games (without the kneeling child seeing it), says—
The kneeling child then says what the penance is to be. The owner of the forfeit must then perform the penance before the other players, and then another forfeit is “cried.”
The more general penances imposed upon the owners of the forfeits are as follows, but the list could be very much extended:—
Miss Burne mentions one penance designed to make the victim ridiculous, as when he is made to lie on his back on the floor with his arms extended, and declare—
—Shropshire Folk-lore, pp. 526-27.
(c) Halliwell gives, in his Nursery Rhymes, pp. 324-26, some curious verses, recorded for the first time by Dr. Kenrick in his Review of Dr. Johnson’s Shakespeare, 1765, on “rules for seemly behaviour,” in which the forfeits imposed by barbers as penalties for handling razors, &c., are set forth. Although “barbers’ forfeits” are not of the same nature as the nursery forfeits, it is possible that this general custom among so important a class of the community in early times as barbers may have suggested the game. Both Forby in his Vocabulary of East Anglia and Moor in his Suffolk Words bear testimony to the general prevalence of barbers’ forfeits, and it must be borne in mind that barbers were also surgeons in early days. A curious custom is also recorded in another East Anglian word-list, which may throw light upon the origin of the game from popular custom. “A forfeit is incurred by using the word ‘water’ in a brew-house, where you must say ‘liquor;’ or by using the word ‘grease’ in a chandlery, where it is ’stuff’ or ‘metal.’ The forfeit is to propitiate the offended genius loci” (Spurden’s East Anglian Vocabulary). The element of divination in the custom is perhaps indicated by a curious note from Waldron, in his Description of the Isle of Man (Works, p. 55), “There is not a barn unoccupied the whole twelve days, every parish hiring fiddlers at the public charge. On Twelfth Day the fiddler lays his head on some of the wenches’ laps, and a third person asks who such a maid or such a maid shall marry, naming the girls then present one after another; to which he answers according to his own whim, or agreeable to the intimacies he has taken notice of during this time of merriment. But whatever he says is as absolutely depended on as an oracle; and if he happen to couple two people who have an aversion to each other, tears and vexation succeed the mirth. This they call cutting off the fiddler’s head; for after this he is dead for the whole year.” Redeeming the forfeits is called “Crying the Weds,” in Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 526. See “Wadds.”[Addendum]
Halliwell gives this rhyme as No. ccclvii. of his Nursery Rhymes, but without any description of the game beyond the words, “A game of the fox.” It is probably the same game as “Fox and Goose.”
In Dorsetshire one of the party, called the Fox, takes one end of the room or corner of a field (for the game was equally played indoors or out); all the rest of the children arrange themselves in a line or string, according to size, one behind the other, the smallest last, behind the tallest one, called Mother Goose, with their arms securely round the waist of the one in front of them, or sometimes by grasping the dress.
The game commences by a parley between the Fox and Goose to this effect, the Goose beginning.
“What are you after this fine morning?”
“Taking a walk.”
“With what object?”
“To get an appetite for a meal.”
“What does [will] your meal consist of?”
“A nice fat goose for my breakfast.”
“Where will you get it?”
“Oh, I shall get a nice morsel somewhere; and as they are so handy, I shall satisfy myself with one of yours.”
“Catch one if you can.”
A lively scene follows. The Fox and Mother Goose should be pretty evenly matched; the Mother with extended arms seeking to protect her Brood, while the Fox, who tries to dodge under, right and left, is only allowed in case of a successful foray or grasp to secure the last of the train. Vigorous efforts are made to escape him, the Brood of course supplementing the Mother’s exertions to elude him as far as they are able, but without breaking the link. The game may be continued until all in turn are caught.—Folk-lore Journal, vii. 217-18.
In Lancashire the children stand in line behind each other, holding each other by the waist. One stands facing them and calls out—
The others answer—
The one then endeavours to catch the last child of the tail, who when caught comes behind the captor; repeat until all have changed sides.—Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy).
A version of this game played at Eckington, Derbyshire, is played as follows:—A den is chalked out or marked out for the Fox. A larger den, opposite to this, is marked out for the Geese. A boy or a girl represents the Fox, and a number of others the Geese. Then the Fox shouts, “Geese, Geese, gannio,” and the Geese answer, “Fox, Fox, fannio.” Then the Fox says, “How many Geese have you to-day?” The Geese reply, “More than you can catch and carry away.” Then the Geese run out of the den, and the Fox tries to catch them. He puts as many as he catches into his den (S. O. Addy).
(b) This game is a very general one at Christmas time. It is practically the same as “Gled Wylie,” and “Hen and Chickens,” and the “Hawk and Chickens” of Mr. Newell’s Games and Songs of American Children, pp. 155-56. By referring to these games it will be seen that the whole group are mimic representatives of farmyard episodes, though the animal characters are giving way to more domestic affairs, as shown in the Pins and Needles version of “Hen and Chickens.” It is possible that the different animals which are victims to the Fox appearing in the different games may arise from local circumstances, and that in this case a real distinction exists between the various names by which this game is known. A game called “Wolf and Deer,” similar to “Fox and Geese,” is given in Winter Evening Amusements, by R. Revel. The last one at the end of the tail may, if she has no other chance of escape, try and place herself before the Deer or Hen. She is then no longer to be hunted; all the others must then follow her example until the deer becomes the last of the line. The game then terminates by exacting a forfeit for each lady whom the Wolf has suffered to escape his clutches (pp. 64, 65).
A game known by this name is played with marbles or pegs on a board on which are thirty-three holes, or on the pavement, with holes scraped out of the stones. To play this game there are seventeen pieces called Geese, and another one either larger or distinguished from the Geese by its colour, which is called the Fox. The Fox occupies the centre hole, and the Geese occupy nine holes in front, and four on each side of him. The vacant holes behind are for the Geese and Fox to move in. The game is for the Geese to shut up the Fox so that he cannot move. All the pieces can be moved from one spot to another in the direction of the lines, but cannot pass over two holes at once. The Geese are not permitted to take the Fox. The Fox’s business is to take all, or as many of the Geese as will prevent him from being blockaded. The Fox can take the Geese whenever there is a vacant space behind them, which he passes to, then occupies.
This game has been very popular among schoolboys in all ages. Mr. Micklethwaite, in a paper on the Indoor Games of School Boys in the Middle Ages (Arch. Journ. xlix. 322), gives instances of finding figures of this game cut “in the cloister benches of Gloucester Cathedral and elsewhere, and there are several on the twelfth century tomb at Salisbury, miscalled Lord Stourton’s,” and also at Norwich Castle. For the date of these boards, Mr. Micklethwaite says for the last three centuries and a half cloisters everywhere in England have been open passages, and there have generally been schoolboys about. It is therefore not unlikely that they should have left behind them such traces as these play-boards. But if they are of later date they would not be found to be distributed in monastic cloisters with respect to the monastic arrangement, and we do find them so. Strutt describes the game (Sports, p. 319).
“The Tod (Fox) i’ the Faul (Fold).” This game is commonly played by boys. Any number of boys join hands and stand in a circle to form the Faul. The boy that represents the Tod is placed within the circle. His aim is to escape. To effect this he rushes with all his force, increased by a run, against the joint hands of any two of the players. If the rush does not unloose the grasp, he hangs on the two arms with all his weight, pressing and wriggling. If he fails he makes a rush at another two, always selecting those players he thinks weakest. When he does break through he rushes off at the top of his speed, with all the players in full cry, till he is caught and brought back. The game begins anew with another boy as Tod.—Keith (Rev. W. Gregor).
All the players are armed with handkerchiefs. One of the players is chosen for Fox, who has his den marked out. The Fox hops out on one leg, with his handkerchief ready to strike. The players gather round him and attack him. If he can strike one of his assailants without putting his foot to the ground from his hopping position, the player so struck is chased by the others into the den, and he then becomes the Fox for another round of the game.—Cork (Miss Keane).
Halliwell (Nursery Rhymes, p. 228) describes the game in practically the same manner, but adds that when the Fox is coming out he says—
after which he is at liberty to hop out and use his handkerchief.
(b) This game is alluded to in Soliman and Perseda, 1599; Florio, p. 480; Herrick, i. 176. See Halliwell’s Dictionary. Professor Mayor communicated to the Gentleman’s Magazine of 1848 (ii.), p. 147, the following early allusions to the game from old dictionaries:—
Gouldman, London, MDCLXIV.—“Ascoliasmus, Empusæ ludus: a kind of play wherein boys lift up one leg and hop with the other, where they beat one another with bladders tied to the end of strings. Fox to thy hole.”
Holyoke, MDCLXXVII.—“Empusa. παρὰ τὸ ἑνἱ ποδἱζειν, quòd uno incedat pede. Hence empusam agere is used for a play, hopping on one leg; with us, Fox to his hole.”
Id. “Ascoliasmus. A kind of play that children use when they hop on one leg, called Fox to thy hole.”
Cambridge Dict. MDCXCIII.—“Ascol. A kind of play wherein boys hopping on one leg beat one another with gloves or pieces of leather, and is called Fox to thy hole.”
A similar game to this is played at Earls Heaton, Yorkshire (Mr. Hardy), and called “Goose and Gander.” Two players, the Goose and the Gander, stand in a ring, each on one leg. They hop out in turn, and try to catch one of the other players without letting their other leg touch the ground. If they fail in this they get “strapped” back to the ring. When either are successful, the player who is caught takes the place of either Goose or Gander in turn. The game is also mentioned in Useful Transactions in Philosophy, 1708-9.
This game is played either by boys or girls or by both together. One is chosen to stand alone; the other players join hands and form a circle. The one outside the circle goes round it and touches on the back one of the circle. He then runs off round the circle, and the one who was touched runs off in the opposite direction round the circle. The aim of each player is to reach the vacant place in the circle first. The one left out has to repeat the same action. The game may go on for any length of time.—Keith (Rev. W. Gregor).
At Barnes this game is called “Gap.” It is known as “French Tag” in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire (Miss Matthews), and “Tap-back” at Bitterne, Hants (Mrs. Adam).
The children choose sides under a leader, and a boundary line is made in the middle of the ground dividing the French and English territory. A handkerchief is then placed in the back part of each territory to represent a flag. The object is to obtain as many flags from the opposite side as possible. If a person is captured before having seized a flag, he is taken prisoner, and must be rescued by one of his own side. Thus, for instance, an Englishman enters the French territory and tries to reach the flag. If he is seen by the French before he reaches the flag, he is taken prisoner and is placed near the flags, and the next Englishman rescues him instead of taking a flag. As soon as the flag is taken, one of the party must put another handkerchief in its place. A player cannot be taken prisoner after having obtained the handkerchief or flag. The winning side is decided by counting the flags and prisoners.—Bitterne, Hants (Mrs. Byford).
The children kneel in a circle, one standing blindfolded in the middle. The kneeling children shout, “Come point to me with your pointer.”—Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy).
A Christmas game, mentioned in the Declaration of Popish Impostures, 1603.
A game played between the dances at balls in farm-houses. A chair was placed in the middle of the barn or room; the master of the ceremonies led to the chair a young woman, who sat down and named the young man whom she was willing should kiss her. This he did, and then took the seat which the lady vacated. He then called out the name of some favourite girl, who was led up to him; there was another kiss. The girl then took the seat, and so on (county of Down). The same game is called “Frimsey-framsey” in parts of the county of Antrim.—Patterson’s Antrim and Down Glossary.
Compare “Cushion Dance.”
Name for “Leap-frog.”—Addy’s Sheffield Glossary.
One child is seated on the ground with his legs under him; the other players form a ring round. They then pull or buffet the centre child or Frog, who tries to catch one of them without rising from the floor. The child who is caught takes the place of the centre child. Another method of playing the game is similar to “Bull in the Park.” The child in the centre tries to break out of the ring, those forming it keeping the Frog in the ring by any means in their power, while still keeping their hands clasped. They sometimes sing or say—
They dance round when saying this, all keeping a watch on the Frog, who suddenly makes a rush, and tries to break through the ring.—London (A. B. Gomme).
Strutt describes this game, and gives an illustration from a fourteenth century MS. which is here reproduced from the original (Sports, p. 303). Newell (Games of American Children, p. 171) also mentions it, and gives the rhyme as—
The same as “French Jackie.” This game is called “Tap-back” or “Tat-back” at Bitterne, Hants.
Children join hands and form a ring. One child stands inside the ring; this child walks round and asks one of the circle, called the Keeper—
The Keeper replies—
This is repeated by each one in the circle. Then the inside child comes again to the Keeper and says—
The Keeper answers—
Then all the ring say—
The child inside then attempts to break through, and if he succeeds in breaking any of the clasped hands the one who first gives way has to take the place in the centre.—Roxton, St. Neots (Miss Lumley).
See “Bull in the Park.”
“To smuggle the Gegg,” a game played by boys in Glasgow, in which two parties are formed by lot, equal in number, the one being denominated the Outs, the other Ins. The Outs are those who go out from the den or goal, where those called the Ins remain for a time. The Outs get the Gegg, which is anything deposited, as a key, a penknife, &c. Having received this, they conceal themselves, and raise the cry, “Smugglers!” On this they are pursued by the Ins; and if the Gegg (for the name is transferred to the person who holds the deposit) be taken, they exchange situations—the Outs become Ins and the Ins Outs. This play is distinguished from “Hy-spy” only by the use of the Gegg. One of the Ins who is touched by one of the Outs is said to be taken, and henceforth loses his right to hold the Gegg. If he who holds the Gegg gets in the den, the Outs are winners, and have the privilege of getting out again. The Outs, before leaving the den, shuffle the Gegg, or smuggle it so between each other that the Ins do not know which person has it. He who is laid hold of, and put to the question, is supposed to deny that he has the Gegg: if he escapes with it, he gets out again.—Jamieson.
A player begins thus:—“I, a genteel lady (or gentleman) came from that genteel lady (or gentleman) to say that she (or he) owned a tree.” The other players repeat the words in turn, and then the leader goes over them again, adding, “with bronze bark.” The sentence goes round once more, and on the next repetition the leader continues, “with golden branches.” He afterwards adds, “and silver leaves,” “and purple fruit,” “and on the top a milk-white dove,” and, finally, “mourning for the loss of his lady-love.”
If a player should fail in repeating the rigmarole, there is a fine to pay. A “pipe-lighter” is stuck in her hair, and she must say “one-horned lady” instead of “genteel lady.” When a second horn is added, of course she says “two-horned,” and so forth. Some players wear half-a-dozen before the conclusion of the game. The game is called “The Wonderful Tree.”—Anderby, Lincolnshire (Miss M. Peacock).
In some parts of Yorkshire it is customary to say “no-horned lady” instead of “genteel lady” at the beginning of the game.
When we played this game we said “always genteel” after “genteel lady,” and varied the formula. For instance, the first player would say, “I, a genteel lady, always genteel, come from a genteel lady, always genteel, to say she lives in a house with twelve windows,” or words were used beginning with the letter A. Each player must repeat this, and add something else in keeping with a house; or sentences had to be made in which words beginning with the letter A must be said, the other players doing the same alphabetically.—London (A. B. Gomme).
Mr. Newell, in writing of this game, says that the “lamp-lighter” or “spill” was lighted when placed in the hair of the players who made mistakes. He does not mention forfeits being exacted.—Games, p. 139.
One of the party is chosen for Ghost (if dressed in white so much the better); she hides in a corner; the other children are a mother and daughters. The eldest daughter says:—
“Mother, mother, please give me a piece of bread and butter.”
M. “Let me (or ‘leave me’) look at your hands, child. Why, they are very dirty.”
E. D. “I will go to the well and wash them.”
She goes to the corner, the Ghost peeps up, and she rushes back, crying out—
“Mother! mother! I have seen a Ghost.”
M. “Nonsense, child! it was only your father’s nightshirt I have washed and hung out to dry. Go again.”
The child goes, and the same thing happens. She returns, saying—
“Yes! mother! I have seen a ghost.”
M. “Nonsense, child! we will take a candle, and all go together to search for it.”
The mother picks up a twig for a candle, and they set off. When they come near to the Ghost, she appears from her hiding-place, mother and children rush away in different directions, the Ghost chases them until she has caught one, who in her turn becomes Ghost.—West Cornwall (Miss Courtney, Folk-lore Journal, v. 55).
This game was “Ghost in the Copper” in London. It was played in the same way as above. Chairs formed the copper, and the ghost crouched down behind. The “Mother” was “washing” at a tub, also formed with two chairs. The eldest daughter was told she could not go to school to-day; she must stop at home and help hang up the clothes. The other children go to play. The Mother said, “Here, Jane, take this (pretending to give her a garment out of the wash-tub) and put it in the copper, and push it down well with the stick.” Jane goes to the copper and pretends to take off the lid. When she puts the washed garment in, and pokes down with the stick, the Ghost jumps up. She cries out as above, the Mother saying, “Nonsense, child! it’s only some of the boiling clothes.” The child goes again, and the game proceeds as above. It is generally played now as “Ghost.”—A. B. Gomme. It is mentioned by Newell (Games, p. 223).[Addendum]
A Giant is chosen, and he must be provided with a cave. A summer-house will do, if there is no window for the Giant to see out of. The others then have to knock at the door with their knuckles separately. The Giant rushes when he thinks all the children have knocked, and if he succeeds in catching one before they reach a place of safety (appointed beforehand) the captured one becomes Giant.—Bitterne, Hants (Mrs. Byford). See “Wolf.”
(b) A girl being blindfolded, her companions join hands and form a ring round her. At the word “Yonder” the blindfolded girl points in any direction she pleases, and at line three names one of the girls. If the one pointed at and the one named be the same, she is the next to be blinded; but, curiously enough, if they be not the same, the one named is the one. Meanwhile, at line four, she is not “picked up,” but is shaken by the shoulders by the still blindfolded girl; and at line five she is given by the same “bread and cheese,” i.e., the buds or young leaves of what later is called “May” (Cratægus oxyacantha); and at line six she is taken up under the blinded girl’s arm and swung round.—Warwickshire (Notes and Queries, 6th Ser., viii. 451).
A boy’s game. One boy is chosen, who says:—
He then counts one, two, three, four, &c., up to forty, having his eyes covered by his hands, and the others hide while he is saying the “nominy.” At the conclusion he uncovers his eyes, and if he sees any boys not yet hidden they have to stand still. He seeks the rest, but if he moves far away from his place, called the “stooil” (stool), one of the hidden boys may rush out and take it, provided he can get there first. Should he fail in this he also has to stand aside; but if any one succeeds, then all run out as before, and the same boy has to say the “nominy” again. On the other hand, if he finds all the boys without loosing his “stooil,” the boy first caught has to take his place and say the “nominy.” The game was thus played in 1810, and is so still, both here and at Lepton.—Easther’s Almondbury and Huddersfield Glossary.
One child is selected for Gipsy, one for Mother, and one for Daughter Sue. The Mother says the lines, and points to several children to emphasise her words. During her absence the Gipsy comes in, entices a child away, and hides her. This process is repeated till all the children are hidden, when the mother has to find them.—Halliwell (Nursery Rhymes, p. 228).
The name of a singular game played at country schools. One of the largest of the boys steals away from his comrades, in an angry-like mood, to some dykeside or sequestered nook, and there begins to work as if putting a pot on a fire. The others seem alarmed at his manner, and gather round him, when the following dialogue takes place:—
They say first to him—
The mother of them, as it were, returns—
After these rhymes are said the chickens cling to the mother all in a string. She fronts the flock, and does all she can to keep the kite from her brood, but often he breaks the row and catches his prey.—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.
Evidently denominated from the common mode of designating the kite among the vulgar (Jamieson). “The Greedy Gled’s seeking ye,” is one of the lines of a rhyme used in “Hide and Seek” in Edinburgh. Glead, or Gled, is also a Yorkshire and Cheshire name for a kite. “As hungry as a Glead” (Glossary, by an Old Inhabitant).—Leigh (Cheshire Glossary).
The play of “Blind Man’s Buff.”—Banffshire, Aberdeen (Jamieson).
A London name for the game of “Hucklebones.”
—Middlesex (Miss Collyer).
—London (A. B. Gomme).
—Congleton (Miss A. E. Twemlow).
—Chamber’s Popular Rhymes, pp. 137-38.
—Lanarkshire (W. G. Black).
—Biggar (W. Ballantyne).
—Yorkshire (Henderson’s Folk-lore, Northern Counties, p. 27).
—Roxton, St. Neots (Miss Lumley).
—Berrington (Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 511).
—Middlesex (Miss Collyer).
—Frodingham and Nottinghamshire (Miss M. Peacock).
—Addy’s Sheffield Glossary.
—Hurstmonceux, Sussex (Miss Chase).
—London (A. B. Gomme).
—Liphook, Hants (Miss Fowler).
—Halliwell’s Popular Nursery Rhymes, cccxxxii.
—Congleton Workhouse School (Miss A. E. Tremlow).
(c) The popular version of this game is played by the greater number of the children forming a line on one side with joined hands, and one child (sometimes two or more) facing them, advancing and retiring while singing the verses. When he asks the question, “Will you come?” one girl on the opposite side answers “No!” and afterwards “Yes!” When this is said, she goes to the opposite side, and the two dance round together while singing the next verse. The game begins again by the two singing the verses, and thus getting a third child to join them, when the game proceeds for a fourth, and so on.
The Congleton and London versions are played by two lines of children of about equal numbers. In the Lincolnshire version the above description answers, except that when the last line is sung every one claps hands. In the Sussex version the child at the end of the line is taken over by the child who sings the verses, and they lock their little fingers together while singing the remainder.
Addy (Sheffield Glossary) says:—“Two children advance and retire on one side. When the opposite side says ‘Yes!’ the two take the first child in the row and dance round with her, singing the remaining verse. This is called ‘the wedding.’”
The Lanarkshire version is quite a different one, and contains rather remarkable features. Mr. Black says that the game was played entirely by girls, never by boys, and generally in the months of May or June, about forty years ago. The children sang with rather mincing and refined voices, evidently making an effort in this direction. They walked, with their hands clasped behind their backs, up and down the road. Each child was crowned with rushes, and also had sashes or girdles of rushes.
Mr. Ballantyne says in his boyhood it was played by a row of boys on one side and another of girls opposite. The boys selected a girl when singing the third verse.
In the Roxton version, one child at the end of the line of children acts as “mother.” One child advances as “suitor,” and says the three first verses. The “mother” replies with the next line. The “suitor” chooses a girl and says the next verse, and then all the children sing the last verse. This is the same action as in Halliwell’s version.
(d) The analysis of the game-rhymes is on pp. 164-67. This analysis presents us with a very good example of the changes caused by the game-rhymes being handed down by tradition among people who have forgotten the original meaning of the game. The first line in the Scotch version contains the word “dis,” which is not known to the ordinary vocabulary. Another word, of similar import, is “dik-ma-day” in the Lanarkshire version. Two other words occur, namely, “thegan” in the Lanarkshire, and “maycanameecan” in the Sussex versions, which are also not to be found in ordinary vocabularies. The two last words appear only once, and cannot, therefore, be used for the purpose of tracing out an original form of the game-rhyme, because on the system of analysis adopted they may be arbitrary introductions and totally unconnected with the original rhymes. This, however, is not the case with the two first-mentioned words, and I am inclined to consider them as forming part of the earliest version. The word “dis” is carried through no less than ten out of the fourteen variants, the gradation in the forms being as follows:—
|1.||A-dis, a-dis, a green grass.||A-dis, a-dis, a green grass.||A dish, a dish, a green grass.||Dissy, dissy, green grass.||Dossy, dossy, green grass.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2.||—||—||—||—||—||Walking up the green grass.||Stepping up the green grass.||Up and down the green grass.||Tripping up the green grass.||Here we come up the green grass.||Here we go up the green grass.||Trip, trap, over the grass.||Stepping up the green grass.|
|3.||A-dis, a-dis, a-das.||A-dis, a-dis, a-dass.||A dish, a dish, a dish.||Dissy, dissy, duss.||Dossy, dossy, doss.||A dust, a dust, a dust.||Thus, and thus, and thus.||This, and that, and thus.||—||—||—||—||Thus, and thus, and thus.|
|4.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Dusty, dusty day.||On a dusty, dusty day.||—||—||—|
|5.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||So early in the morning.||—||—|
|6.||Come all ye pretty maids.||Come my pretty fair maid.||Come all ye pretty maids.||Come all ye pretty maids.||Come all ye pretty maids.||We want a pretty maiden.||Please may we have a pretty lass.||Come all ye fair maids.||Come all ye pretty maids.||Fair maid, pretty maid.||Fair maid, pretty maid.||Please let one of your daughters come.||Will you let one of your fair maids.|
|7.||And dance along with us.||And walk along with us.||And dance along with us.||And dance along with us.||Dance upon the grass.||To walk along with us.||To come and play with us.||And walk along with us.||Come and with us play.||—||—||Come and dance with me.||Come and play with us.|
|8.||For we are going a-roving.||—||For we are lads a roving.||—||—||—||—||—||—||[See below.]||—||—||—|
|9.||We’ll take this maid by the hand.||—||We’ll take this pretty fair maid by the hand.||—||—||We’ll take her by the hand.||—||—||—||Give your hand to me.||Give your hand to me.||Take one, take the fairest you can see.||—|
|10.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Pretty [ ] come to me.||—|
|11.||—||—||—||—||—||She shall go to Derby.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|12.||You shall have a duke, my dear.||You shall have a dik-ma-day.||Ye sall get a duke.||You shall have a duck.||You shall have a duck. (after No. 19)||She shall have a duck, my dear.||—||—||You shall have a duck.||—||—||You shall have a duck, my dear.||—|
|13.||—||—||—||—||I will give pots and pans.||—||We will give you pots and pans.||—||—||—||—||I will give you pots and pans.||We will give you pots and pans.|
|14.||—||—||—||—||..... brass.||—||..... brass.||—||—||—||—||..... brass.||..... brass.|
|15.||—||—||—||—||..... gold and silver.||—||..... gold and silver.||Some will give us silver ..... gold.||—||—||—||..... gold and silver.||..... gold and silver.|
|16.||—||—||—||—||..... pearl.||—||..... pearl.||—||—||—||—||..... pearl.||..... pearl.|
|17.||—||—||—||—||..... anything.||—||..... anything.||—||—||—||—||..... anything.||..... anything.|
|18.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||I’ll show you a blackbird.||You shall see a blackbird.||—||—|
|19.||—||—||—||—||For a pretty lass.||—||For a pretty lass.||—||—||—||—||For a pretty girl.||For a pretty lass.|
|20.||You shall have a drake.||You shall have a dragon.||Ye sall get a drake.||You shall have a drake.||You shall have a drake.||She shall have a drake.||You shall have a goose for dinner.||—||You shall have a swan.||—||—||You shall have a drake.||—|
|21.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Take hold of my finger.||—||—||—||—||—|
|23.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||All sorts of colours lying by his side.||—||—|
|[8.]||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||We’ll all go roving.||—||—||—|
|24.||And ye shall get a young prince.||You shall have a nice young man.||Ye sall get a bonny prince.||You shall have a nice young man.||You shall have a young man.||She shall have a nice young man.||You shall have a nice young man.||—||You shall have a nice young man.||—||—||You shall have a young man.||You shall have a nice young man.|
|25.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Pray tell me the name of your young man.||—||—||—||—||—|
|26.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||I’ll take [ ] for my bride.||Take [ ] for my bride.||—||—|
|27.||A young prince for your sake.||—||For your ain sake.||To love you for your sake.||—||A fighting for her sake.||—||—||A waiting for to come.||—||—||—||—|
|28.||—||—||—||—||Apprentice for your sake.||—||—||—||—||—||—||Apprentice for your sake.||Born for your sake.|
|29.||—||—||—||—||—||—||To take you up the garden.||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|30.||If this young prince should die.||—||If they all should die.||If this young man should chance to die.||—||Suppose this young man was to die.||Suppose this young man was to die.||—||Suppose he were to die.||—||—||If this young man should happen to die.||—|
|31.||—||—||—||—||If this young man should wealthy grow.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|32.||Ye shall get another.||—||Ye sall get anither.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|33.||—||—||—||And leave the girl a widow.||—||And leave the girl a widow.||And leave the girl a widow.||—||And leave his wife a widow.||—||—||And leave the poor woman a widow.||—|
|34.||—||—||—||—||And give his wife a feather.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|35.||Bells will ring and birds sing.||—||The bells will ring, birds will sing.||Birds shall sing and bells ring.||Bells shall ring and birds sing.||Bells ring and we shall sing.||Bells would ring, cats would sing.||—||—||—||—||Bells shall ring, birds shall sing.||Bells shall ring, cats shall sing.|
|36.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Come all ye pretty fair maids.||—||—||—||—|
|37.||We’ll all clap hands together.||—||We’ll clap hands together.||Clap all your hands together.||We’ll all clap hands together.||And all clap hands together.||So we’ll all clap hands together.||—||Come clap your hands together.||—||—||We’ll all clap hands together.||We’ll all clap hands together.|
|38.||—||With princes for his thegan.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|39.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Don’t you think [ ] a nice young man?||—||—||—||—||—|
|40.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Don’t you think [ ] as handsome as he?||—||—||—||—||—|
|41.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Then off with the glove, on with the ring.||—||—||—||—||—|
|42.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||You shall be married when you can agree.||—||—||—||—||—|
|43.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Naughty miss, she won’t come out.||Naughty old maid, she won’t come out.||—||—|
|44.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||To help us with our dancing.||To help us with our dancing.||—||—|
|45.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Now we’ve got our bonny lass.||Now we’ll get our bonny lass.||—||—|
|46.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||To help us with our dancing.||To help us with our dancing.||—||—|
|No.||Scotland (Chambers).||Lanarkshire.||Biggar.||Yorkshire.||Roxton.||Shropshire.||Lincolnshire, Frodingham.|
|1.||A-dis, a-dis, a green grass.||A-dis, a-dis, a green grass.||A dish, a dish, a green grass.||Dissy, dissy, green grass.||Dossy, dossy, green grass.||—||—|
|2.||—||—||—||—||—||Walking up the green grass.||Stepping up the green grass.|
|3.||A-dis, a-dis, a-das.||A-dis, a-dis, a-dass.||A dish, a dish, a dish.||Dissy, dissy, duss.||Dossy, dossy, doss.||A dust, a dust, a dust.||Thus, and thus, and thus.|
|6.||Come all ye pretty maids.||Come my pretty fair maid.||Come all ye pretty maids.||Come all ye pretty maids.||Come all ye pretty maids.||We want a pretty maiden.||Please may we have a pretty lass.|
|7.||And dance along with us.||And walk along with us.||And dance along with us.||And dance along with us.||Dance upon the grass.||To walk along with us.||To come and play with us.|
|8.||For we are going a-roving.||—||For we are lads a roving.||—||—||—||—|
|9.||We’ll take this maid by the hand.||—||We’ll take this pretty fair maid by the hand.||—||—||We’ll take her by the hand.||—|
|11.||—||—||—||—||—||She shall go to Derby.||—|
|12.||You shall have a duke, my dear.||You shall have a dik-ma-day.||Ye sall get a duke.||You shall have a duck.||You shall have a duck. (after No. 19)||She shall have a duck, my dear.||—|
|13.||—||—||—||—||I will give pots and pans.||—||We will give you pots and pans.|
|14.||—||—||—||—||..... brass.||—||..... brass.|
|15.||—||—||—||—||..... gold and silver.||—||..... gold and silver.|
|16.||—||—||—||—||..... pearl.||—||..... pearl.|
|17.||—||—||—||—||..... anything.||—||..... anything.|
|19.||—||—||—||—||For a pretty lass.||—||For a pretty lass.|
|20.||You shall have a drake.||You shall have a dragon.||Ye sall get a drake.||You shall have a drake.||You shall have a drake.||She shall have a drake.||You shall have a goose for dinner.|
|24.||And ye shall get a young prince.||You shall have a nice young man.||Ye sall get a bonny prince.||You shall have a nice young man.||You shall have a young man.||She shall have a nice young man.||You shall have a nice young man.|
|27.||A young prince for your sake.||—||For your ain sake.||To love you for your sake.||—||A fighting for her sake.||—|
|28.||—||—||—||—||Apprentice for your sake.||—||—|
|29.||—||—||—||—||—||—||To take you up the garden.|
|30.||If this young prince should die.||—||If they all should die.||If this young man should chance to die.||—||Suppose this young man was to die.||Suppose this young man was to die.|
|31.||—||—||—||—||If this young man should wealthy grow.||—||—|
|32.||Ye shall get another.||—||Ye sall get anither.||—||—||—||—|
|33.||—||—||—||And leave the girl a widow.||—||And leave the girl a widow.||And leave the girl a widow.|
|34.||—||—||—||—||And give his wife a feather.||—||—|
|35.||Bells will ring and birds sing.||—||The bells will ring, birds will sing.||Birds shall sing and bells ring.||Bells shall ring and birds sing.||Bells ring and we shall sing.||Bells would ring, cats would sing.|
|37.||We’ll all clap hands together.||—||We’ll clap hands together.||Clap all your hands together.||We’ll all clap hands together.||And all clap hands together.||So we’ll all clap hands together.|
|38.||—||With princes for his thegan.||—||—||—||—||—|
|No.||Sussex, Hurstmonceux.||Middlesex.||London.||Hants, Liphook.||Halliwell.||Sheffield.|
|2.||Up and down the green grass.||Tripping up the green grass.||Here we come up the green grass.||Here we go up the green grass.||Trip, trap, over the grass.||Stepping up the green grass.|
|3.||This, and that, and thus.||—||—||—||—||Thus, and thus, and thus.|
|4.||—||Dusty, dusty day.||On a dusty, dusty day.||—||—||—|
|5.||—||—||—||So early in the morning.||—||—|
|6.||Come all ye fair maids.||Come all ye pretty maids.||Fair maid, pretty maid.||Fair maid, pretty maid.||Please let one of your daughters come.||Will you let one of your fair maids.|
|7.||And walk along with us.||Come and with us play.||—||—||Come and dance with me.||Come and play with us.|
|9.||—||—||Give your hand to me.||Give your hand to me.||Take one, take the fairest you can see.||—|
|10.||—||—||—||—||Pretty [ ] come to me.||—|
|12.||—||You shall have a duck.||—||—||You shall have a duck, my dear.||—|
|13.||—||—||—||—||I will give you pots and pans.||We will give you pots and pans.|
|14.||—||—||—||—||..... brass.||..... brass.|
|15.||Some will give us silver ..... gold.||—||—||—||..... gold and silver.||..... gold and silver.|
|16.||—||—||—||—||..... pearl.||..... pearl.|
|17.||—||—||—||—||..... anything.||..... anything.|
|18.||—||—||I’ll show you a blackbird.||You shall see a blackbird.||—||—|
|19.||—||—||—||—||For a pretty girl.||For a pretty lass.|
|20.||—||You shall have a swan.||—||—||You shall have a drake.||—|
|21.||Take hold of my finger.||—||—||—||—||—|
|23.||—||—||—||All sorts of colours lying by his side.||—||—|
|[8.]||—||—||We’ll all go roving.||—||—||—|
|24.||—||You shall have a nice young man.||—||—||You shall have a young man.||You shall have a nice young man.|
|25.||Pray tell me the name of your young man.||—||—||—||—||—|
|26.||—||—||I’ll take [ ] for my bride.||Take [ ] for my bride.||—||—|
|27.||—||A waiting for to come.||—||—||—||—|
|28.||—||—||—||—||Apprentice for your sake.||Born for your sake.|
|30.||—||Suppose he were to die.||—||—||If this young man should happen to die.||—|
|33.||—||And leave his wife a widow.||—||—||And leave the poor woman a widow.||—|
|35.||—||—||—||—||Bells shall ring, birds shall sing.||Bells shall ring, cats shall sing.|
|36.||—||Come all ye pretty fair maids.||—||—||—||—|
|37.||—||Come clap your hands together.||—||—||We’ll all clap hands together.||We’ll all clap hands together.|
|39.||Don’t you think [ ] a nice young man?||—||—||—||—||—|
|40.||Don’t you think [ ] as handsome as he?||—||—||—||—||—|
|41.||Then off with the glove, on with the ring.||—||—||—||—||—|
|42.||You shall be married when you can agree.||—||—||—||—||—|
|43.||—||—||Naughty miss, she won’t come out.||Naughty old maid, she won’t come out.||—||—|
|44.||—||—||To help us with our dancing.||To help us with our dancing.||—||—|
|45.||—||—||Now we’ve got our bonny lass.||Now we’ll get our bonny lass.||—||—|
|46.||—||—||To help us with our dancing.||To help us with our dancing.||—||—|
What the meaning of this word is it may be impossible to ascertain, though probably Mr. Newell may be correct in his suggestion that it represents the old English word “adist,” the opposite of “ayont,” meaning “this way,” “come hither” (Games of American Children, p. 51). But the point really is, that the version which contains the oldest word-forms would probably be the purest in other respects. The analysis of the whole game confirms this view, as the Scottish and Yorkshire versions are nearly parallel, while the discrepancies begin to creep in with the Shropshire version, reaching their last stage in the versions recorded by Halliwell and from Congleton. Following this line of argument, “dik-ma-day” becomes first “duke, my dear,” and then “duck, my dear.” Turning next to the import of the rhymes, apart from special words used, it is curious to note that “dis” is only converted into “dusty,” and hence into “dusty day,” in two versions out of the fourteen. The Lincolnshire version agrees with Halliwell’s version in making some curious offers for a pretty lass, but these rhymes are probably an innovation. In the same way the incidents numbered 39-40, occurring in the Sussex version, and 43-46 occurring in the London and Hants versions, are borrowings from other games, and not original portions of this. The Congleton version is evidently incomplete.
(e) Henderson, in describing the curious rites accompanying the saining or blessing of a corpse in the Scottish Lowlands, states that empty dishes are arranged on the hearth as near as possible to the fire, and after certain ceremonies in connection therewith have been performed, the company join hands and dance round the dishes, singing this burden:—
—Folk-lore of Northern Counties, p. 54.
This rhyme is, it will be seen, the same as the first two lines of the game, the word “griss” in the burial-rhyme becoming “grass” in the game-rhyme, “grisse” being the old form for “grass” or herb (Halliwell, Provincial Glossary, quotes a MS. authority for this). This identification of the game-rhyme would suggest that the game originally was a child’s dramatic imitation of an old burial ceremony, and it remains to be seen whether the signification of the words would carry out this idea.
In the first place, the idea of death is a prominent incident in the game, appearing in seven out of the fourteen versions. In all these cases the death is followed by the clapping of hands and bell-ringing, and in five cases by the singing of birds. Clapping of hands occurs in two other cases, and bell-ringing in one other case, not accompanied by the death incident. Now it is singular that the burial-rite which has just been quoted is called Dish-a-loof; and a reference to the game of “Dish-a-loof” [under that title], will show that it derives its name from the clapping of hands. In the ceremony, as described by Henderson, although songs and games are part of the burial-ceremony, there is no specific mention of hand-clapping; but it is conceivable that the action at one time formed part of the ceremony, and hence the name “Dish-a-loof.” This would not account for the promise of a duck, drake, &c., as in incidents Nos. 12 and 20; nor for the promise of a young prince or young man; but these incidents might very well be variants of some earlier forms which are not now discoverable, especially as love-games were played at funerals, and as the tendency, in the less complete forms of the game as they have come down to us, is in the direction of transposing the game into a complete love-game. The use of rushes in the Lanarkshire game might indicate the funeral garland (Aubrey’s Remaines, pp. 109, 139). For clapping of hands to indicate bell-tolling or bell-ringing at times of death see Napier’s Folklore, p. 66. Henderson (p. 63) says the “passing bell” was supposed in former times to serve two purposes: it called on all good Christians within hearing to pray for the departing spirit, and it scared away the evil spirits who were watching to seize it, or at least to scare and terrify it.
On the whole evidence from the rhymes, therefore, I should be disposed to class this game as originally belonging to burial, and not love, rites.[Addendum]
—Madeley, Shropshire (Miss Burne).
—Earls Heaton (H. Hardy).
—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).
—Redhill, Surrey (Miss G. Hope).
—Derbyshire (Mrs. Harley).
—Belfast (W. H. Patterson).
—Berrington, Oswestry (Shropshire Folk-lore p. 510).
—Derbyshire and Worcestershire (Mrs. Harley).
—Earls Heaton, Yorkshire (H. Hardy).
—Lincoln, Winterton, and Wakefield (Miss Fowler and Miss Peacock).
—Redhill, Surrey (Miss G. Hope); Lancashire (Mrs. Harley).
—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).
—Gainford, Durham (Miss Eddleston).
—Hampshire (Miss E. Mendham).
—Wales (Byegones, 1890).
—Cowes, Isle of Wight (Miss E. Smith).
—Isle of Man (A. W. Moore).
—Madeley, Shropshire (Miss Burne).
—Summertown, Oxford (A. H. Franklin, Midland Garner, vol. ii. p. 32).
—Sheffield (S. O. Addy).
—Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire (Miss Matthews).
—Wakefield (Miss Fowler).
(c) The more general way of playing this game is to form a ring of children simply. The children walk round singing the verse as in the Belfast version, and when the last line is sung, the child whose name is mentioned turns round, facing the outside of the ring and having her back to the centre. She continues to hold hands with the others, and dances round with them in that position. This is repeated until all the children have “turned” their backs to the inside of the ring. Here the game ends in many cases, but another verse is sung in the Lincoln, Winterton, and Wakefield versions from Miss Peacock, and this was sung also in the London version. The second verse thus terminates the game, with the players one by one reversing their position and facing the centre of ring as at first. In the Forest of Dean and Wakefield versions the action of the game is somewhat different. A child stands in the centre of the ring of children, without apparently taking much part in the game, except to name the children in turn. In the Wakefield version, however (Miss Fowler, No. xvii.), a little boy stands in the middle of a circle of girls who sing the first verse. At “We’ll all cou’ don’ together,” all crouch down, as if in profound respect, then rising slowly, sing the next verse. After “My pitcher and my can,” each child mentions her own name. At “Isn’t —— as nice as her?” each mentions her sweetheart’s name, and the child thus chosen goes into the circle. At the end of the fourth verse they all clap hands, and the one that is sweetheart to him in the middle kisses him. The “crouching down” is also done in the Forest of Dean version when singing the fourth line. The last one to stoop has to name her sweetheart. When this is done, the children all dance round and sing the other lines.
(d) The analysis of the game-rhymes is on pp. 178-181. The most constant formulæ of this game-rhyme are shown by this analysis to be Nos. 1, 6, 7, 13, 15, 18, 23, and the variants, though important, are not sufficient to detract from the significance of the normal version. It is evidently a funeral game. The green gravel and the green grass indicate the locality of the scene; “green,” as applied to gravel, may mean freshly disturbed, just as green grave means a freshly made grave. The tenant of the new grave is the well-loved lady of a disconsolate lover, and probably the incidents of washing and dressing the corpse, and putting an inscription on the place where it is laid, are indicated by Nos. 13 and 15. The dirge, or singing to the dead, is indicated by Nos. 18, 23, and 26, and the beauty of the first line is in complete accord with the mournful music. That No. 26 occurs in only two variants, Derbyshire and the Isle of Man, is curious, as the pathos of this appeal is very apparent in the movement of the game. The communion with the dead which is indicated by No. 23 is by no means considered impossible by the peasantry. In confirmation of this being a representation of an old funeral ceremony, it may be pointed out that the action of turning backwards during the singing of the dirge is also represented in the curious funeral ceremony called “Dish-a-loof,” which is described in Henderson’s Folk-lore of the Northern Counties, p. 53. Henderson’s words are: “All the attendants, going out of the room, return into it backwards, repeating this rhyme of ’saining.’” The additional ceremony of marriage in four of the games is clearly an interpolation, which may have arisen from the custom of playing love and marriage games at funerals and during the watching with the corpse, or may be a mere transition to the more pleasant task of love-making as the basis of a game. The Derbyshire incident (No. 24) may indicate indeed that the funeral is that of a young bride, and in that case the tendency to make the game wholly a marriage game is accounted for. The decay which has set in is apparent by the evident attempt to alter from “green gravel” to “green grover” and “yellow gravel” (Nos. 4 and 5), and to introduce pen and black ink (No. 17). The addition of the incongruous elements from other games (Nos. 27-31) is a frequent occurrence in modern games, and is the natural result of decadence in the original form of the game. Altogether this game-rhyme affords a very good example of the condition of traditional games among the present generation of children.
|Earls Heaton, Yorks.||Lin-
|Redhill, Surrey.||Sporle, Norfolk.||Gainford, Durham.||Hants.||Wales.||Isle of Wight.||Isle of Man.||Made-
|Forest of Dean.||Wake-
|1.||Green gravel.||Green gravel.||—||Green gravel.||Green gravel.||Green gravel.||—||—||Green gravels.||Green gravel.||—||Green gravel.||Green gravel.||Green gravel.||—||—||—|
|2.||—||—||Around the green gravel.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Round the green gravel.||Round the green gravel.||Around the green gravill.|
|6.||Your grass is so green.||The grass is so green.||The grass is so green.||The grass is so green.||The grass is so green.||The grass is so green.||Your grass is so green.||Your grass is so green.||The grass is so green.||The grass is so green.||The grass is so green.||The grass is so green.||—||—||—||—||—|
|7.||The fairest damsel ever seen.||—||—||—||Fairest damsel ever seen.||Fairest damsel ever seen.||Fairest damsel ever seen.||—||—||—||—||Fairest damsel ever I’ve seen.||—||—||—||—||—|
|8.||—||The fairest young lady ever seen.||—||—||—||—||—||Prettiest young lady ever seen.||—||—||Fairest young lady ever seen.||—||—||Fairest young lady ever seen.||—||All fine ladies ever were seen.||—|
|9.||—||—||All pretty maids are plain to be seen.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||All pretty fair maids are fit to be seen.||—||—|
|10.||—||—||—||Such beautiful flowers ever seen.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Flowers all faded, none to be seen.||—||—||—||—|
|11.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||All pretty maidens are _not_ to be seen.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||All fine ladies ashamed to be seen.|
|12.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Fine pencil as ever was seen.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|13.||Washed her, dried her, rolled her in silk.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|14.||—||Wash you in milk, clothe in silk.||Wash them in milk, clothe in silk.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||[Wash you in butter-milk, dress in silk.] (After No. 26.)||—||—||Wash them in milk, clothe in silk.||Washed in milk, dressed in silk.||Wash ’em in milk, dress in silk.|
|15.||Wrote name in glass pen and ink.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|16.||—||Write name in gold pen and ink.||Write names in gold pen and ink.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||[Write name with my gold pen and ink.] (After No. 26.)||—||—||—||—||—|
|17.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Write names with pen and black ink.||—||—|
|18.||Your true love is dead.||True love is dead.||Her sweet-
heart is dead.
heart is dead.
|True love is dead.||True love is dead.||Sweet-
heart is dead.
|True love is dead.||—||True love is dead.||True love is dead.||True love is dead.||Sweet-
heart is dead.
|True love is dead. (After No. 25.)||—||—||—|
|19.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Except —— she’s not to be seen.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|20.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Betsy kissing her young man.||—||—||—|
|21.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Choose the fairest daughter.||—||—|
|22.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Last to stoop down shall be married.||We’ll all cow down together.|
|23.||He sent letter to turn your head.||He sent letter to turn your head.||—||He sent letter to turn your head.||He sent letter to turn your head.||He sent letter to turn your head.||We sent letter to turn your head.||I send letter to turn your head.||I send letter to turn round your head.||He’s sent letter to turn head.||I send you letter to turn round your head.||He sent this letter to turn my head.||I’ve sent letter to turn your head.||[He sent letter to turn back your head.] (After No. 25.)||—||—||—|
|24.||—||—||She’s left off her wedding to turn back her head.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|25.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||She showed her ring and bells did ring.||Married to-day so kiss one another.||He came to inquire, down she came, so off with glove and on with ring, to-morrow the wedding begins.||They shall be married with gold ring.|
|26.||—||—||Mother, is it true; What shall I do? [Then repeat Nos. 14 & 16.]||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Mother, is it true? What shall I do?||—||—||—||—||—|
|27.||—||—||—||—||True love not dead, he sends letter to turn your head.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
flowers verses follow.]
|29.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Poor widow left alone, and choose the fairest daughter.||—||—|
|30.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||[Dancing, cuddling, asking to marry.]|
|32.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||[If a boy, he’s to have a hat; if a girl, a ring.]|
|No.||Belfast.||Shropshire.||Derbyshire.||Earls Heaton, Yorks.||Lincolnshire.||Redhill, Surrey.||Sporle, Norfolk.||Gainford, Durham.||Hants.|
|1.||Green gravel.||Green gravel.||—||Green gravel.||Green gravel.||Green gravel.||—||—||Green gravels.|
|2.||—||—||Around the green gravel.||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|6.||Your grass is so green.||The grass is so green.||The grass is so green.||The grass is so green.||The grass is so green.||The grass is so green.||Your grass is so green.||Your grass is so green.||The grass is so green.|
|7.||The fairest damsel ever seen.||—||—||—||Fairest damsel ever seen.||Fairest damsel ever seen.||Fairest damsel ever seen.||—||—|
|8.||—||The fairest young lady ever seen.||—||—||—||—||—||Prettiest young lady ever seen.||—|
|9.||—||—||All pretty maids are plain to be seen.||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|10.||—||—||—||Such beautiful flowers ever seen.||—||—||—||—||—|
|11.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||All pretty maidens are _not_ to be seen.|
|13.||Washed her, dried her, rolled her in silk.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|14.||—||Wash you in milk, clothe in silk.||Wash them in milk, clothe in silk.||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|15.||Wrote name in glass pen and ink.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|16.||—||Write name in gold pen and ink.||Write names in gold pen and ink.||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|18.||Your true love is dead.||True love is dead.||Her sweet-
heart is dead.
heart is dead.
|True love is dead.||True love is dead.||Sweet-
heart is dead.
|True love is dead.||—|
|19.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Except —— she’s not to be seen.|
|23.||He sent letter to turn your head.||He sent letter to turn your head.||—||He sent letter to turn your head.||He sent letter to turn your head.||He sent letter to turn your head.||We sent letter to turn your head.||I send letter to turn your head.||I send letter to turn round your head.|
|24.||—||—||She’s left off her wedding to turn back her head.||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|26.||—||—||Mother, is it true; What shall I do? [Then repeat Nos. 14 & 16.]||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|27.||—||—||—||—||True love not dead, he sends letter to turn your head.||—||—||—||—|
|No.||Wales.||Isle of Wight.||Isle of Man.||Madeley.||Oxfordshire.||Sheffield.||Forest of Dean.||Wakefield.|
|1.||Green gravel.||—||Green gravel.||Green gravel.||Green gravel.||—||—||—|
|2.||—||—||—||—||—||Round the green gravel.||Round the green gravel.||Around the green gravill.|
|6.||The grass is so green.||The grass is so green.||The grass is so green.||—||—||—||—||—|
|7.||—||—||Fairest damsel ever I’ve seen.||—||—||—||—||—|
|8.||—||Fairest young lady ever seen.||—||—||Fairest young lady ever seen.||—||All fine ladies ever were seen.||—|
|9.||—||—||—||—||—||All pretty fair maids are fit to be seen.||—||—|
|10.||—||—||—||Flowers all faded, none to be seen.||—||—||—||—|
|11.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||All fine ladies ashamed to be seen.|
|12.||Fine pencil as ever was seen.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|14.||—||—||[Wash you in butter-milk, dress in silk.] (After No. 26.)||—||—||Wash them in milk, clothe in silk.||Washed in milk, dressed in silk.||Wash ’em in milk, dress in silk.|
|16.||—||—||[Write name with my gold pen and ink.] (After No. 26.)||—||—||—||—||—|
|17.||—||—||—||—||—||Write names with pen and black ink.||—||—|
|18.||True love is dead.||True love is dead.||True love is dead.||Sweet-
heart is dead.
|True love is dead. (After No. 25.)||—||—||—|
|20.||—||—||—||—||Betsy kissing her young man.||—||—||—|
|21.||—||—||—||—||—||Choose the fairest daughter.||—||—|
|22.||—||—||—||—||—||—||Last to stoop down shall be married.||We’ll all cow down together.|
|23.||He’s sent letter to turn head.||I send you letter to turn round your head.||He sent this letter to turn my head.||I’ve sent letter to turn your head.||[He sent letter to turn back your head.] (After No. 25.)||—||—||—|
|25.||—||—||—||—||She showed her ring and bells did ring.||Married to-day so kiss one another.||He came to inquire, down she came, so off with glove and on with ring, to-morrow the wedding begins.||They shall be married with gold ring.|
|26.||—||Mother, is it true? What shall I do?||—||—||—||—||—|
flowers verses follow.]
|29.||—||—||—||—||—||Poor widow left alone, and choose the fairest daughter.||—||—|
|30.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||[Dancing, cuddling, asking to marry.]|
|32.||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||[If a boy, he’s to have a hat; if a girl, a ring.]|
(e) Other versions, actually or practically identical with the Redhill (Surrey) version, have been sent by Miss Blair (South Shields); Mr. H. S. May, Ogbourne and Manton (Wilts); Mrs. Haddon (Cambridge); Mrs. Harley (Lancashire); and Miss Burne, Platt, near Wrotham (Kent). There are also similar printed versions in Folk-lore Journal, vi. 214 (Dorsetshire); Folk-lore Record, v. 84 (Hersham, Surrey). Northall prints a version in his Folk Rhymes, 362-3, identical with No. 17. The tune of the Platt version sent by Miss Burne, and the Ogbourne and Manton (H. S. May), are almost identical, except the termination. This seems to be the most general tune for the game. The Lancashire tune is the same as the London version.
Miss Burne says of the Madeley version: “I never knew ‘Green Gravel’ and ‘Wallflowers’ played together as in this way elsewhere (I had not got this variant when I wrote Shropshire Folk-lore), except at Much Wenlock, where they reverse the two verses, and only sing one line (the last) of ‘Green Gravel.’ But I feel sure they must have been meant to go together (see my note in Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 510), and I can explain them, I think. The ring of girls are dancing on the green grass plot in the middle of an old-fashioned sixteenth-century walled garden: each gets the news of her lover’s death, and ‘turns her face to the wall,’ the old token of hopeless sorrow. Then they apostrophise the wallflowers in the border surrounding the grass plot against the old high wall; and here another variant explains the lament (second line)—
Except the youngest (who will meet with another lover), whether as an instance of the proverbial luck of the ‘youngest born,’ or as a piece of juvenile giddiness and inconstancy, I cannot say; but considering the value set on true love and hopeless constancy in the ballad-lore, and the special garland which distinguished the funerals of bereaved but constant maidens, and the solemnity of betrothal in old days, the latter seems probable, especially considering the ‘for shame.’”
The incidents of washing a corpse in milk and dressing it in silk occur in “Burd Ellen,” Jamieson’s Ballads, p. 125.
—Earls Heaton (Mr. Hardy).
—Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire (Miss Peacock).
—Sharleston (Miss Fowler).
—Earls Heaton, Yorkshire (Herbert).
(b) In Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire the game is played by the children forming a circle and dancing round, singing. The first and third lines are sung three times. Partners are chosen during the singing of the last line. Miss Peacock adds, “The rest wanting, as my informant had forgotten the game.” In the Sharleston version the children march round two by two, in a double circle, with one child in the centre, singing the verse. At the conclusion, the children who are marching on the inner side of the circle leave their partners and take the place of one in front of them, while the centre child endeavours to get one of the vacant places, the child turned out taking the place of the one in the centre, when the game begins again. In the Earls Heaton version there is the circle of children, with one child in the centre, who chooses a partner after the lines have been sung.
(c) From this it would seem that while the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire words appear to be the most complete, the action has been preserved best at Sharleston. The acting of this version is the same as that of “The Jolly Miller.” The third variant is evidently an imitation of the song, “John Brown.”
—Northants (R. S. Baker).
—R. S. Baker (Northants Notes and Queries, ii. 161).
(b) One couple is chosen to lead, and they go off, whither they will, followed by a long train of youths and maidens, all singing the refrain. Sometimes the leaders part company, and branch off to the right or left; the others have to do the same, and not until the leaders meet can they join again. They march arm in arm.
(c) Mr. R. S. Baker, who records this, says a Wellingborough lady sent him the tune and words, and told him the game was more like a country dance than anything else, being a sort of dancing “Follow My Leader.”
A sink, or, failing that, a particular stone in the pavement was the “Gully.” Some boy chosen by lot, or one who volunteered in order to start the game, laid his top on the ground at some distance from the “Gully.” The first player then spun his top, pegging at the recumbent top, so as to draw it towards the “Gully.” If he missed the top, he stooped down and took up his own top by pushing his hand against it in such a manner that the space between his first and second finger caught against the peg and forced the top into the palm of his hand. He then had “a go” at the recumbent top (I forget what this was called), and sent his own top against it so as to push it towards the “Gully.” If he missed, he tried again and again, until his own top could spin no longer. If he did not hit the top with his own while it was spinning, his top had to be laid down and the other one taken up, and its owner took his turn at pegging. When a spinning-top showed signs of exhaustion, and the taking it up might kill it, and it was not very far from the down-lying top, its owner would gently push it with his finger, so as to make it touch the other top, and so avoid putting it into the other’s place. This was called “kissing,” and was not allowed by some players. When one player succeeded in sending the top into the “Gully,” he took it up and fixed it by its peg into a post, mortar of a wall, or the best place where it could be tolerably steady. Holding it by one hand, he drove the peg of his own top as far as he could into the crown of the victim top. This was called “taking a grudge.” He then held either his own or the victim top and knocked the other against the wall, the object being to split the victim. He was allowed three “grudges.” If the top did not give way, the other players tried in turn. If the top did not split, it was returned to its owner, but any boy who succeeded in splitting it through the middle, so that the peg fell out, took possession of the peg. I have seen a top split at the side in such a way as to be quite useless as a top, though no peg was gained. I remember, too, a schoolfellow of mine drawing from his pocket some seven or eight pegs, the trophied memorials of as many tops.—London (J. P. Emslie).
This is a game of chance. The players are two, and may be boys or girls, or a boy and a girl. The stakes may be pins, buttons, marbles, or anything for which children gamble. One player puts a number, one, two, three or more, of the articles to be gambled for into the hollow of the closed hand, and says, “Hairry my bossie;” the other answers, “Knock ’im down,” upon which he puts his closed hands down with a blow on his knees, and continues to strike them upwards and downwards on the knee, so as to give the opponent in play an idea of the number of objects concealed by the sound given forth. He then says, “How many blows?” and gets the reply, “As many’s goes.” A guess is then made. If the guess is correct the guesser gets the objects. If the guess is incorrect the guesser has to make up the difference between the number guessed and the real number. The players play alternately. This game was played for the most part at Christmas.—Keith (Rev. W. Gregor).
(b) Hairry = “rob,” Bossie = “a wooden bowl,” commonly used for making the leaven in baking oat-cakes, and for making “brose.”
This is a very general game amongst schoolboys.
The game of “Hop-step-and-jump,” Norfolk. This game is played in the west of Sussex, but not in the east. It is played thus by two or more boys. Each boy in his turn stands first on one leg and makes a hop, then strides or steps, and lastly, putting both feet together, jumps. The boy who covers the most ground is the victor.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.
A game common in Dumfries, thus described by Jamieson. Two goals called hails, or dules, are fixed on at about a distance of four hundred yards. The two parties then place themselves in the middle between the goals or dules, and one of the players, taking a soft elastic ball, about the size of a man’s fist, tosses it into the air, and, as it falls, strikes it with his palm towards his antagonists. The object of the game is for either party to drive the ball beyond the goal which lies before them, while their opponents do all in their power to prevent this. As soon as the ball is gowf’t, that is, struck away, the opposite party endeavour to intercept it in its fall. This is called keppan’ the ba’. If they succeed in this attempt, the player who does so is entitled to throw the ball with all his might towards his antagonists. If he kep it in the first bound which it makes off the ground, called a stot, he is allowed to haunch, that is, to throw the ball by bringing his hand with a sweep past his thigh, to which he gives a stroke as his hand passes, and discharging the ball at the moment when the stroke is given. If the ball be caught in the second bounce, the catcher may hoch the ball, that is, throw it through below one of his houghs. If none of the party catch the ball, it must be gowf’t in the manner before described. As soon as either of the parties succeed in driving the ball, or, as it is called, hailin’ the dules, the game then begins by one of the party which was successful throwing the ball towards the opposing goal and the other party striving to drive it back.
A game played by a company of young people who are drawn up in a circle, when one of them, pitched upon by lot, walks round the band, and, if a boy, hits a girl, or, if a girl, she strikes a boy whom she chooses, on which the party striking and the party struck run in pursuit of each other till the latter is caught, whose lot it then becomes to perform the same part. A game so called was forbidden by statute of Edward IV.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.
See “Drop Handkerchief.”
A game in which one of the players turns his face to the wall, his hand resting upon his back. He must continue in position until he guesses who struck his hand, when the striker takes his place.—Orkney and Shetland (Jamieson’s Dictionary).
See “Hot Cockles.”
—Halliwell’s Dictionary: Nursery Rhymes, p. 216.
—Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, p. 216.
—London (A. B. Gomme).
—Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 530.
(b) The hands are closed, some small article is put in one of them behind the back of the player. The closed fists are then turned rapidly round one another while the rhyme is being said, and they are then placed one on top of the other. A guess is then made by any one of the players as to which hand the object is in. If correct, the guesser obtains the object; if incorrect, the player who performs “Handy dandy” keeps it.
(c) This game is mentioned in Piers Plowman, p. 69 of Wright’s edition. Douce quotes an ancient MS. which curiously mentions the game as “men play with little children at ‘handye-dandye,’ which hand will you have” (ii. 167). Johnson says: “‘Handy dandy,’ a play in which children change hands and places: ‘See how yon justice rails upon yon simple thief! Hark, in thine ear: change places, and, handy dandy, which is the justice, which is the thief?” (King Lear, iv. 6). Malone says, “‘Handy dandy’ is, I believe, a play among children, in which something is shaken between two hands, and then a guess is made in which hand it is retained.” See Florio’s Italian Dictionary, 1598: “Bazzicchiare, to shake between the hands; to play ‘Handy dandy.’” Pope, in his Memoirs of Cornelius Scriblerus, in forbidding certain sports to his son Martin till he is better informed of their antiquity, says: “Neither cross and pile, nor ducks and drakes, are quite so ancient as ‘Handy dandy,’ though Macrobius and St. Augustine take notice of the first, and Minutius Foelix describes the latter; but ‘Handy dandy’ is mentioned by Aristotle, Plato, and Aristophanes.” Browne, in Britannia’s Pastorals (i. 5), also alludes to the game.
A singular game, gone through by hopping on one foot, and with that foot sliding a little flat stone out of an oblong bed, rudely drawn on a smooth piece of ground. This bed is divided into eight parts, the two of which at the farther end of it are called the Kail-pots. If the player then stands at one end, and pitches the smooth stone into all the divisions one after the other, following the same on a foot (at every throw), and bringing it out of the figure, this player wins not only the game, but is considered a first-rate daub at it; failing, however, to go through all the parts so, without missing either a throw or a hop, yet keeping before the other gamblers (for many play at one bed), still wins the curious rustic game.—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.
A game called “The Beds,” mentioned by a writer in Blackwood’s Magazine, August 1821, p. 36, as played in Edinburgh when he was a boy by girls only, is described as a game where a pitcher is kicked into chalked divisions of the pavement, the performer being on one leg and hopping.
Several boys place one button each close together on a line. The game consists in hitting a particular button out of this line with the nicker without touching the others. This is generally played in London streets, and is mentioned in the Strand Magazine, ii. 515.
A boys’ game. One boy is chosen as the Hare. He carries with him a bag filled with strips of paper. The rest of the boys are the Hounds. The Hare has a certain time (say fifteen minutes) allowed him for a start, and he goes across country, scattering some paper on his way in order to indicate his track. He may employ any manœuvre in order to deceive his pursuers, but must keep up the continuity of his paper track-signs. The Hounds follow him and try to catch him before he gets home, which is a place agreed upon beforehand.—London (G. L. Gomme).
In Cornwall the leader, when at fault, says—
—Courtney (Folk-lore Journal, v. 73).
Other versions of this holloa are—
—Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, p. 66.
—Northall’s English Folk Rhymes, p. 357.
This game is played in Wales under the name of “Hunt the Fox.” The Fox has a certain time given him for a start, the other players then go after him.—Beddgelert (Mrs. Williams).
A game among children, in which they hop round in a ring, sitting on their hams.—Jamieson.
—Tong, Shropshire (Miss R. Harley).
—Deptford, Kent (Miss Chase).
—Belfast (W. H. Patterson).
—Wolstanton, Stoke-on-Trent (Miss A. A. Keary).
—Tong, Shropshire (Miss R. Harley).
—Shipley, Horsham (Notes and Queries, 8th Series, i. 210, Miss Busk).
—Settle, Yorks. (Rev. W. S. Sykes).
—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).
(b) In the Deptford version two girls join hands, holding them up as an arch for the other players to tramp through. The first two verses are sung first by one and then by the other of the two girls. At the finish of these the girl then going through the arch is stopped, and the third, fourth, and fifth verses are sung by the two girls alternately. Then finally both girls sing the last verse, and the child is sent as prisoner behind one or other of the two girls. The verses are then begun again, and repeated afresh for each of the troop marching through the arch until all of them are placed behind one or other of the two girls. The two sides thus formed then proceed to tug against each other, and the strongest side wins the game.
The Belfast version is practically the same, except that the verses are not sung as a dialogue, but by all the players together, and the prisoner, when caught, has the choice of sides, by being asked, “Which will you have, a golden apple or golden pear?” and according to the answer given is sent behind one of the leaders. The Norfolk and Shropshire games are different. Miss Matthews thus describes the Norfolk game: “Two girls take hold of hands, and another, the prisoner, stands between them. The rest form themselves into a line opposite, and advance and retreat while singing the first verse, the gaolers singing the next verse, and so on alternately. [At the end of the last verse but one] the children break the line, form themselves into a ring, and dance round the prisoner, singing the final verse.” Miss Harley describes the Shropshire version as follows: “The first six verses are sung by the alternate parties, who advance and retire, tramping their feet, at first, to imitate the robbers. The last verse is sung altogether going round in a ring.” In the Shipley version, Miss Busk says: “The children form themselves into two lines, while two or three, representing the robbers, swagger along between them. When the robbers sing the last verse they should have attained the end of the lines [of children], as during the parley they were safe; having pronounced the defiance they run away. The children in the lines rush after them, and should catch them and put them in prison.”
(c) The analysis of this game is easy. The Deptford, Belfast, and Wolstanton versions are clearly enough dramatic representations of the capture of a robber, and probably the game dates from the period of the prevalence of highway robbery. The Wolstanton version shows us that the game is breaking up from its earlier form, while the Norfolk and Shropshire versions show a fresh development into the mere game for children, apart from its original significance. The action of the game confirms this view. The Norfolk action seems to be the most nearly perfect in its dramatic significance, and the Shropshire action comes next. The action of the other games seems to have been grafted on to the superior form of “Oranges and Lemons.” It is probable that this fact has preserved the words more completely than in the other cases, where the force of the robber action would become less and less as actual experience of robbers and robbery died out. Altogether, this game supplies a very good example of the change produced in games by changes in the actual life which gave rise to them. It is singular that the verses of this game also enter into the composition of “London Bridge is broken down.” It is probable, therefore, that it may be an altered form of the game of “London Bridge.” The refrain, “My fair lady,” occurs in both games.
See “London Bridge.”
A boys’ game. The players range their hats in a row against the wall, and each boy in turn pitches a ball from a line at some twenty-five feet distance into one of the hats. The boy into whose hat it falls has to seize it and throw it at one or other of the others, who all scamper off when the ball is “packed in.” If he fails to hit he is out, and takes his cap up. The boy whose cap is left at the last has to “cork” the others, that is, to throw the ball at their bent backs, each in turn stooping down to take his punishment.—Somerset (Elworthy’s Dialect).
See “Balls and Bonnets.”
A game with preens, pins, on the crown of a hat. Two or more may play. Each lays on a pin, then with the hand they strike the side of the hat time about, and whoever makes the pins by a stroke cross each other, lifts those so crossed.—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.
A game played by several boys on each side with sticks called “hawkey bats,” and a ball. A line is drawn across the middle of the ground from one side to the other; one party stands on one side of the line and the opposite party on the other, and neither must overstep this boundary, but are allowed to reach over as far as their bats will permit to strike the ball. The object is to strike the ball to the farther end to touch the fence of the opposing party’s side, when the party so striking the ball scores one, and, supposing nine to be the game, the party obtaining that number first of course wins the game.—West Sussex (Holloway’s Dict. of Provincialisms).
This game was played only at Christmas. The number of players was two. The stakes were pins. One player laid in the hollow of the hand, or on one of the forefingers, a pin, and then placed the other forefinger over it so as to conceal it. He then held up his hand to his opponent and said, “Headicks or pinticks?” His opponent made a guess by pointing with his finger and saying “Headicks,” or “Pinticks.” If the guess was correct he gained the pin, but if it was incorrect he forfeited one. The players played alternately.—Keith (Rev. W. Gregor).
Another version seems to be “Headim and Corsim.” Pins are hid with fingers in the palms of the hands; the same number is laid alongside them, and either “Headim” or “Corsim” called out by those who do so. When the fingers are lifted, if the heads of the pins hid and those beside them be lying one way when the crier cried “Headim,” then that player wins; but if “Corsim,” the one who hid the pins wins. This is the king of all the games at the preens.—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.
The editors of Jamieson’s Dictionary say that the name should be “Headum and Corsum.”
That plan for deciding matters by the “birl o’ a bawbee.” The one side cries “Heads” (when the piece is whirling in the air) and the other “Tails,” so whichever is uppermost when the piece alights that gains or settles the matter, heads standing for the King’s head and tails for the figure who represents Britannia.—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia. This is a general form of determining sides or beginning a game all over the country.
A play among children in Aberdeenshire. Thirty or forty children in two rows, joining opposite hands, strike smartly with their hands thus joined on the head or shoulders of their companion as he runs the gauntlet through them. This is called “passing through the mires of Hecklebirnie.”—Jamieson.
The editors of Jamieson append a lengthy note connecting the name of this game with the northern belief that the wicked were condemned to suffer eternal punishment in Hecla, the volcanic mountain in Iceland.
See “Namers and Guessers.”
This verse is said by the Hen to her Chickens, after which they all go with the Hen to search for the dead Chicken. On their way they meet the Fox. The following dialogue between the Fox and Hen ensues, the Hen beginning:—
—Derbyshire (Folk-lore Journal, i. 386).
The game is played in the usual manner of “Fox and Goose” games. One is chosen to be the Hen, and one to be the Fox. The rest are the Chickens. The Chickens take hold of each other’s waists, the first one holding the Hen’s waist. At the end of the dialogue the Fox tries to get hold of one of the chickens. If he succeeds in catching them, they all with the Fox try to dodge the Hen, who makes an effort to regain them.
It is known at Winterton under the name of “Pins and Needles.” The players stand in a row, one behind another, with one of the party as their Leader. Another player, called “Outsider,” pretends to scratch the ground. The Leader asks, the questions, and the Outsider replies—
Here the Outsider tries to dodge past the Leader to catch one of the children at the further end of the row, the Leader meanwhile attempting to bar her progress. When at last she succeeds, the child caught takes her place, and the game is recommenced.—Winterton (Miss M. Peacock).
—Rimbault’s Nursery Rhymes.
—Ritson (Gammer Gurton’s Garland, 1783).
Northall says this game is played after the manner of the “Three Dukes” (Folk Rhymes, p. 383). Halliwell (Nursery Rhymes, p. 98) has a version, and Rimbault (Nursery Rhymes) gives both words and tune. It is also contained in The Merrie Heart (p. 47). See “Jolly Hooper,” “Jolly Rover.”
—Hurstmonceux, Sussex (Miss Chase).
One child stands by herself, and the rest of the players range themselves in line. The child sings the first verse and the line replies, the four succeeding verses being alternately sung. After the last line the girl tries to pull one whom she has chosen from the line toward her. If not successful, she must try again. If she is, they both stand in the middle, and commence singing the words again with—
Probably a degraded version of “Three Lords from Spain.”
The children form a ring around one of the party, who sits in the middle, and says the two first lines. Then those in the circle dance round her, singing the next four lines. This is repeated three times, with the refrain, “On a cold,” &c., after which the dancing and singing cease, and the child is asked, “Sugar, sweet, or vinegar, sour?” Her answer is always taken in a contrary sense, and sung, as before, three times, whilst the children circle round. The one in the middle then rises to her feet. The boy (or girl) named advances and kisses her, they change places, and the game begins again.—Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 56-57).
—Glapthorn (Northants Notes and Queries, i. 214, A. Palmer).
—Longcot, Berkshire (Miss I. Barclay).
(b) A ring is formed by the players joining hands, one child standing in the centre. The ring dance round singing the first four lines. At the fourth line the child in the centre chooses one from the ring, who goes into the centre with her. The marriage formula or chorus is then sung, the two kiss, and the one who was first in the centre joins the ring, the second one choosing another in her turn. Played by both boys and girls.
—Barnes and London Streets (A. B. Gomme).
A ring is formed by the children joining hands. They walk round singing the first four lines. They then dance round quickly and sit down suddenly, or touch the ground with their clothes.
A version of this game from Liphook, Hants, almost identical in words, has been sent by Miss Fowler, and another from Crockham Hill, Kent, by Miss Chase.
—Annaverna, co. Louth (Miss R. Stephen).
(b) One child stands in the middle, the others dance round singing. The one in the middle chooses another before the four last lines are sung. Then the rest dance round singing these lines, and kiss each other.
(c) It is evident that these words comprise two distinct games, which have become mixed in some inexplicable fashion. The first six lines and the last four are one game, a ring form, with the marriage formula and blessing. The other portion of the game is a dialogue game, evidently having had two lines of players, questions being asked and answers given. It is, in fact, a part of the “Three Dukes” game. The first part is a kiss-in-the-ring game, a version of “Here stands a Young Man,” “Silly Old Man,” and “Sally Water.”[Addendum]
—Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, p. 222.
The children are seated, and the questions are put by one of the party who holds a twisted handkerchief or something of the sort in the hand. The handkerchief was called “hewley puley,” and the questions are asked by the child who holds it. If one answers wrongly, a box on the ear with the handkerchief was the consequence; but if they all replied correctly, the one who broke silence first had that punishment.
—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.
A girl’s name was then mentioned. If the lad was pleased with the choice made, he replied—
If he was not pleased, he replied in one or other of the next three verses—
When a girl took the place of the lad, she replied in one or other of the three following, according as she was angry or pleased—
—Biggar (Wm. Ballantyne).
(b) In Biggar, all the players were seated round the hearthstone, lads on one side, lassies the other; one lad rising up said the first verse, then one acting as “maister” said the next verse. The young man then said the next two lines, to which the other replied in the two following, and naming at the close any girl he thought would be acceptable. If the lad was pleased he sang the next verse. If he was not pleased with the girl offered him he replied in either of the three following verses. The first of the three was generally said if the girl was thought to be too old; if bad-tempered, the second. If the lad found no fault, but wished to politely refuse, he sang the last verse. The girl then was asked in her turn, and the same formula gone through, she saying either of the three last verses given. Forfeits were demanded for every refusal, and were cried at the end of the game.
(c) Mr. Ballantyne writes: “This game was a great favourite in my father’s house. This was a forfeit game, forfeits being called ‘wadds.’” Chambers, Popular Rhymes, p. 124, gives a version of this game. It is practically the same as Mr. Ballantyne’s version, with only a few verbal differences. Mactaggart says, “The chief drift of this singular game seemed to be to discover the sweethearts of one another,” and such discoveries are thought valuable, but not so much as they were anciently. In any case, it appears to me that the game is an early one, or, at all events, a reflection of early custom.
—Chambers (Popular Rhymes, p. 122).
One boy stands with his eyes bandaged and his hands against a wall, with his head resting on them. Another stands beside him repeating the rhyme, whilst the others come one by one and lay their hands upon his back, or jump upon it. When he has sent them all to different places he turns round and calls, “Hickety, bickety!” till they have all rushed back to the place, the last in returning being obliged to take his place, when the game goes on as before.
Chambers adds, “The ‘craw’s nest’ is close beside the eye-bandaged boy, and is therefore an envied position.” Newell, Games, p. 165, refers to this game.
See “Hot Cockles.”
The game of Hop-scotch, played with a piece of tile, which has to be kicked by the player with the foot on which he hops over lines into various squares marked on the ground.—Somersetshire (Elworthy’s Dialect).
The game of “Hop, step, and jump.”—Somerset (Holloway’s Dict. of Provincialisms).
A writer in Blackwood’s Magazine, August 1821, p. 36, mentions this as a summer game. It was called “Ho, spy!” the words which are called out by those boys who have hidden. He says the watchword of “Hide and seek” was “hidee,” and gives as the rhyme used when playing—
This rhyme is also given by Chambers (Popular Rhymes, p. 122). Halliwell gives the rhyme as—
—Nursery Rhymes, p. 213.
At Ashford-in-the-Water the words used were—
—Reliquary, viii. 57.
The words are said by the one who has to find the person hidden.
In Scotland the game is called “Hospy,” and is played by boys only, and it can be played only in a village or hamlet in which there is the means of hiding. A Spy is chosen, and a spot, called Parley, is fixed upon at which the Spy stands till all the other players are hid, and to which he can run when pursued. When the players are hid, the cry, “Hospy,” i.e., “Ho! spy!” is raised by them. The Spy then sets out to find them. The moment he detects one he turns and runs with all his might to the Parley, pursued by the one he has discovered. If he is overtaken, he must carry on his back the pursuer to the Parley. The same thing is gone through till all the players are discovered.—Keith (Rev. W. Gregor).
Jamieson says, “‘Hy Spy,’ a game resembling ‘Hide and Seek,’ but played in a different manner. The station, which in England is called Home, is here the Den, and those who keep it are the Seekers, and are called the Ins. Those who hide themselves, instead of crying ‘Hoop,’ as in England, cry ‘Hy spy;’ and they are denominated the Outs. The business of the Ins is, after the signal is given, to lay hold of the Outs before they can reach the den. The captive then becomes one of the Ins; for the honour of the game consists in the privilege of hiding oneself.” Jamieson adds, “Hy is still used in calling after a person, to excite attention, or when it is wished to warn him to get out of the way.” Strutt describes it as “Harry-Racket,” or “Hide and Seek” (Sports, p. 381).
At Cork two sides are chosen for Spy; one side hides while the other side hunts. When the hunters see one of the hidden players, they call out, “I spy ——,” and the child’s name. The player called must run after the Spy and try to catch him before he reaches his Den; if he succeeds, the one caught must go to the opposite side of players, then next time the spies hide, and those who have been hiding, spy (Miss Keane). A more general form of the game is for one child to hide, and to make a noise in a disguised voice to give notice of his whereabouts, or to call out “Whoop!” or “Coo!” Until this noise or call is made, the searchers may not seek him. If when spied or discovered the hider cannot reach home before being caught, he again has to hide (A. B. Gomme).
(b) In the parish church of Bawdrip is a monument to Edward Lovell, his wife Eleanor (née Bradford), and their two daughters Maria and Eleanor. The inscription touching the latter is:—“Eleanora . . . obiit Jun. 14, 1681. Hanc, subito et immaturo (ipsos pene inter hymenæos) fato correptam, mœstissimus luxit maritus, et in gratam piamq. parentum sororis et dilectissimæ conjugis memoriam, monumentum hoc erigi voluit.” Tradition connects this sudden death—“ipsos pene inter hymenæos”—with the story of the bride playing at “Hide and Seek.” It is curious that, in Haynes Bayly’s song, the bridegroom’s name should be Lovell. There is no mention on the monument of the name of the bereaved husband. The father, Edward Lovell, was fourteen years rector of Bawdrip and fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, and died in 1675, and so could not have been present at the wedding, as represented in the song. He came from Batcombe, near Castle-Cary; at which latter place the Lovells were seated in very early days.—Notes and Queries, 4th Ser., ix. 477.
Cope (Hampshire Glossary) calls the game “I spy I.” Lowsley (Berkshire Glossary) says, “In playing this game, the seeker has to call out ‘I spy!’ to the one he finds before he may start for home.” It is called “Hy Spy” in Patterson’s Antrim and Down Glossary; Evans’ Leicestershire Glossary, “Hide and Wink;” Barnes’ Dorset Glossary, “Hidy Buck.”
In Pegge’s Alphabet of Kenticisms the game is given as “Hide and Fox.” Cf. “Hide Fox, and all after,” i.e., let the fox hide and the others go to seek him; Hamlet, iv. 2, 32. In Stead’s Holderness Glossary, “Hed-o.” In the North Riding it is “Lam-pie-sote-it,” also called “Felto” in Robinson’s Whitby Glossary. He also mentions that the hidden child cries “How-ly” to the finder. Apparently the same as the south country “Whoop,” a signal to the finder to begin the search. Addy (Sheffield Glossary) says this game is called “Felt and Laite.” Holland (Cheshire Glossary) speaks of it as “I Spy.”
See “Davie Drap.”
—Hampshire (Miss Mendham).
—Northall’s Folk Rhymes, p. 409.
—Much Wenlock (Shropshire Folklore, p. 525).
—London (A. B. Gomme).
—Newlyn West, near Penzance (Folk-lore Journal, v. 49).
One child hides an article, while those who are to search for it go in another room (or out of the way somewhere). When it is hidden, they are called to find it by one of the above rhymes being sung or said. The searchers are enabled more readily to find the hidden article by being told “hot,” “very hot,” “scorching,” “burning,” or “cold,” “very cold,” and “freezing,” when near to or far from the hidden article. Sometimes several may agree to hide the article, and only one to be the finder. In the Penzance game one child is blindfolded, other children hide something, then shout the words. Search is then made for the hidden object: when found, the finder in his turn is blindfolded. There appears to be some mistake in the description of this game.
The name of an old Christmas game mentioned in Declaration of Popish Impostures, 1603.
A game played on village greens.—Dickinson’s Cumberland Glossary, Supplement.
The players (boy or girl) cower down on their haunches, “sit doon curriehunkers,” and hop round and round the floor like a frog, clapping the hands first in front and then behind, and crying out, “Hirtschin Hairy.” It is sometimes called “Hairy Hirtschin.” In Lothian the players try to knock each other over by hustling against one another.—Rev. W. Gregor.
Same game as “Harie Hutcheon.”
A boys’ game, in which several, joining hands, endeavour to catch another, who, when caught, is beaten with caps, the captors crying out—
—Ross and Stead’s Holderness Glossary.
All the boys are requested to leave the room, when the girls take their seats, leaving a vacant place on the right side of each girl for the gentleman of her choice. Each boy in turn is then summoned by another who acts as doorkeeper, and asked to guess which lady he imagines has chosen him for her partner. Should he guess rightly he is allowed to take his seat by the lady who has chosen him, while the other girls loudly clap hands. Should he guess wrongly he is hissed, and sent out of the room by the doorkeeper.—Cork, Ireland (Miss Keane).
At Long Eaton in Nottinghamshire Miss Youngman records a similar game to this, with a rhyme that is probably taken from a popular song or ballad. The successful candidate for the girl’s choice claims a kiss, but if unsuccessful he is beaten out of the room with knotted handkerchiefs.[Addendum]
The boyish play of “Hop, Step, and Jump.”—Atkinson’s Cleveland Glossary.
Brockett (North Country Words) calls this “Hitch.”
An undescribed Suffolk game.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.
An undescribed Suffolk game.—Moor’s Suffolk Words.
The Somerset name for “See-Saw.”
When a number of boys agree to have a game at the Pearie or peg-top, a circle is drawn on the ground, within which all the tops must strike and spin. If any of them bounce out of the circle without spinning, it is called a Hoatie. The punishment to which the Hoatie is subjected consists in being placed in the ring, while all the boys whose tops ran fairly have the privilege of striking—or, as it is called, “deggin”—it till it is either split or struck out of the circle. If either of these take place, the boy to whom the Hoatie belonged has the privilege of playing again.—Upper Lanarkshire (Jamieson).
An old game mentioned by Wycherley (Plain Dealer, 1677).
The same game as “Cockerty-hooie.”
This game is played with a solid indiarubber ball from two to two and a half inches in diameter. The players each have a bent or hooked stick or “hockey.” They take opposite sides. The object of the game is for each side to drive the ball through their opponents’ goal. The goals are each marked by two poles standing about eight to ten feet apart, and boundaries are marked at the sides. The ball is placed in the middle of the ground. It is started by two players who stand opposite each other, the ball lying between their two sticks. They first touch the ground with their hockey-sticks, then they touch or strike their opponents’ stick. This is repeated three times. At the third stroke they both try to hit the ball away. The ball may only be played by a hockey-stick, and a goal is gained when the ball is played between the posts by the opposing party.—Barnes (A. B. Gomme).
(b) In Ross and Stead’s Holderness Glossary this game is described under the name of “Shinnup.” Robinson (Mid Yorkshire Glossary) gives it under “Shinnops,” a youth’s game with a ball and stick, heavy at the striking end, the player manœuvring to get as many strokes as possible and to drive the ball distances. “Shinnoping” is also used for the game in operation. “Jowling,” or “Jowls,” is given in Robinson’s Whitby Glossary, as a game played much the same as “Hockey.” “Baddin” is the name given to it in Holland’s Cheshire Glossary. Another name is “Doddart” (Brockett, North Country Words).
(c) An old custom in vogue in bygone days was Rotherham Fair, or what was called “Whipping Toms,” which took place in the Newarkes every Shrove Tuesday. So soon as the pancake bell rang men and boys assembled with sticks having a knob or hook at the end. A wooden ball was thrown down, and two parties engaged in striving which could get the ball by striking it with their sticks to one end of the Newarke first—those who did so were the victors. This game was called “Shinney,” or “Hockey.” About one o’clock the Whipping Toms appeared on the scene of action. These were three men clad in blue smock frocks, with very long waggon whips, who were accompanied by three men with small bells. They commenced driving the men and boys out of the Newarkes. It was very dangerous sometimes; they would lash the whip in such a manner round the legs of those they were pursuing as to throw them down, which produced laughter and shouting. Some would stop, and turn to the whipper and say, “Let’s have a pennyworth,” and he would guard and parry off the lashes with his shinney stick. When the whipper was successful in lashing him he demanded his penny, and continued lashing until he paid. This was continued until five o’clock, then the game terminated. This was suppressed, I believe, in 1847. At that period it was a prevalent idea that it could not be abolished, as it was connected with an “old charter.” It is believed in the town that this custom was to commemorate the driving out of the Danes from the Newarkes at the time they besieged Leicester.—Leicester (Robert Hazlewood).
“The hoges,” a boy’s game played with “peeries” (peg-tops). The victor is entitled to give a certain number of blows with the spike of his peerie to the wood part of his opponent’s.—Patterson’s Antrim and Down Glossary.
A game played with marbles. The first player holds up a number in his closed hand and says, “Ho-go;” the second says, “Handfull;” the first then says, “How many?” The other guesses. If he should guess correctly he is entitled to take them all; but otherwise he must give the difference between the number he guessed and the number actually held up to make.—Lowsley’s Berkshire Words. It is also called “How many eggs in a basket?”—London (J. P. Emslie).
See “Hairry my Bossie.”
The name of a game of marbles which are cast into a hole in the ground.—Easther’s Almondbury and Huddersfield Glossary.
A game with marbles, which consists in placing a marble in a hole and making it act as a target for the rest. The marble which can hit it three times in succession, and finally be shot into the hole, is the winning ball, and its owner gets all the other marbles which have missed before he played.—London (Strand Magazine, ii. 519).
—London (J. P. Emslie).
A number of children stoop down in a row, clasping their hands under their legs. One child stands in front of them, and acts as owner or seller; another acts as purchaser (fig. 1). The purchaser inquires—
The purchaser goes round, pretending to taste each one in turn, inquiring the price and weight; finds fault with several, one being too sweet and the other not fresh enough, and so on. When one honey pot is discovered to the purchaser’s taste, she is lifted by the purchaser and owner, or by two children who act as weights or scales, and then swung by her arms backwards and forwards to estimate her weight and price (fig. 2). As long as the child can keep her hands clasped, so long is the swinging kept up; and as many times as they count, so many is the number of pounds she weighs. The seller sometimes said, when each one was bought—
They were not brought back, and the “owner” had to catch and bring back each one. When sold, the honey pot is taken to the other side, or “home” of the purchaser. The game goes on till all the honey pots are sold.—London (A. B. Gomme).
In Sporle, a girl clasps her hands under her legs to form a seat, and two others swing her by the arms, saying—
In a version sent by Miss Chase, and told her by a London maidservant, the children sit as in “Hunt the Slipper.” One steps in a corner out of earshot; the rest are named “Gooseberry Tart,” “Cherry Tart,” &c., by another, who recalls the child in the corner with—
If he chooses the wrong one he is told—
The child is then led off in a squatting position. Later the one who named them pretends tasting, and says, “Very nice,” or “You must be baked longer,” when another squatting walk and wait takes place.
A version sent by Mr. J. P. Emslie is similar to the other London versions—
The child would then go round, pretending to taste, saying, ‘Don’t like that one,’ till one was approved. That one was then swung round to the tune given, the words being—
At the last bar they swung the child higher and higher, and at the last note they swung it as high as they could. I believe the last note in the music should be G, but it was raised to give effect.”
In Scotland the game is called “Hinnie Pigs,” and is played as follows. The boys sit down in rows, hands locked beneath their hams. Round comes one of them, the honey merchant, who feels those who are sweet and sour, by lifting them by the arm-pits and giving them three shakes. If they stand these without the hands unlocking below they are then sweet and saleable, fit for being office-bearers of other ploys.—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.
In Ross and Stead’s Holderness Glossary this is described as a girls’ game, in which two carry a third as a pot of honey to market. It is mentioned by Addy (Sheffield Glossary) and by Holland (Cheshire Glossary). Mr. Holland adds, “If the hands give way before twenty is reached it is counted a bad honey pot; if not, it is a good one.”
In Dublin the seller sings out—
The game is mentioned by a writer in Blackwood’s Magazine, August 1821, p. 36, as being played in Edinburgh when he was a boy.
A game played at Haxey, in the Isle of Axholme, on the 6th of January. The Hood is a piece of sacking, rolled tightly up and well corded, and which weighs about six pounds. This is taken into an open field on the north side of the church, to be contended for by the youths assembled for that purpose. When the Hood is about to be thrown up, the Plough-bullocks or Boggins, as they are called, dressed in scarlet jackets, are placed amongst the crowd at certain distances. Their persons are sacred, and if amidst the general row the Hood falls into the hands of one of them, the sport begins again. The object of the person who seizes the Hood is to carry off the prize to some public-house in the town, where he is rewarded with such liquor as he chooses to call for. This pastime is said to have been instituted by the Mowbrays, and that the person who furnished the Hood did so as a tenure by which he held some land under the lord. How far this tradition may be founded on fact I do not know, but no person now acknowledges to hold any land by that tenure.—Stonehouse’s Isle of Axholme, p. 291.
W. J. Woolhouse (Notes and Queries, 2nd series, v. 95) says when the Hood is thrown up by the Chief of the Boggons or by the officials, it becomes the object of the villagers to get the Hood to their own village, the other eleven men, called Boggons, being stationed at the corners and sides of the field, to prevent, if possible, its being thrown out of the field; and should it chance to fall into any of their hands, it is “boggoned,” and forthwith returned to the chief, who again throws it up, as at the commencement of the game. The next day is occupied by the Boggons going round the villages singing as waits, and they are regaled with hot furmenty; from some they get coppers given them, and from others a small measure of wheat. The day after that they assume the character of Plough-bullocks, and at a certain part of Westwood-side they “smoke the Fool”—that is, straw is brought by those who like, and piled in a heap, a rope being tied or slung over the branches of the tree next to the pile of straw; the other end of the rope is fastened round the waist of the Fool, and he is drawn up and fire is put to the straw, the Fool being swung to and fro through the smoke until he is well-nigh choked, after which he goes round and collects whatever the spectators choose to give him. The sport is then at an end till the next year. The land left by Lady Mowbray was forty acres, which are known by the name of “Hoodlands,” and the Boggons’ dresses and the Hood are made from its proceeds.
In the contiguous parish of Epworth a similar game is played under the same name, but with some variations. The Hood is not here carried away from the field, but to certain goals, against which it is struck three times and then declared free. This is called “wyking” the Hood, which is afterwards thrown up again for a fresh game.—Notes and Queries, 6th series, vii. 148.
Name for “Blind Man’s Buff.”—Baker’s Northamptonshire Glossary.
Name for “Blind Man’s Buff.” Mentioned in Hamlet, iii. 4; Merry Devil of Edmonton; and Wise Women of Hogsden.
Name for “Blind Man’s Buff.”—Nares’ Glossary.
The game of “Hop-scotch.”—Halliwell’s Dictionary.
The players bend as though about to sit on a very low stool, then spring about with their hands resting on their knees.—Dorsetshire (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 234).
Miss Peacock says that a game called “Hop-frog over the Dog” is played at Stixwould, Lincolnshire, in the same way as “Leap-frog.”
Game of “Hop-scotch.”—Hunter’s Glossary of Hallamshire.
A game, the object of which is to eject a stone, slate, or “dump” out of a form linearly marked on the ground in different directions, by hopping without touching any of the lines.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.
In the plan (fig. 8) the players first lay the stone on the back of the hand, and walk through the plan, stepping into each division, throw it up and catch it. Then the stone is thrown back from No. 7 outside No. 1. Now it is placed on the toe, and the child walks through again, throwing up the foot when out, to catch the stone in the hand. Another way, done on the same plan, is for the player to place the stone in No. 1, leave it there, and hop into each division and back, then place it in No. 2, and repeat the hopping, and so on through all the figures. There is no kicking of the stone, as is usual in London.—Roxton, St. Neots (Miss Lumley).
From Crockham Hill, Kent, Miss Chase sends four versions. In the first plan (fig. 1) the game is:—Throw stone into No. 1. Hop from No. 1 to No. 5 and back. Then pick it up. So on successively. After having thrown it into No. 5, begin to reverse by throwing stone into No. 1 while standing at No. 5—return with it on your thumb. Throw into No. 2—return with stone on your eye. Throw into No. 3—return with stone in your palm. Throw into No. 4—return with stone on your head. Throw into No. 5—return with stone on your back. In each case, upon reaching the goal without dropping it, throw up and catch it as it falls.
In the second plan (fig. 2) the game is:—Throw stone into No. 1. Pick it up. Hop, not touching lines, from No. 1 to No. 4, and “out.” Throw stone into No. 2. Do as before. And so successively into Nos. 3 and 4. Next balance stone on shoe, then on the palm of hand, then on the back of hand, then on the head, then on the shoulder, then on the eye (tilt head back to keep it from falling). In each case walk round once with it so balanced and catch at end.
In the third plan (fig. 3) the game is:—Put pebble in No. 1. Pick up. Hop, having one foot in No. 2 and the other in No. 3. Step into No. 4. Hop, having one foot in No. 5 and the other in No. 6. Jump round. Go back as you came. Then with stone on shoe, walk through the figure, kick it up and catch at the close. Place stone on eyelid; walk through the same figure, dropping it off into hand at close. This is called “jumping.”
In the fourth plan (fig. 4) the game is:—Throw stone into No. 1. Pick it up. Hop from No. 1 to No. 8, not touching lines. So successively into Nos. 2, 3, 4, &c. Walk into No. 1 with stone on foot, and out at No. 8. Kick it up and catch it. The same with stone on thumb. Toss it up and catch. Again with stone on your back. Straighten up, let it slide into your hand.
In Stead’s Holderness Glossary, this is described as a boys’ or girls’ game, in which the pavement is chalked with numbered crossed lines, and a pebble or piece of crockery is propelled onward by the foot, the performer hopping on one leg, the number reached on the chalk-line being scored to him or her. At Whitby it is called “Pally-ully,” and played with rounded pieces of pot the size of a penny. Divisions are chalked on the pavement, and the “pally-ullies” are impelled within the lines by a hop on one leg, and a side shuffle with the same foot (Whitby Glossary). It is sometimes called “Tray-Trip.” Atkinson describes the figure as oblong, with many angular compartments (Cleveland Glossary). Jamieson defines “Beds” as “Hop-scotch,” a game denominated from the form, sometimes by strangers called squares. In Aberdeen the spaces marked out are sometimes circular.
Mrs. Lincoln sends a diagram of the game from Dublin (fig. 6). Addy (Sheffield Glossary) under the name of “Hop-score” says it is a game in which certain squares are drawn or scored on the ground. The piece of stone which is pushed with the foot is called the “scotch.” Elworthy (West Somerset Words) says a piece of tile is kicked over lines and into squares marked on the ground. It is called “Hickety-Hackety,” also “Huckety.” Cope (Hampshire Glossary) says it is played in Hants. Moor (Suffolk Words and Phrases) describes this game under the name of “Scotch-hob,” by hopping and kicking a bit of tile from bed to bed of a diagram which he gives (fig. 5, here printed). Brockett (North Country Words) calls it “Beds.” Barnes (Dorset Glossary) only says “hopping over a parallelogram of scotches or chalk-lines on the ground.” F. H. Low, in Strand Magazine, ii. 516, says the divisions are respectively named onesie, twosie, threesie, foursie, and puddings. It is called “Hop-bed” at Stixwold in Lincolnshire (Miss Peacock), “Hop-score” in Yorkshire (Halliwell, l.c.), and “Hitchibed” in Cleveland, Yorks. (Glossary of Cleveland Words). Strutt describes it (Sports, p. 383); and Wood’s Modern Playmate, p. 32, gives a diagram similar to one seen on a London pavement by A. B. Gomme (see fig. 7). Mr. Emslie has sent me figs. 9 and 10, also from London streets. Newell (Games, p. 188) speaks of it as a well-known game in America.
Mr. Elworthy (West Somerset Words) says, “Several of these (diagrams marked on the ground) are still to be seen, scratched on the ancient pavement of the Roman Forum.” Mr. J. W. Crombie says, “The game of ‘Hop-scotch’ was one of considerable antiquity, having been known in England for more than two centuries, and it was played all over Europe under different names. Signor Pitré’s solar explanation of its origin appeared improbable to him, for not only was the evidence in its favour extremely weak, but it would require the original number of divisions in the figure to have been twelve instead of seven, which was the number indicated by a considerable body of evidence. It would seem more probable that the game at one time represented the progress of the soul from earth to heaven through various intermediate states, the name given to the last court being most frequently paradise or an equivalent, such as crown or glory, while the names of the other courts corresponded with the eschatological ideas prevalent in the early days of Christianity.” Some such game existed before Christianity, and Mr. Crombie considered that it had been derived from several ancient games. Possibly the strange myths of the labyrinths might have had something to do with “Hop-scotch,” and a variety of the game played in England, under the name of “Round Hop-scotch,” was almost identical with a game described by Pliny as being played by the boys of his day. Mr. Crombie also said he “believed that the early Christians adopted the general idea of the ancient game, but they not only converted it into an allegory of heaven, with Christian beliefs and Christian names; they Christianised the figure also; they abandoned the heathen labyrinth and replaced it by the form of the Basilicon, the early Christian church, dividing it into seven parts, as they believed heaven to be divided, and placing paradise, the inner sanctum of heaven, in the position of the altar, the inner sanctum of their earthly church.”
A game among children in which one of the company runs after the rest having his hands clasped and his thumbs pushed out before him in resemblance of horns. The first person whom he touches with his thumbs becomes his property, joins hands with him, and aids in attempting to catch the rest: and so on until they are all made captives. Those who are at liberty still cry out, “Hornie, Hornie.”—Lothian (Jamieson).
Jamieson says: “Whether this play be a vestige of the very ancient custom of assuming the appearance and skins of animals, especially in the sports of Yule, or might be meant to symbolise the exertions made by the devil (often called ‘Hornie’) in making sinful man his prey, and employing fellow-men as his coadjutors in this work, I cannot pretend to determine.”
A game in which four play, a principal and an assistant on each side. A. stands with his assistant at one hole, and throws what is called a Cat (a piece of stick, and frequently a sheep’s horn), with the design of making it alight in another hole at some distance, at which B. and his assistant stand ready to drive it aside. The bat or driver is a rod resembling a walking-stick.
The following unintelligible rhyme is repeated by a player on the one side, while they on the other are gathering in the Cats, and is attested by old people as of great antiquity:—
The game is also called “Kittie-cat.”
“A’ Horns to the Lift,” a game of young people. A circle is formed round a table, and all placing their forefingers on the table, one cries, “A’ horns to the lift! Cat’s horns upmost!” If on this any one lift his finger, he owes a wad, as cats have no horns. In the same manner, the person who does not raise his fingers when a horned animal is named is subjected to a forfeit.—Jamieson.
At Sheffield a boy is chosen for a Stump, and stands with his back against a wall. Another boy bends his back as in “Leapfrog,” and puts his head against the Stump. The cap of the boy who bends down is then taken off, and put upon his back upside down. Then each of the other boys who are playing puts the first finger of his right hand into the cap. When all the fingers are put into the cap, these lines are sung—
Then the boy whose back is bent jumps up, and the others run away crying out, “Hot cockles.” The boy who is caught by the one whose back was first bent has to bend his back next time, and so on.—S. O. Addy.
At Cork a handkerchief is tied over the eyes of one of the company, who then lays his head on a chair, and places his hand on his back with the palm uppermost. Any of the party come behind him and give him a slap on his hand, he in the meantime trying to discover whose hand it is that strikes.—Miss Keane.
“Hot Cockles” is an old game, practised especially at Christmas. One boy sits down, and another, who is blindfolded, kneels and lays his head on his knee, placing at the same time his open hand on his own back. He then cries, “Hot cockles, hot!” Another then strikes his open hand, and the sitting boy asks who strikes. If the boy guessed wrongly, he made a forfeit; but if rightly, he was released.—Notes and Queries, 4th series, ix. 262.
The sport is noticed by Gay—
Halliwell describes it rather differently. The blindfolded boy lies down on his face, and, being struck, must guess who it is that hit him. A good part of the fun consisted in the hardness of the slaps, which were generally given on the throne of honour. He quotes from a MS. play as follows—
Nares’ Glossary also contains quotations from works of 1639, 1653, and 1697 which illustrate the game. Mr. Addy says “that this game as played in Sheffield is quite different from that described under the same title in Halliwell’s Dictionary. Aubrey (p. 30) speaks of ‘Hot Cockles’ as a game played at funerals in Yorkshire, and the lines here given show that this was the game. The lines—
embodies the popular belief that the soul winged its way like a bird, and they remind one of the passing of the soul over Whinny Moor (see funeral dirge in Aubrey’s Remains of Gentilisme, p. 31). Grimm mentions the cuckoo hill (Gauchsberg). He says, ‘Originally in Gauchsberg the bird himself may very well have been meant in a mystic sense which has fallen dark to us now’ (Teut. Myth., ii. 681). We know, too, the old belief that the cuckoo tells children how many years they have to live. These lines are also sometimes said, in addition to those given above—
The boy who bends down is supposed to be undergoing a great penalty.” Strutt (Sports, p. 394) describes this game, and gives an illustration which is here reproduced from the original MSS. in the Bodleian.
This game may have originated from a custom at funerals of practising spells for the safe and speedy passage of the departing spirit to its destination, or from divination mysteries to foretell who would be the next among the mourners to follow the dead body to the grave. The spirit of prophecy was believed to exist in a dying person. See “Handy Croopen.”[Addendum]
—Chambers’ Popular Rhymes, p. 124; Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.
—Nairn, Scotland (Rev. W. Gregor).
—Fernham and Longcot (Miss I. Barclay).
—South Shields (Miss Blair).
—Annaverna, Ravendale, co. Louth, Ireland (Miss R. Stephen).
—Belfast (W. H. Patterson).
—Dorsetshire (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 230, 231).
—London (Miss Dendy).
—Halliwell’s Popular Rhymes, p. 217.
—Dublin (Mrs. Lincoln).
—Isle of Man (A. W. Moore).
—Warwick (from a little girl living near Warwick, through Mr. C. C. Bell).
—Suffolk County Folk-lore, p. 63.
—Wales (Folk-lore Record, v. 88).
|How many miles to||-||Barley Bridge?|
—Market Drayton, Ellesmere, Whitchurch, (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 522).
—Hayton, near York (H. Hardy).
—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).
—Hanbury, Staffordshire (Miss E. Hollis).
—Surrey (Folk-lore Record, v. 88).
(b) There are two methods of playing this game, one in which a King and Queen are represented, and the other in which gates of a city are represented. Of the first Chambers and Mactaggart practically give the same account. The latter says, “Two of the swiftest boys are placed between two ‘doons’ or places of safety; these, perhaps, are two hundred yards distant. All the other boys stand in one of these places or doons, when the two fleet youths come forward and address them with the rhyme. When out, they run in hopes to get to Babylon or the other doon, but many get not near that place before they are caught by the runners, who ‘taens’ them, that is, lay their hands upon their heads, when they are not allowed to run any more in that game, that is, until they all be taened or taken.”
The Norfolk game seems to resemble the Scotch, though in a much less complete form. Miss Matthews describes it as follows:—“A line of children is formed, and the two standing opposite it sing the questions, to which the line reply; then the two start off running in any direction they please, and the others try to catch them.”
The second method of playing is best described by the Rev. Walter Gregor, from the Nairn game, which is known as “The Gates of Babylon.” Mr. Gregor writes as follows:—“This game may be played either by boys or girls. Two of the players join hands, and stand face to face, with their hands in front as if forming a gate. Each of these has a secret name. The other players form themselves into a line by clasping each other round the waist from behind. They go up to the two that form the gate, and the leader asks the first question, as in version No. 2. The dialogue then proceeds to the end. The two then lift their arms as high as they can, still joined, and the line of players passes through. All at once the two bring their arms down on one and make him (or her) prisoner. The prisoner is asked in a whisper, so as not to disclose the secret name, which of the two is to be chosen. The one so captured takes his (or her) stand behind the one chosen. The same process is gone through till all the players are taken captive, and have stationed themselves behind the one or the other of the two forming the gate. The last one of the line goes through three times. The first time the word ‘breakfast’ is pronounced; the second time ‘dinner;’ and the third time ‘supper.’ The player then chooses a side. The two sides have then a tug of war. The game ends at this point with girls. With boys the conquered have to run the gauntlet. The victors range themselves in two lines, each boy with his cap or handkerchief tightly plaited in his hand, and pelt with all their might the vanquished as they run between the lines. The boys of Nairn call this running of the gauntlet, ‘through fire an’ watter.’”
The method of playing the Warwick, Fernham, and Louth versions is practically the same. The children stand in half-circle beginning with the two tallest at either end. All clasp hands. The two at one end question those at the other end alternately (fig. 1). At the last line the two that have been answering hold their hands up to form a bridge, and all the others thread through, still holding hands (the bridge advancing slowly) (fig. 2). The Louth version is also sometimes played as “Oranges and Lemons.” This is also the case with the Belfast, South Shields, Ellesmere, and Dublin versions. Miss Burne also gives a second method of playing this game at Ellesmere: she says, “The whole number of players stand in two rows facing each other, each player joining hands with the one opposite. The pair at the lower end parley with the pair at the top, and then run under the extended arms of the others, receiving thumps on the back as they go, till they reach the upper end, and become the top couple in their turn.” The Hanbury version is played in a similar way. Two lines stand close together holding handkerchiefs across. The questions are asked and answered by the top and bottom players. Then two children run under the line of handkerchiefs. The Dorset version is played by as many as like standing, two and two, opposite each other, each of them taking with the right hand the right hand of the other; then the two that are the King and Queen say or sing the first question, to which the others reply, and the dialogue ends in this manner. Then all the other pairs hold up their hands as high as they can, and the King and Queen run through the archway and back again, and so on with the next pair, and other pairs in turn. The Isle of Man version is played, Mr. Moore says, the same as other “Thread the Needle” games.
(c) The game is evidently dramatic in form, and perhaps is illustrative of some fact of history, such as the toll upon merchandise entering a walled town. The changes in the words of the different versions are not very great, but they show the influence of modern history upon the game. The appearance of King George evidently points to the date when it was frequently played, though the older versions are doubtless those in which his Majesty does not do duty. Mactaggart has the following quaint note which perhaps may supply the origin, though it seems a far cry to the Crusaders:—“This sport has something methinks of antiquity in it; it seemeth to be a pantomime of some scenes played off in the time of the Crusades. ‘King and Queen o’ Cantilon’ evidently must be King and Queen of Caledon, but slightly changed by time. Then Babylon in the rhyme, the way they had to wander and hazard being caught by the infidels, all speak as to the foundation of the game” (Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia).
In the Gentleman’s Magazine for December 1849, in a review of the Life of Shirley, it is stated that in many parts of England the old game of “Thread the Needle” is played to the following words, which refer to the gate of the city of Hebron, known as the “needle’s eye.”
The game is also described in Notes and Queries, iv. 141, as played in the same way as above, and the writer adds there are subsequent evolutions by which each couple becomes in succession the eye of the needle.
A street game played by boys in a town, one of them hiding behind a wall or house-end, and crying “Howly” to the seekers.—Atkinson’s Cleveland Glossary.
See “Hide and Seek.”
Children in Lothian have a sport in which they slide down a hill, sitting on their hunkers (Jamieson). The well-known custom at Greenwich is probably the same game, and there are examples at Tumbling Hill, a few miles from Exeter, at May Pole Hill, near Gloucester, and other places.
Holloway (Dict. of Provincialisms) says that the game is called “Huckle-bones” in East Sussex and “Dibs” in West Sussex. Parish (Dict. of Sussex Dialect) mentions that huckle-bones, the small bone found in the joint of the knee of a sheep, are used by children for playing the game of “Dibs;” also Peacock’s Manley and Corringham Glossary. Barnes (Dorset Glossary) says, “A game of toss and catch, played mostly by two with five dibs or huckle-bones of a leg of mutton, or round pieces of tile or slate.” Halliwell’s description is clearly wrong. He says it was a game formerly played by throwing up the hip-bone of some animal, on one side of which was a head of Venus and on the other that of a dog. He who turned up the former was the winner (Dictionary). Miss J. Barker writes that “Huckle-bones” is played in Hexham; and Professor Attwell (Barnes) played the game as a boy, and is still a proficient in it; he played it recently for my benefit with his set of real huckle-bones (A. B. Gomme); and see Notes and Queries, 9th ser., iv. 378, 379.
The figures or sets are practically the same as those described under “Fivestones.” The game is very ancient. In the Sanctuarie of Salvation, &c., translated from the Latin of Levinus Lemnius by Henry Kinder (8vo, London, printed by H. Singleton), p. 144, we read, “These bones are called ‘huckle-bones’ or ‘coytes.’” For further information relating to this game, as played by the ancients, the reader may consult Joannis Meursii Ludibunda, sive de Ludis Græcorum, Liber singularis (8vo, Lugd. Bat. 1625), p. 7, and Dan. Souterii Palamedes, p. 81; but more particularly, I Tali ed altri Strumenti lusori degli antichi Romani, discritti da Francesco de ’Ficoroni, 4to, Rom. 1734. Against the suggestion that the modern game is derived directly from the Romans, is the fact that it is known in countries never traversed or occupied by the Romans. Thus Dr. Clarke, in his Travels in Russia, 1810, p. 106, says: “In all the villages and towns from Moscow to Woronetz, as in other parts of Russia, are seen boys, girls, and sometimes even old men, playing with the joint-bones of sheep. This game is called ‘Dibbs’ by the English. It is of very remote antiquity; for I have seen it very beautifully represented on Grecian vases; particularly on a vase in the collection of the late Sir William Hamilton, where a female figure appeared most gracefully delineated kneeling upon one knee, with her right arm extended, the palm downwards, and the bones ranged along the back of her hand and arm. In this manner the Russians play the game.”
The game otherwise called “Shinty.” The shinty or hummie is played by a set of boys in two divisions who attempt to drive with curved sticks a ball, or what is more common, part of the vertebral bone of a sheep, in opposite directions (Blackwood’s Magazine, August 1821, p. 36). If one of the adverse party happens to stand or run among his opponents, they call out “Hummie, keep on your own side.”—Jamieson.
A game at marbles, which is carried on until one of the players scores 100 or some other high number agreed upon. Any number can play, but it is best described for two players, A. and B. First the players taw up to a hole; if both get in, they repeat the process until one is left out, say B.; then A. counts 10. Should both fail, the nearest goes first. He may now lay his taw about the hole or fire at the other, on hitting which he counts another 10. He now goes for the hole again, and failing, lies where he happens to stop. If he misses, B. from his present position tries to get into the hole, and failing, lies still; but if he reaches the hole, he counts 10, and proceeds as A. had done. The one who first gets the 100 (or other number) now goes in for his “pizings,” which performance takes place thus:—The loser, so far, is lying about, and the winner goes back to “drakes,” and again tries to lodge in the hole; and if he succeeds, the game is up. If not, he lies still, and the loser tries for the hole; if he gets in he counts another 10, or if he should succeed in hitting the winner he scores his adversary’s 100 to his own number, and then goes on for his “pizings” as the other had done. In failure of either securing the game thus, the process is repeated at “drakes.” When, however, the one who is on for his “pizings” manages to taw into the hole, the game is concluded.—Easther’s Almondbury and Huddersfield Glossary.
A game among children, played on the ice as well as in the fields (Brockett’s North Country Words). Strutt (Sports, p. 381) says “Hunt the Hare” is the same game as “Hunt the Fox.” In this game one boy is permitted to run out, and having law given to him—that is, being permitted to go to a certain distance from his comrades before they pursue him—their object is to take him, if possible, before he can return home.
See “Hare and Hounds.”
—Lancashire (Mrs. Harley).
All the players but one sit on the floor in a circle with their legs crossed (Turkish fashion), one acting as Chief, all pretending to work at making or mending shoes. The other player brings a slipper to the Chief Cobbler, and desires it to be mended, saying—
The child walks away, and returns in a few moments and asks whether the shoe is ready. The Cobbler says, “Not quite; call again in an hour’s time,” or makes any other excuse which occurs to him. When the child calls again, she is told it has been sent home. After several pretences the child declares an intention to search for it. The Cobblers in the ring then all place their hands under their knees, and pass the slipper secretly from one to another in such a way as to prevent the owner of the shoe getting it for some time. The Cobbler from whom the slipper is taken becomes the owner next time (Barnes, A. B. Gomme). In the Nottinghamshire version (Miss Peacock) the rhyme is—
Versions from Wakefield, Liphook, Ellesmere, and other places are practically the same as the Barnes game, but Mr. Udal gives an elaboration of the Dorsetshire game in the Folk-lore Journal, vii. 238. One Lancashire version (Miss Dendy) reverses the characters by making the Cobbler run round the ring, and the children requiring the shoe to be mended, call out, “Blackie, come mend my slipper.” Mrs. Harley, in another Lancashire version, gives the words sung to the tune printed as—
Holloway (Dict. of Provincialisms) says this game was well known in Somerset, Hants, Sussex, but now is almost out of fashion. He describes it as being played without words. The child who has to find the shoe stands in the centre of the circle. The chief amusement arises from the one in the circle who has the slipper striking the one who stands up (the searcher) while he or she is steadily looking for it in an opposite direction. Strutt (Sports, p. 387) also describes this game.[Addendum]
A boys’ game. One is chosen to be the Staigie (little stallion). The other players scatter themselves over the playground. The Staigie locks his fingers into each other. He then repeats the words—
and rushes off with his hands locked, and tries to touch one of the players. He must not unlock his hands till he has caught one. When he has captured one, the two join hands and hunt for another. When another is caught, he joins the two. This goes on till all are hunted down.—Keith (Rev. W. Gregor).
—Earls Heaton (Herbert Hardy).
—Epworth (C. C. Bell).
—Bath (Miss Large).
—Horncastle, North Kelsey, Lincoln (Miss Peacock).
—Epworth, Doncaster (C. C. Bell).
(b) The players march two by two, all singing. The first pair let go hands, separate, and skip widely apart, still singing. Gradually, in this manner, two separate lines are formed, until, following each other and singing, the pairs come together again, join hands, and march and sing in couplets linked.
The Bath game is played by the children standing in two rows facing each other, and clapping hands and singing the verse. At the same time the two children facing each other at the top of the lines join hands and trip down and up between the lines. Their hands are unclasped, and the two children run down the outside of the lines, one running on each side, and meet at the bottom of the lines, where they stand. The two children now standing at the top proceed in the same way: this is continued until all the children have done the same. A ring is then formed, when the children again clap and sing. Any number can play at this game.
In the Epworth version the children range themselves in double rank at one end of the room or playground, and march down to the other end hand in hand. At the bottom they loose hands and divide, the first rank turning right, the second left, and march back in two single files to the other end again, where they re-form as at first, and repeat their manœuvre, singing the verses alternately.
The Lincolnshire game is played by the children walking two and two in a circle round one of their companions, singing. The players then stand facing the child in the centre, and place their hands on their partners’ shoulders. After the lines are sung the centre child cries out, “Halt! Shoulder arms! Fire!” at which words each child kisses his partner. If the commander sees any one hesitate, or avoid kissing, he runs forward and takes the defaulter’s place, leaving him to fill the middle position.
Similar versions are played at Earls Heaton (Mr. Hardy), Forest of Dean (Miss Matthews), Ellesmere (Burne, Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 574), Derbyshire (Folk-lore Journal, i. 386).
A game played with a ball. The players are divided into two equal parties, each of which tries to secure and keep the ball in their possession. The prize is a ball made of cork, covered with silver.—Courtney’s West Cornwall Glossary.
In Taylor’s Antiquitates Curiosæ, p. 144, it is stated:—“The game of hurling consisted in throwing or hurling a ball of wood about three inches in diameter, and covered with plated silver, sometimes gilt. On the ball was frequently a Cornish motto allusive to the game, and signifying that fair play was best. Success depended on catching the ball dexterously when dealt, and conveying it away through all the opposition of the adverse party, or, if that was impossible, to throw it into the hands of a partner, who, in his turn, was to exert his utmost efforts to convey it to his own goal, which was often three or four miles distant from that of his adversaries.”
T. Durfey’s Collin’s Walk through London, 1690, p. 192, says: “Hurling is an ancient sport us’d to this day in the countys of Cornwall and Devon, when once a year the hardy young fellows of each county meet; and a cork ball thinly plated with silver being thrown up between ’em, they run, bustle, and fight for it, to the witty dislocating of many a shrew’d neck, or for the sport of telling how bravely their arms or legs came to be broke, when they got home.” It is fully described by Carew in his Survey of Cornwall, 1602, p. 73.
It is also a very ancient Irish game, and Mr. Kinahan says: “Many places are called after it: such as, Killahurla, the hurlers’ church; Gortnahurla, the field of the hurlers; Greenanahurla, the sunny place of the hurlers; this, however, is now generally corrupted into hurling-green. The hurling-green where the famous match was played by the people of Wexford against those of Cather (now divided into the counties of Carlow and Wicklow), and where the former got the name of yellow bellies, from the colour of the scarfs they wore round their waist, is a sunny flat on the western side of North Wicklow Gap, on the road from Gorey to Trinnahely. There are also many other different names that record the game.”—Folk-lore Journal, ii. 266.
An undescribed boys’ game. In it the following rhyme is used—
—Patterson’s Antrim and Down Glossary.
For a similar rhyme see “Hot Cockles.”
Children play a game which is accompanied by a song beginning—
—Parish’s Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect.
A boys’ game, played by tossing up halfpence. It is mentioned in Peregrine Pickle, cap. xvi. Cope (Hampshire Glossary) says, “Halfpence are placed in a cap and thrown up, a sort of ‘pitch-and-toss.’”
A peculiar game at marbles, sometimes called “Hyssy-pyssy,” played in some parts of Devon and Somerset. A hole of some extent was made in an uneven piece of ground, and the game was to shoot the marbles at some object beyond the hole without letting them tumble into it. The game occasionally commenced by a ceremony of no very delicate description, which sufficed to render the fallen marble still more ignominious.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.
—Enborne, Newbury (M. Kimber).
—Ogbourne, Wilts (H. S. May).
—Southampton (Mrs. W. R. Carse).
—West Grinstead, Sussex (Notes and Queries, 8th Series, i. 249, Miss Busk).
—Platt School, near Wrotham, Kent (Miss Burne).
—From a London nursemaid, 1878 (A. B. Gomme).
—Fernham and Longcot (Miss I. Barclay).
—Hanbury, Staffs. (Miss E. Hollis).
—Earls Heaton (Herbert Hardy).
—Winterton, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire (Miss Peacock).
—Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire (Miss Youngman).
—Liphook, Hants (Miss Fowler).
—North Derbyshire (S. O. Addy).
(b) In the Enborne, Newbury, version (Miss Kimber) a ring is formed by the children (boys and girls) joining hands. Another child stands in the centre. The ring of children walk round while singing the verses. The singing is confined to the ring. When the centre child is told to “choose,” she selects a boy from the ring, who goes into the centre and they stand together. At the next verse these two children walk out of the ring arm-in-arm. When the next verse is sung they return, and again stand in the centre. At the next verse the boy pretends to put a ring on the girl’s finger. They walk out of the ring when told to go to church (two children in the ring unclasping hands to let them walk out, and again clasping hands after they return), and kiss each other and shake hands when the two next verses are sung. The child who was first in the centre then joins the ring, and the game proceeds in the same way with the second child, who chooses in his turn. All the other versions follow the same rules, suiting their actions to the words, except Ogbourne, Wilts, in which the two children in the centre sing the verse, “roast beef and plum pudding.” They stand face to face, take hold of each other’s hands, and sway their arms from side to side. The ring then sing the concluding verse. In those versions where “say your prayers” and “kneel down” occur, the two centre children kneel, and hold their open hands together in front of them to imitate a book. In the London version (A. B. Gomme) a handkerchief was laid on the ground, and the two children stood on each side of it and clasped hands across it. In the Fernham and Longcot version the one child leads the other out of the ring at “go to church,” with a graceful half-dancing motion, and back again in the same way. The first child joins the ring while the refrain is sung. In the Hanbury version the centre child pretends to be weeping; another child stands outside the ring and goes into it; when the two meet they kiss. In the North Derbyshire version (Mr. S. O. Addy) a ring is formed of young men and women, a young man being in the centre. He chooses a young woman at the singing of the fifth line, and then joins the ring, the girl remaining in the centre.
(c) The tunes of all versions are very similar. The tune of the Newbury game (Miss Kimber) is the same as the first part of the Ogbourne tune printed (Mr. H. S. May); that from Nottingham (Miss Youngman) is the same as the first part of the London version. This is also the case with the Hanbury, Staffs. (Miss E. Hollis) and Fernham and Longcot game. What difference there is is very slight. The Platt, Kent, game (Miss Burne), is sung to the same tune as “Green Gravel,” given ante, p. 170. The first portion only of the tune is repeated for all verses sung after the first verse. The Barnes game is sung to the same tune as the Earls Heaton (Mr. Hardy), which is printed ante. A version played at Barnes is almost identical with the Southampton version, and another collected by Miss Thoyts in Berkshire (Antiquary, vol. xxvii. p. 193) is similar to the Hanbury version. The first lines run—Choose your lover; Open the gates; Go to church, love; Kneel down, love; Say your prayers, love; Put on the ring; Stand up, love; In the ring, love; Kiss together, love.
(d) The words of all the versions are sufficiently similar to analyse without a special form. The game appears to be purely a love and marriage game, and has probably had its origin in a ballad, and this idea is strengthened by the fact that only one version (London) has the marriage formula sung at the end, and this is probably an arbitrary addition. The lover is represented as lonely and disconsolate, and the remedy suggested is to choose a sweetheart. The marriage ceremony is of the simplest description—the clasping of hands and the kissing within the circle probably implying the betrothal at a spot sacred to such functions, similar to the Standing Stones of Stenness. Whatever may have been the original intention of these stones, they came in more recent times to be the resort of lovers, who joined their right hands through the hole in the altar stones in the belief that this ceremony would add additional solemnity to the betrothal. Miss Gordon Cumming, in her Tour in the Hebrides, mentions the fact of the marriage ceremony being of the simplest—a man and woman standing facing each other and clasping hands over a particular stone. Walking arm-in-arm is a sign in Dorsetshire that a couple are married. The mention of the “roast beef and plum pudding” for dinner has probably had its origin in the wedding dinner or breakfast, and the inviting of friends to assemble for the wedding dinner. The word “Isabella” may have been originally something quite different from the name of a girl. I am inclined to think the word was not the name of a person at all; possibly it was something addressed to a particular person in words the sense of which are now lost, and the nearest idea to it was this name. The same thing may also apply to the word “farewell,” and hence the incongruity of the first few lines in nearly all versions.[Addendum]
A number of people sit in a row, or on chairs round a parlour. A lighted wooden spill or taper is handed to the first, who says—
The one in whose hand the light expires has to pay a forfeit. As the spill is getting burnt out the lines are said very quickly, as everybody is anxious not to have to pay the forfeit.—Addy’s Sheffield Glossary.
At Egan, in Derbyshire, a number of persons sit round a fire; one of them lights a stick, twirls it round, and says—
The others reply—
If the ember or lighted stick goes out whilst any one is twirling it round, and whilst the lines are being said, he has to lie on the floor, when stones, chairs, or other articles of furniture are piled upon him.—S. O. Addy.
Mactaggart calls it “Preest Cat,” and says that it is an ingleside game. A piece of stick is made red in the fire; one hands it to another, saying—
Then round is handed the stick, and whomsoever’s hand it goes out in, that one is in a wad, and must kiss the crook, the cleps, and what not, ere he gets out of it.
This rhyme is common in the “Preest Cat” sport toward the border. Anciently, when the priest’s cat departed this life, wailing began in the country side, as it was thought it became some supernatural being—a witch, perhaps, of hideous form—so to keep it alive was a great matter.—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.
He also refers to a game called “Robin-a-Ree,” much like “Preest Cat,” only in passing the burnt stick round the ring the following rhyme is said—
Robin-a-Ree occurs in an old song.—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.
In Cornwall it is known as “Robin’s a-light,” and is played around the fire. A piece of stick is set on fire and whirled around rapidly in the hand of the first player, who says, “Robin’s a-light, and if he go out I will saddle your back.” It is then passed to the next, who says the same thing, and so on. The person who lets the spark die out has to pay a forfeit.—Scilly (Courtney’s West Cornwall Glossary). A rhyme at Lostwithiel is known as follows—
Jamieson (Dictionary) says, “To do ‘Dingle-dousie,’ a stick is ignited at one end and given as a plaything to a child.” Elworthy (West Somerset Words) does not give this as a game, but says a burning stick was whirled round and round very quickly, so as to keep up the appearance of a ribbon of fire. Miss Burne (Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 530), says, “Children wave a burning stick in the air, saying—
an evident relic of divinations or incantations practised with bonfires.” Halliwell (Nursery Rhymes, p. 213) gives the rhyme as—
the game being played in the same way as the Sheffield version (see also Halliwell’s Dictionary and Moor’s Suffolk Words).
(b) This is a very significant game, and its similarity in miniature to the old tribal custom of carrying the fiery cross to rouse the clans at once suggests the possible origin of it. The detention of the fiery cross through neglect or other impediment was regarded with much dread by the inhabitants of the place in which it should occur. This subject is discussed in Gomme’s Primitive Folkmoots, p. 279 et seq.[Addendum]
These lines are chanted by players that stand thus. One places his back against a wall, tree, &c., grasping another, whose back is toward him, round the waist; the second grasps a third, and so on. The player called Jack walks apart until the conclusion of the lines. Then he goes to the others and pokes at or pats them, saying, “I don’t think you’re done yet,” and walks away again. The chant is repeated, and when he is satisfied that the bread is “done” he endeavours to pull the foremost from the grasp of the others, &c.—Warwickshire (Northall’s Folk Rhymes, p. 390).
See “Mother Mop.”
See “Bung the Bucket.”
A game among school-girls, played with small pebbles, and sometimes with plum or cherry stones (Dickinson’s Cumberland Glossary). “A children’s game, played with five white pebbles called Jackstones,” says Mr. Patterson (Antrim and Down Glossary). The game is called “Jack.”
A youthful amusement in Newcastle and the neighbourhood at Easter. One boy, holding an egg in his hand, challenges another to give blow for blow. One of the eggs is sure to be fractured in the conflict, and its shattered remains become the spoil of the conqueror.
[Then follow verses, the words of which are not given by Chambers, representing Jenny as bleaching, drying, and ironing clothes. At last they say—]
—Chambers’ Popular Rhymes, pp. 140-41.
—West Scotland (Folk-lore Record, iv. 474).
[These verses are repeated for—
[Various other colours are suggested in the same way, but are found unsuitable—black because “black’s for the mourners,” green because “green’s for the croppies,” and so on till at last white is named.]
—Belfast (Notes and Queries, 7th series, xii. 492, W. H. Patterson).
[Then the same verses are repeated for—
the four lines above being repeated after each, and the verses proceed with—]
—Holywood, co. Down (Miss C. N. Patterson).
—Lismore (Miss F. Keane, collected from Miss Ward, National Schoolmistress).
—Hanwell, Middlesex, 1878 (A. B. Gomme).
—Southampton (from nursemaid of Mrs. W. R. Carse).
[Then follow verses asking alternately “Is she at home?” in the same words as the first verse, and answering that she is
all of them in the same form as the second verse. Then the verses continue with—]
—Colchester (from Miss G. M. Frances, Colchester, through Miss Morris).
[Then follow the alternate question and answer; the questions in the same words as the first verse, and the answers in the same form as the second verse, stating that Jenny is
then the verses proceed with—]
—Bocking, Essex (Folk-lore Record, iii. 471).
[Then follow alternate questions and answers in the same manner for—
[Then follow verses as before, beginning—
—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).
[Then follow the same verses for—
And the singing proceeds with—]
[Then follow verses as before, beginning—
—Northamptonshire (Rev. W. D. Sweeting).
—Berrington, Chirbury (Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 577).
—Enborne School, Berks (Miss M. Kimber).
[Miss Jenny Jones is drying, starching, ironing, ill, worse, dying, and dead in turn. Then—]
—Liphook, Hants (Miss Fowler).
—Deptford (Miss E. Chase).
[Then the two verses are repeated—
[Then follow blue for the sailors, black for the mourners, and finally—]
—Auchencairn, Kirkcudbright (A. C. Haddon).
—Annaverna, Louth, Ireland (Miss R. Stephen).
(b) Two children stand apart; one, who personates the Mother, stands still and holds out her skirts with both hands; the other personates Jenny Jones, and kneels or stoops down in a crouching position behind her companion’s outstretched skirts. The other players form a line by joining hands. They sing the first, third, and every alternate verse, advancing and retiring in line while doing so. The Mother sings the answers to their questions, standing still and hiding Jenny Jones all the time from view. When the verses are finished, Jenny Jones lies down as if she were dead, and the Mother stands aside. Two of the other players then take up Jenny Jones, one by the shoulders and the other by the feet, and carry her a little distance off, where they lay her on the ground. All the players follow, generally two by two, with their handkerchiefs at their eyes and heads lowered, pretending to grieve.
This is the more general way of playing the game. In those versions where the reply, “Very well, ladies,” occurs, this is sung by the line of children just before they sing, “We’ve come to see Jenny Jones.” Sometimes, as in the Berrington and Chirbury game, two lines of children facing each other advance and retire, singing the verses. They then carry Jenny Jones to a corner, lay her down, stand in a circle round, and sing to her the last verse. In the Hants versions sent by Miss Mendham, six or eight children carry Jenny stretched out and flat, lay her down, cover her over, and then sing the last lines. The rest of the children follow them. In the Irish (Belfast) version the game is played in the same way; the funeral is arranged, when Jenny suddenly comes to life again (W. H. Patterson). In the Southampton version, after the carrying of Jenny by her head and feet to the grave, and the other children following and standing round, Jenny Jones rises up and pursues the children. She is called the Ghost. The children run away in affected terror, calling out, “The Ghost!” Whoever she catches becomes Jenny Jones in the next game. This incident is also played in the Barnes, Northants, Annaverna, co. Louth, Enborne and Liphook versions.
(c) This game is played very generally throughout the country, and I have other versions collected from Earls Heaton (Mr. H. Hardy), Barnes (A. B. Gomme), Cambridge (Mrs. Haddon), Hampshire (Miss Mendham), Frodingham (Miss Peacock), Cowes, Isle of Wight (Miss E. Smith), Sulhampstead, Berks (Miss Thoyts), and Platt, Kent (Miss Burne). These versions are so similar to the Hanwell version, with the exception of the “Very well, ladies,” that it is needless to print them in full; special differences are noted hereafter. In some places the game is said in a sing-song manner.
Some of the versions differ from the general type in two ways—first, in the method of playing; secondly, in the wording of the verses. The differences in the method of playing direct attention to the connection of the game with ancient custom. The game is always played by the players taking sides; but one method is for one side to consist of only two children (Mother and Jenny Jones), and the other side to consist of all the other players; while the other method is for the players to be divided into two sides of about equal numbers, each side advancing and retiring in line when singing their part. Jenny Jones in some cases walks with the girls in her line until the funeral, when she is carried to the grave, and in others she stands alone behind the line. The way of performing the funeral also differs. Generally two of the players carry Jenny to the grave, the rest following two by two; but in one Hampshire version six or eight children carry Jenny, stretched out and flat, to the grave, and cover her over; in Holywood, co. Down, she is carried sitting on the crossed hands of two players; while in some versions no funeral is apparently performed, the words only being sung. Another significant incident is the Ghost. An additional incident occurs in the Liphook version, which represents her being “swung to life again” by two of the players.
These differences may perhaps be immaterial to the meaning and origin of the game, but they are sufficiently indicative of early custom to suggest the divergence of the game in modern times towards modern custom. Thus the players divided line-by-line follow the general form for children playing singing games, and it would therefore suggest itself as the earlier form for this game. The change of the game from the line-by-line action to the mother-and-line action would indicate a corresponding change in the prevailing custom which influenced the game. This custom was the wooing by a band of suitors of girls surrounded by their fellow-villagers, which became obsolete in favour of ordinary marriage custom. The dropping out of this custom would cause the game to change from a representation of both wooing and burial to one of burial only. As burial only the mother-and-line action is sufficient, but the presence of a wooing incident in the earlier form of the game is plainly revealed by the verse which sings, “Fare ye well, ladies,” or, as it has become in the English variant, “Very well, ladies.”
The difference in the wording of the versions is slight, and does not need formal analysis. Domestic occupation is shown throughout, washing and its attendants, drying, folding, starching and ironing being by far the most numerous, brewing, and baking only occurring in one. Illness, dying, and death are the usual forms for the later verses, but illness and dying are lost in several versions. The choosing of colours is in some versions not for the mourners but for the dead maiden, and in these cases (six) white is the colour chosen, for “white’s what the dead wear.”
This question of colours for the dead is a very important one. The dressing of the dead body of a maiden in white by her girl companions, and the carrying of the body by them to the grave, are known village customs, the whole village being invited to the funeral. The rising of the dead lover, and the belief that excessive mourning over a loved one disturbs his or her rest in the grave, thus causing the dead to rise and speak, are shown in old ballads; the belief that spirits of the dead haunt churchyards and places of their former abode may also be adduced in illustration of the ghost incident.
(d) The methods of playing, and the incidents revealed by the verses sung, show that this is perhaps the most realistic of all the singing games, the daily occupation, the illness, death, and burial being portrayed, first, in the words of the rhymes, and secondly, by the accompanying action. The Scottish versions make the opening incident that of a lover coming to the house of the loved one, then proceed to the domestic occupation, and finally to the death incident; while the English versions give the idea of village friends calling upon a favourite companion, and subsequently attending her funeral. That the former is the older of the two versions is confirmed by the great probability of the name “Jenny Jones” being a degraded form of “Janet jo.” There is some evidence for this. The Sporle version gives it as “Jenny Joe,” which is clearly a misunderstood rendering of “Jenny jo.” The corruption of this into “Jenny Jones” is exactly what might be expected from modern English ignorance of the pretty meaning of the word jo, “dear;” and to what lengths this corruption may proceed under such influences may be seen by versions from Earls Heaton, where we have “Jingy Jog;” Leeds, where we get “Jilly Jog;” and the Edinburgh version, where we have “Georgina.”
This would be an argument for the Scottish home of the rhymes, and for the direct borrowing of the name from Scotland by the English villagers. In furtherance of this view the following passage from Chambers may be quoted:—
In the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, “Janet Jo” is a dramatic entertainment amongst young rustics. Suppose a party has met in a harvest or winter evening round a good peat fire, and it is resolved to have “Janet Jo” performed. Two undertake to personate a goodman and a goodwife; the rest a family of marriageable daughters. One of the lads, the best singer of the party, retires, and equips himself in a dress proper for representing an old bachelor in search of a wife. He comes in, bonnet in hand, bowing, and sings—
|Guid e’en to ye, maidens a’,|
|Maidens a’, maidens a’,|
|Guid e’en to ye, maidens a’,|
|Be ye or no.|
|I’m come to court Janet jo,|
|Janet jo, Janet jo,|
|I’m come to court Janet jo,|
|Janet, my jo.|
|Goodwife sings—||What’ll ye gie for Janet jo,|
|Janet jo, Janet jo?|
|What’ll ye gie for Janet jo,|
|Janet, my jo?|
|Wooer—||I’ll gie ye a peck o’ siller,|
|A peck o’ siller, peck o’ siller,|
|I’ll gie ye a peck o’ siller,|
|For Janet, my jo.|
|Goodwife says—||Gae awa’, ye auld carle!|
|Then sings—||Ye’se never get Janet jo,|
|Janet jo, Janet jo,|
|Ye’se never get Janet jo,|
|Janet, my jo.|
The wooer hereupon retires, singing a verse expressive of mortification, but soon re-enters with a reassured air, singing—
|I’ll gie ye a peck o’ gowd,|
|A peck o’ gowd, a peck o’ gowd,|
|I’ll gie ye a peck o’ gowd,|
|For Janet, my jo.|
The matron gives him a rebuff as before, and he again retires discomfited, and again enters, singing an offer of “twa pecks o’ gowd,” which, however, is also refused. At his next entry he offers “three pecks o’ gowd,” at which the good wife brightens up and sings—
|Come ben beside Janet jo,|
|Janet jo, Janet jo,|
|Ye’re welcome to Janet jo,|
|Janet, my jo.|
The suitor then advances gaily to his sweetheart, and the affair ends in a scramble for kisses.—Popular Rhymes, pp. 141, 142.
On the other hand, it must not be overlooked that this game-drama and the game of “Janet Jo” have no connection beyond the name of the heroine and the wooing incident; so that the borrowing, if borrowing there be, might have been by Scotland, who improved the commonplace “Jenny Jones” into the pretty sweetness of her Scottish namesake. The Scottish version of the game leaves out the question of the colours for mourning, but, on the other hand, it contains the very important incident of the restoration of the dead. Chambers (Popular Rhymes, p. 141) suggests that this incident was introduced for the purpose of beginning the game again, but this seems extremely doubtful, in consideration of the Liphook variant, in which Miss Fowler says, “It is no uncommon thing for ‘Jenny Jones’ to be swung into life again;” and the still more significant Southampton version, where “‘Jenny Jones’ appears in the character of the Ghost, and scatters and pursues the surrounding mourners.” This detail is also used by the Northants and Barnes children, the version of whose game is very like the Southampton one. On the whole, the analysis would suggest that there has been a game played by the children of both England and Scotland, the leading incidents of which have been varied in accordance with the conditions of life. Mr. Napier (Folk-lore Record, iv. 474), in his description of the West Scotland example, evidently considered the game to be thoroughly representative of Scottish life, and this, indeed, seems to be the most striking feature of the game in all the variants. The domestic economy which they reveal is in no case out of keeping with the known facts of everyday peasant life, and many a mother has denied to her child’s friends the companionship they desired because of the work to be done.
In most cases the burden of the song rests upon the question of health, but in two cases, namely, Colchester and Deptford, the question is put as to where “Jenny Jones” is at the time of the visit. It is curious that the refrain of “Farewell, ladies,” should appear in such widely separated districts as Scotland, Northamptonshire, Norfolk, Middlesex, Hants, Lincoln, and Barnes.
With reference to the colours for mourning, there is an obvious addition of crape introduced into the Deptford version which is very suggestive of the decadence going on. The four colours used in most versions are red, blue, white, and black, colours which have been known to the people from ancient times. Black is accepted as the correct colour in all versions except five, where white is declared to be the colour which the dead wear. The method of question and answer is adopted for all the rhyme-movements. The tune of the game, with but slight variation, in all the versions is the same as that given from Platt, near Wrotham, except the two which are printed from Northants and Belfast.[Addendum]
Two girls cross their arms behind their backs, and thus taking hold of each other’s hands, parade along together, by daylight or moonlight, occasionally turning upon their arms, as indicated in the rhyme. Another rhyme for this amusement is—
—Chambers’s Popular Rhymes; p. 123.
An undescribed Suffolk game.—Moor’s Suffolk Words, p. 238.
A northern name for “See Saw.”
A game in which two or more put a halfpenny each, or any piece of coin, into a cap or bonnet. After jingling or shaking them together, they are thrown on the ground; and he who has most heads when it is his turn to jingle, gains the stakes which were put into the bonnet.—Jamieson.
Halliwell (Dictionary) says this is a northern name for the game of “Shake Cap,” and Brockett (North Country Words) speaks of it as a game much practised among the young pitmen and keelmen.
—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).
Sung to the “Mulberry” or “Ivy bush” tune.
The children form a ring and dance round singing. At the last word they all fall down.
A game among children, in which they run round a table trying to catch one whose business is by quick turns to elude them.—Jamieson.
A juvenile sport in which the bon camarada is to repeat all the pranks which the leader can perform.—Brockett’s North Country Words.
Scotch name for “Blind Man’s Buff.”—Jamieson.
See “Blind Man’s Buff.”
—Penzance, Cornwall (Mrs. Mabbott).
—Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 57).
(b) There must be an odd number of players at this game. They form into couples, each standing behind the other, making a ring, the girls inside, one boy standing alone in the middle. As they go round they sing the verse. At the end each boy leaves hold of his partner’s arm and catches the arm of the girl in front, the one who is standing in the centre trying in the confusion to get into a place. If he succeeds, the child left out has to be the one in the centre the next time.
(c) Mr. Newell (Games, p. 101) says this game was called the “Baptist Game” in Virginia, where it is said to be enjoyed by pious people who will not dance. The American game is played in the same way as the English one. Mr. Newell gives the tune to which the game was sung. The words are almost identical. This game is played in the same way as “Jolly Miller,” which see.
One boy is chosen to be Johnny Rover. The other players stand near him. Rover cries out—
While the words are being repeated all the players are putting themselves on the alert, and when they are finished they run off in all directions, with Rover in full pursuit. If a player is hard pressed he has the privilege of running to “Parley,” the place from which the players started, and which in all games is an asylum. If he is caught before he reaches it, he becomes Johnny Rover for the next game. The one first captured becomes Rover.—Keith (Rev. W. Gregor).
—Tean, North Staffs. (Miss Burne).
—Tean and Cheadle, North Staffs. (Miss Burne).
—North Staffs. Potteries (Mrs. Thomas Lawton).
(b) A circle is formed by joining hands, and two children stand in the centre. They walk round. At the seventh line the two in the centre each choose one child from the ring, thus making four in the centre. They then sing the remaining four lines. The two who were first in the centre then go out, and the game begins again, with the other two players in the centre.
(c) Miss Burne says this game is more often played as “Three Jolly Fishermen.” At Cheadle, North Staffs., a few miles distant from Tean, this game is played by grown-up men and women.
—Deptford, Kent (Miss Chase).
—Sheffield (S. O. Addy).
(b) A number of children stand against a wall, and a row of other children face them. They walk backwards and forwards, singing the first and third verses. Then the children who are standing still (against the wall) answer by singing the second and fourth verses. When these are sung the moving line of children take Mary and dance round, singing “some lines which my informant,” says Mr. Addy, “has forgotten.”
(c) I have no description of the way Miss Chase’s game is played. It, too, is probably an incomplete version. The words “Ring ding di do do “show a possible connection between this and games of the “Three Dukes a-riding” type. They may or may not be variants of the same game.
—Epworth, Doncaster (C. C. Bell).
—Earls Heaton (H. Hardy).
—Derbyshire (Mrs. Harley).
—Leicester (Miss Ellis).
—Liphook, Hants (Miss Fowler).
—Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy).
—Addy’s Sheffield Glossary.
—Earls Heaton, Yorks. (Herbert Hardy).
—Nottinghamshire (Miss Winfield).
—North Staffs. Potteries (Miss A. A. Keary).
(b) This game requires an uneven number of players. All the children except one stand in couples arm in arm, each couple closely following the other. This forms a double ring or wheel (fig. 1). The odd child stands in the centre. The children forming the wheel walk round in a circle and sing the verse. When they come to the word “grab,” those children standing on the inside of the wheel leave hold of their partners’ arms, and try to catch hold of the one standing immediately in front of their previous partners. The child in the centre (or Miller) tries (while they are changing places) to secure a partner and place (fig. 2). If he succeeds in doing this, the one then left out becomes the Miller. At Leicester the “odd” child, or “miller,” stands outside the wheel or ring, instead of being in the centre, and it is the outside children who change places. Mr. Addy, in the Sheffield version, says, “The young men stand in the outer ring, and the young women in the inner. A man stands within the inner circle, quite near to it. The men try and grasp the arm of the girl in front of them, and the man in the centre also tries to grasp one; the man he displaces taking his place as Miller. Then the three last lines are sung.”
(c) Versions of this game, almost identical with the Leicester version given here (with the exception that the word “wealth” ends the second line instead of “pelf”), have been sent me from East Kirkby, Lincolnshire (Miss K. Maughan); Epworth, Doncaster (Mr. C. C. Bell); Settle, Yorks. (Rev. W. S. Sykes); Derbyshire (Mrs. Harley); Redhill, Surrey (Miss G. Hope); Ordsall, Nottinghamshire (Miss Matthews); Brigg, Lincolnshire (Miss J. Barker); and there are other versions from Hersham, Surrey (Folk-lore Record, v. 86); Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 57); Derbyshire (Folk-lore Journal, i. 385); Oswestry, Ellesmere (Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 512). Miss Peacock sends a version which obtains at Lincoln, Horncastle, Winterton, and Anderby, Lincolnshire, and in Nottinghamshire; it is identical with the Liphook version. Two versions from Sporle, Norfolk, which vary slightly from the Leicester, have been sent by Miss Matthews. The versions given from Lancashire, Yorks., Nottingham, and North Staffs. have been selected to show the process of decadence in the game. “Hopper” has first become “upper,” and then “other.” Of the North Staffs. Potteries version Miss Keary says, “How it ends I have never been able to make out; no one about here seems to know either.” With the exception of these few variants, it is singular how stereotyped the words of the rhyme have become in this game.
(d) This game may owe its origin to the fact of the miller in olden times paying himself in kind from the corn brought to him to be ground. The miller is a well-known object of satire in old ballads and mediaeval writers. It is, however, probable that the custom which formerly prevailed at some of the public festivals, of catching or “grabbing” for sweethearts and wives, is shown in this game. For instance, to account for a Scottish custom it is said that St. Cowie, patron saint of two parishes of Campbeltown, proposed that all who did not find themselves happy and contented in the marriage state, should be indulged with an opportunity of parting and making a second choice. For that purpose he instituted an annual solemnity, at which all the unhappy couples in his parish were to assemble at his church; and at midnight all present were blindfolded and ordered to run round the church at full speed, with a view of mixing the lots in the urn. The moment the ceremony was over, without allowing an instant for the people present to recover from their confusion, the word “Cabbay” (seize quickly) was pronounced, upon which every man laid hold of the first female he met with. Whether old or young, handsome or ugly, good or bad, she was his wife till the next anniversary of this custom (Guthrie’s Scottish Customs, p. 168). Another old wedding superstition is alluded to by Longfellow:—
—Derbyshire (Mrs. Harley).
—Derbyshire (Mrs. Harley).
(b) A long row of children walk to and fro. One child, facing them on the opposite side, represents the Rover. He sings the first, third, and fifth verses. The row of children sing the second and fourth in response. After the fifth verse is sung the Rover skips round the long row, singing the sixth verse to the tune of “Nancy Dawson,” or “Round the Mulberry bush.” He chooses one of them, who goes to the opposite side with him, and the game goes on until all are rovers like himself.
—Warwick (from a little girl, through Mr. C. C. Bell).
—Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire (Miss Matthews).
—Northants (Rev. W. D. Sweeting).
—Raunds (Northants Notes and Queries, i. 232).
—Earls Heaton, Yorks. (Herbert Hardy).
—Shipley, Horsham (Notes and Queries, 8th series, i. 210, Miss Busk).
(b) This game is played at Warwick as follows:—The children form a large ring, clasping hands and standing still. One child walks round inside the ring, singing the verses. This child then chooses another from the ring, bending on one knee and kissing her hand. The lines are then repeated, the two walking arm in arm round the inside of the ring. Another child is chosen out of the ring by the one who was chosen previously. This goes on until all are chosen out of the ring, walking two by two round inside. When the ring will no longer hold them, the two walk round outside. At Northants the ring walks round, and the child is outside the ring. Partners are chosen, and the two walk round outside the ring. The first two walk together till there is a third, then the three walk together till there is a fourth, then they go in couples. In the Northants version, from Raunds, four boys stand in the centre of the ring. When the verses are sung they choose four girls, and then take their places in the ring. The four girls then choose four lads, and so on. At Earls Heaton the children stand against a wall in a line. Another child walks up and down singing the verses, and chooses a partner. He spreads a handkerchief on the ground, and they kneel and kiss.
(c) The Shipley version is a “Kiss in the Ring” game. A version sent by the Rev. W. Slater Sykes from Settle, Yorkshire, is almost identical with the Earls Heaton version. Northall (Folk Rhymes, p. 369) says “to kiss on the floor”—i.e., not in secret. He gives the words of a sort of musical catch, sung in the Midlands, similar in character to this game, which may once have been used in some courting game. Mr. Newell (Games, p. 124) gives a version sung in the streets of New York, and considers it to be a relic of antiquity, a similar round being given in Deuteromelia, 1609.[Addendum]
A game played by boys, much the same as “Hockey,” and taking its name, no doubt, from the mode of playing, which consists in striking a wooden ball or knorr from the ground in any given direction with a sufficiently heavy stick, duly curved at the striking end.—Atkinson’s Cleveland Glossary.
It is also given in Yorkshire Glossary (Whitby).
A game played with a hazel nut bored and run upon a string.—Dickinson’s Cumberland Glossary.
Probably the same game as “Conkers.”
Brockett mentions that a friend informed him that he had seen a game played amongst children in Northumberland the subject of which was “Keeling the Pot.” A girl comes in exclaiming, “Mother, mother, the pot’s boiling ower.” The answer is, “Then get the ladle and keel it.” The difficulty is to get the ladle, which is “up a height,” and the “steul” wants a leg, and the joiner is either sick or dead (Glossary North Country Words). A sentence from Love’s Labours Lost, “While greasy Joan doth keel the pot,” illustrates the use of the term “keel.”
In former times it was customary every year, at Easter and Whitsuntide, for the mayor, aldermen, and sheriff of Newcastle, attended by the burgesses, to go in state to a place called the Forth, a sort of mall, to countenance, if not to join in the play of “Keppy ba” and other sports. This diversion is still in part kept up by the young people of the town (Brockett’s North Country Words). It is also mentioned in Peacock’s Manley and Corringham Glossary, and in Ross and Stead’s Holderness Glossary.
Mr. Tate (History of Alnwick) says that a favourite pastime of girls, “Keppy ball,” deserves a passing notice, because accompanied by a peculiar local song. The name indicates the character of the game; “kep” is from cepan, Anglo-Saxon, “kappan,” Teut., “to catch or capture;” for when the game was played at by several, the ball was thrown into the air and “kepped,” or intercepted, in its descent by one or other of the girls, and it was then thrown up again to be caught by some other. But when the song was sung it was played out by one girl, who sent the ball against a tree and drove it back again as often as she could, saying the following rhymes, in order to divine her matrimonial future:—
The numbers being continued as long as the ball could be kept rebounding against the tree.
The following from Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, p. 298, is also used for ball divination. To “cook” is to toss or throw.
This game was played at Stixwold seventy years ago. It resembled “Trap, Bat, and Ball.” Kibel = bat, ner = ball of maplewood, spel = trap, with a limock (pliant) stick fastened to it. The score was made by hitting the ner a certain distance, but not by the striker running, as in “Rounders.”—Miss M. Peacock.
See “Nur and Spell.”
“A playe that children have, where one sytting blyndefolde in the midle, bydeth so tyll the rest have hydden themselves, and then he going to seeke them, if any get his place in the meane space, that same is kynge in his roome.”—Huloet, 1572.
See “Hide and Seek.”
One player is chosen to be King Cæsar by lot or naming. All the others stand in two rows, one row at each end of the ground. A line is drawn on the ground in front of them to mark “dens.” All the players must keep within this line. King Cæsar stands in the middle of the ground. Any number of the players can then rush across the ground from one den to another. King Cæsar tries to catch one as they run. When he catches a boy he must count from one to ten in succession before he leaves hold of the boy, that boy in the meantime trying to get away. If King Cæsar succeeds in holding a boy, this boy stays in the centre with him and assists in catching the other players (always counting ten before a captive is secured). The dens must always be occupied by some players. If all the players get into one den, King Cæsar can go into the empty den and say, “Crown the base, one, two, three,” three times before any of the other players get across to that den. If he succeeds in doing this, he can select a boy to run across from one den to the other, which that boy must do, King Cæsar trying to catch him. Other and bigger boys can help this one to get across, to save him from being captured, either by carrying him or running across with him. The game ends when all have been captured and are in the centre. King Cæsar and the other captured boys can leave the centre if they each successively catch three players.—Barnes (A. B. Gomme).
This game is called “King-sealing” in Dorsetshire.
A game played by boys. Two sets of boys, or sides, strive which can secure most prisoners for the King.—Shetland (Jamieson).
A game of children, in which one of a company, being chosen King o’ Cantland, and two goals appointed at a considerable distance from each other, all the rest endeavoured to run from one goal to the other; and those whom the King can seize in their course, so as to lay his hand upon their heads (which operation is called winning them), become his subjects, and assist him in catching the remainder.—Dumfries (Jamieson). Jamieson adds: “This game is called ‘King’s Covenanter’ in Roxburgh.” He also refers to the game of “King and Queen of Cantelon,” recorded by Mactaggart. He considers the origin of this game to be representative of the contentions about the “Debatable Lands” on the border. This game was played at University Coll. School, London, under the name of “Kings” (A. Nutt).
One boy is chosen as King. He mounts on any convenient height, a knoll, or dyke, or big stone, and shouts—
The players make a rush at the King, and try to pull him down. A tussle goes on for a longer or a shorter time, according to the strength of the King and his skill in driving off his assailants. The boy that displaces the King becomes King, and is in his turn assaulted in the same way. The game may go on for any length of time. Another form of words is—
—Keith (Rev. W. Gregor).
Other words sung by the Scotch children are—
Chambers (Popular Rhymes, p. 114) records the tradition that when Oliver Cromwell lay at Haddington he sent to require the governor of Home Castle, in Berwickshire, to surrender; the governor is said to have replied in the above quatrain of juvenile celebrity.
The London version is for the boys to run up a hillock, when one of them declares as follows—
whereupon he pushes down his companions. If another boy succeeds in getting his place he becomes King, and repeats the doggerel (G. L. Gomme). This is a very popular boys’ game. Newell (Games, 164) mentions it as prevalent in Pennsylvania.
See “Tom Tiddler’s Ground.”
The players are a King and his three sons named White Cap, Red Cap, Brown Cap. Red Cap says, “Plaster Palacey had a son, whose name was old daddy White Cap.” White Cap, in an injured voice, says, “Me, sir?” The King says, “Yes, sir.” White Cap answers, “You’re a liar, sir.” The King then says, “Who then, sir?” White Cap answers, “Old daddy Red Cap.”—Deptford, Kent (Miss Chase).
The game as given above is obviously incomplete, and no description as to how the game was played was sent me. Newell (Games, p. 145), describes a game, “The Cardinal’s Hat,” which is probably a variant of the original game, of which the above is only a fragment. I remember once witnessing a game in which a ball was passed from player to player, and in which the dialogue was similar. When one player was told that the ball was in his possession, the answer was, “What, me, sir?” “Yes, you, sir.” “Not I, sir.” “Who then, sir?” “White Cap, sir;” the questions and answers were again repeated for Red Cap, and Blue Cap. When it was Black Cap’s turn, I think the ball was thrown by this player to some one else; whoever was hit by the ball had to chase and capture one, who became questioner; but my recollection of the game is too slight for me to be certain either of the dialogue or the way the game terminated (A. B. Gomme). A game described in Suffolk County Folk-lore, p. 62, is apparently a version of this. It is there described as a forfeit game.
—Earls Heaton, Yorks. (H. Hardy).
—Hanging Heaton, Yorks. (H. Hardy).
—Sheffield (S. O. Addy).
(b) In Sheffield a ring of young men and women is formed. A man goes inside the ring and walks round within it, whilst the others sing the verse. The young man then chooses a sweetheart, and the two walk round arm-in-arm within the ring, whilst the same verses are sung. When the singing is ended, the girl picks a young man, and so they all pair off.
(c) Mr. Addy entitles this game “Kiss in the Ring.” It appears, however, from this description to lack the two principal elements of most “kiss-in-the-ring” games—the chase between pursued and pursuer, and the kissing in the ring when the capture is made. In the Hanging Heaton version two children kneel and kiss in the middle of the ring. Mr. Newell (Games, p. 73), in describing a game with a similar rhyme, mentions a version which had been sent him from Waterford, Ireland. He says, “We learn from an informant that in her town it was formerly played in this peculiar manner. Over the head of a girl who stood in the centre of a ring was held a shawl, sustained by four others grasping the corners.” The game then proceeded as follows—
Then followed the game-rhyme, repeated with each stanza—
apparently the same as last four lines of Sheffield version. King William is then supposed to enter—
He then recognises the disguised girl—
“He had gone to the war, and promised to marry her when he came back. She wrapped a shawl about her head to see if he would recognise her.” This was all the reciter could recollect; the lines of the ballad were sung by an old woman, the ring answering with the game-rhyme.
This version seems to indicate clearly that in this game we have preserved one of the ceremonies of a now obsolete marriage-custom—namely, the disguising of the bride and placing her among her bridesmaids and other young girls, all having veils or other coverings alike over their heads and bodies. The bridegroom has to select from among these maidens the girl whom he wished to marry, or whom he had already married, for until this was done he was not allowed to depart with his bride. This custom was continued in sport as one of the ceremonies to be gone through after the marriage was over, long after the custom itself was discontinued. For an instance of this see a “Rural Marriage in Lorraine,” in Folk-lore Record, iii. 267-268. This ordeal occurs in more than one folk-tale, and it usually accompanies the incident of a youth having travelled for adventures, sometimes in quest of a bride. He succeeds in finding the whereabouts of the coveted girl, but before he is allowed by the father to take his bride away he is required to perform tasks, a final one being the choosing of the girl with whom he is in love from among others, all dressed alike and disguised. Our bridal veil may probably originate in this custom.
In the ballad from which Mr. Newell thinks the game may have originated, a maid has been given in marriage to another than her chosen lover. He rides to the ceremony with a troop of followers; the bride, seeing him approach, calls on her maidens to “take off her gold crown and coif her in linen white,” to test her bridegroom’s affection. This incident, I think, is not to test “affection,” but the ordeal of recognising his bride, however disguised, and the fact that “the hero at once recognises his love, mounts with her on horseback, and flees to Norway,” may be considered to support my view.
See also Brand, vol. ii. p. 141, under “Care Cloth.”
Two children join hands, by crossing their arms, so as to form a seat. A third mounts on the crossed arms, and clasps the carriers round their necks, while they move on saying—
This game is played at Keith, without the words. The words are used at Fochabers.—Rev. W. Gregor.
Jamieson says, “Lothian children, while carrying one of their number in this manner, repeat the following rhyme—
He says this method of carrying is often used as a substitute for a chair in conveying adult persons from one place to another, especially when infirm. In other counties it is called “Queen’s Cushion” and “Queen’s Chair,” also “Cat’s Carriage.”
Brockett (North Country Words) says, “‘King’s Cushion,’ a sort of seat made by two persons crossing their hands, in which to place a third. The thrones on the reverses of the early Royal Seals of England and Scotland consist of swords, spears, snakes, &c., placed in the manner of a ‘King’s Cushion.’”
The method used is for both children to grasp the wrist of his left hand with the right, while he lays hold of the right wrist of his companion with his left hand. This way of hoisting or carrying is still used by schoolboys when they desire to honour a boy who has distinguished himself in the playground or schoolroom.
See “Carry my Lady to London.”
A sort of play. The Gussie is a large ball, which one party endeavours to beat with clubs into a hole, while another party strives to drive it away. When the ball is lodged in the hole it is said to be “Kirkit.”—Jamieson.
—Dorsetshire (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 213); Penzance (Mrs. Mabbott).
—Much Wenlock (Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 512).
—Berrington (Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 512).
—Chirbury (Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 512).
—Earls Heaton (H. Hardy).
—Dorsetshire (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 213).
—Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 52).
—Hersham, Surrey (Folk-lore Record, v. 87).
—Earls Heaton (H. Hardy).
—Settle, Yorkshire (Rev W. S. Sykes).
—Bexley Heath (Miss Morris).
—Keith (Rev. W. Gregor).
—London (A. B. Gomme).
—Wolstanton, North Staffs. Potteries (Miss A. A. Keary).
(b) In Dorsetshire a ring is formed by all the players joining hands except one. The odd player, carrying a handkerchief, commences to walk slowly round the outside of the ring, repeating the words; then, touching each one with her handkerchief as she passes, she says, “Not you,” “not you,” “not you,” &c., &c., till the favoured individual is reached, when it is changed to “But you!” and his or her shoulder lightly touched at the same time. The first player then runs round the ring as fast as he can, pursued by the other, who, if a capture is effected (as is nearly always the case), is entitled to lead the first player back into the centre of the ring and claim a kiss. The first player then takes the other’s place in the ring, and in turn walks round the outside repeating the same formula.—Folk-lore Journal, vii. 212; Penzance (Mrs. Mabbott).
In Shropshire, as soon as the player going round the ring has dropped the handkerchief on the shoulder of the girl he chooses, both players run opposite ways outside the ring, each trying to be the first to regain the starting-point. If the one who was chosen gets there first, no kiss can be claimed. It is often called “Drop-handkerchief,” from the signal for the chase. The more general way of playing (either with or without words), as seen by me on village greens round London, is, when the handkerchief has been dropped, for the player to dart through the ring and in and out again under the clasped hands; the pursuer must follow in and out through the same places, and must bring the one he catches into the ring before he can legally claim the kiss.
Elworthy (West Country Words), in describing this game, says: “The person behind whom the handkerchief is dropped is entitled to kiss the person who dropped it, if he or she can catch him or her, before the person can get round the ring to the vacant place. Of course, when a girl drops it she selects a favoured swain, and the chase is severe up to a point, but when a girl is the pursuer there often is a kind of donkey race lest she should have to give the kiss which the lad takes no pains to avoid.” Mr. Elworthy does not mention any words being used, and it is therefore probable that this is the “Drop-handkerchief” game, which generally has no kissing. It also, in the way it is played, resembles “French Jackie.” In the Wolstanton game, Miss Keary says: “If the owner of the handkerchief overtakes the one who is bitten as they run round, they shake hands and go into the middle of the ring, while the others sing the marriage formula.” In Berkshire (Antiq. xxvii. 255) the game is played without words, and apparently no handkerchief or other sign is used. Miss Thoyts says the young man raises his hat when he embraces the young woman of his choice. To “throw (or fling) the handkerchief” is a common expression for an expected proposal of marriage which is more of a condescension than a complimentary or flattering one to the girl. “Kiss in the Ring” is probably a relic of the earliest form of marriage by choice or selection. The custom of dropping or sending a glove as the signal of a challenge may have been succeeded by the handkerchief in this game. Halliwell, p. 227, gives the game of “Drop Glove,” in which a glove is used. For the use of handkerchiefs as love-tokens see Brand, ii. 92.
A game played by boys. Three small holes are made in the ground, triangularly about twenty feet apart, to mark the position of as many boys, each of whom holds a small stick, about two feet long. Three other boys of the adverse side pitch successively a piece of stick, a little bigger than one’s thumb, called Cat, to be struck by those holding the sticks. On its being struck, the boys run from hole to hole, dipping the ends of their sticks in as they pass, and counting one, two, three, &c., as they do so, up to thirty-one, which is game. Or the greater number of holes gained in the innings may indicate the winners, as at cricket. If the Cat be struck and caught, the striking party is out, and another of his sidesmen takes his place, if the set be strong enough to admit of it. If there be only six players, it may be previously agreed that three put outs shall end the innings. Another mode of putting out is to throw the Cat home, after being struck, and placing or pitching it into an unoccupied hole, while the in-party are running. A certain number of misses (not striking the Cat) may be agreed on to be equivalent to a put out. The game may be played by two, placed as at cricket, or by four, or I believe more.—Moor’s Suffolk Words; Holloway’s Dict. of Provincialisms.
Brockett (North Country Words, p. 115) calls this “‘Kitty-Cat,’ a puerile game.
—Cotton’s Works, 1734, p. 88.
A sedentary game, played by two, with slate and pencil, or pencil and paper. It is won by the party who can first get three marks (o’s or x’s) in a line; the marks being made alternately by the players o or x in one of the nine spots equidistant in three rows, when complete. He who begins has the advantage, as he can contrive to get his mark in the middle.—Moor’s Suffolk Words.
The same game as “Nought and Crosses,” which see.
A game mentioned but not described by a writer in Blackwood’s Magazine, August 1821, as played in Edinburgh. He mentions that the terms “hot” and “cold” are used in the game. The game of “Hide and Seek.”—Jamieson.
One boy takes another by the feet, one foot over each shoulder, with his head downwards and his face to his back, and sets off running as fast as he can. He runs hither and thither till one or other of the two gets tired.—Keith (Rev. W. Gregor).
Two big boys take two smaller ones on their shoulders. The big boys act as horses, while the younger ones seated on their shoulders try to pull each other over. The “horses” may push and strike each other with their shoulders, but must not kick or trip up with their feet, or use their hands or elbows. The game is usually won by the Horse and Knight who throw their opponents twice out of three times (G. L. Gomme). Strutt (Sports, p. 84) describes this, and says, “A sport of this kind was in practice with us at the commencement of the fourteenth century.” He considers it to bear more analogy to wrestling than to any other sport. He gives illustrations, one of which is here reproduced from the original MS. in the British Museum. The game is also described in the Rev. J. G. Wood’s Modern Playmate, p. 12.
The girl who spoke of this game, says Miss Peacock, could only remember its details imperfectly, but as far as she recollects it is played as follows:—The players dance round a centre child, leaving one of their number outside the circle. The dancers sing to the one in their midst—
At “is —— within,” the child outside the circle is named. The centre child says—
The ring of children then sing—
Then all sing—
Mentioning the supposed sweetheart.
Mentioning the outside child.
Then the inside and outside children each choose a companion from the circle, and the rest repeat:—
When the words have been sung a second time, the four children kiss, and the two from the circle take the places of the other, after which change the game begins again.—North Kelsey, Lincolnshire (Miss M. Peacock).
See “Nur and Spell.”
A game of marbles (undescribed).—Patterson’s Antrim and Down Glossary.
—Tong, Shropshire (Miss R. Harley).
—Somerset and Dorset Notes and Queries, i. 133.
The Mistress says softly—
—Dorset County Chronicle, April 1889; Folk-lore Journal, vii. 228.
—Tong, Shropshire (Miss R. Harley).
—Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, p. 72.
—Belfast (W. H. Patterson).
—Isle of Man (A. W. Moore)
—Forest of Dean, Gloucester (Miss Matthews).
—Berkshire (Miss Thoyts, Antiquary, xxvii. 254).
When all the children have been taken in, the Old Woman says—
—Ballynascaw School, co. Down (Miss C. N. Patterson).
(b) The first Dorsetshire game is played as follows:—Two girls are chosen, the one to represent a lady and the other a mother, who is supposed to be taking her children out to service. She has one or more of them in each hand, and leads them up to the lady, saying or singing the first verse. The dialogue then proceeds, and the verse is repeated until all the children are similarly disposed of. A few days are supposed to pass, after which the mother calls to see her children, when the lady tells her she cannot see them. At last she insists upon seeing them, and the children are all “sat down” behind the lady, and the mother asks one child what the lady has done to her; and she tells her “that the lady has cut off her nose, and made a nose-pie, and never give her a bit of it.” Each one says she has done something to her and made a pie, and when all have told their tale “they all turn on her and put her to prison.”
The second Dorsetshire game somewhat differs. One child takes seven or eight others whom she pretends are her children. Another child, presumably a mistress in want of servants, stands at a distance. The first child advances, holding the hand of her children, saying the first verse. The dialogue is concluded, and as the woman and her children are supposed to be out of hearing, the last couplet is said or sung. This process is gone through again until the mistress has engaged all the children as her servants, when she is supposed to let them all out to play with the mustard pots, which are represented by sticks or stones, in their hands.
The other versions are played as follows:—The children form a line, the one in the middle being the mother, or widow; they advance and retire, the mother alone singing the first verse. One child, who is standing alone on the opposite side, who has been addressed by the widow, then asks [not sings] the question. The mother, or widow, sings the reply, and points to one child when singing the last line, who thereupon crosses over to the other side, joining the one who is standing alone. This is continued till all have been selected. The Ballynascaw version (Miss Patterson) is played in a similar way. One child sits on a bank, and the others come up to her in a long line. The “old woman” says the first five lines. No question is asked by the “lady,” she simply takes one child. The “old woman” shakes hands with this child, and says good-bye to her. When all the children have been “taken in” by the one who personates the “lady,” the “old woman” says the other three lines, and so one by one gets all the children back again. The Berkshire version (Miss Thoyts) is said, not sung, and is played with two leaders, “old woman” and “lover.” As the lover chooses a child, that one is sent behind him, holding round his waist. Each child as she goes says, “Good-bye, mother, good-bye,” and pretends to cry. Finally they all cry, and the game ends in a tug of war. This tug is clearly out of place unless only half the children are selected by one side. Miss Thoyts does not say how this is done.
(c) This game is called “School-teacher” in Belfast. The corruption of “Lady of the Land,” to “Babyland,” “Babylon,” and “Sandiland,” is manifest. It appears to be only fragmentary in its present form, but the versions undoubtedly indicate that the origin of the game arises from the practice of hiring servants. Mr. Halliwell has preserved another fragmentary rhyme, which he thinks may belong to this game.
which may be compared with the rhyme given by Chambers (Popular Rhymes, p. 136), and another version given by Halliwell, p. 229.
If these rhymes belong to this game it would have probably been played by each child singing a verse descriptive of her own qualifications, and I have some recollection, although not perfect, of having played a game like this in London, where each child stated her ability to either brew, bake, or churn. It is worth noting that the Forest of Dean and Berkshire versions have absorbed one of the “selection” verses of the love-games. Mr. Halliwell, in recording the Nursery Rhymes, Nos. cccxliii. and cccxliv., as quoted above, says, “They are fragments of a game called ‘The Lady of the Land,’ a complete version of which has not fallen in my way.” Mr. Udal’s versions from Dorsetshire are not only called “The Lady of the Land,” but are fuller than all the other versions, though probably these are not complete. Mr. Newell (Games, pp. 56-58) gives some versions of this game. He considers the original to have been a European game (he had not found an English example) in which there were two mothers, a rich and a poor one; one mother begging away, one by one, all the daughters of the other.
(d) This game no doubt originates from the country practice of hiring servants at fairs, or from a dramatic “Hirings” being acted at Harvest Homes. The “Good-bye” of mother and daughters belongs, no doubt, to the original game and early versions, and is consistent with the departure of a servant to her new home. The “lover” incident is an interpolation, but there may have been a request on the part of the “mother” to the “lady” not to allow the girl followers or sweethearts too soon. As to the old practice of hiring servants, Miss Burne has noted how distinctly it stamps itself upon local custom (Shropshire Folklore, pp. 461, 464). That the practice forms the groundwork of this game is well illustrated by the following descriptive passage. “They stay usually two or three dayes with theire friends, and then aboute the fifth or sixth day after Martynmasse will they come to theire newe masters; they will depart from theire olde services any day in the weeke, but theire desire (hereaboutes) is to goe to theire newe masters eyther on a Tewsday or on a Thursday; for on a Sunday they will seldome remoove, and as for Monday, they account it ominous, for they say—
but as for the other dayes in the weeke they make no greate matter. I heard a servant asked what hee could doe, whoe made this answeare—
—Best’s Rural Economy of Yorks., 1641; Surtees Society, pp. 135-136.
In Long Ago, ii. 130, Mr. Scarlett Potter mentions that in South Warwickshire it was customary at harvest-homes to give a kind of dramatic performance. One piece, called “The Hiring,” represents a farmer engaging a man, in which work done by the man, the terms of service, and food to be supplied, are stated in rhymes similar to the above. See “Lammas.”[Addendum]
—Barnes, Surrey (A. B. Gomme).
—Barnes, Surrey (A. B. Gomme).
—Colchester (Miss G. M. Frances).
—Berrington (Shropshire Folk-lore, pp. 509, 510).
—Shipley, Horsham (Notes and Queries, 8th series, i. 210, Miss Busk).
—Wrotham, Kent (Miss D. Kimball).
—Deptford (Miss Chase).
—Berkshire (Miss Thoyts, Antiquary; xxvii. 254).
(b) A ring is formed, one child in the centre. The ring sing the first verse, and then the centre child chooses one from the ring. The chosen pair kiss when the ring has sung the second. The first child then joins the ring, and the game begins again. In the Barnes version the centre child calls one to her from the ring by singing the second verse and naming the child she chooses.
(c) A version from Lady C. Gurdon’s Suffolk County Folk-lore (p. 62) is the same as previous versions, except that it ends—
Other versions are much the same as the examples given.
(d) This game has probably had its origin in a ballad. Miss Burne draws attention to its resemblance to the “Disdainful Lady” (Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 561), and Halliwell mentions a nursery rhyme (No. cccclxxix.) which is very similar. Mr. Newell (Games, p. 55) prints words and tune of a song which is very similar to that ballad, and he mentions the fact that he has seen it played as a round by the “Arabs of the street.” He considers it to be an old English song which has been fitted for a ring game by the addition of a verse.
See “Lady on Yonder Hill.”
—Derbyshire (Folk-lore Journal, i. 387).
—Lady C. Gurdon’s Suffolk County Folk-lore, p. 65.
(b) In the Suffolk game the children form a ring, a boy and girl being in the centre. The boy is called a gentleman and the girl a lady. The gentleman commences by singing the first verse. Then they say alternately the questions and answers. When the gentleman says the lines commencing, “Stab me,” he pretends to stab the lady, who falls on the ground. Then he walks round the lady and sings the last verse, “Rise up,” and lifts up the lady. In the Derbyshire game only three children play, the lover, lady, and fairy. The girl stands a little distance off. The lover says the first four lines, then approaches the lady, falls on one knee, and says the next line. The lady replies, and retires further away. The lover then falls on the ground and says the next line. As this is said the good fairy appears, touches the fallen lover with her hand, and he is immediately well again.
(c) This is a curious game, and is perhaps derived from a ballad which had been popular from some more or less local circumstance, or more probably it may be a portion of an old play acted in booths at fair times by strolling players. It is not, as far as I can find out, played in any other counties. The lines—