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Title: Games and Songs of American Children
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: CHILDREN'S GAMES.

[_From an old engraving by Van der Venne._]]

                            GAMES AND SONGS


                           AMERICAN CHILDREN

                        COLLECTED AND COMPARED


                         WILLIAM WELLS NEWELL

                               NEW YORK

                     HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS


      Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1883, by

                          HARPER & BROTHERS,

      In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

                        _All rights reserved._


The existence of any children's tradition in America, maintained
independently of print, has hitherto been scarcely noticed. Yet it
appears that, in this minor but curious branch of folk-lore, the vein
in the United States is both richer and purer than that so far worked
in Great Britain. These games supply material for the elucidation of
a subject hitherto obscure: they exhibit the true relation of ancient
English lore of this kind to that of the continent of Europe; while
the amusements of youth in other languages are often illustrated by
American custom, which compares favorably, in respect of compass and
antiquity, with that of European countries.

Of the two branches into which the lore of the nursery may be
divided--the tradition of children and the tradition of nurses--the
present collection includes only the former. It is devoted to formulas
of play which children have preserved from generation to generation,
without the intervention, often without the knowledge, of older minds.
Were these--trifling as they often are--merely local and individual,
they might be passed over with a smile; but being English and European,
they form not the least curious chapter of the history of manners
and customs. It has therefore been an essential part of the editor's
object to exhibit their correspondences and history; but, unwilling to
overcloud with cumbrous research that healthy and bright atmosphere
which invests all that really belongs to childhood, he has thought it
best to remand to an appendix the necessary references, retaining in
the text only so much as may be reasonably supposed of interest to the
readers in whom one or another page may awaken early memories.

He has to express sincere thanks to the friends, in different parts of
the country, whose kind assistance has rendered possible this volume,
in which almost every one of the older states is represented; and he
will be grateful for such further information as may tend to render the
collection more accurate and complete.

The melodies which accompany many of the games have been written from
the recitation of children by S. Austen Pearce, Mus. Doc. Oxon.



  EDITOR'S NOTE.                                                       v


   II. THE BALLAD, THE DANCE, AND THE GAME.                            8
  III. MAY-GAMES.                                                     13
   IV. THE INVENTIVENESS OF CHILDREN.                                 22
    V. THE CONSERVATISM OF CHILDREN.                                  28

                            I. LOVE-GAMES.

  1. KNIGHTS OF SPAIN.                                                39
  2. THREE KINGS.                                                     46
  3. HERE COMES A DUKE.                                               47
  4. TREAD, TREAD THE GREEN GRASS.                                    50
  5. I WILL GIVE YOU A PAPER OF PINS.                                 51
  6. THERE SHE STANDS, A LOVELY CREATURE.                             55
  7. GREEN GROW THE RUSHES, O!                                        56
  8. THE WIDOW WITH DAUGHTERS TO MARRY.                               56
  9. PHILANDER'S MARCH.                                               58
  10. MARRIAGE.                                                       59

                            II. HISTORIES.

  11. MISS JENNIA JONES.                                              63
  12. DOWN SHE COMES, AS WHITE AS MILK.                               67
  13. LITTLE SALLY WATERS.                                            70
  14. HERE SITS THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND.                                 70
  15. GREEN GRAVEL.                                                   71
  16. UNCLE JOHN.                                                     72
  17. KING ARTHUR WAS KING WILLIAM'S SON.                             73
  18. LITTLE HARRY HUGHES AND THE DUKE'S DAUGHTER.                    75
  19. BARBARA ALLEN.                                                  78

                         III. PLAYING AT WORK.

  20. VIRGINIA REEL.                                                  80
  21. OATS, PEASE, BEANS, AND BARLEY GROWS.                           80
  22. WHO'LL BE THE BINDER?                                           84
  23. AS WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH.                               86
  24. DO, DO, PITY MY CASE.                                           87
  25. WHEN I WAS A SHOEMAKER.                                         88
  26. HERE WE COME GATHERING NUTS OF MAY.                             89
  27. HERE I BREW AND HERE I BAKE.                                    90
  28. DRAW A BUCKET OF WATER.                                         90
  29. THREADING THE NEEDLE.                                           91

                         IV. HUMOR AND SATIRE.

  30. SOLDIER, SOLDIER, WILL YOU MARRY ME?                            93
  31. QUAKER COURTSHIP.                                               94
  32. LAZY MARY.                                                      96
  33. WHISTLE, DAUGHTER, WHISTLE.                                     96
  34. THERE WERE THREE JOLLY WELSHMEN.                                97
  35. A HALLOWE'EN RHYME.                                             98
  36. THE DOCTOR'S PRESCRIPTION.                                      99
  37. OLD GRIMES.                                                    100
  38. THE BAPTIST GAME.                                              101
  39. TRIALS, TROUBLES, AND TRIBULATIONS.                            102
  40. HAPPY IS THE MILLER.                                           102
  41. THE MILLER OF GOSPORT.                                         103

                        V. FLOWER ORACLES, ETC

  42. FLOWER ORACLES.                                                105
  43. USE OF FLOWERS IN GAMES.                                       107
  44. COUNTING APPLE-SEEDS.                                          109
  45. ROSE IN THE GARDEN.                                            110
  46. THERE WAS A TREE STOOD IN THE GROUND.                          111
  47. GREEN!                                                         113

                          VI. BIRD AND BEAST.

  48. MY HOUSEHOLD.                                                  115
  49. FROG-POND.                                                     116
  50. BLOODY TOM.                                                    117
  51. BLUE-BIRDS AND YELLOW-BIRDS.                                   118
  52. DUCKS FLY.                                                     119

                           VII. HUMAN LIFE.

  53. KING AND QUEEN.                                                120
  54. FOLLOW YOUR LEADER.                                            122
  55. TRUTH.                                                         122
  56. INITIATION.                                                    122
  57. JUDGE AND JURY.                                                123
  58. THREE JOLLY SAILORS.                                           124
  59. MARCHING TO QUEBEC.                                            125
  60. SUDDEN DEPARTURE.                                              126
  61. SCORN.                                                         126

                    VIII. THE PLEASURES OF MOTION.

  62. RING AROUND THE ROSIE.                                         127
  63. GO ROUND AND ROUND THE VALLEY.                                 128
  64. THE FARMER IN THE DELL.                                        129
  65. THE GAME OF RIVERS.                                            130
  66. QUAKER, HOW IS THEE?                                           130
  67. DARBY JIG.                                                     131
  68. RIGHT ELBOW IN.                                                131
  69. MY MASTER SENT ME.                                             131
  70. HUMPTY DUMPTY.                                                 132
  71. PEASE PORRIDGE HOT.                                            132
  72. RHYMES FOR A RACE.                                             132
  73. TWINE THE GARLAND.                                             133
  74. HOPPING-DANCE.                                                 133

                          IX. MIRTH AND JEST.

  75. CLUB FIST.                                                     134
  76. ROBIN'S ALIVE.                                                 135
  77. LAUGHTER GAMES.                                                136
  78. BACHELOR'S KITCHEN.                                            137
  79. THE CHURCH AND THE STEEPLE.                                    138
  80. WHAT COLOR?                                                    138
  81. BEETLE AND WEDGE.                                              138
  82. PRESENT AND ADVISE.                                            139
  83. GENTEEL LADY.                                                  139
  84. BEAST, BIRD, OR FISH.                                          140
  85. WHEEL OF FORTUNE.                                              140
  86. CATCHES.                                                       141
  87. INTERY MINTERY.                                                142
  88. REDEEMING FORFEITS.                                            143
  89. OLD MOTHER TIPSY-TOE.                                          143
  90. WHO STOLE THE CARDINAL'S HAT?                                  145

                          X. GUESSING-GAMES.

  91. ODD OR EVEN.                                                   147
  92. HUL GUL.                                                       147
  93. HOW MANY FINGERS?                                              148
  94. RIGHT OR LEFT.                                                 149
  95. UNDER WHICH FINGER?                                            149
  96. COMES, IT COMES.                                               150
  97. HOLD FAST MY GOLD RING.                                        150
  98. MY LADY QUEEN ANNE.                                            151
  99. THE WANDERING DOLLAR.                                          151
  100. THIMBLE IN SIGHT.                                             152

                          XI. GAMES OF CHASE.

  101. HOW MANY MILES TO BABYLON?                                    153
  102. HAWK AND CHICKENS.                                            155
  103. TAG.                                                          158
  104. DEN.                                                          159
  105. I SPY.                                                        160
  106. SHEEP AND WOLF.                                               161
  107. BLANK AND LADDER.                                             161
  108. BLIND-MAN'S BUFF.                                             162
  109. WITCH IN THE JAR.                                             163
  110. PRISONER'S BASE.                                              164
  111. DEFENCE OF THE CASTLE.                                        164
  112. LIL LIL.                                                      165
  113. CHARLEY BARLEY.                                               165
  114. MILKING-PAILS.                                                166
  115. STEALING GRAPES.                                              167
  116. STEALING STICKS.                                              168
  117. HUNT THE SQUIRREL.                                            168


  118. SAIL THE SHIP.                                                170
  119. THREE AROUND.                                                 170
  120. IRON GATES.                                                   170
  121. CHARLEY OVER THE WATER.                                       171
  122. FROG IN THE SEA.                                              171
  123. DEFIANCE.                                                     172
  124. MY LADY'S WARDROBE.                                           173
  125. HOUSEKEEPING.                                                 173
  126. A MARCH.                                                      174
  127. RHYMES FOR TICKLING.                                          174

                    XIII. BALL, AND SIMILAR SPORTS.

  128. THE "TIMES" OF SPORTS.                                        175
  129. CAMPING THE BALL.                                             177
  130. HAND-BALL.                                                    178
  131. STOOL-BALL.                                                   179
  132. CALL-BALL.                                                    181
  133. HALEY-OVER.                                                   181
  134. SCHOOL-BALL.                                                  182
  135. WICKET.                                                       182
  136. HOCKEY.                                                       182
  137. ROLL-BALL.                                                    183
  138. HAT-BALL.                                                     183
  139. CORNER-BALL.                                                  183
  140. BASE-BALL.                                                    184
  141. MARBLES.                                                      185
  142. CAT.                                                          186
  143. CHERRY-PITS.                                                  187
  144. BUTTONS.                                                      187
  145. HOP-SCOTCH.                                                   188
  146. DUCK ON A ROCK.                                               189
  147. MUMBLETY-PEG.                                                 189
  148. FIVE-STONES.                                                  190

                     XIV. RHYMES FOR COUNTING OUT.

  149. COUNTING RHYMES.                                              194

                            XV. MYTHOLOGY.

  150. LONDON BRIDGE.                                                204
  151. OPEN THE GATES.                                               212
  152. WEIGHING.                                                     212
  153. COLORS.                                                       213
  154. OLD WITCH.                                                    215
  155. THE OGREE'S COOP.                                             221
  156. TOM TIDLER'S GROUND.                                          221
  157. DIXIE'S LAND.                                                 222
  158. GHOST IN THE CELLAR.                                          223
  159. THE ENCHANTED PRINCESS.                                       223
  160. THE SLEEPING BEAUTY.                                          224


  COLLECTIONS OF CHILDREN'S GAMES.                                   229
  COMPARISONS AND REFERENCES.                                        232







  "The hideous Thickets in this place[1] were such that Wolfes
  and Beares nurst up their young from the eyes of all beholders
  in those very places where the streets are full of Girles and
  Boys sporting up and downe, with a continued concourse of
  people."--"Wonder-working Providence in New England," 1654.

  "The first settlers came from England, and were of the middle rank,
  and chiefly Friends. * * * In early times weddings were held as
  festivals, probably in imitation of such a practice in England.
  Relations, friends, and neighbors were generally invited, sometimes
  to the amount of one or two hundred. * * * They frequently met
  again next day; and being mostly young people, and from under
  restraint, practised social plays and sports."--Watson's "Account
  of Buckingham and Solebury" (Pennsylvania; settled about 1682).

A majority of the games of children are played with rhymed formulas,
which have been handed down from generation to generation. These we
have collected in part from the children themselves, in greater part
from persons of mature age who remember the usages of their youth;
for this collection represents an expiring custom. The vine of oral
tradition, of popular poetry, which for a thousand years has twined
and bloomed on English soil, in other days enriching with color
and fragrance equally the castle and the cottage, is perishing at
the roots; its prouder branches have long since been blasted, and
children's song, its humble but longest-flowering offshoot, will soon
have shared their fate.

It proves upon examination that these childish usages of play are
almost entirely of old English origin. A few games, it is true, appear
to have been lately imported from England or Ireland, or borrowed from
the French or the German; but these make up only a small proportion of
the whole. Many of the rounds still common in our cities, judging from
their incoherence and rudeness, might be supposed inventions of "Arabs
of the streets;" but these invariably prove to be mere corruptions
of songs long familiar on American soil. The influence of print is
here practically nothing; and a rhyme used in the sports of American
children almost always varies from the form of the same game in Great
Britain, when such now exists.

There are quarters of the great city of New York in which one hears the
dialect, and meets the faces, of Cork or Tipperary. But the children
of these immigrants attend the public school, that mighty engine of
equalization; their language has seldom more than a trace of accent,
and they adopt from schoolmates local formulas for games, differing
more or less from those which their parents used on the other side
of the sea. In other parts of the town, a German may live for years,
needing and using in business and social intercourse no tongue but
his own, and may return to Europe innocent of any knowledge of the
English speech. Children of such residents speak German in their
homes, and play with each other the games they have brought with them
from the Fatherland. But they all speak English also, are familiar
with the songs which American children sing, and employ these too in
their sports. There is no transference from one tongue to another,
unless in a few cases, when the barrier of rhyme does not exist. The
English-speaking population, which imposes on all new-comers its
language, imposes also its traditions, even the traditions of children.

A curious inquirer who should set about forming a collection of
these rhymes, would naturally look for differences in the tradition
of different parts of the Union, would desire to contrast the
characteristic amusements of children in the North and in the
South, descendants of Puritan and Quaker. In this he would find
his expectations disappointed, and for the reason assigned. This
lore belongs, in the main, to the day before such distinctions came
into existence; it has been maintained with equal pertinacity, and
with small variations, from Canada to the Gulf. Even in districts
distinguished by severity of moral doctrines, it does not appear that
any attempt was made to interfere with the liberty of youth. Nowhere
have the old sports (often, it is true, in crude rustic forms) been
more generally maintained than in localities famous for Puritanism.
Thus, by a natural law of reversion, something of the music, grace,
and gayety of an earlier period of unconscious and natural living has
been preserved to sweeten the formality, angularity, and tedium of an
otherwise beneficial religious movement.

It is only within the century that America has become the land of
motion and novelty. During the long colonial period, the quiet
towns, less in communication with distant settlements than with the
mother-country itself, removed from the currents of thought circulating
in Europe, were under those conditions in which tradition is most
prized and longest maintained. The old English lore in its higher
branches, the ballad and the tale, already belonging to the past at
the time of the settlement, was only sparingly existent among the
intelligent class from which America was peopled; but such as they
did bring with them was retained. Besides, the greater simplicity and
freedom of American life caused, as it would seem, these childish
amusements to be kept up by intelligent and cultivated families after
the corresponding class in England had frowned them down as too
promiscuous and informal. But it is among families with the greatest
claims to social respectability that our rhymes have, in general, been
best preserved.

During the time of which we are writing, independent local usages
sprang up, so that each town had oftentimes its own formulas and names
for children's sports; but these were, after all, only selections from
a common stock, one place retaining one part, another, of the old
tradition. But in the course of the last two generations (and this is a
secondary reason for the uniformity of our games in different parts of
the country) the extension of intercourse between the States has tended
to diffuse them, so that petty rhymes, lately invented, have sometimes
gained currency from Maine to Georgia.

We proceed to speak of our games as they exist on the other side of the
sea. A comparison with English and Scotch collections shows us very few
games mentioned as surviving in Great Britain which we cannot parallel
in independent forms. On the other hand, there are numerous instances
in which rhymes of this sort, still current in America, do not appear
to be now known in the mother-country, though they oftentimes have
equivalents on the continent of Europe. In nearly all such cases it
is plain that the New World has preserved what the Old World has
forgotten; and the amusements of children to-day picture to us the
dances which delighted the court as well as the people of the Old
England before the settlement of the New.[2]

To develop the interest of our subject, however, we must go beyond
the limits of the English tongue. The practice of American children
enables us to picture to ourselves the sports which pleased the infancy
of Froissart and Rabelais.[3] A dramatic action of the Virginia hills
preserves the usage of Färöe and Iceland, of Sweden and Venice.[4] We
discover that it is an unusual thing to find any remarkable childish
sport on the European continent which failed to domesticate itself
(though now perhaps forgotten) in England. It is thus vividly and
irresistibly forced upon our notice, that the traditions of the
principal nations of Europe have differed little more than the dialects
of one language, the common tongue, so to speak, of religion, chivalry,
and civilization.

A different explanation has been given to this coincidence. When
only the agreement, in a few cases, of English and German rhymes
was noticed, it was assumed that the correspondence was owing to
race-migration; to the settlement in England of German tribes, who
brought with them national traditions. The present volume would
be sufficient to show the untenability of such an hypothesis. The
resemblance of children's songs in different countries, like the
similarity of popular traditions in general, is owing to their
perpetual diffusion from land to land; a diffusion which has been going
on in all ages, in all directions, and with all degrees of rapidity.
But the interest of their resemblance is hardly diminished by this
consideration. The character of some of these parallelisms proves that
for the diffusion in Europe of certain games of our collection we must
go back to the early Middle Age;[5] while the extent of the identity of
our American (that is, of old English) child's lore with the European
is a continual surprise.[6]

Internal evidence alone would be sufficient to refer many of the sports
to a mediæval origin, for we can still trace in them the expression of
the life of that period.

We comprehend how deeply mediæval religious conceptions affected the
life of the time, when we see that allusions to those beliefs are still
concealed in the playing of children. We find that the tests which the
soul, escaped from the body, had, as it was supposed, to undergo--the
scales of St. Michael, the keys of St. Peter, and the perpetual warfare
of angels and devils over departed souls--were familiarly represented
and dramatized in the sports of infants.[7] Such allusions have, it is
true, been excluded from English games; but that these once abounded
with them can be made abundantly evident. We see that chivalric
warfare, the building and siege of castles, the march and the charge of
armies, equally supplied material for childish mimicry. We learn how,
in this manner, the social state and habits of half a thousand years
ago unconsciously furnish the amusement of youth, when the faith and
fashion of the ancient day is no longer intelligible to their elders.

It will be obvious that many of the game-rhymes in this collection
were not composed by children. They were formerly played, as in many
countries they are still played, by young persons of marriageable age,
or even by mature men and women. The truth is, that in past centuries
all the world, judged by our present standard, seems to have been a
little childish. The maids of honor of Queen Elizabeth's day, if we may
credit the poets, were devoted to the game of tag,[8] and conceived it
a waste of time to pass in idleness hours which might be employed in
that pleasure, with which Diana and her nymphs were supposed to amuse
themselves. Froissart describes the court of France as amusing itself
with sports familiar to his own childhood; and the _Spectator_ speaks
of the fashionable ladies of London as occupied with a game which is
represented in this series.[9]

We need not, however, go to remote times or lands for illustration
which is supplied by New England country towns of a generation
since. In these, dancing, under that name, was little practised; it
was confined to one or two balls in the course of the year on such
occasions as the Fourth of July, lasting into the morning hours. At
other times, the amusement of young people at their gatherings was
"playing games." These games generally resulted in forfeits, to be
redeemed by kissing, in every possible variety of position and method.
Many of these games were _rounds_; but as they were not called dances,
and as mankind pays more attention to words than things, the religious
conscience of the community, which objected to dancing, took no
alarm. Such were the pleasures of young men and women from sixteen
to twenty-five years of age. Nor were the participants mere rustics;
many of them could boast as good blood, as careful breeding, and as
much intelligence, as any in the land. Neither was the morality or
sensitiveness of the young women of that day in any respect inferior to
what it is at present.

Now that our country towns are become mere outlying suburbs of
cities, these remarks may be read with a smile at the rude simplicity
of old-fashioned American life. But the laugh should be directed,
not at our own country, but at the by-gone age.[10] In respectable
and cultivated French society, at the time of which we speak, the
amusements, not merely of young people, but of their elders as well,
were every whit as crude. The suggestion is so contrary to our
preconceived ideas, that we hasten to shelter ourselves behind the
respectable name of Madame Celnart, who, as a recognized authority
on etiquette, must pass for an unimpeachable witness.[11] This
writer compiled a very curious "Complete Manual of Games of Society,
containing all the games proper for young people of both sexes," which
seems to have gained public approbation, since it reached a second
edition in 1830. In her preface she recommends the games of which we
have been speaking as recreations for _business men_:

"Another consideration in favor of games of society: it must be
admitted that for persons leading a sedentary life, and occupied
all day in writing and reckoning (the case with most men), a game
which demands the same attitude, the same tension of mind, is a poor
recreation. * * * On the contrary, the varying movement of games of
society, their diversity, the gracious and gay ideas which these games
inspire, the decorous caresses which they permit--all this combines
to give real amusement. These caresses can alarm neither modesty
nor prudence, since a kiss in honor given and taken before numerous
witnesses is often an act of propriety."

She prefers "rounds" to other amusements: "All hands united; all
feet in cadence; all mouths repeating the same refrain; the numerous
turns, the merry airs, the facile and rapid pantomime, the kisses which
usually accompany them--everything combines, in my opinion, to make
rounds the exercise of free and lively gayety."

We find among the ring-games given by our author, and recommended to
men of affairs, several of which English forms exist in our collection,
and are familiar to all children.[12]

We are thus led to remark an important truth. It is altogether a
mistake to suppose that these games (or, indeed, popular lore of
any description) originated with peasants, or describe the life of
peasants. The tradition, on the contrary, invariably came from above,
from the intelligent class. If these usages seem rustic, it is only
because the country retained what the city forgot, in consequence of
the change of manners to which it was sooner exposed. Such customs
were, at no remote date, the pleasures of courts and palaces. Many
games of our collection, on the other hand, have, it is true, always
belonged to children; but no division-line can be drawn, since out of
sports now purely infantine have arisen dances and songs which have for
centuries been favorites with young men and women.[13]



    Entre Paris et Saint-Denis
    Il s'élève une danse;
    Toutes les dames de la ville
    Sont alentour qui dansent.

    Toutes les dames de la ville
    Sont alentour qui dansent;
    Il n'y a que la fille du roi
    D'un côté qui regarde.

                                                 _Canadian Round._

Games accompanied by song may be divided into ballads, songs, and games

By the term ballad is properly signified a dance-song, or dramatic poem
sung and acted in the dance. The very word, derived through the late
Latin[14] from the Greek, attests that golden chain of oral tradition
which links our modern time, across centuries of invasion and conflict,
with the bright life of classic antiquity.

Still more pleasantly is a like history contained in another name for
the same custom. The usual old English name for the round dance, or
its accompanying song, was _carol_, which we now use in the restricted
sense of a festival hymn. Chaucer's "Romaunt of the Rose" describes
for us the movement of the "karole," danced on the "grene gras" in the
spring days. He shows us knights and ladies holding each other by the
hand, in a flowery garden where the May music of mavis and nightingale
blends with the "clere and ful swete karoling" of the lady who sings
for the dancers. This sense of the word continued in classic use till
the sixteenth century, and has survived in dialect to the present
day. Many of the games of our series are such rounds or carols,
"love-dances" in which youths and maidens formerly stood in the ring
by couples, holding each other's hands, though our children no longer
observe that arrangement. Now the word _carol_ is only a modernized
form of _chorus_. Thus childish habit has preserved to the present day
the idea and movement of the village ring-dance, the chorus, such as it
existed centuries or millenniums before another and religious form of
the dance accompanied by song had received that technical name in the
Greek drama.

Very little was needed to turn the ballad into a dramatic performance,
by assigning different parts to different actors. It is natural also
for children to act out the stories they hear. We find, accordingly,
that ancient ballads have sometimes passed into children's games.
But, in the present collection, the majority of the pieces which can
be referred to the ballad are of a different character. In these the
remainder of the history is reduced to a few lines, or to a single
couplet. These _historiettes_ have retained the situation, omitting
the narration, of the ancient song. We can understand how youthful or
rustic minds, when the popular song had nearly passed out of mind,
should have vaguely maintained the upshot of the story:

    Here sits the Queen of England in her chair;
    She has lost the true love that she had last year.

It is the tragedy told in a line; and what more is needed, since an
excuse is already provided for the kiss or the romp?[15]

Of lyric song we have scarce anything to offer. The fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries gave birth, all over Europe, to popular lyric
poesy, modelled on literary antecedents, and replacing in general
estimation the ancient dramatic ballad. Shakespeare, who merely refers
to the ballad proper, makes frequent use of the popular song of his
day. In many countries this taste has penetrated to the people; the
power of lyric composition has become general, so that a collection of
popular songs will contain many sweet and pleasing pieces. The ballad
has thus passed into the _round_. An inconsequent but musical babble,
like that of a brook or a child, has replaced the severe accents of
the ancient narration. But in English--why, we will not pause to
inquire--it is not so. Whatever of this kind once existed has passed
away, leaving but little trace. All that is poetical or pretty is the
relic of past centuries; and when the ancient treasure is spent,
absolute prose succeeds. The modern soil is incapable of giving birth
to a single flower.

Our rhymes, therefore, belong almost entirely to the third class--the
game proper. But though less interesting poetically, and only recorded
at a late period, it does not follow that they have not as ancient a
history as the oldest ballads; on the contrary, it will abundantly
appear that the formulas used in games have an especially persistent
life. As the ballad is a dramatic narrative, so the game is a dramatic
action, or series of actions; and the latter is as primitive as the
former, while both were employed to regulate the dance.

Most modern dances, silently performed in couples, are merely lively
movements; but in all ancient performances of the sort the idea is as
essential as the form. Precisely as the meaningless refrains of many
ballads arise from a forgetfulness of intelligible words, dances which
are only motion grew out of dances which expressed something. The dance
was originally the dramatized expression of any feature of nature or
life which excited interest. Every department of human labor--the work
of the farmer, weaver, or tradesman; the church, the court, and the
army; the habits and movements of the animals which seem so near to man
in his simplicity, and in whose life he takes so active an interest;
the ways and works of the potent supernatural beings, good or evil,
or, rather, beneficent or dangerous, by whom he believes himself
surrounded; angel and devil, witch and ogre--representations of all
these served, each in turn, for the amusement of an idle hour, when the
labor which is the bitterness of the enforced workman is a jest to the
free youth, and the introduction of spiritual fears which constitute
the terror of darkness only adds an agreeable excitement to the sports
of the play-ground. All this was expressed in song shared by the whole
company, which was once the invariable attendant of the dance, so that
the two made up but one idea, and to "sing a dance" and "dance a song"
were identical expressions.

The children's rounds of to-day, in which each form of words has its
accompanying arrangement of the ring, its significant motion and
gesture, thus possess historic interest. For these preserve for us some
picture of the conduct of the ballads, dances, and games which were
once the amusement of the palace as of the hamlet.

The form of the verses used in the games also deserves note. These
usually consist either of a rhyming couplet, or of four lines in
which the second and fourth rhyme; they are often accompanied by a
refrain, which may be a single added line, or may be made up of two
lines inserted into the stanza; and in place of exact consonance, any
assonance, or similarity of sound, will answer for the rhyme. Above
all, they possess the freedom and quaintness, the tendency to vary in
detail while preserving the general idea, which distinguish a living
oral tradition from the monotonous printed page; in these respects,
our rhymes, humble though they be, are marked as the last echo of the
ancient popular poetry.

There is especial reason why an Englishman, or the descendants of
Englishmen, should take pride in the national popular song.[16]
European mediæval tradition was, it is true, in a measure a common
stock; but, though the themes may often have been thus supplied,
the poetic form which was given to that material in each land was
determined by the genius of the language and of the people. Now, among
all its neighbors, the English popular poesy was the most courtly, the
most lyric, the most sweet. So much we can still discern by what time
has spared.

The English ballad was already born when Canute the Dane coasted the
shore of Britain; its golden age was already over when Dante summed
up mediæval thought in the "Divina Commedia;" its reproductive period
was at an end when Columbus enlarged the horizon of Europe to admit a
New World; it was a memory of the past when the American colonies were
founded; but even in its last echoes there lingers we know not what
mysterious charm of freshness, poetic atmosphere, and eternal youth.
Even in these nursery rhymes some grace of the ancient song survives.
A girl is a "red rose," a "pretty fair maid," the "finest flower," the
"flower of May." The verse itself, simple as it is, often corrupted, is
a cry of delight in existence, of satisfaction with nature; its season
is the season of bloom and of love; its refrain is "For we are all so
gay." It comes to us, in its innocence and freshness, like the breath
of a distant and inaccessible garden, tainted now and then by the odors
of intervening city streets. But the vulgarity is modern, accidental;
the pleasure and poetry are of the original essence.

We cannot but look with regret on the threatened disappearance of
these childish traditions, which have given so much happiness to so
many generations, and which a single age has nearly forgotten. These
songs have fulfilled the conditions of healthy amusement, as nothing
else can do. The proper performance of the round, or conduct of the
sport, was to youthful minds a matter of the most serious concern--a
little drama which could be represented over and over for hours, in
which self-consciousness was absorbed in the ambition of the actors
to set forth properly their parts. The recital had that feature which
distinguishes popular tradition in general, and wherein it is so
poorly replaced by literature. Here was no repetition by rote; but the
mind and heart were active, the spirit of the language appropriated,
and a vein of deep though childish poetry nourished sentiment and
imagination. It seems a thousand pities that the ancient tree should
not continue to blossom; that whatever may have been acrid or tasteless
in the fruit cannot be corrected by the ingrafting of a later time.
There is something so agreeable in the idea of an inheritance of
thought kept up by childhood itself, created for and adapted to its
own needs, that it is hard to consent to part with it. The loss cannot
be made good by the deliberate invention of older minds. Children's
amusement, directed and controlled by grown people, would be neither
childish nor amusing. True child's play is a sacred mystery, at which
their elders can only obtain glances by stealth through the crevice of
the curtain. Children will never adopt as their own tradition the games
which may be composed or remodelled, professedly for their amusement,
but with the secret purpose of moral direction.

We do not mean, however, to sigh over natural changes. These amusements
came into existence because they were adapted to the conditions of
early life; they pass away because those conditions are altered. The
taste of other days sustained them; the taste of our day abandons them.
This surrender is only one symptom of a mighty change which has come
over the human mind, and which bids fair to cause the recent time, a
thousand years hence, to be looked back upon as a dividing-mark in
the history of intelligence. If it should turn out that the childhood
of the human intellect is passing gradually into the "light of common
day"--if the past is to be looked back upon with that affectionate
though unreasoning interest with which a grown man remembers his
imaginative youth--then every fragment which illustrates that past will
possess an attraction independent of its intrinsic value.



    All lovers' hearts that are in care
    To their ladies they do repair,
    In fresh mornings before the day,
              Before the day;
    And are in mirth aye more and more,
    Through gladness of this lovely May,
    Through gladness of this lovely May.

                                                       _Old Song._

Children's rhymes and songs have been handed down in two principal
ways. First, they have been used for winter amusements, particularly
at the Christmas season,[17] as has from time immemorial been the case
in northern countries; and, secondly, they have been sung as rounds
and dances, especially during summer evenings, upon the village green
or city sidewalk. The latter custom is fast becoming extinct, though
the circling ring of little girls "on the green grass turning" may
now and then be still observed; but a generation since the practice
was common with all classes. The proper time for such sports is the
early summer; and many of our rounds declare themselves in words, as
well as by sentiment, to be the remainder of the ancient May dances.
To render this clear, it will be necessary to give some account of the
May festival; but we shall confine ourselves to customs of which we
can point out relics in our own land. These we can illustrate, without
repeating the descriptions of English writers, from Continental usage,
which was in most respects identical with old English practice.

It was an ancient habit for the young men of a village, on the eve
of the holiday, to go into the forests and select the tallest and
straightest tree which could be found. This was adorned with ribbons
and flowers, brought home with great ceremony, and planted in front
of the church, or at the door of some noted person, where it remained
permanently to form the centre of sports and dances. The May-pole
itself, the songs sung about it, and the maiden who was queen of the
feast, were alike called _May_. In the absence of any classic mention,
the universality of the practice in mediæval Europe, and the common
Latin name, may be taken as proof that similar usages made part of the
festival held about the calends of May--the _Floralia_ or _Majuma_.

Notwithstanding all that has been said about the license of this
festival in the days of the Empire, it is altogether probable that
the essential character of the feast of Flora or Maia was not very
different from its mediæval or modern survival. The abundance of
flowers, the excursions to the mountains, the decoration of houses, and
the very name of Flora, prove that, whatever abuses may have introduced
themselves, and whatever primitive superstitions may have been
intermingled--superstitions to an early time harmless and pure, and
only in the decline of faith the source of offence and corruption--the
population of ancient Italy shared that natural and innocent delight
in the season of blossom which afterwards affected to more conscious
expression Chaucer and Milton.

This "bringing home of summer and May" was symbolic; the tree, dressed
out in garlands, typifying the fertility of the year. As in all such
rites, the songs and dances, of a more or less religious character,
were supposed to have the power of causing the productiveness which
they extolled or represented.[18] These practices, however, were not
merely superstitious; mirth and music expressed the delight of the
human heart, in its simplicity, at the reappearance of verdure and
blossom, and thanksgiving to the generous Bestower, which, so long as
man shall exist on earth, will be instinctively awakened by the bright
opening of the annual drama. Superstition has been the support about
which poetry has twined: it is a common mistake of investigators to
be content with pointing out the former, and overlooking the coeval
existence of the latter. Thus the natural mirth and merriment of
the season blended with the supposed efficacy of the rite; and the
primitive character of the ring-dance appears to be the circle about
the sacred tree in honor of the period of bloom.

A relic, though a trifling one, of the ancient custom, may be seen
in some of our cities on the early days of the month. In New York,
at least, groups of children may then be observed carrying through
the streets a pole painted with gay stripes, ribbons depending from
its top, which are held at the end by members of the little company.
These proceed, perhaps, to the Central Park, where they conduct their
festivities, forming the ring, and playing games which are included
in our collection. Within a few years, however, these afternoon
expeditions have become rare.

The May-pole, as we have described it, belonged to the village; but
a like usage was kept up by individuals. It was the duty of every
lover to go into the woods on the eve or early morn of May-day, and
bring thence boughs and garlands, which he either planted before the
door of his mistress, or affixed thereto, according to local custom.
The particular tree, or _bush_ (this expression meaning no more than
bough), preferred for the purpose was the hawthorn, which is properly
the tree of May, as blooming in the month the name of which it has in
many countries received. A belief in the protective influence of the
_white-thorn_, when attached to the house-door, dates back to Roman
times. The May-tree, whatever its species, was often adorned with
ribbons and silk, with fruit or birds, sometimes with written poems.
The lover brought his offering at early dawn, and it was the duty of
his mistress to be present at her window and receive it; thus we have
in a song of the fifteenth or sixteenth century from the Netherlands--

    Fair maiden, lie you still asleep,
       And let the morning go?
    Arise, arise, accept the May,
       That stands here all a-blow.

An English carol alludes to the same practice--

    A branch of May I bring to you,
      Before your door it stands.[19]

The custom was so universal as to give rise to proverbial expressions.
Thus, in Italy, "to plant a May at every door" meant to be very
susceptible; and in France, to "esmayer" a girl was to court her.

Some of our readers may be surprised to learn that an offshoot of
this usage still exists in the United States; the custom, namely, of
hanging "May baskets." A half-century since, in Western Massachusetts,
a lad would rise early on May-morning, perhaps at three o'clock,
and go into the fields. He gathered the trailing arbutus (the only
flower there available at the season), and with his best skill made a
"basket," by the aid of "winter-green" and similar verdure. This he
cautiously affixed to the door of any girl whom he wished to honor.
She was left to guess the giver. The practice is still common in many
parts of the country, but in a different form. Both boys and girls
make "May baskets," and on May-eve attach them to each other's doors,
ringing at the same time the house-bell. A pursuit follows, and whoever
can capture the responsible person is entitled to a kiss. We do not
venture to assert that the latter usage is entirely a corruption of the

The term "May-baskets" is no doubt a modernized form of the old English
word "May-buskets," employed by Spenser.[21] _Buskets_ are no more
than _bushes_--that is, as we have already explained, the flowering
branches of hawthorn or other tree, picked early on the May-morn, and
used to decorate the house. It seems likely that a misunderstanding of
the word changed the fashion of the usage; the American lad, instead of
attaching a bough, hung a basket to his sweetheart's door.

A French writer pleasantly describes the customs of which we are
speaking, as they exist in his own province of Champagne: "The hours
have passed; it is midnight; the doors of the young lads open. Each
issues noiselessly. He holds in his hand branches and bouquets,
garlands and crowns of flowers. Above the gate of his mistress his
hand, trembling with love, places his mysterious homage; then, quietly
as he came, he retires, saying, 'Perhaps she has seen me.' ... The day
dawns. Up! boys and girls! up! it is the first of May! up, and sing!
The young men, decked out with ribbons and wild-flowers, go from door
to door to sing the month of May and their love."

Of the morning song and dance about the "bush," or branches of trees
planted as we have described, we have evidence in the words of American
rhymes. Thus--

    As we go round the _mulberry-bush_,
      _All on a frosty morning_.

In one or two instances, a similar refrain figures in the childish
sports of little girls, who have probably got it by imitation; in
others, it is the sign of an old May game.[22] An English writer of the
sixteenth century alludes to the morning dance in a way which proves
that these songs really represent the practice of his time.[23]

The playing of May games was by no means confined to the exact date of
the festival. The sign of a country tavern in England was a thorn-bush
fixed on a pole, and about this "bush" took place the dance of wedding
companies who came to the tavern to feast, whence this post was called
the _bride's stake_. Whether the thorn-bush was introduced into the
"New English" settlements we cannot say; but the dancing at weddings
was common, at least among that portion of those communities which was
not bound by the religious restraint that controlled the ruling class.
There were, as a French refugee wrote home in 1688, "all kinds of life
and manners" in the colonies. In the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, 7th
May, 1651, the General Court resolved, "Whereas it is observed that
there are many abuses and disorders by dauncinge in ordinaryes, whether
mixt or unmixt, upon marriage of some persons, this court doth order,
that henceforward there shall be no dauncinge upon such occasion, or at
other times, in ordinaryes, upon the paine of five shillings, for every
person that shall so daunce in ordinaryes." While youth in the cities
might be as gay as elsewhere, in many districts the Puritan spirit
prevailed, and the very name of dancing was looked on with aversion.
But the young people met this emergency with great discretion; they
simply called their amusements _playing games_, and under this name
kept up many of the rounds which were the time-honored dances of the
old country.

The French writer whom we have already had occasion to quote goes
on to speak of the customs of the younger girls of his province--the
_bachelettes_, as they are called. "On the first of May, dressed in
white, they put at their head the sweetest and prettiest of their
number. They robe her for the occasion: a white veil, a crown of white
flowers adorn her head; she carries a candle in her hand; she is their
queen, she is the _Trimouzette_. Then, all together, they go from door
to door singing the song of the _Trimouzettes_; they ask contributions
for adorning the altar of the Virgin, for celebrating, in a joyous
repast, the festival of the Queen of Heaven."

This May procession, which has been the custom of girls for centuries,
from Spain to Denmark, existed, perhaps still exists, in New England.
Until very recently, children in all parts of the United States
maintained the ancient habit of rising at dawn of May-day, and sallying
forth in search of flowers. The writer well remembers his own youthful
excursions, sometimes rewarded, even in chilly Massachusetts, by
the early blue star of the hepatica, or the pink drooping bell of
the anemone. The maids, too, had rites of their own. In those days,
troops of young girls might still be seen, bareheaded and dressed in
white, their May-queen crowned with a garland of colored paper. But
common-sense has prevailed at last over poetic tradition; and as an act
of homage to east winds, a hostile force more powerful at that period
than the breath of Flora, it has been agreed that summer in New England
does not begin until June.

These May-day performances, however, were originally no children's
custom; in this, as in so many other respects, the children have only
proved more conservative of old habit than their elders. There can be
no doubt that these are the survivals of the ancient processions of
Ceres, Maia, Flora, or by whatever other name the "good goddess," the
patroness of the fertile earth, was named, in which she was solemnly
borne forth to view and bless the fields. The queen of May herself
represents the mistress of Spring; she seems properly only to have
overlooked the games in which she took no active part.[24]

A writer of the fifteenth century thus describes the European custom of
his day: "A girl adorned with precious garments, seated on a chariot
filled with leaves and flowers, was called the queen of May; and the
girls who accompanied her as her handmaidens, addressing the youths
who passed by, demanded money for their queen. This festivity is still
preserved in many countries, especially Spain." The usage survives in
the dolls which in parts of England children carry round in baskets of
flowers on May-day, requesting contributions.

Of this custom a very poetical example, not noticed by English
collectors, has fallen under our own observation. We will suppose
ourselves in Cornwall on May-day; the grassy banks of the sunken lanes
are gay with the domestic blooms dear to old poetry; the grass is
starry with pink and white daisies; the spreading limbs of the beech
are clad in verdure, and among the budding elms of the hedge-rows
"birds of every sort" "send forth their notes and make great mirth."
A file of children, rosy-faced boys of five or six years, is seen
approaching; their leader is discoursing imitative music on a wooden
fife, to whose imaginary notes the rest keep time with dancing steps.
The second and third of the party carry a miniature ship; its cargo,
its rigging, are blooms of the season, bluebells and wall-flowers;
the ship is borne from door to door, where stand the smiling farmers
and their wives; none is too poor to add a penny to the store. As the
company vanishes at the turn of the lane, we feel that the merriment of
the children has more poetically rendered the charm of the season than
even the song of the birds.

There is in America no especial song of the festival, though children
at the May parties of which we have spoken still keep up the "springing
and leaping" which mediæval writers speak of as practised by them at
this occasion. Popular songs are, however, still remembered in Europe,
where their burden is, May has come! or, Welcome to May! Pleasing and
lyric is the song of the "Trimazos," the lay of the processions of
girls to which we have alluded, though its simplicity becomes more
formal in our version of the provincial French:

    It is the merry month of May, Winter has taken flight;
    I could not keep my heart at home that bounded for delight:
    And as I went, and as I came, I sang to the season gay,
    It is the May, the merry May, the merry month of May!

    E'en as I came the meadows by, the wheat-fields have I seen,
    The hawthorn branches all a-flower, the oat-fields growing green;
        O Trimazos!
    It is the May, the merry May, the merry month of May!

    Madam, I thank you for your coin, and for your courtesy;
    It is for Mary and her Babe, and it is not for me:
    But I will pray the Child for you to whom your gift is given,
    That he return it you again more royally in heaven.

So, in the Vosges, young girls fasten a bough of laurel to the hat of a
young man whom they may meet on the way, wishing

    That God may give him health and joy,
    And the love that he loves best:
    Take the May, the lovely May.

They ask a gift, but not for themselves:

    It shall be for the Virgin Mary,
    So good and so dear:
    Take the May, the lovely May.

Corresponding to the French song from which we have quoted is the
English May carol, similarly sung from dwelling to dwelling:

    Rise up the mistress of this house, with gold along your breast,
      For the summer springs so fresh, green, and gay;
    And if your body be asleep, we hope your soul's at rest,
      Drawing near to the merry month of May.

    God bless this house and harbor, your riches and your store,
      For the summer springs so fresh, green, and gay;
    We hope the Lord will prosper you, both now and evermore,
      Drawing near to the merry month of May.

The frequent allusions of the earlier English poets to "doing May
observance," or the "rite of May," show us how all ranks of society, in
their time, were still animated by the spirit of those primitive faiths
to which we owe much of our sensibility to natural impressions. Milton
himself, though a Puritan, appears to approve the usages of the season,
and even employs the ancient feminine impersonation of the maternal
tenderness and bounty of nature, invoking the month:

    The flow'ry May, who from her green lap throws
    The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
    Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
    Mirth and youth, and warm desire;
    Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
    Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
    Thus we salute thee with our early song,
    And welcome thee, and wish thee long.

Time, and the changes of taste, have at last proved too strong for the
persistency of custom; the practices by which blooming youth expressed
its sympathy with the bloom of the year have perished, taking with
them much of the poetry of the season, and that inherited sentiment
which was formerly the possession of the ignorant as well as of the
cultivated class.



    In the days of childhood new,
    When Time had years and ours were few,
    Here on grassy fields at play,
    Ran we this, the other way;
    On this very meadow-ground
    First violets found,
    Where the cattle graze to-day.

                                      _Minnesinger, 13th Century._

The student of popular traditions is accustomed to recognize the
most trifling incidents of a tale, or the phrases of a song, as an
adaptation of some ancient or foreign counterpart, perhaps removed
by an interval of centuries. It is the same with rhymes of the sort
included in this collection, in which formulas of sport, current in
our own day and in the New World, will be continually found to be the
legacy of other generations and languages. Should we then infer that
childhood, devoid of inventive capacity, has no resource but mechanical

We may, on the contrary, affirm that children have an especially lively
imagination. Observe a little girl who has attended her mother for
an airing in some city park. The older person, quietly seated beside
the footpath, is half absorbed in revery; takes little notice of
passers-by, or of neighboring sights or sounds, further than to cast
an occasional glance which may inform her of the child's security. The
other, left to her own devices, wanders contented within the limited
scope, incessantly prattling to herself; now climbing an adjoining
rock, now flitting like a bird from one side of the pathway to the
other. Listen to her monologue, flowing as incessantly and musically
as the bubbling of a spring; if you can catch enough to follow her
thought, you will find a perpetual romance unfolding itself in her
mind. Imaginary personages accompany her footsteps; the properties
of a childish theatre exist in her fancy; she sustains a conversation
in three or four characters. The roughnesses of the ground, the hasty
passage of a squirrel, the chirping of a sparrow, are occasions
sufficient to suggest an exchange of impressions between the unreal
figures with which her world is peopled. If she ascends, not without a
stumble, the artificial rockwork, it is with the expressed solicitude
of a mother who guides an infant by the edge of a precipice; if she
raises her glance to the waving green overhead, it is with the cry
of pleasure exchanged by playmates who trip from home on a sunshiny
day. The older person is confined within the barriers of memory and
experience; the younger breathes the free air of creative fancy.

A little older grown, such a child becomes the inventor of legend.
Every house, every hill in the neighborhood, is the locality of an
adventure. Every drive includes spots already famous in supposed
history, and passes by the abodes of fancied acquaintances. Into a land
with few traditions the imagination of six years has introduced a whole
cycle of romance.

If the family or vicinity contains a group of such minds, fancy takes
outward form in dramatic performance. The school history is vitalized
into reality; wars are waged and battles performed in a more extended
version, while pins and beans signify squadrons and regiments. Romances
are acted, tales of adventure represented with distribution of rôles.
Thus, in a family of our acquaintance, the children treasured up
wood-engravings, especially such as were cut from the illustrated
journals: runaway horses, Indian chiefs, and trappers of the wilderness
were at an especial premium. These they stored in boxes, encamped
in different corners of the room, and performed a whole library of
sensational tales. A popular piece set forth the destruction of the
villain of the story by a shark, while navigating a _catamaran_. The
separated beds of the sleeping-room represented the open planks of
the raft; the gentlest and most compliant character personified the
malefactor; and the shark swam between the bedsteads.

Where sports require or allow such freedom, the ingenuity of children
puts to shame the dulness of later years, and many a young lady of
twenty would find it impossible to construct the dialogue which eight
summers will devise without an effort. It was a favorite amusement
of two girls just entering their teens to conduct a boarding-school.
The scholars and the teachers of the imaginary school were all named,
and these characters were taken in dialogue by the little actors,
each sustaining several perfectly well-defined parts. The pupils
pursued their pleasures and their studies according to their several
tastes; while their progress, their individual accomplishments and
offences, were subsequently gravely discussed by the instructors, and
the condition, prospects, and management of the institution talked
over. Thus, hour after hour, without hesitation or weariness, the
conversation proceeded, with the duo of friends for actors and audience!

Oftentimes, with young children, an outward support is required for
fancy, an object to be mentally transformed. One set of little girls
collected in the fall birch-leaves, changed to yellow, out of which
alone they created their little nursery. Another party employed pins,
which they inserted in a board, and called pin-fairies. By the aid
of these, long dramatizations were performed, costumes devised, and
palaces decorated, under regulations rigidly observed.

Such exercises of imagination are usually conducted in strict privacy,
and unremarked, or not understood, by parents; but when the attention
of the latter is directed to these performances, they are often
astonished by the readiness they disclose, and are apt to mistake for
remarkable talent what is only the ease of the winged fancy of youth,
which flies lightly to heights where later age must laboriously mount
step by step.

As infancy begins to speak by the free though unconscious combination
of linguistic elements, so childhood retains in language a measure
of freedom. A little attention to the jargons invented by children
might have been serviceable to certain philologists. Their love of
originality finds the tongue of their elders too commonplace; besides,
their fondness for mystery requires secret ways of communication. They
therefore often create (so to speak) new languages, which are formed by
changes in the mother-speech, but sometimes have quite complicated laws
of structure, and a considerable arbitrary element.

The most common of these, which are classified by young friends under
the general name of _gibberish_, goes in New England by the name of
"Hog Latin." It consists simply in the addition of the syllable _ery_,
preceded by the sound of hard _g_, to every word. Even this is puzzling
to older persons, who do not at first perceive that "Wiggery youggery
goggery wiggery miggery" means only "Will you go with me!" Children
sometimes use this device so perpetually that parents fear lest they
may never recover the command of their native English. When it ceases
to give pleasure, new dialects are devised. Certain young friends of
ours at first changed the termination thus--"Withus yoovus govus
withus meevus?" which must be answered, "Ivus withus govus withus
yoovus;" the language, seemingly, not admitting a direct affirmative.
The next step was to make a more complicated system by prefixing a
_u_ (or _oo_) sound with a vowel suffix. Thus, "Will you go with me
to lunch?" would be "Uwilla uoa ugoa uwitha umea utoa uluncha?" But
this contrivance, adopted by all the children of a neighborhood,[25]
was attended with variations incapable of reduction to rule, but
dependent on practice and instinct. The speech could be learned, like
any other, only by experience; and a little girl assured us that she
could not comprehend a single word until, in the course of a month, she
had learned it by ear. She added, in regard to a particular dialect,
that it was much harder than French, and that her brother had to think
a great deal when he used it. The application of euphonic rules was
more or less arbitrary. Thus, _understand_ would be _uery-uinste_.
The following will answer for a specimen of a conversation between a
child and a nurse who has learned the tongue: "Uery uisy uemy uity?"
"Up-stairs, on the screen in your room." The child had asked, "Where is
my hat?"

A group of children living near Boston invented the _cat language_,
so called because its object was to admit of free intercourse with
cats, to whom it was mostly talked, and by whom it was presumed to be
comprehended. In this tongue the cat was naturally the chief subject
of nomenclature; all feline positions were observed and named, and the
language was rich in such epithets, as Arabic contains a vast number
of expressions for _lion_. Euphonic changes were very arbitrary and
various, differing for the same termination; but the adverbial ending
_ly_ was always _osh_; _terribly_, _tirriblosh_. A certain percentage
of words were absolutely independent, or at least of obscure origin.
The grammar tended to Chinese or infantine simplicity; _ta_ represented
any case of any personal pronoun. A proper name might vary in sound
according to the euphonic requirement of the different Christian-names
by which it was preceded. There were two dialects, one, however,
stigmatized as _provincial_.

This invention of language must be very common, since other cases have
fallen under our notice in which children have composed dictionaries of

It would be strange if children who exhibit so much inventive talent
did not contrive new games; and we find accordingly that in many
families a great part of the amusements of the children are of their
own devising. The earliest age of which the writer has authentic record
of such ingenuity is two and a half years.

Considering the space which our Indian tribes occupy in the imagination
of young Americans, it is remarkable that the red man has no place
whatever in the familiar and authorized sports. On the other hand,
savage life has often furnished material for individual and local

Near the country place of a family within our knowledge was a patch of
brushwood containing about forty acres, and furnishing an admirable
ground for savage warfare. Accordingly, a regular game was devised.
The players were divided into Indians and hunters, the former uttering
their war-cry in such dialect as youthful imagination regarded as
aboriginal. The players laid ambushes for each other in the forest, and
the game ended with the extermination of one party or the other. This
warfare was regulated by strict rules, the presentation of a musket at
a fixed distance being regarded as equivalent to death.

In a town of Massachusetts, some thirty years since, it was customary
for the school-girls, during recess, to divide themselves into separate
tribes. Shawls spread over tent-poles represented Indian lodges, and
a girl always resorted to her allotted habitation. This was kept up
for the whole summer, and carried out with such earnestness that girls
belonging to hostile tribes, though otherwise perfectly good friends,
would often not speak to each other for weeks, in or out of school.

In the same town was a community of "Friends," or "Quakers." It was the
custom for children of these to play at meeting. Sitting about the room
on a "First-day" gathering, one of them would be moved by the spirit,
rise, and exhort in the sing-song tone common to the meeting-house.
There was a regular formula for this amusement--a speech which the
children had somewhere heard and found laughable: "My de-ar friends,
I've been a thinking and a thinking and a thinking; I see the blinking
and the winking; pennyroyal tea is very good for a cold."

A young lady of our acquaintance, as a child, invented a game of
pursuit, which she called Spider and Fly. The Flies, sitting on the
house-stairs, buzzed in and out of the door, where they were exposed
to the surprise of the Spider. The children of the neighborhood still
maintain the sport, which is almost the exact equivalent of a world-old
game whose formula is given in our collection.

We need not go on to illustrate our thesis. But it remains true that
the great mass of the sports here presented are not merely old, but
have existed in many countries, with formulas which have passed from
generation to generation. How are we to reconcile this fact with the
quick invention we ascribe to children?

The simple reason why the amusements of children are inherited is the
same as the reason why language is inherited. It is the necessity of
general currency, and the difficulty of obtaining it, which restricts
the variation of one and of the other. If a sport is familiar only to
one locality or one set of children, it passes away as soon as the
youthful fancy of that region grows weary of it. Besides, the old
games, which have prevailed and become familiar by a process of natural
selection, are usually better adapted to children's taste than any new
inventions can be; they are recommended by the quaintness of formulas
which come from the remote past, and strike the young imagination as a
sort of sacred law. From these causes, the same customs have survived
for centuries through all changes of society, until the present age has
involved all popular traditions, those of childhood as of maturity, in
a general ruin.



    Here, as girl's duty is, Timarete lays down her cymbals,
      Places the ball that she loved, carries the net of her hair;
    Maiden, and bride to be, her maids[26] to maid Artemis renders,
      And with her favorites too offers their various wardrobe.

                                                _Greek Anthology._

As the light-footed and devious fancy of childhood, within its assigned
limits, easily outstrips the grave progress of mature years, so the
obedience of children is far more scrupulous not to overstep the
limits of the path. It is a provision of nature, in order to secure
the preservation of the race, that each generation should begin with
the unquestioning reception of the precepts of that which it follows.
No deputy is so literal, no nurse so Rhadamanthine, as one child left
in charge of another. The same precision appears in the conduct of
sports. The formulas of play are as Scripture, of which no jot or
tittle is to be repealed. Even the inconsequent rhymes of the nursery
must be recited in the form in which they first became familiar; as
many a mother has learned, who has found the versions familiar to her
own infancy condemned as inaccurate, and who is herself sufficiently
affected by superstition to feel a little shocked, as if a sacred canon
had been irreligiously violated.

The life of the past never seems so comprehensible, and the historic
interval never so insignificant, as when the conduct and demeanor of
children are in question. Of all human relations, the most simple and
permanent one is that of parent and child. The loyalty which makes a
clansman account his own interests as trifling in comparison with those
of his chieftain, or subjects consider their own prosperity as included
in their sovereign's, belongs to a disappearing society; the affection
of the sexes is dependent, for the form of its manifestation, on the
varying usages of nations; but the behavior of little children, and of
their parents in reference to them, has undergone small change since
the beginnings of history. Homer might have taken for his model the
nursery of our own day, when, in the words of Achilles' rebuke to the
grief of Patroclus, he places before us a Greek mother and her baby--

    Patroclus, why dost thou weep, like a child too young to speak plainly,
    A girl who runs after her mother, and cries in arms to be taken,
    Catching hold of her garment, and keeping her back from her errand,
    Looking up to her tearful, until she pauses and lifts her?

And the passage is almost too familiar to cite--

    Hector the radiant spoke, and reached out his arms for the baby;
    But the infant cried out, and hid his face in the bosom
    Of his nurse gayly-girdled, fearing the look of his father,
    Scared by the gleam of the bronze, and the helmet crested with
    Dreading to see it wave from the lofty height of the forehead.

In the same manner, too, as the feelings and tastes of children have
not been changed by time, they are little altered by civilization, so
that similar usages may be acceptable both to the cultivated nations of
Europe and to the simpler races on their borders.

It is natural, therefore, that the common toys of children should be
world-old. The tombs of Attica exhibit dolls of classic or ante-classic
time, of ivory or terra-cotta, the finer specimens with jointed arms
or legs. Even in Greece, as it seems, these favorites of the nursery
were often modelled in wax; they were called by a pet name, indicating
that their owners stood to them in the relation of mamma to baby; they
had their own wardrobes and housekeeping apparatus. The Temple of
Olympian Zeus at Elis contained, says Pausanias, the little bed with
which Hippodamia had played. But the usage goes much further back.
Whoever has seen the wooden slats which served for the cheaper class of
the dolls of ancient Egypt, in which a few marks pass for mouth, nose,
and eyes, will have no difficulty in imagining that their possessors
regarded them with maternal affection, since all the world knows that a
little girl will lavish more tenderness on a stuffed figure than on a
Paris doll, the return of affection being proportional to the outlay of

When Greek and Roman girls had reached an age supposed to be superior
to such amusements, they were expected to offer their toys on the
altar of their patroness, to whatever goddess might belong that
function, Athene or Artemis, Diana or Venus Libitina. If such an act
of devotion was made at the age of seven years, as alleged, one can
easily understand that many a child must have wept bitterly over the
sacrifice. To this usage refers the charming quatrain, a version of
which we have set as the motto of our chapter.

Children's rattles have from the most ancient times been an important
article of nursery furniture. Hollow balls containing a loose pebble,
which served this purpose, belong to the most ancient classic times.
These "rattles," however, often had a more artistic form, lyre-shaped
with a moving plectrum; or the name was used for little separate
metallic figures--"charms," as we now say--strung together so as to
jingle, and worn in a necklace. Such were afterwards preserved with
great care; in the comic drama they replace the "strawberry mark" by
which the father recognizes his long-lost child. Thus, in the "Rudens"
of Plautus, Palæstra, who has lost in shipwreck her casket, finds a
fisherman in possession of it, and claims her property. Both agree to
accept Dæmones, the unknown father of the maiden, as arbiter. Dæmones
demands, "Stand off, girl, and tell me, what is in the wallet?"
"Playthings."[27] "Right, I see them; what do they look like?" "First,
a little golden sword with letters on it." "Tell me, what are the
letters?" "My father's name. Then there is a two-edged axe, also of
gold, and lettered; my mother's name is on the axe.... Then a silver
sickle, and two clasped hands, and a little pig, and a golden heart,
which my father gave me on my birthday." "It is she; I can no longer
keep myself from embracing her. Hail, my daughter!"

In the ancient North, too, children played with figures of animals.
The six-year-old Arngrim is described in a saga as generously making a
present of his little brass horse to his younger brother Steinolf; it
was more suitable to the latter's age, he thought.

The weapons of boys still preserve the memory of those used by
primitive man. The bow and arrow, the sling, the air-gun, the yet
more primeval club or stone, are skilfully handled by them. Their
use of the top and ball has varied but little from the Christian
era to the present day. It is, therefore, not surprising that many
games are nearly the same as when Pollux described them in the second
century.[28] Yet it interests us to discover that not only the sports
themselves, but also the words of the formulas by which they are
conducted, are in certain cases older than the days of Plato and

We have already set forth the history contained in certain appellations
of the song and dance. If the very name of the _chorus_ has survived
in Europe to the present day, so the character of the classic round
is perpetuated in the ring games of modern children. Only in a single
instance, but that a most curious one, have the words of a Greek
children's round been preserved. This is the "tortoise-game," given by
Pollux, and we will let his words speak for themselves:

"The _tortoise_ is a girl's game, like the _pot_; one sits, and is
called _tortoise_. The rest go about asking:

    "O torti-tortoise, in the ring what doest thou?"

She answers:

    "I twine the wool, and spin the fine Milesian thread."

The first again:

    "Tell us, how was it that thy offspring died?"

To which she says:

    "He plunged in ocean from the backs of horses white."

Our author does not tell us how the game ended; but from his comparison
to the "pot-game"[30] we conclude that the tortoise immediately dives
into the "ocean" (the ring) to catch whom she can.

This quaint description shows us that the game-formulas of ancient
times were to the full as incoherent and obscure as those of our
day frequently are. The alliterative name of the tortoise,[31] too,
reminding us of the repetitions of modern nursery tales, speaks volumes
for the character of Greek childish song.

Kissing games, also, were as familiar in the classic period as in later
time; for Pollux quotes the Athenian comic poet Crates as saying of a
coquette that she "plays kissing games in rings of boys, preferring the
handsome ones."

It must be confessed, however, that we can offer nothing so graceful
as the cry with which Greek girls challenged each other to the race,
an exclamation which we may render, "Now, fairies!"[32]--the maidens
assuming for the nonce the character of the light-footed nymphs of
forest or stream.

Coming down to mediæval time, we find that the poets constantly refer
to the life of children, with which they have the deepest sympathy, and
which they invest with a bright poetry, putting later writers to shame
by comparison. That early period, in its frank enjoyment of life, was
not far from the spirit of childhood. Wolfram of Eschenbach represents
a little girl as praising her favorite doll:

    None is so fair
    As my daughter there.

The German proverb still is "Happy as a doll."

It has been remarked how, in all times, the different sex and destiny
of boys and girls are unconsciously expressed in the choice and conduct
of their pleasures. "Women," says a writer of the seventeenth century,
"have an especial fondness for children. That is seen in little girls,
who, though they know not so much as that they are maids, yet in their
childish games carry about dolls made of rags, rock them, cradle them,
and care for them; while boys build houses, ride on a hobby-horse, busy
themselves with making swords and erecting altars."

Like causes have occasioned the simultaneous disappearance of like
usages in countries widely separated. In the last generation children
still sang in our own towns the ancient summons to the evening sports--

    Boys and girls, come out to play,
    The moon it shines as bright as day;

and similarly in Provence, the girls who conducted their ring-dances in
the public squares, at the stroke of ten sang:

    Ten hours said,
    Maids to bed.

But the usage has departed in the quiet cities of Southern France, as
in the busy marts of America.

It is much, however, to have the pleasant memory of the ancient rules
which youth established to direct its own amusement, and to know that
our own land, new as by comparison it is, has its legitimate share in
the lore of childhood, in considering which we overleap the barriers
of time, and are placed in communion with the happy infancy of all
ages. Let us illustrate our point, and end these prefatory remarks,
with a version of the description of his own youth given by a poet of
half a thousand years since--no mean singer, though famous in another
field of letters--the chronicler Jean Froissart. He regards all the
careless pleasures of infancy as part of the unconscious education
of the heart, and the thoughtless joy of childhood as the basis of
the happiness of maturity; a deep and true conception, which we have
nowhere seen so exquisitely developed, and which he illuminates with a
ray of that genuine genius which remains always modern in its universal
appropriateness, when, recounting the sports of his own early life,[33]
many of which we recognize as still familiar, he writes:

    In that early childish day
    I was never tired to play
    Games that children every one
    Love until twelve years are done;
    To dam up a rivulet
    With a tile, or else to let
    A small saucer for a boat
    Down the purling gutter float;
    Over two bricks, at our will,
    To erect a water-mill;
    And in the end wash clean from dirt,
    In the streamlet, cap and shirt.
    We gave heart and eye together
    To see scud a sailing feather;
    After I was put to school,
    Where ignorance is brought to rule,
    _There were girls as young as I_;
    _These I courted, by-and-by_,
    _Little trinkets offering--
    A pear, an apple, or glass ring_;
    For their favor to obtain
    Seemed great prowess to me then,
    _And, sober earnest, so it is_.
    And now and then it pleased us well
    To sift dust through a piercèd shell
    On our coats; or in time ripe,
    To cut out a wheaten pipe.
    In those days for dice and chess
    Cared we busy children less
    Than mud pies and buns to make,
    And heedfully in oven bake
    Of four bricks; and when came Lent,
    Out was brought a complement
    Of river-shells, from secret hold,
    Estimated above gold,
    To play away, as I thought meet,
    With the children of our street;
    And as they tossed a counter, I
    Stood and shouted, "Pitch it high!"
    When the moon was shining bright
    We would play in summer night
    _Pince-merine_; and time so passed,
    I was more eager at the last
    Than outset, and I thought it shame
    When I was made to stop my game.
      More to tell, we practised too
    The sport entitled _Queue loo loo_,[34]
    _Hook_, _Trottot Merlot_, _Pebbles_, _Ball_;
    And when we had assembled all,
    _Pears_, swiftly running; or were lief
    To play at _Engerrant the Thief_.
    Now and then, for a race-course,
    Of a staff we made a horse,
    And called him _Gray_; or, in knight's guise,
    We put our caps on helmet-wise;
    And many a time, beside a maid,
    A mimic house of shells I made.
    Upon occasions we would choose
    _The one who hit me I accuse_,
    _Take Colin off_; and by-and-by
    Selected _King who does not lie_,
    _Ring_, _Prison-bars_; or were content,
    When in-doors, with _Astonishment_,
    _Oats_, _Scorn_, or _Riddles_; nor forget
    _Replies_, and _Grasses_, _Cligne-musette_,
    _Retreat_, and _Mule_, and _Hunt the Hare_;
    _Leaping_ and _Palm-ball_ had their share,
    _Salt Cowshorn_, and _Charette Michaut_;
    And oftentimes we chose to throw
    Pebbles or pence against a stake;
    Or small pits in the ground would make,
    And play at nuts, which he who lost,
    His pleasure bitterly was crossed.
    To drive a top was my delight
    From early morning until night;
    Or to blow, single or double,
    Through a tube a bright soap-bubble,
    Or a batch of three or four,
    To rejoice our eyes the more.
    Games like these, and more beside,
    Late and early have I plied.
      Followed a season of concern;
    Latin I was made to learn;
    And if I missed, I was a dunce,
    And must be beaten for the nonce.
    So manners changed, as hands severe
    Trained me to knowledge and to fear.
    Yet lessons done, when I was free,
    Quiet I could never be,
    But fought with my own mates, and thus
    Was vanquished or victorious;
    And many a time it was my fate
    To come home in a ragged state
    And meet reproof and chastisement;
    But, after all, 'twas pains misspent;
    For, let a comrade come in sight,
    That moment I had taken flight,
    And none could hinder; in that hour
    Pleasure unto me was power,
    Though oft I found, as I find still,
    The two inadequate to my will.
      Thus I did the time employ--
    So may Heaven give me joy--
    That all things tended to my pleasure,
    Both my labor and my leisure,
    Being alert and being still;
    Hours had I at my own will.
    Then a wreath of violets,
    To give maids for coronets,
    Was to me of more account
    Than the present of a count,
    Twenty marks, would be to-day;
    I had a heart content and gay,
    And a soul more free and light
    Than the verse may well recite.
      So, to fashion form and feature,
    Co-operated Love and Nature:
    Nature made the body strong,
    And forces that to Love belong,
    Soft and generous the heart;
    Truly, if in every part
    Of the body soul did live,
    I should have been sensitive!
    Not a splendor upon earth
    I esteemed so seeing-worth
    As clustered violets, or a bed
    Of peonies or roses red.
      When approached the winter-time,
    And out-of-doors was cold and rime,
    No loss had I what to do,
    But read romances old and new,
    And did prefer, the rest above,
    Those of which the theme was love,
    Imagining, as on I went,
    Everything to my content.
    Thus, since infantine delight
    Oft inclines the heart aright,
    After his own living form
    Love my spirit did inform,
    And pleasure into profit turned;
    For the fortitude I learned,
    And the soul of high emprise,
    Hath such merit in my eyes,
    That its worth and preciousness
    Words of mine cannot express.


[1] Boston.

[2] See Nos. 40 and 58.

[3] See No. 21.

[4] See No. 2.

[5] See No. 1.

[6] More than three fourths of all children's games in the German
collections are paralleled (it may be in widely varying forms) in the
present volume. Allowing for the incompleteness of collections, the
resemblance of French games is probably nearly as close. The case is
not very different in Italy and Sweden, so far at least as concerns
games of any dramatic interest. Not till we come to Russia, do we find
anything like an independent usage. Taken altogether, our American
games are as ancient and characteristic as any, and throw much light on
the European system of childish tradition.

[7] See Nos. 150-153.

[8] Barley-break. See No. 101.

[9] No. 90.

[10] It must be remembered that in mediæval Europe, and in England till
the end of the seventeenth century, a kiss was the usual salutation of
a lady to a gentleman whom she wished to honor. The Portuguese ladies
who came to England with the Infanta in 1662 were not used to the
custom; but, as Pepys says, in ten days they had "learnt to kiss and
look freely up and down." Kissing in games was, therefore, a matter of
course, in all ranks.

[11] Mme. Élisabeth-Félicie Bayle-Mouillard, who wrote under this
pseudonym, had in her day a great reputation as a writer on etiquette.
Her "Manuel Complet de la Bonne Compagnie" reached six editions in the
course of a few years, and was published in America in two different
translations--at Boston in 1833, and Philadelphia in 1841.

[12] See Nos. 10 and 36.

[13] See No. 154, and note.

[14] _Ballad_, _ballet_, _ball_, from _ballare_, to dance.

[15] See Nos. 12-17.

[16] Yet there is no modern English treatise on the history of the
ballad possessing critical pretensions. It is to the unselfish labors
of an American--Professor Francis J. Child, of Harvard University--that
we are soon to owe a complete and comparative edition of English

[17] In the country, in Massachusetts, _Thanksgiving_ evening was the
particular occasion for these games.

[18] The feast of _Flora_, says Pliny, in order that everything should

[19] So in Southern France--

    "Catherine, ma mie--reveille-toi, s'il vous plaît;
    Regarde à ta fenêtre le mai et le bouquet."

[20] "On May-day eve, young men and women still continue to play each
other tricks by placing branches of trees, shrubs, or flowers under
each other's windows, or before their doors."--Harland, "Lancashire

[21] The "Shepheards Calender" recites how, in the month of May,

    Youngthes folke now flocken in every where,
    To gather _May-buskets_ and smelling brere;
    And home they hasten the postes to dight,
    And all the kirk-pillours eare day-light,
    With hawthorn buds, and sweete eglantine,
    And girlonds of roses, and soppes in wine.

"Sops in wine" are said to be pinks.

[22] See Nos. 23, 26, and 160.

[23] "In summer season howe doe the moste part of our yong men
and maydes in earely rising and getting themselves into the
fieldes at dauncing! What foolishe toyes shall not a man see among
them!"--"Northbrooke's Treatise," 1577.


    As I have seen the lady of the May
    Set in an arbour (on a holy-day)
    Built by the May-pole.

                                                          --Wm. Browne.

[25] In Cincinnati.

[26] The same Greek word, _kora_, signifies _maiden_ and _doll_.

[27] _Crepundia_; literally, _rattles_.

[28] See Nos. 105 and 108.

[29] See Nos. 91, 92, and 93.

[30] "The _pot-game_--the one in the middle sits, and is called a
_pot_; the rest tweak him, or pinch him, or slap him while running
round; and whoever is caught by him while so turning takes his place."
We might suppose the disconnected verse of the "tortoise-game" to be
imitated, perhaps in jest, from the high-sounding phrases of the drama.

[31] "Cheli-chelone," _torti-tortoise_.

[32] "Phitta Meliades."

[33] Froissart's account of the school he attended reminds us of the
American _district school_, and his narration has the same character of
charming simplicity as his allusion to playing _with the boys of our

[34] For the games here mentioned, compare note in Appendix.




    --Many a faire tourning,
    Upon the grene gras springyng.

                                        _The Romaunt of the Rose._

No. 1.

_Knights of Spain._

This ancient and interesting, now nearly forgotten, game was in the
last generation a universal favorite in the United States, imported,
no doubt, by the early settlers of the country; and was equally
familiar, in numerous variations, through England and Scotland. It is
not, however, the exclusive property of English-speaking peoples, but
current under a score of forms throughout Europe--from Latin France,
Italy, and Spain, to Scandinavian Iceland, from the Finns of the Baltic
coast to the Slavs of Moravia. Its theme is courtship; but courtship
considered according to ancient ideas, as a mercantile negotiation.
To "buy" a bride was the old Norse expression for marriage, and in a
similar sense is to be understood the word "sold" in our rhyme. The
frankly mercenary character of the original transaction ceasing to
be considered natural, it was turned into a jest or satire in Sweden
and Scotland. The present song assumed all the grace and courtesy
characteristic of the mediæval English ballad, while a primitive form
survived in Iceland; and a later outgrowth (our No. 3) represented the
whole affair as one of coquetry instead of bargaining, substituting,
for the head of the house or the mother, the bride herself as the

Our first version shows the form of the game as played in New York in
the early part of the century.

       *       *       *       *       *

On a sofa, or row of chairs, a mother, with her daughters on either
side, seated. Advance three suitors.

    "Here come three lords out of Spain,
    A-courting of your daughter Jane."

    "My daughter Jane is yet too young,
    To be ruled by your flattering tongue."

    "Be she young, or be she old,
    'Tis for the price she may be sold.

    "So fare you well, my lady gay,
    We must turn another way."

    "Turn back, turn back, you Spanish knight,
    And scour your boots and spurs so bright."

    "My boots and spurs they cost you nought,
    For in this land they were not bought.

    "Nor in this land will they be sold,
    Either for silver or for gold.

    "So fare you well, my lady gay,
    We must turn another way."

    "Turn back, turn back, you Spanish knight,
    And choose the fairest in your sight."

    "I'll not take one nor two nor three,
    But pray, Miss [Lucy], walk with me."

The Spanish knight takes the girl named by the hand, and marches off
with her. Walking round the room, he returns, saying,

    "Here comes your daughter safe and sound,
    In her pocket a thousand pound,

    "On her finger a gay gold ring--
    I bring your daughter home again."

In Philadelphia the game had a peculiar ending, which, however, as we
shall see, preserved, though in a corrupt form, an ancient trait:

    "Here comes your daughter safe and sound,
    In her pocket a thousand pound,

    "On her finger a gay gold ring:
    Will you take your daughter in?"


The girl then runs away, the mother pursuing her. The Spanish knight
catches her, and brings her back, saying,

    "Here comes your daughter safe and sound,
    In her pocket _no_ thousand pound,

    On her finger _no_ gay gold ring,
    Will you take your daughter in?"


The daughter then once more flies, and the Spanish knight has to catch

The following is a New England version:

    "We are three brethren from Spain,
    Come to court your daughter Jane."

    "My daughter Jane is yet too young
    To be courted by your flattering tongue."

    "Be she young, or be she old,
    It is for gold she must be sold.

    Then fare ye well, my lady gay,
    I must return another day."

    "Come back, come back, you Spanish knight,
    Your boots and spurs shine very bright."

    "My boots and spurs they count you nought,
    For in this town they were not bought."

    "Come back, come back, you Spanish knight,
    And choose the fairest in your sight."

    "This is too black, and that is too brown,
    And this is the fairest in the town."

The only part of the country, so far as we know, in which the game now
survives is the neighborhood of Cincinnati, where it is still played in
a reduced but original form:

    "Here comes a knight, a knight of Spain,
    To court your daughter, lady Jane."

    "My lady Jane, she is too young,
    To be controlled by flattering tongue."

    "Be she young or be she old,
    Her beauty's fair, she must be sold."

    "Go back, go back, you Spanish man,
    And choose the fairest in the land."

    "The fairest one that I can see,
    Is [Annie Hobart] to walk with me."

The game now proceeds, "Here come two knights," then with three, four,
etc., till all the players are mated.[35]

It will be proper to add some account of the comparative history of
this curious game. The English and Scotch versions, though generally
less well preserved, correspond to our American. But we find a more
primitive type in Iceland, where it is, or a few years ago was, an
amusement of winter evenings, played not by children, but by men and
women, in a form which indicates a high antiquity. The women ask the
men, as these advance, what they desire? The latter reply, "a maid,"
that is, wife. The inquiry now is, what will they give? It is answered,
_stone_. This tender is scornfully refused, and the suitors retire in
dudgeon, but return to raise their offer, and at last proffer _gold_,
which is accepted, and the controversy ends in a dance.[36]

Curiously enough, modern Scotland retains this song in nearly all
the rude simplicity of the Icelandic just referred to; though the
negotiation, instead of being taken as a matter of course, is turned
into a satire, being treated as the endeavor of a rich old bachelor to
purchase a wife.

In the stewartry of Kirkendbright, says Chambers, _Janet jo_ is a
dramatic entertainment among young rustics on winter evenings. A youth,
disguised as an old bachelor, enters the room bonnet in hand, bowing,
and declaring that "he has come to court Janet jo." The goodwife
then demands, "What'll ye gie for Janet jo?" He responds, a "peck of
siller," but is told, "Gae awa', ye auld carle!" He retires, but soon
returns, and increases his offer, which is less scornfully rejected,
until he proffers "three pecks of gowd," which is accepted with the

    "Come ben beside Janet jo,
    Janet jo, Janet jo,
    Ye're welcome to Janet jo,
    Janet, my jo."

The affair then ends in kissing. A comparison of details (such as the
diminishing scorn of the bargainer, and chagrin of the suitors at each
rejection) leaves no doubt that the Icelandic and Scotch forms of the
game were once (but many centuries since) identical.

The German versions are numerous, but corrupt, and less ancient and
characteristic. In one of the most spirited the mother assigns as a
reason for refusing the suitor, that

    Her tresses are not braided,
    Her wedding-gown not done.

Similarly, we find in an English fragment,

    My mead's not made, my cake's not baked,
    And you cannot have my daughter Jane.

There is a French form, not otherwise especially interesting, which
resembles our No. 3.[37]

More striking than the preceding, and abounding in singular
correspondences with the first three numbers of our own collection, is
the Italian version, as played in Venice. In this game, one of the
rows is composed of a boy, who represents the head of the house, and
five or six girls who stand at his right and left. The other row is
formed by the _ambassador_, whose suite consists of boys and girls.
These last advance towards the first row, singing, "The ambassador
is come," then, retreating, sing a chorus, "Olà, olà, olà." The
conversation then proceeds in a rhythmical way between the two rows as

  "What do you wish?"                "A maid."
  "Which maid?"                      "The fairest."
  "Who is the fairest?"              "Nineta bella."
  "What husband will you give her?"  "A chimney-sweep."
  "That will not do."                "The king of France."
  "That will do well."               "What dowry will you give her?"
  "A ducat."                         "It will not do."
  "A zechin a day."                  "That will do well."
  "Come and take her."               "Here I come and take her."

The "ambassador" advances and takes the girl by the hand; then, as if
changing his mind, rejects her, saying as he returns--

                                     "And now I don't want her!"
  "Why do you not want her?"         "She is too little (or ugly)."
  "Is that the trouble?"             "Yes, that is the trouble."
  "Come, let us make peace."         "Peace is made."

The ambassador then takes by the hand the girl, who is presented to
him by the head of the house; the two files unite to form a circle,
and the bride receives the general congratulations of the company, who
clap their hands, courtesy, and sing,[38] as in the pretty English

    And the bells will ring, and the birds will sing,
    And we'll all clap hands together.

In Spain, the game is known as the "Embassy of the Moorish King." The
"King of the Moors" is seated on the ground, with crossed legs, his
attendants about him. The "ambassador" makes three steps forward, and
demands one of his daughters. The king replies, "If I have them, I
have them not to give away; of the bread which I eat, they shall eat as

The ambassador withdraws angry: "In discontent I go from the king's
palace." But the king, repenting, calls after him--

    "Turn thee, knight, come, turn thee hither,
    The most fair I'll give to thee--
    The most lovely and the sweetest,
    Sweetest rose upon the tree."

The ambassador crosses hands with one of his train to make a seat, on
which the bride is placed in triumph, singing--

    "Thus I take her for her marriage,
    Spouse and wedded wife to be."

The king addresses them on departure--

    "Listen, knight, I do entreat thee,
    Use to her all courtesy."

And the ambassadors reply--

    "She, on throne of splendor seated,
    Shall be shining to behold,
    She shall lodge within a palace,
    She shall dress in pearls and gold."

It will thus be seen that the three knights originally represent not
suitors, but envoys. If we remember that marriage, in some simple
countries, is still conducted through intermediaries, whose duty it is
to argue, chaffer, and dispute, before coming to the decision all along
intended, we shall see reason to believe that from a form representing
more or less literally the usages of primitive society have sprung in
the course of time a multitude of confused representations, colored by
later tastes and feelings.

The spirit and substance of the courteous and chivalric English rhyme
cannot be later than the fourteenth century; the identity and primitive
rudeness of the song in Iceland, Scotland (and, we shall presently add,
Virginia), supposes an earlier date; while even then we have to bridge
the gap between these forms and the Italian. We may, therefore, be
tolerably sure that the first diffusion of the game in Europe dates far
back into the Middle Age.

No. 2.

_Three Kings._

This antique rhyme, which comes to us from West Virginia, is a rude and
remarkable variety of the preceding game, but quite unlike any English
version hitherto printed.

We find a singular and apparently connected equivalent in the Färöe
isles. In the form of the dialogue there in use, as in the present
game, the suitor is presented in successively higher characters, as a
thrall, smith, and so on, until he is finally accepted as a prince. The
Italian song has shown us a similar usage. Thus the surf-beaten rocks
of the North Atlantic, with their scanty population of fishermen and
shepherds, whose tongue is a dialect of the ancient Norse speech, are
linked by the golden chain (or network) of tradition with the fertile
vales of the Alleghenies, and the historic lagoons of Venice.

The corrupt ending, too, compared with the Philadelphia version already
cited, and with the Venetian game, is seen to rest on an ancient basis.
The children, having forgotten the happy close, and not understanding
the haggling of the suitors, took the "three kings" for bandits.

       *       *       *       *       *

On one side of the room a mother with her daughters. On the other three
wooers, who advance.

    "Here come three soldiers three by three,
    To court your daughter merrily;
    Can we have a lodging, can we have a lodging,
    Can we have a lodging here to-night?"

    "Sleep, my daughter, do not wake--
    Here come three soldiers, and they sha'n't take;
    They sha'n't have a lodging, they sha'n't have a lodging,
    They sha'n't have a lodging here to-night."

    "Here come three sailors three by three,
    To court your daughter merrily;
    Can we have a lodging," etc.

    "Sleep, my daughter, do not wake--
    Here come three sailors and they sha'n't take;
    They sha'n't have a lodging," etc.

    "Here come three tinkers three by three,
    To court your daughter merrily;
    Can we have a lodging," etc.

    "Sleep, my daughter, do not wake--
    Here come three tinkers and they sha'n't take;
    They sha'n't have a lodging," etc.

    "Here come three kings, three by three,
    To court your daughter merrily;
    Can we have a lodging," etc.

    "Wake, my daughter, do not sleep--
    Here come three kings, and they _shall_ take;
    They _shall_ have a lodging, they shall have a lodging,
    They shall have a lodging here to-night."

(_To the kings_)--

    "Here is my daughter safe and sound,
    And in her pocket five hundred pound,
    And on her finger a plain gold ring,
    And she is fit to walk with the king."

(The daughter goes with the kings; but they are villains in disguise:
they rob her, push her back to her mother, and sing)--

    "Here is your daughter _not_ safe and sound,
    And in her pocket _not_ five hundred pound,
    And on her finger no plain gold ring,
    And she's not fit to walk with the king."

(The mother pursues the kings, and tries to catch and beat them).

                                             _Charlestown, W. Va._

No. 3.

_Here Comes a Duke._

This rhyme is only a later development of the same game. The suitor is
now made to address himself directly to his mistress, and the mercenary
character of the previous transaction is replaced by coquetry. Our New
England song loses nothing by comparison with the pretty Scotch.

A company of little girls sit in a row. A little girl from the middle
of the room goes dancing up to the first one in the row, singing,

    "Here comes a duke a-roving,
            Roving, roving,
    Here comes a duke a-roving,
            With the ransy, tansy, tea!
    With the ransy, tansy, tario!
            With the ransy, tansy, tea!
    Pretty fair maid, will you come out,
    Will you come out, will you come out,
        To join us in our dancing?"

Little girl answers,


Suitor steps backward, singing,

    "Naughty girl,[39] she won't come out,
    She won't come out, she won't come out,
        To join us in our dancing."

Suitor advances as before. The answer now is,


These two now retire, singing together,

    "Now we've got the flowers of May,
    The flowers of May, the flowers of May,
        To join us in our dancing."

They join hands and call out the next one in the row; thus the play
goes on until the last is selected, when they form a ring, dance, and

    "Now we've got the flowers of May,
    The flowers of May, the flowers of May,
        To join us in our dancing."

                                                  _Concord, Mass._

Avulgarized form of the same game is common through the Middle States:

  _Boys._   "We are three _ducks_ a-roving, (thrice)
                  _With a ransom dansom dee._"

  _Girls._  "What is your good-will, sir?" etc.

  _Boys._   "My good-will is to marry," etc.

  _Girls._  "Which one of us will you have, sir?" etc.

  _Boys._   "You're all too black and blowzy," etc.

  _Girls._  "We are as good as you, sir," etc.

  _Boys._   "Then I will take you, miss," etc.

The pretended quarrel between intermediaries has here become a dispute
of the principals.[40]

Finally, in the streets of New York the dialogue is made

  _The Ring._         "Forty ducks are riding,
                        _My dilsey dulsey officer_;
                      Forty ducks are riding,
                        _My dilsey dulsey day_.
                      Which of the lot do you like best?"

  _Child in Centre._  "You're all too black and ugly--ugly," etc.

  _The Ring._         "We're not so black as you are," etc.

The child then selects a partner, when the rest sing,

    "Open the gates and let the bride out," etc.;

and the couple pass under lifted hands, circle the ring, and similarly
reenter, to the words,

    "Open the gates and let the bride in," etc.

We have thus a curious example of the way in which an apparently
meaningless game, which might be supposed the invention of the _gamins_
of the street, is, in fact, a degenerate form of the ancient poetry,
which was brimful of grace, courtesy, and the joy of existence.

For a purpose presently to be mentioned, we must cite the corresponding
Scotch rhyme, given by Chambers:

    A dis, a dis, a green grass,
        A dis, a dis, a dis;
    Come all ye pretty fair maids,
        And dance along with us.

    For we are going a-roving,
        A-roving in this land;
    We'll take this pretty fair maid,
        We'll take her by the hand.

    Ye shall get a duke, my dear,
        And ye shall get a drake;
    And ye shall get a young prince,
        A young prince for your sake.

    And if this young prince chance to die,
        Ye shall get another;
    The bells will ring, and the birds will sing,
        And we'll all clap hands together.

No. 4.

_Tread, Tread the Green Grass._

    Tread, tread the green grass,
        Dust, dust, dust;
    Come all ye pretty fair maids
        And walk along with us.

    If you be a fair maid,
        As I suppose you be,
    I'll take you by the lily-white hand
        And lead you across the sea.


With this musical call to the dance, it was common, a generation since,
for girls in this town to begin the evening dances on the green,
singing as they marched in couples. The "dust" of the rhyme is a
corruption. Comparing it with the Scotch song previously quoted, we do
not doubt that it represents the Scotch (in other words, old English)
_adist_, the opposite of _ayont_, meaning _this way_, come hither. We
ought probably therefore to read,

    Tread, tread the green grass,
        Adist, adist, adist.

This song was no mere dance of rustics; the children at least kept up
the usage of the day when a pleasing popular poetry was the heritage of
all ranks. The spirit of the strain carries us back to that "carolling"
of ladies which was, in the time of Chaucer, no less than the gay green
of the meadow or the melody of the birds, an accompaniment of summer.

No. 5.

_I'll Give to You a Paper of Pins._

This pretty and interesting, hitherto imprinted, children's song is
more or less familiar throughout the Middle States. We have heard it
with many variations from persons of all classes and ages. It may often
be listened to in the upper part of the city of New York, as it is sung
(with a mere apology for a melody) by three or four girls, walking with
arms entwined, or crooned by mere infants seated on the casks which, in
the poorer quarters, often encumber the sidewalk.

There are also English and Scotch versions, generally inferior as
regards poetical merit and antiquity of language. The English form,
however, seems to contain the primitive idea, where the wooer appears
as a prince, who by splendid presents overcomes the objections of a
lady. This mercenary character being repugnant to modern taste, the
Scotch rhyme represents the suitor as the Evil One in person; while
in the United States the hero is, in his turn, made to cast off the
avaricious fair, or else the lady to demand only love for love.

The numerous couplets of the American rhyme are completely in the
ballad style. A "paper of pins" is substituted for a "pennorth of
pins." The "easy-chair" is modern, but the verse itself ancient,
combing golden hair being a world-old occupation of beauties. The gown
"trimmed with golden thread," or "set off with a golden crown," refers
to the attire of olden times. The mediæval bride wore a crown on the
head and flowing hair; a costume also mentioned in old ballads as the
usual dress of a demoiselle of rank arrayed for the dance.

    "I'll give to you a paper of pins,
    And that's the way my love begins;
        If you will marry me, me, me,
        If you will marry me."

    "I don't accept your paper of pins,
    If that's the way your love begins;
        For I won't marry you, you, you,
        For I won't marry you."

    "I'll give to you an easy-chair,
    To sit in and comb your golden hair.

    "I'll give to you a silver spoon,
    To feed your babe in the afternoon.

    "I'll give to you a dress of green,
    To make you look like any queen.[41]

    "I'll give to you the key of my heart,
    For you to lock and never to part.

    "I'll give to you the key of my chest,
    For you to have money at your request."

    "I _do_ accept the key of your chest,
    For me to have money at my request;
        And I will marry you, you, you,
        And I will marry you."

    "Ha, ha, ha, money is all,
    And I won't marry you at all;
        For I won't marry you, you, you,
        For I won't marry you."

This is from a New York child; our next version is from Connecticut:


    "Oh, miss, I'll give you a paper of pins,
    If you will tell me how love begins:
        If you will marry, marry, marry,
        If you will marry me."

    "I'll not accept your paper of pins,
    And I won't tell you how love begins;
        For I won't marry, marry, marry,
        For I won't marry you."

    "O miss, I'll give you a coach and six,
    Every horse as black as pitch.

    "O miss, I'll give you a red silk gown,
    With gold and laces hanging round.

    "O miss, I'll give you a little gold bell,
    To ring for the waiter[42] when you are not well.

    "O miss, I'll give you the key to my heart,
    That we may lock and never part.

    "O miss, I'll give you the key to my chest,
    That you may have money at your request."

    "I will accept the key of your chest,
    That I may have money at my request."

    "Ah, I see, money is all,
    Woman's love is none at all;
        And I won't marry, marry, marry,
        And I won't marry you."

Finally, we have a variation with a more tender conclusion:

    "Will you have a paper of pins?
    For that's the way my love begins--
        And will you marry me, me, me,
        And will you marry me?"

    "No, I'll not have a paper of pins,
    If that's the way your love begins."

    "Will you have a little lap-dog,
    Who may follow you abroad?

    "Will you have a coach and four,
    Footman behind and footman before?

    "Will you have a dress of red,
    All trimmed round with golden thread?

    "Will you have a satin gown,
    All set off with a golden crown?

    "Will you have the key to my chest,
    To draw out gold at your request?

    "Will you have the key to my heart,
    That we may love and never part?"

    "Yes, I will have the key to your heart,
    That we may love and never part,
        And I will marry you, you, you,
        And I will marry you."

The same idea is contained in a song originally Scotch, but which comes
to us (through an Irish medium) from Pennsylvania:

    "Will you come to the Highland braes,
        _Bonny lassie, Highland lassie_?
    Will you come to the Highland braes,
        _My bonny Highland lassie_?"

The reply is, "Na, na, it will not dee, bonnie laddie," etc.: when the
wooer gradually increases his offers:

    "I will give you a golden comb,
    If you will be mine and never roam;"

and finally inquires,

    "Will you go to the kirk with me,
    There to be my wedded wife?"

which is eagerly accepted:

    "_And them's the words away to town_,
    And I will get my wedding-gown."

No. 6.

_There She Stands, a Lovely Creature._

This pretty song has been recited to us by informants of the most
cultivated class, and, on the other hand, we have seen it played as a
round by the very "Arabs of the street," in words identically the same.
It is an old English song, which has been fitted for a ring-game by the
composition of an additional verse, to allow the selection of a partner.


    "There she stands, a lovely creature,
      Who she is, I do not know;
    I have caught her for her beauty,--
      Let her answer, yes or no.

    "Madam, I have gold and silver,
     Lady, I have houses and lands,
    Lady, I have ships on the ocean,
      All I have is at thy command."

    "What care I for your gold and silver,
      What care I for your houses and lands,
    What care I for your ships on the ocean--
      _All I want is a nice young man._"

                                                       _New York._

No. 7.

_Green Grow the Rushes, O!_

In former times, the amusements of young people at their winter-evening
gatherings consisted almost entirely of "playing games." On such
occasions the following rhyme was used (in eastern Massachusetts) about
the beginning of the century, to select partners for the ring. Chairs
were placed in a circle, and the players of one sex seated, so as to
leave alternate vacant places, for which they chose occupants, singing--

    "Green grow the rushes, O!
    Green grow the rushes, O!
    He who will my true love be,
    Come and sit by the side of me."

Those waiting to be selected sang,

    "Pick and choose, but choose not me,
    Choose the fairest you can see."

This dialogue was repeated for each player until all were taken in,
which, if the party was numerous, of necessity took a long time.

No. 8.

_The Widow with Daughters to Marry._

A child, representing a mother, is followed by a file of daughters,
each grasping the frock of the girl in front.

    There comes a poor widow from Barbary-land,[43]
    With all her children in her hand;
    One can brew, and one can bake,
    And one can make a wedding-cake;
      Pray take one,
      Pray take two,
    Pray take one that pleases you.[44]


The "poor widow" is also represented as having only one daughter left.

    Sister, O Phoebe, how happy we be,
    As we go under the juniper-tree!
    We'll put on our night-caps to keep our heads warm,
    And two or three kisses will do us no harm--
    Will do us no harm, Io!
    I am a poor widow, a-marching around,
    And all of my daughters are married but one;
    So rise up my daughter, and kiss whom you please,
    And kiss whom you please, Io!


Another old version of this round:

    I am a rich widow, I live all alone,
    I have but one daughter, and she is my own;
    Go, daughter, go choose, go choose your one,
    Go choose a good one, or else choose you none.

                                                       _New York._

Finally, we have the modern corruption of the street, which, however,
shows us the manner of playing:

A child stands in the ring, as the mother. The daughter reclines as if
asleep, her head resting on her hands, till the words, _rise up_.

    Here _stands_ a poor widow a-walking around,
        Io! Io! Io!
    So put on the night-cap to keep her head warm,
        To keep her head warm, Io!
    So rise up my daughter, and kiss whom you please,
        And kiss whom you please, Io!

                                                       _New York._

The widow with daughters to marry is a European celebrity. The titles
_rich_ and _poor_, moreover, in this and the last number, are not
meaningless, but show that two independent characters have been united
in one. In the original European game, which we have not encountered in
an English form, there is both a _rich_ and a _poor_ mother; the latter
begs away, one by one, the daughters of the former, until she has
secured all. The present round and the preceding are only reductions,
or adaptations to the dance, of this more ancient and dramatic game.
Once more, the game of the rich and poor mothers, though centuries old,
and existing in many European tongues, is itself but an outgrowth of a
still more ancient childish drama, which has given birth to innumerable
sports, dances, and songs, exhibiting very different external
characteristics all over Europe, but of which primitive and complete
versions at present seem to exist only in America.[45]

No. 9.

_Philander's March._

This rhyme has been familiar throughout the New England States. Some of
our older readers will remember how the doors of all the apartments of
an old-fashioned mansion, with its great chimney in the centre, would
be thrown open at an evening party, and the children march through the
house, and up and down the staircase, singing the familiar air--

    Come, Philanders,[46] let's be a-marching,
    Every one choose from his heartstrings;[47]
    Choose your true love now or never,
    And be sure you choose no other.
    O, my dear----, how I do love you!
    Nothing on earth do I prize above you!
    With a kiss now let me greet you,
    And I will never, never leave you.

                                   _Plymouth, Mass._ (about 1800).

Another version:

    Come, Philander, let us be a-marching,
    From the ranks there's no deserting,
    Choose your own, your own true lover,
    See that you don't choose any other;
    Now farewell, dear love, farewell,
    We're all a-marching, so farewell.

                                                _Deerfield, Mass._

Why, of all the names of the Damon and Sylvia class, _Philander_,[48]
which, according to derivation, should mean fondness for the male
sex, came to be a proverbial expression for an amorous person, and
contributed to the English language a verb (to philander) we cannot
say. Children's intelligence made wild work of the word. A New England
variation was, "Come, _Lysanders_;" and in Pennsylvania, on the
Maryland border, the first line has been ingeniously distorted into
"_Cumberland city-town-boys_" marching! Cumberland being a town in the
latter state.

No. 10.


(1.) By this name was known in Massachusetts, at the beginning of the
century, an elaborate dance (for such, though practised in a Puritan
community, it really was) which has a very decided local flavor.

Partners having been chosen, the girl says--

    "Come, my dearest partner, and join both heart and hand;
    You want you a wife, and I want me a man.
    So married we will be, if we can agree,
    We'll march down together, so happy are we."

The partners now separate, the lad saying--

    "Now I must part, and leave you alone,
    So fare you well, my true love, till I return."

The maid replies--

    "I mourn, I mourn, for that is the cry,
    I'm left all alone, and I'm sure I shall die."

But, after walking round, rejoins her partner, who welcomes her--

    "Oh, here comes my love, and how do you do?
    And how have you been since I parted with you?"

The pair then address the row--

    "There is a scene secure from all harm,
    Please to give us joy by the raising of the arm."

The other players, who stand each lad opposite his lass, raise arms,
and the couple walk down under the arch so formed, pausing at the foot--

    "Now we are married, and never more to part,
    Please to give a kiss from the bottom of the heart."

And the game proceeds with the next couple.

                                   _Scituate, Mass._ (about 1800).

(2.) No better as respects poetry, but with more evidence of old
English origin, is the following game, in which couples circle in a
ring about two chairs, from time to time changing partners. We have not
been clearly informed of the way of playing, but presume that at the
time of the change the youth or girl in the ring must select a mate.

    "On the green carpet here we stand,
    Take your true love in your hand;
    Take the one whom you profess
    To be the one whom you love best."

A change of partners.

    "Very well done, said Johnny Brown,
    Is this the way to London town?
    Stand ye here, stand ye there,
    Till your true love doth appear."

A mate is finally chosen, and the ring sings--

    "Oh, what a beautiful choice you've made!
    Don't you wish you'd longer stayed?
    [Give her a kiss, and send her away,
    And tell her she can no longer stay."[49]]

                                                    _Salem, Mass._

The "green carpet" is, of course, the grass, on which the village dance
proceeds in the summer-time,[50] and the remains of an ancient "carol"
appear in the corrupt rhyme.

(3.) To the game of _Marriage_, as played in France and Italy, the
following closely corresponds:

A boy and girl having been chosen by singing our No. 17, and standing
in the centre of the ring, the game proceeds, with imitative motion and

    "Row the boat! Row the boat!
        Let the boat stand!
    I think ---- ---- is a handsome young man;
    I think ---- ---- is as handsome as he,
    And they shall be married, if they can agree."[51]

Such short rhymes are not used independently, but joined to some
fragment of a ballad, which they serve to turn into a game, as may be
seen in our No. 12.

(4.) We take this opportunity to give one or two other familiar
examples of kissing rounds:

    Had I as many eyes as the stars in the skies,
    And were I as old as Adam,
    I'd fall on my knees, and kiss whom I please,
    Your humble servant, madam.

In Boston, half a century since, this ran--

    As many _wives as the stars in the skies_,
    And each _as old as Adam_, etc.

In Georgia, at the present day--

    Many, many stars are in the skies,
    And _each as old as Adam_, etc.

(5.) The following is yet more inane, yet it furnishes a curious
example of correspondence--

    "---- ---- languishes."
    "For whom?"
    "For ---- ----."

This is not much more crude than the French equivalent.[52]

(6.) We may add that the familiar American game, known as "Pillow,"
or "Pillows and Keys" (why _keys_?), in which a player kneels on a
_pillow_ and solicits a kiss, is no doubt a descendant of the "Cushion
Dance," alluded to by old dramatists.


[35] The game, half a century since, was played by boys as well as
girls. New England variations are numerous; thus for the last line of
verse 4, "I'll turn my face another way." For verse 7, "Go through the
kitchen and through the hall, and choose the fairest one of all." A New
York variety puts the last words into the mouth of the bride: "I'm so
happy that I could sing."

[36] So in an English variety:

    "I will give you pots and pans, I will give you brass,
    I will give you anything for a pretty lass."


    "I will give you gold and silver, I will give you pearl,
    I will give you anything for a pretty girl."

    "Take one, take one, the fairest you may see."

                                           Halliwell, "Nursery Rhymes."

[37] The ending is like ours--

    "Prenez la plus jolie de toutes."
    "Voilà la plus jolie de toutes."


    Eco la Nina al campo--fra tanti suoni e canti;
    Eco la Nina al campo--olà, olà, olà.

    Faciamo un bel' inchino--profondo al suo rispeto;
    Faciamo un bel' inchino--olà, olà, olà.

[39] A New Hampshire fragment has here,

    "The _scornful maid_, she won't come out,"

which seems more genuine.

[40] An English variety, printed a century since in "Gammer Gurton's
Garland," has as the first line of the refrain,

    _My-a-dildin, my-a-daldin_;

and as the alternate line,

    _Lily white and shine-a_.

The last phrase comes to us as the fragment of a game in Massachusetts,
about 1800. We are reminded of the songs of Autolycus in "A Winter's
Tale," "with such delicate burdens of _dildos_ and fadings."

[41] Here verses may be improvised at pleasure; for instance, said the
little reciter,

    "I'll give to you a dress of black,
    A green silk apron and a white cap,
        If you will marry," etc.

[42] In the English version "to ring up _your maidens_."

[43] Variation: "Here comes an old woman from Sunderland," or

[44] In Canada the game goes:

    J'ai tant d'enfants à marier!
    J'ai tant d'enfants à marier!
    Grand Dieu! je n' sais comment
      Pouvoir en marier tant.

    Mademoiselle, on parle à vous;
    On dit que vous aimez beaucoup;
    Si c'est vrai que vous aimez,
    Entrez dans la danse, entrez!

[45] See Note; also No. 154, and Note.

[46] Usually plural.

[47] Or, dialectically, "every one his true lover _sarching_."

[48] "Were his men like him, he'd command a regiment of Damons and
_Philanders_."--"Two Faces under One Hood," by Thomas Dibdin.

[49] From another version.

[50] As Lodge has it--

    Footing it featlie on the grassie ground,
    These damsels circling with their brightsome faires--

[51] Fifty years ago the corresponding French game was still played as
a "game of society"--

    Eh! qui marirons-nous?
        Mademoiselle, ce sera vous:
        Entrez dans la danse;
    J'aimerai qui m'aimera, j'aimerai qui m'aime.

The round then proceeds--

    Eh! qui lui donnerons-nous?
        Mon beau monsieur, ce sera vous.
        Amans, embrassez-vous, etc.


    "Qui est-ce qui languira?"
    "Ce sera ---- ---- qui languira."
    "---- ---- la guerira."

                                         _French game in Cambrai_.



    A fresh wreath of crimson roses
      Round my forehead twine will I;
    I will wear them for a garland,
      Wear them till the day I die.

    I desire that in my coffin
      May be room enough for three;
    For my father, for my mother,
      And my love to lie with me.

    Afterwards above the coffin
      We will let a flower grow;
    In the morning we will plant it,
      In the evening it will blow.

    Wayfarers will pause demanding,
      "Whose may be the flower there?"
    "'Tis the flower of Rosetina,
      She who died of love's despair."

                                       _Round of Girls in Venice._

No. 11.

_Miss Jennia Jones._

This childish drama has been familiar in the Middle States since the
memory of the oldest inhabitant. The Scotch equivalent shows that the
heroine's name was originally _Jenny jo_. "Jo" is an old English word
for sweetheart, probably a corruption of _joy_, French _joie_, used as
a term of endearment. _Jenny my joy_ has thus been modernized into Miss
Jennia (commonly understood to be a contraction for Virginia) Jones!

The story is originally a love-tale. The young lady, like Rosetina in
the Venetian song (a part of which we have translated above) dies of
blighted affection and the prohibition of cruel parents. The suitor, in
America, is represented by feminine friends. Yet the drama has lived;
a proof that in singing and playing love-tales the children rather
imitated their elders than followed a necessity of their own nature.

From various versions we select the following:

A mother, seated. Miss Jennia Jones stands behind her chair, or
reclines on her lap as if lying sick. A dancer advances from the ring.

    "I've come to see Miss Jennia Jones,
      Miss Jennia Jones, Miss Jennia Jones--
    I've come to see Miss Jennia Jones,
      And how is she to-day?"

    "She's up-stairs washing,
      Washing, washing--
    She's up-stairs washing,
      You cannot see her to-day."

The questions are repeated to the same air for every day of the
week, and the reply is that Miss Jennia Jones is ironing, baking, or
scrubbing. She is then represented as sick, as worse, and finally as
dead, which announcement is received with signs of deep grief. The
dancers of the ring then discuss the costume in which she shall be

    "What shall we dress her in,
      Dress her in, dress her in;
    What shall we dress her in--
      Shall it be blue?"

    "Blue is for sailors,
      So that will never do."

    "What shall we dress her in,
      Shall it be red?"

    "Red is for firemen,
      So that will never do."

    "Pink is for babies,
      So that will never do."

    "Green is forsaken,
      So that will never do."

    "Black is for mourners,
      So that will never do."

    "White is for dead people,
      So that will just do."

    "Where shall we bury her?
      Under the apple-tree."

After the ceremonies of burial have been completed, the ghost of Miss
Jennia Jones suddenly arises--

    "I dreamt I saw a ghost last night,
      Ghost last night, ghost last night--
    I dreamt I saw a ghost last night,
      Under the apple-tree!"

The ring breaks up, and flies with shrieks, and the one caught is to
represent Miss Jennia Jones.

An interesting feature of our game is the symbolism of color. "Each of
these colors," says an informant, "which denoted a profession, also
typified a feeling. Thus, blue, which is said to be for _sailors_,
suggested _constancy_."

In one version of the game, which comes to us from an Irish source,
_green_ is for _grief, red_ for _joy, black_ for _mourning_, and
_white_ for _death_. In another such version, _white_ is for _angels_,
and is the chosen color; a reading we would willingly adopt, as
probably more ancient, and as expressing the original seriousness of
the whole, and the feeling which the color of white symbolized. In more
common Irish phrase, _green_ is for _Irish_, _yellow_ for _Orangemen_.
In Cincinnati, _purple_ is for _kings_ and _queens_, _gray_ for
_Quakers_. In a Connecticut variation, _yellow_ is for _glad folks_.

An English saying corresponds closely to the significance of colors in
our game:

    Blue is true, yellow is jealous,
    Green is forsaken, red is brazen,
    White is love, and black is death.

A variation from West Virginia makes the question apply to the dress of
the mourners, not of the deceased: "What shall we dress in?" "In our
red, in our blue," etc., are rejected, and the decision is, "In our

Such imitations of burial ceremonies are not merely imaginative. It
was once the custom for the girls of a village to take an active
part in the interment of one of their number. In a Flemish town, a
generation since, when a young girl died, her body was carried to
the church, thence to the cemetery, by her former companions. "The
religious ceremony over, and the coffin deposited in the earth, all the
young girls, holding in one hand the mortuary cloth, returned to the
church, chanting the _maiden's dance_ with a spirit and rhythm scarcely
conceivable by one who has not heard it. The pall which they carried to
the church was of sky-blue silk, having in the middle a great cross of
white silk, on which were set three crowns of silver."

The following is a rendering of the "Maiden's Dance:"

    In heaven is a dance;
    There dance all the maids;
      Benedicamus Domino--

    It is for Amelia;
    We dance like the maids;
      Benedicamus Domino--

Such touching customs show the profound original earnestness
underlying the modern child's play, as well as the primitive religious
significance of the dance. In England, too, it was the practice for the
bearers of a virgin to be maids, as a ballad recites:

    A garland fresh and faire
      Of lilies there was made,
    In signe of her virginity,
      And on her coffin laid.
    Six maidens, all in white,
      Did beare her to the grave.

No. 12.

_Down She Comes as White as Milk._

This round is remarkable for being introduced, wherever it occurs, by
a stanza with a different melody, whereby the ballad is turned into
a game. By this introduction the hero and heroine of the action are

"Little Sally Waters," or "Uncle John," having been first played, the
round proceeds about the couple standing in the ring:

    He knocks at the door, and picks up a pin,
    And asks if Miss ---- is in.

    She neither is in, she neither is out,
    She's in the garret a-walking about.

    Down she comes as white as milk,
    A rose in her bosom, as soft as silk.

    She takes off her gloves, and shows me a ring;
    To-morrow, to-morrow, the wedding begins.[53]

                             _Concord, Mass._ (_before 1800_).

The version now played in New York streets is corrupt, but has a
spirited melody:


    Wa-ter, wa-ter, wild-flowers, grow-ing up so high;
    We are all young la-dies, And we are sure to die,
    Ex-cept-ing Su-sie Al-len, She is the fin-est flow-er.
    Fie, fie, fie for shame; Turn about and tell your beau's name.

The girl complying, the ballad proceeds--


    Mr. _Nobody_ is a nice young man,
    He comes to the door with his hat in his hand.

    Down she comes, all dressed in silk,
    A rose in her bosom, as white as milk.

    She takes off her gloves, she shows me her ring,
    To-morrow, to-morrow, the wedding begins.

The song before us furnishes a good example of the persistency of
childish tradition. Not only is it still current in New England and
the Middle States, with words closely corresponding to those given in
our version of almost a century since, but these words are also nearly
identical with the language of the round as we are told it is sung at
the present day in Ireland.

Of a type similar to the foregoing is an ancient and curious, but
unpublished, nursery song,[54] the first lines of which, at least, will
be familiar to some of our readers:

    Sing, sparrow, sing!
    What shall I sing?
    All the boys in our town have gone courting;
    All but little Charley,
    And he stays at home,
    And he says he'll have Mary,
    Or else he'll have none.

    Row, boat, row!
    Where shall I row?
    Up to little Mary's door.
    Out jumps little Charley in his boots and spurs,
    And goes to the door, and pulls at the string--
    "Where's little Mary? Is she within?"

    "Miss Mary's up-stairs, a-making a cap."
    Then down comes Miss Mary, as white as the milk,
    All dressed in pink posies and sweet pretty silk,
    And goes to the cupboard, and takes up the can,
    And drinks to little Charley, a pretty little man.
    He takes her in his lap, and pares her nails,[55]
    And gives her a posy of peacock's tails,
    And rings and jewels fit for her hand,
    And tells little Mary he'll come again.

The mention in this rhyme of the cupboard and the can carries us to
a time not so remote indeed in years, but far removed in customs. At
the beginning of the century, in the old colonial towns, tumblers were
unknown; the silver can stood on the table, and was passed from hand to
hand at the meal, the elders drinking first. This usage was accompanied
with much ceremony. An informant (born in Salem, Mass.), whose memory
goes back almost to the beginning of the century, recollects how, when
it came to be his turn to drink, he was obliged to rise and wipe his
lips (the use of the same vessel by a whole family made this habit
proper), and repeat the words, while parents and friends laid down
knives and forks and looked on, "Duty to Sir and Ma'am, respects to
aunt, love to brother and sister, and health to myself." Sometimes, he
said, sensitive children would rather "go dry" than endure this ordeal.

No. 13.

_Little Sally Waters._

A girl in the centre of the ring, seated, and covering her face with
her hands. At the word "rise," she chooses and salutes any one whom she

    Little Sally Waters,
    Sitting in the sun,
    Crying and weeping,
    For a young man.
    Rise, Sally, rise,
    Dry your weeping eyes,
    Fly to the East,
    Fly to the West,
    Fly to the one you love best.

In the north of England the heroine's name is _Sally Walker_:

    Sally Walker, Sally Walker,
        Come spring-time and love--
    She's lamenting, she's lamenting,
        All for her young man.

A ballad situation has been united with a dance-rhyme.

No. 14.

_Here Sits the Queen of England._

    Here sits the Queen of England in her chair,
    She has lost the true love that she had last year;
    So rise upon your feet, and kiss the first you meet,
        For there's many around your chair.


No. 15.

_Green Gravel._

A girl sits in the ring, and turns her head gravely as a messenger
advances, while the rest sing to a pleasing air--


    Green gravel, green gravel, the grass is so green,
    And all the free _masons_ (maidens) are _ashamed_ (arrayed?) to
        "be seen;"[56]
    O Mary, O Mary, your true love is dead,
    The king sends you a letter to turn back your head.[57]

There are only two lines left of the ballad, or rather reminiscence of

A French round begins similarly: "Ah, the bringer of letters! What
news is this? Ah, it is news that you must change your love.[58] Must
I change my love, I prefer to die; he is not here, nor in France; he
is in England, where he serves the gracious king." To this fragment
belong the ancient verses which we have set as the motto of Chapter
II. of our Introduction. All the other ladies of Paris are at the
dance; the king's daughter alone "regarde à coté," "turns her head,"
looking at a messenger who is approaching; he brings news of her love's
unfaithfulness; a rival skilled in magic arts has enchanted him, in the
far country where he is warring. There is no more left of the ancient
ballad, which, we presume, went on to describe her departure in man's
costume, and rescue of her lover. We cannot prove the identity of our
fragment, but we see how the child's game may have arisen.

No. 16.

_Uncle John._

A ring of dancers who circle and sing--

    Uncle John is very sick, what shall we send him?
    A piece of pie, a piece of cake, a piece of apple-dumpling.[59]
    What shall we send it in? In a piece of paper.
    Paper is not fine[60] enough; in a golden saucer.
    Who shall we send it by? By the governor's[61] daughter.
    Take her by the lily-white hand, and lead her over the water.

After the words "governor's daughter" all the dancers fall down, and
the last down stands apart, selects her confidential friend, and
imparts with great mystery the _initials_ of some boy in whom she takes
an interest. She then returns, and takes her place in the ring with
face reversed, while the friend announces the initials, and the dancers
sing, using the letters given--

    A. B., so they say,
    Goes a-courting night and day,
    Sword and pistol by his side,
    And ---- ---- to be his bride;
    Takes her by the lily-white hand,
    And leads her o'er the water--
    Here's a kiss, and there's a kiss
    For Mr. ----'s daughter.

If the person representing "Uncle John" be a boy, his full name comes
first in this rhyme, and the initials of the girl are used.

The choice of the confidante is said to require as much deliberation as
the selection of an ambassador of state.

                                                  _Hartford, Conn._

This is one of the most familiar of all children's rounds in our
country. It is, we see, a love-history; and, thrice vulgarized as
it is, bears traces of ancient origin, and may perhaps be the last
echo of the mediæval song in which an imprisoned knight is saved from
approaching death by the daughter of the king, or soldan, who keeps him
in confinement.[62]

No. 17.

_King Arthur was King William's Son._

A row of hats of various sizes, and belonging to both sexes, are placed
on the floor. The leader picks up the first hat, and puts it on his
own head, marching and singing the verse. He then takes up the next
hat, and places it on the head of any one he pleases; the person chosen
stands behind him, and they once more march, singing. The process is
continued, until all the company are arranged in line:

    King Arthur was King William's son,
    And when the battle he had won,
    Upon his breast he wore a star,
    And it was called the sign of war.

                                              _Orange, New Jersey._

The following rhyme is exceedingly familiar, throughout the Middle and
Southern States, as a kissing-round:

    King William was King James's son, And all the roy-al race he run; Upon
    his breast he wore a star, And it was called the sign of war.
    King William was King James's son,[63]
    And all the royal race he run;
    Upon his head he wore a star.
    Star of the East,
    Star of the West,
    Star of the one you love the best.
    If she's not here don't take her part,
    But choose another with all your heart.
    Down on the carpet you must kneel,
    As the grass grows on the field,
    Salute your bride, and kiss her sweet,
    And rise again upon your feet.

The round is also familiar in Ireland. We learn from an informant that
in her town it was formerly played in a 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:

    King William was King George's son--
        _From the Bay of Biscay, O!_
    Upon his breast he wore a star--
        _Find your way to English schools._

Then followed the game-rhyme, repeated with each stanza, "Go choose you
East," etc. King William is then supposed to enter--

    The first girl that I loved so dear,
    Can it be she's gone from me?

    If she's not here when the night comes on,
    Will none of you tell me where she is gone?

He recognizes the disguised girl--

    There's heart beneath the willow-tree,
    There's no one here but my love and me.

"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 recognize 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.

                                              _Waterford, Ireland._

The round now in use in the town whence this comes, but where the
ballad is not at present known, begins:

    King William was King George's son--
        _From the Bay of Biscay, O!_
    Upon his breast he wore a star--
        _Point your way across the sea._

In the year 1287, Folke Algotson, a high-born Swedish youth, carried
off to Norway (at that time the refuge of such boldness) Ingrid, a
daughter of the "law-man" or judge of East Gothland, who was betrothed
to a Danish noble. Popular ballads attached themselves to the
occurrence, which are still preserved. The substance of that version
of the story with which we are concerned is as follows: A youth loves
a maid, who returns his affection, but in his absence her friends have
"given" her to another. He rides to the wedding ceremony with a troop
of followers. The bride, seeing him approach, and wishing to test his
affection, calls on her maidens to "take off her gold crown, and coif
her in linen white." But the hero at once recognizes his love, mounts
with her on horseback, and flees to Norway.

We cannot believe the resemblance to be accidental, and look upon our
rhymes as a branch from the same ancient--but not historical--root.

No. 18.

_Little Harry Hughes and the Duke's Daughter._

The writer was not a little surprised to hear from a group of colored
children, in the streets of New York city (though in a more incoherent
form) the following ballad. He traced the song to a little girl living
in one of the cabins near Central Park, from whom he obtained this
version. The hut, rude as the habitation of a recent squatter on the
plains, was perched on a rock still projecting above the excavations
which had been made on either side, preparatory to the erection of the
conventional "brown-stone fronts" of a New York street. Rocks flung by
carelessly managed explosions flew over the roof, and clouds of dust
were blown by every wind into the unswept hovel. In this unlikely spot
lingered the relics of old English folk-song, amid all the stir of the
busiest of cities. The mother of the family had herself been born in
New York, of Irish parentage, but had learned from her own mother, and
handed down to her children, such legends of the past as the ballad
we cite. A pretty melody gave popularity to the verse, and so the
thirteenth-century tradition, extinct perhaps in its native soil, had
taken a new lease of existence as a song of negro children in New York.

Under the thin disguise of the heading will be recognized the ballad
of "Hugh of Lincoln and the Jew's Daughter," the occasion of which
is referred by Matthew Paris to the year 1255. Chaucer, in exquisite
verse, has made his Prioress recount the same story: how the child,

    This gemme of chastitè, this emeraude,
    And eek of martirdom the ruby bright,

has his throat cut by "false Jewes," and, cast into a pit, still sings
his chant in honor of

    This welle of mercy, Christes moder sweet;

and, when discovered, cannot be buried in peace till the magic grain is
removed which "that blissful maiden fre" has laid under his tongue.

The conclusion is, in our version, only implied. In that given by
Jamieson the murdered child, speaking from the well, bids his mother
prepare the winding-sheet, for he will meet her in the morn "at the
back of merry Lincoln;" and the funeral service is performed by angels.


    It was on a May, on a midsummer's day,
    When it rained, it did rain small;
    And little Harry Hughes and his playfellows all
    Went out to play the ball.

    He knocked it up, and he knocked it down,
    He knocked it o'er and o'er;
    The very first kick little Harry gave the ball,
    He broke the duke's windows all.

    She came down, the youngest duke's daughter,
    She was dressed in green;
    "Come back, come back, my pretty little boy,
    And play the ball again."

    "I won't come back, and I daren't come back,
    Without my playfellows all;
    And if my mother she should come in,
    She'd make it the bloody ball."[64]

    She took an apple out of her pocket,
      And rolled it along the plain;
    Little Harry Hughes picked up the apple,
      And sorely rued the day.

    She takes him by the lily-white hand,
      And leads him from hall to hall,
    Until she came to a little dark room,
      That none could hear him call.

    She sat herself on a golden chair,
      Him on another close by;
    And there's where she pulled out her little penknife
      That was both sharp and fine.

    Little Harry Hughes had to pray for his soul,
      For his days were at an end;
    She stuck her penknife in little Harry's heart,
      And first the blood came very thick, and then came very thin.[65]

    She rolled him in a quire of tin,
      That was in so many a fold;
    She rolled him from that to a little draw-well
      That was fifty fathoms deep.

    "Lie there, lie there, little Harry," she cried,
      "And God forbid you to swim,
    If you be a disgrace to me,
      Or to any of my friends."

    The day passed by, and the night came on,
      And every scholar was home,
    And every mother had her own child,
      But poor Harry's mother had none.[66]

    She walked up and down the street,
      With a little sally-rod[67] in her hand;
    And God directed her to the little draw-well,
      That was fifty fathoms deep.

    "If you be there, little Harry," she said,
      "And God forbid you to be,
    Speak one word to your own dear mother,
      That is looking all over for thee."

    "This I am, dear mother," he cried,
      "And lying in great pain,
    With a little penknife lying close to my heart,
      And the duke's daughter she has me slain.

    "Give my blessing to my schoolfellows all,
      And tell them to be at the church,
    And make my grave both large and deep,
      And my coffin of hazel and green birch.

    "Put my Bible at my head,
      My busker[68] (?) at my feet,
    My little prayer-book at my right side,
      And sound will be my sleep."

No. 19.

_Barbara Allen._

In the first quarter of the century, this celebrated ballad was still
used in New England as a children's game or dance at evening parties.
We have here, perhaps, the latest English survival, in cultivated
society, of a practice which had once been universal. It is noteworthy
that while, in the town of which we speak,[69] the establishment, at
the period alluded to, of a children's dancing-school was bitterly
opposed, and the children of "church members" were hardly permitted to
attend, no such prohibition applied to amusements like this, which were
shared in irrespective of sectarian prejudice, by boys as well as by

Our informant describes the performers as standing in couples,
consisting each of a boy and a girl, facing each other. An elderly
lady, who was in particular request at children's parties on account
of her extensive stock of lore of the sort, sang the ballad, to which
the dancers kept time with a slow metrical movement, balancing without
any considerable change of place. At the final words, "Barbara Allen,"
which end every stanza, a courtesy took the place of the usual refrain.
The whole performance is described as exceedingly pretty, stately, and
decorous. It cannot be doubted that the version of the ballad sung was
traditional, but we have not been able to secure it.


[53] The song exhibits numerous marks of antiquity. "Picks up a pin"
was originally, no doubt, "pulls at the pin." The word "garret" here
appears to correspond to the Scandinavian "high-loft," the upper part
and living-room of an ancient house. The third verse is a very ancient
ballad commonplace--

    Shee's as soft as any silk,
    And as white as any milk.

                              "Ballad of Kinge Adler," in the Percy MS.

Instead of "Water, water, wild-flowers," as printed on the next page,
we find in Philadelphia, "_Lily, lily, white-flower_," which may have
been the original, and reminds us of the refrains of certain ballads.
In Yorkshire, England, "_Willy, willy, wall-flower_."

A specimen of the quintessence of absurdity is the following

    Swallow, swallow, weeping
    About a willow tree,
    All the boys in Fiftieth Street
    Are dying down below;
    Excepting ---- ----
    His love he can't deny,
    For he loves ---- ----
    And she loves him beside, etc.

Notwithstanding the vulgarity of these stanzas, and of others
which are employed for the same purpose, the practice which they
illustrate--namely, the adaptation of a ballad to the dance by uniting
with it a game-rhyme--is no doubt ancient. We have other examples in
the numbers which follow.

[54] "Lines told to Lydia Jackson (now Mrs. R. W. Emerson, of Concord,
Mass.) by her aunt, Joanna Cotton, in 1806-7-8, in Plymouth."

[55] Observe how the nursery song differs from the children's dance.
The nurse wishes to persuade the little child in her lap that _paring
nails_ is a mark of great regard and affection, as, while performing
that office, she chants the ballad to amuse her charge.

[56] "It is on a summer's tide, when ladies' hearts are free and gay,
when they go arrayed in ermine and silk. The hart strikes his horn
against the linden, and the fish leaps in the stream."--_Icelandic

[57] Some little friends, feeling the unsatisfactoriness of the
fragment, added a couplet to the dance--

    O Mary, O Mary, your true love's not slain,
    The king sends you a letter _to turn round again_.


    Eh! la _clinquet_ (?) de lettres, que nouvelle est celle-ci?
    Eh! ce sont des nouvelles qu'il faut changer d'ami.

[59] Or, "Three gold wishes, three good kisses, and a slice of

[60] Or, "strong."

[61] Or, "king's daughter," "queen's daughter."

[62] See French ballad referred to in the Appendix.

[63] Or, "King _George's_ son." For convenience sake, the last couplet
of the first version is printed with the melody.


    For if my mother should chance to know,
    She'd make my blood to fall.--_Version of Sir Egerton Brydges._


    And first came out the thick, thick blood,
      And syne came out the thin;
    And syne came out the bonny heart's blood,
      There was nae mair within.



    When bells were rung, and mass was sung,
      And a' the bairns came hame,
    When every lady gat hame her son,
      The lady Maisry gat nane.


[67] Sallow; willow.

[68] In other versions it is "Testament" or "Catechism."

[69] Keene, New Hampshire.



    "The king (George III.) danced all night, and finished with the
      _Hemp-dressers_, that lasted two hours."--_Memoir of Mrs.

No. 20.

_Virginia Reel._

This dance, which we will not here attempt to describe, is no doubt
well known to our readers; but we doubt if any of them has reflected on
its significance. It is, in fact, an imitation of _weaving_. The first
movements represent the shooting of the shuttle from side to side, and
the passage of the woof over and under the threads of the warp; the
last movements indicate the tightening of the threads, and bringing
together of the cloth.[70]

There is a very similar Swedish dance, called "Weaving Woollen," in
which the words sung are--

    Weave the woollen and bind it together,
        Let the shuttle go round!

The originally imitative character of the dance is thus well
illustrated. The "Hemp-dressers' Dance," in which George III. figured,
seems to have resembled this, according to the description quoted in
the memoir referred to in the heading of this chapter.

No. 21.

_Oats, Pease, Beans, and Barley Grows._

This round, although very familiar to all American children, seems,
strangely enough, to be unknown in Great Britain; yet it is still
a favorite in France, Provence, Spain, Italy, Sicily, Germany, and
Sweden; it was played by Froissart (born 1337), and Rabelais (born
1483); while the general resemblance of the song in European countries
proves that in the five centuries through which we thus trace it,
even the words have undergone little change. Like the first game of
our collection, it is properly a dance rather of young people than
of children; and a comparative examination of versions inclines us
to the belief that it is of Romance descent. The lines of the French
refrain,[71] and the general form of the dance, suggest that the song
may probably have had (perhaps in remote classic time) a religious and
symbolic meaning, and formed part of rustic festivities designed to
promote the fertility of the fields; an object which undoubtedly formed
the original purpose of the May festival. So much for conjecture;
but, in any case, it is pleasant to think of the many generations of
children, in so many widely separated lands, who have rejoiced in the
pretty game.

The ring circles, singing, about a child in the centre--


    Oats, pease, beans, and barley grows,
    Oats, pease, beans, and barley grows;
    How you, nor I, nor nobody knows,
    Oats, pease, beans, and barley grows.

The children now pause, and sing with appropriate gestures--

    Thus the farmer sows his seed,
    Stands erect and takes his ease,
    Stamps his foot, and claps his hands,
    And turns about to view his lands.


    Waiting for a partner,
    Waiting for a partner,
    Open the ring and take her in,
    And kiss her when you get her in.

The boy selects a girl, and the two kneel in the ring, and salute--

    Now you're married, you must obey,
    You must be true to all you say,
    You must be kind, you must be good,
    _And make your husband chop the wood_.

What we have said of the permanency of the words applies only to the
action, the essential part, of the game. The _amatory chorus_, by which
the song is made to serve the purpose of love-making, is very variable.
Thus we have the quaint conclusion of the last line at greater length:

    And now you're married in Hymen's band,
    You must obey your wife's command;
    You must obey your constant good,
    And keep your wife in hickory wood--
    Split the wood and carry it in, [_twice_]
    And then she'll let you kiss her again.

"Splitting the wood" was a very troublesome part of the New England
farmer's ménage.

More commonplace are the choruses:

    You must be good, you must be true,
    And do as you see others do.


    And live together all your life,
    And I pronounce you man and wife.

Or again--

    And love each other like sister and brother,
    And now kneel down and kiss each other.[72]

In place of "sister and brother," the malicious wit of little girls
substituted "cats and dogs."[73]

In the early part of the century the essential stanza went thus in New

    Thus my father sows his seed,
    Stands erect and takes his ease,
    Stamps his foot, and claps his hands,
    Whirls about, and thus he stands.

The Swedish quatrain is nearly the same:

    I had a father, he sowed this way,
    And when he had done, he stood this way;
    He stamped with his foot, he clapped with his hand,
    He turned about, he was so glad.

The French rhyme, by its exact correspondence, proves the great
antiquity of the formula.[74]

The German game, as is often the case with German children's games and
ballads in general, is more modernized than in the other tongues, and
has become a coarse jest. It is represented how the farmer sows his
oats, cuts it, binds it, carries it home, stores it, threshes it, takes
it to market, sells it, spends the money in carousal, comes home drunk,
and quarrels with his wife, because she has cooked him no supper!
Verily, a satire from the lips of children!

Fauriel, in his history of Provençal literature, alludes to this
song, which it seems he had seen danced in Provence, and considers to
be derived from, and to represent, choral dances of Greek rustics.
"The words of the song," he says, speaking of these ancient dances,
"described an action, a succession of different situations, which the
dancers reproduced by their gestures. The song was divided into many
stanzas, and terminated by a refrain alike for all. The dancers acted
or gesticulated only to imitate the action or situation described in
each stanza; at the refrain they took each other by the hand and danced
a round, with a movement more or less lively. There are everywhere
popular dances derived from these, which more or less resemble
them.... I remember to have seen in Provence some of these dances,
of which the theme seems to be very ancient--one, among the rest,
imitating successively the habitual actions of a poor laborer, working
in his field, sowing his wheat or oats, mowing, and so on to the end.
Each of the numerous couplets of the song was sung with a slow and
dragging motion, as if to imitate the fatigue and the sullen air of
the poor laborer; and the refrain was of a very lively movement, the
dancers then giving way to all their gayety."[75]

The French, Italian, and Spanish versions of this game also represent
a series of actions, sowing, reaping, etc., of which our own rhyme has
retained only one stanza. There is a whole class of similar rounds,
which describe the labors of the farmer, vine-dresser, etc. That such
a song, danced in sowing-time, and representing the progress and
abundance of the crop, should be supposed to bring a blessing on the
labors of the year, is quite in conformity with what we know of popular
belief, ancient and modern. When a French savant asked the peasants of
La Châtre why they performed the dance of "Threading the Needle" (see
No. 29), the answer was, "To make the hemp grow." It is not in the
least unlikely that the original of the present chant was sung, with a
like object, by Italian rustics in the days of Virgil.

No. 22.

_Who'll Be the Binder?_

Couples circle in a ring about a single player--

    It rains, it hails, it's cold stormy weather,
    In comes the farmer drinking all the cider;
    You be the reaping-boy and I'll be the binder;
    I've lost my true love, and don't know where to find her.

Each girl then lets go of her partner's arm, and takes the arm of the
one in advance, and the solitary player endeavors meanwhile to slip
into the line.

The following is a variation:

    It snows and it blows, and it's cold frosty weather,
    Here comes the farmer drinking all his cider;
    I'll be the reaper, who'll be the binder?
    I've lost my true love, where shall I find her?

It is played by children in New York city as a kissing-game in the ring,
as follows:


    In comes the farmer, drinking all the cider;
    I have a true love and don't know where to find her.
    Go round the ring, and see if you can find her;
    If you cannot find her, go and choose another one.

We meet our game once more in North Germany. But its prettiest form is
among the Fins of the Baltic coast, where it is extremely pleasing and

    Reap we the oat harvest,
    Who will come and bind it?
    Ah, perhaps his darling,
    Treasure of his bosom.
    Where have I last seen her?
    Yesterday at evening,
    Yesterday at morning!
    When will she come hither,
    With her little household,
    With her gentle escort,
    People of her village?
    Who has not a partner,
    Let him pay a forfeit!

It is a remarkable fact that, even where this simple people have
borrowed the dramatic idea of an amusement from their more civilized
neighbors, they have developed it with a sweetness and grace which put
the latter to shame.

No. 23.

_As We Go Round the Mulberry Bush._


    As we go round the mulberry bush,
    The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush;
    As we go round the mulberry bush,
        So early in the morning.

    This is the way we wash our clothes,
        All of a Monday morning.

    This is the way we iron our clothes,
        All of a Tuesday morning.

    This is the way we scrub our floor,
        All of a Wednesday morning.

    This is the way we mend our clothes,
        All of a Thursday morning.

    This is the way we sweep the house,
        All of a Friday morning.

    This is the way we bake our bread,
        All of a Saturday morning.

    This is the way we go to church,
        All of a Sunday morning.

In Massachusetts the song goes--

    Here we go round the _barberry bush_,
        So early in the morning.

A variation makes the last line--

    All on a frosty morning.

No. 24.

_Do, Do, Pity my Case._

    Do, do, pity my case,
      In some lady's garden;
    My clothes to wash when I get home,
      In some lady's garden.

    Do, do, pity my case,
      In some lady's garden;
    My clothes to iron when I get home,
      In some lady's garden.

And so on, the performers lamenting the duty which lies upon them of
scrubbing their floors, baking their bread, etc.


This pretty dance, with its idiomatic English, which comes to us from
the extreme South, is obviously not modern. The chorus refers, not to
the place of the labor, but to the locality of the dance: it may have
been originally _in my lady's garden_. Our informant remembers the
game as danced by negro children, their scanty garments flying as the
ring spun about the trunk of some large tree; but (though the naive
appeal to pity may seem characteristic of Southern indolence) this is
evidently no negro song.

No. 25.

_When I Was a Shoemaker._



    When I was a shoemaker,
    And a shoemaker was I,
        This way,[76] and this way,
    And this way went I.

    When I was a gentleman,
    And a gentleman was I,
        This way, and this way,
    And this way went I.

    When I was a lady,
    And a lady was I,
        This way, and this way,
    And this way went I.

So on, indefinitely. The gentleman places his hands in his waistcoat
pockets, and promenades up and down; the lady gathers her skirts
haughtily together; the fireman makes a sound in imitation of the
horns which firemen formerly blew; the shoemaker and hair-dresser are
represented by appropriate motions, etc.

                                                _New York streets._

As with most street-games, further inquiry has shown us that the song
is old in America. Not merely the substance (which is identical with
our last two numbers), but also the expression, is paralleled in France
and Italy, and even on the extreme limits of European Russia.

The well-known French name of this game "The Bridge of Avignon,"[77]
indicates a high antiquity. This bridge, which figures in French
nursery-lore as London Bridge does in our own, was built in 1177.
Bridges, in the Middle Age, were the most important structures in the
land, places of festivity and solemnity, dances, trials, and executions.

No. 26.

_Here We Come Gathering Nuts of May._

Two opposite rows of girls. One side advances and sings, the other side

    "Here we come gathering nuts of May, [_thrice_]
        On a May morning early."

    "Whom will you gather for nuts of May,
        On a May morning early?"

    "We'll gather [naming a girl] for nuts of May,
        On a May morning early."

    "Whom will you send to fetch her away,
        On a May morning early?"

    "We'll send [naming a strong girl] to pull her away,
        On a May morning early."

The game is continued until all players are brought to one side.

                                              _Charlestown, W. Va._

This game is probably a recent importation from England, where it
is very well known. It seems likely that the imitative dance really
belongs to the season of nut-gathering,[78] and that the phrase, "Nuts
of _May_," and the refrain, have crept in from its later use as a

No. 27.

_Here I Brew, and Here I Bake._

A ring of children clasp hands by clenching fingers; a single child
within the circle repeats the rhyme, making appropriate gestures over
successive pairs of hands; at the last words he (or she) throws himself
(or herself) against what is thought the most penetrable point.

    Here I brew and here I bake,
    And here I make my wedding-cake,
    And here I must break through.

The following is a different version:

    Here I bake and here I brew,
    And here I lay my wedding-shoe,
    And here I must and shall break through.

If the first attempt is not successful, the player within the ring runs
to attack some other point. After the ring is broken, the child on his
right continues the game. In New York, a violent form of the same sport
goes by the name of "Bull in the Ring."

No. 28.

_Draw a Bucket of Water._

Four girls cross hands, and pull in rhythmical movement against each
other while singing, one pair changing the position of their hands from
above to below that of the other pair at the words, "Here we go under,"

    Draw a bucket of water
    For my lady's daughter.
      One in a rush,
      Two in a rush,
    Here we go under the mulberry bush.

                                                        _New York._

In Massachusetts this was a ring game:

    Draw a pail of water
    For my lady's daughter.
    Give her a ring and a silver pin,
    And pay for my lady's pop under.

At the last words the girl within the ring endeavors to pass under the
hands of one of the couples.

No. 29.

_Threading the Needle._

A boy and a girl, standing each on a stool, make an arch of their
hands, under which an endless chain passes, until the hands are
dropped, and one of the players is enclosed.

        The needle's eve
        That doth supply
    The thread that runs so true;
        Ah! many a lass
        Have I let pass
    Because I wanted you.


        The needle's eye
        You can't pass by,
    The thread it runs so true;
      It has caught many a seemly lass,
    And now it has caught you.


In the following more complicated form of the game, in use half a
century ago, both a boy and a girl were caught by the players who
raised their arms:

        The needle's eye
        None can surpass
    But those who travel through;
        It hath caught many a smiling lass,
    But now it hath caught you.

    There's none so sweet
    That is dressed so neat;[79]
        I do intend,
        Before I end,
    To make this couple meet.

The pair then kissed, and the game proceeded as in "London Bridge,"
ending with a tug-of-war.

The name, "Threading the Needle," is still applied, in a district of
central France, to a dance in which many hundred persons take part, in
which from time to time the pair who form the head of the row raise
their arms to allow the line to pass through, coiling and winding like
a great serpent.


[70] An acquaintance says, that in the interior of New York State the
men and girls stand in the row by sevens; an arrangement which she
suggests may imitate the different colors of strands.


    Oats, oats, oats,
    May the good God prosper you!

[72] These choruses, which may be paralleled from Great Britain, do not
in themselves belong to any particular game.

[73] We find the same benevolent wish, under like circumstances, in a
Swedish game. Is the correspondence accident or tradition?


    Qui veut ouir, qui veut savoir,
    Comment on sème l'aveine?
    Mon père la sèmait ainsi,
    Puis il se reposait à demi;
    Frappe du pied, puis de la main,
    Un petit tour pour ton voisin;
    Aveine, aveine, aveine,
    Que le Bon Dieu t'amène!

[75] Fauriel supposed the present round to be derived from Massiliot
Greeks; but he was unacquainted with its diffusion in Europe.

[76] Sung "_a this a way_."


    Sur le Pont d'Avignon,
    Les messieurs font ça,
    Et puis encore ça.

Then come "les dames," "les cordonniers," etc.

In the corresponding Russian game, a single player mimics the walk of
old men, priests, or the habits of any trade or person in the company.


    Nous sommes à trois fillettes,
    Pour aller cueillir noisettes;
    Quand les noisettes sont cueillies,
    Nous sommes mises à danser.

[79] "We considered this a personal compliment. I remember we used to
feel very much pleased--children are so sensitive!"--_Informant._




    Perrette est bien malade,
    En danger de mourir.


    Son ami la va voire;
    Te laira' tu mourir?


    Non, non, répondit-elle,
    Je ne veux pas mourir.

                                                   _Canadian Song._

No. 30.

_Soldier, Soldier, Will You Marry Me?_


    _First voice._--      "Soldier, soldier, will you marry me,
                            With a knapsack, fife, and drum?"
                          "Oh no, my pretty maiden, I cannot marry you,
                            For I have no coat to put on."


    _Second voice._--     Then away she ran to the tailor's shop,
                            As fast as legs could run;
                          And bought him one of the very best,
                            And the soldier put it on.

The question is then repeated, the soldier pleading his want of shoes
gloves, etc., which the confiding fair procures, until at last--

    "Soldier, soldier, will you marry me,
      With your knapsack, fife, and drum?"
    "Oh no, my pretty maiden, I cannot marry you,
      For I have--a good wife--at home!"

This piece and the following are more or less familiar as children's
songs through the United States. Our version was sung by children of
from five to eight years of age, and made a favorite amusement at the
afternoon gatherings. When one couple had finished, another pair would
begin, and so on for hours at a time. The object was to provide for the
soldier the most varied wardrobe possible; while the maiden put the
question with spirit, laying her hand on her heart, respecting which
the prevailing opinion was that it was under the left arm.

No. 31.

_Quaker Courtship._

In this piece, two children (in costume or otherwise) impersonate a
Quaker paying his addresses to a young lady of the world.


    "Madam, I am come a-courting--
    _Hum, hum, heigho hum!_
    'Tis for pleasure, not for sporting--
    _Hum, hum, heigho hum!_"

    "Sir, it suits me to retire,
    _Teedle link tum, teedle tum a tee_;
    You may sit and court the fire,
    _Teedle link tum, teedle tum a tee_."

    "Madam, here's a ring worth forty shilling,
    Thou may'st have it if thou art willing."

    "What care I for rings or money?
    I'll have a man who will call me honey."

    "Madam, thou art tall and slender;
    Madam, I know thy heart is tender."

    "Sir, I see you are a flatterer,
    And I never loved a Quaker."

    "Must I give up my religion?
    Must I be a Presbyterian?"

    "Cheer up, cheer up, loving brother,
    If you can't catch one fish, catch another."

                                                  _Hartford, Conn._

No. 32.

_Lazy Mary._

A mother and daughter in the centre of a ring, the daughter kneeling
with closed eyes. Mother advances--


    "Lazy Mary, will you get up,
    Will you get up, will you get up,
    Will you get up to-day?"

    "What will you give me for my breakfast,
    If I get up, if I get up,
    If I get up to-day?"

The reply is, "A slice of bread and a cup of tea," whereon Mary
answers, "No, mother, I won't get up," and responds similarly to the
call to dinner; but for supper the mother offers "a nice young man with
rosy cheeks," which is accepted with the words, "Yes, mother, I will
get up," whereon the ring clap their hands. The round is familiar in
New York streets. There is a corresponding English song, with a tragic

No. 33.

_Whistle, Daughter, Whistle._

                                    "Whistle, daughter, whistle,
                                    And I'll give you a sheep."

    [_After an interval._]          "Mother, I'm asleep."

                                    "Whistle, daughter, whistle,
                                    And I'll give you a cow."

    [_A faint attempt._]            "Mother, I don't know how."
                                    "Whistle, daughter, whistle,
                                    And I'll give you a man."

    [_A loud and clear whistle._]   "Mother, now I can!"

                                                        _New York._

The subject of this and the preceding number has furnished endless
mirth to popular poetry. The present song is ancient; for it is
identical with a German, Flemish, and French round of the fifteenth or
sixteenth century, in which a _nun_ (or monk) is tempted to _dance_
by similar offers. The spirit of the latter piece seems to be rather
light-hearted ridicule than puritanic satire, and the allusion does not
show that the piece is subsequent to the Reformation.

No. 34.

_There were Three Jolly Welshmen._

    There were three jolly Welshmen,
      And I have heard them say,
    That they would go a-hunting
      Upon St. David's day--

    They hunted, they hunted,
      And nothing could they find,
    But a woman in the road,
      And her they left behind--

    One said it was a woman,
      The other said nay;
    One said it was an angel
      With the wings blowed away--

We have obtained only three verses of the song, which was a favorite
with little children as they sat on the door-step of a summer's
evening. Another version of the ancient jest comes to us as sung by
college students:

(_Slow and mournful, in C minor._)

      And so they went along,
        To see what they could see,
    And soon they saw a frog
        A-sitting under a tree.
              (_Recit._) So--they--did.

    One said it was a frog,
      But the other said nay--
    One said it was a canary-bird
      With the feathers blown away.
          (_Recit._) So--it--was.

    And so they went along,
      To see what they could see,
    And soon they saw a barn
      A-standing by a tree.

    One said it was a barn,
      But the other said nay,
    One said it was a meeting-house
      With the steeple blown away.

    And so they went along,
      To see what they could see,
    And soon they saw an owl,
      A-sitting on a tree.

    One said it was an owl,
      But the other said nay,
    One said it was the Evil One!
      And they all ran away.

No. 35.

_A Hallowe'en Rhyme._


    Oh, dear doctor, don't you cry!
    Your true love will come by-and-by.

    If she comes all dressed in green,
    That's a sign she's to be seen.

    If she comes all dressed in white,
    That's a sign she'll cry all night.

    If she comes all dressed in gray,
    That's a sign that she's away.

    If she comes all dressed in blue,
    That's a sign she'll marry you.

                                                        _New York._

A variation:

    Oh, Miss Betsy, don't you cry!
    For your true love will come _by'm-bye_;
    When he comes he'll dress in blue--
    Then he'll bring you, something new.


These corrupt rhymes are only interesting as illustrating the
permanence of Hallowe'en customs, even in America. The Scotch rhyme of
Chambers goes--

    This knot, this knot, this knot I knit,
    To see the thing I ne'er saw yet--
    To see my love in his array,
    And what he walks in every day;
    And what his occupation be,
    This night I in my sleep may see.
    And if my love be clad in green,
    His love for me is well seen;
    And if my love be clad in gray,
    His love for me is far away;
    But if my love be clad in blue,
    His love for me is very true.

After repeating these words, the girl puts her knotted garter beneath
her pillow, and sleeps on it, when her future husband will appear to
her in a dream.

No. 36.

_The Doctor's Prescription._


    Oh, dear doctor, can you tell,
    What will make poor ---- well?
    She is sick and like to die,
    And that will make poor ---- cry.

A kiss was the prescription.

We insert this silly little round, chiefly because, according to Madame
Celnart, a French equivalent was in favor, not with infants, but
ladies and gentlemen in polite society, only half a century since. Our
authority says:

"The master or the mistress of this round is called _doctor_. This
doctor takes the arm of the person seated on his right, regards him
or her with an eye of compassion, feels his pulse, and then gives his
order, which everybody repeats, singing, 'Give me your arm that I may
cure you, for you seem to me to look ill.'[80] Then, designating by a
glance some person of the other sex, he says, 'Embrace monsieur (or
madame) to cure you; it is an excellent remedy.' All the persons in the
ring are submitted to this treatment, which the physician knows how to
render piquant by the choice of the panacea which he recommends to his
patient; when everybody is cured, the doctor passes over his science
and dignity to the last person who has tested the efficacy of his
prescription, and in his turn falls sick, to make trial of the pleasing

The general theme of our vulgarized round is more agreeably expressed
in the quaint and ancient Canadian song which we have cited as the
motto of the present chapter.

No. 37.

_Old Grimes._

    Old Grimes is dead and in his grave laid,
    In his grave, in his grave, in his grave laid--
                    _O aye O!_

    There grew up an apple-tree over his head--
    The apples were ripe and ready to fall--
    Then came an old woman a-picking them up--
    Old Grimes got up and gave her a kick--
    And made her go hobbledy, hobbledy, hip--
    The bridles and saddles they hang on the shelf--
    And if you want any more you must sing it yourself--
                    _O aye O!_

                                                _New York streets._

A friend informs us that he has often heard the words of this
unintelligible round sung as a "shanty," or song used by sailors at
their work, with the chorus, _yeo heave-ho_! In Cambridge, Mass., the
name of the deceased was "Old Cromwell." We have also a version of half
a century since, beginning,

    Jemmy and Nancy went up to Whitehall,
    Jemmy fell sick among them all.

No. 38.

_The Baptist Game._

Such is the peculiar title of this amusement in Virginia, where it is
said to be enjoyed by pious people who will not dance. There is a row
of couples, with an odd player at the head. At the sudden close of the
song occurs a grand rush and change of partners.


    Come, all ye young men, in your evil ways,
    And sow your wild oats in your youthful days;
          You shall be happy,
          You shall be happy,
        When you grow old.

    The night is far spent, and the day's coming on,
    So give us your arm, and we'll jog along,
          You shall be happy,
          You shall be happy,
        When you grow old.

                                               _Albemarle Co., Va._

This game, with verbal identity (save the title), was a few years since
an amusement of well-bred girls in New York city. It has also been
familiar in Massachusetts, with the exception of one line--

    Come all ye _old maids_ in your sinful ways!

No. 39.

_Trials, Troubles, and Tribulations._

All participating are blindfolded, and, joining hands, march forward,

    Here we go through the Jewish nation,
    Trials, troubles, and tribulation.

The fun consists in bringing up against a door, or in causing a general
downfall by tripping over some obstacle.

                                                        _New York._

No. 40.

_Happy is the Miller._

An odd number of players, of whom the one not paired stands in the
centre of the ring. The others march in couples, each consisting of a
girl and a boy, till the sudden end of the song, when each boy grasps
the girl in front of him.

    Happy is the miller, who lives by himself,
    All the bread and cheese he piles upon the shelf,
    One hand in the hopper, and the other in the bag,
    The wheel turns around, and he cries out, Grab!

                                                _Western New York._

Another version:

    Happy is the miller that lives in the mill;
    While the mill goes round, he works with a will;
    One hand in the hopper, and one in the bag,
    The mill goes around, and he cries out, Grab!


The miller, whose pay used to be taken in a proportion of corn ground,
was a common object of popular satire.

In Germany the mill-wheel, as it slowly revolves, is said to exclaim--

    There is--a thief--in the mill!

Then, moving more quickly--

    Who is he? who is he? who is he?

And at last answers very fast, and without pausing--

    The miller! the miller! the miller!

"Round and Round, the Mill Goes Round," is mentioned as an English
dance at the end of the seventeenth century. A song of "The Happy
Miller" is printed in "Pills to Purge Melancholy" (1707), of which the
first verse is--

    How happy is the mortal that lives by his mill!
    That depends on his own, not on Fortune's wheel;
    By the sleight of his hand, and the strength of his back,
    How merrily his mill goes, clack, clack, clack!

This song was doubtless founded on the popular game; but the modern
children's sport has preserved the idea, if not the elegance, of the
old dance better than the printed words of a hundred and seventy years
since. A variation of the same game is still familiar in Canada and

No. 41.

_The Miller of Gosport._

That the prejudice against the honesty of the miller was not confined
to the Old World will appear from the following ballad:

    There was an old miller in Gosport did dwell:
    He had three sons whom he loved full well;
    He called them to him, one--by--one,
    Saying, "My--life--is--al--most--done!"[82]

    He called to him his eldest son,
    Saying, "My life is almost done,
    And if I to you the mill shall make,
    Pray, say what toll you mean to take?"

    "Father," says he, "my name is Dick,
    And aout of each bushel I'll take one peck--
    Of every bushel--that--I--grind,
    I'll take one peck to ease my mind."

    "Thou foolish son," the old man said,
    "Thou hasn't but one half larnt thy trade!
    The mill to you I'll never give,
    For by such toll no man can thrive."

    He called to him his second son,
    Saying, "My life is almost done,
    And if I to you the mill shall make,
    Pray, say what toll you mean to take?"

    "Father," says he, "my name is Ralph,
    And aout of each bushel I'll take one half--
    Of every bushel that I grind,
    I'll take one half to ease my mind."

    "Thou foolish son," the old man said,
    "Thou hasn't but one half larnt thy trade;
    The mill to you I'll never give,
    For by such toll no man can thrive."

    He called to him his youngest son,
    Saying, "My life is almost done;
    And if I to you the mill shall make,
    Pray, say what toll you mean to take?"

    "Father," says he, "I _am_ your boy,
    And in taking of toll shall be all my joy;
    That an honest living I ne'er may lack,
    I'll take the whole, and steal the sack."

    "Thou _art_ my son," the old man said;
    "Thou'st larnt thy good--old--fayther's trade;
    The mill to you I do--betide"--
    And--so--he--closed--his eyes--and--died.

Another version finds its way to us from the West, and ends with an
uncomplimentary opinion as to the habitation of the miller in the other



    Donne-moi ton bras que je te guérisse,
    Car tu m'as l'air malade,
    Car tu m'as l'air malade!

[81] The Canadian words are, "J'entends le moulin, tique, tique,
tique." Probably the old English dance ended, "How merrily the mill
goes, clack, clack, clack!" after which, as now in Canada, partners
were changed, and the odd player in the centre had an opportunity to
secure a place, or to find a mate.

[82] The pauses lengthen as the patient grows weaker.



    A spire of grass hath made me gay;
    It saith, I shall find mercy mild.
    I measured in the selfsame way
    I have seen practised by a child.
    Come look and listen if she really does:
    She does, does not, she does, does not, she does.
    Each time I try, the end so augureth.
    That comforts me--'tis right that we have faith.

            _Walther von der Vogelweide_ [A.D. 1170-1230].

No. 42.

_Flower Oracles._

Plucking one by one the petals of the ox-eye daisy (_Leucanthemum
vulgare_), children ask:

    Rich man, poor man, beggar-man, thief,
    Doctor, lawyer, Indian chief.[83]

Girls then take a second flower, and, getting some one else to name it,
proceed, in order to determine where they are to live:

    Big house, little house, pigsty, barn.

And in like manner use a third to discover in what dress they are to be

    Silk, satin, calico, rags.

Finally, they consult a fourth, to find out what the bridal equipage is
to be:

    Coach, wagon, wheelbarrow, chaise.

Another version gives for the second line of the first formula:

    Doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief.

In Switzerland, girls in like manner say, as they pick off the
flower-leaves of the common daisy (_Bellis perennis_):

    Be single, marry, or go into the cloister?

And boys--

    Rich, poor, moderate?

The marguerite (_Doronicum bellidiastrum_) is asked in the same country:

    Heaven, hell, purgatory, paradise?

And in Styria is called "Love's Measure," because it determines the
return of affection according to the well-known formula, "He loves me,
he loves me not," for which a French equivalent is:

    Je t'aime, un peu, beaucoup,
    Tendrement, pas du tout.

But in Switzerland again the questions for the marguerite exactly match

    Nobleman, beggar-man, farmer, soldier, student,
    Emperor, king, gentleman.

The verse is similar in Italy. It is curious to see the precise
correspondence of English and Continental forms.

Mediæval writers do not mention this use of flower-petals, but
frequently allude to the custom of drawing spires of grass, to secure
the longer (or shorter, as might be agreed). Thus lads might draw
grasses, for the purpose of deciding to which of the two a maiden
might belong as a partner. This was so usual a way of deciding a
controversy that it was even recognized in law, where the parties to
a suit drew straws from a thatch or sheaf. Children still resort to a
like arbitrament, where one holds the straws in the hand, and the other
draws, the shorter straw winning. To our surprise, we find that girls
in Massachusetts still keep up the mediæval usage; they draw stalks
of grass in the field, and match them, to decide who shall begin a
game--be "it."[84]

We have seen that the formula "Loves me, loves me not," was used in
the Middle Age with grasses. In Italy the oracle is consulted by means
of the branch of a tree. A twig is taken having alternate leaves, and
they are detached one by one, the consulter always turning the head
as the words of the oracle are spoken. The formulas for this purpose
closely resemble our own: thus, "This year, another year, soon, never,"
which is exactly identical with the English "This year, next year, some
time, never;" or, "He loves me, longs for me, desires me, wishes me
well; wishes me ill, does not care;" or, as in the Swiss form given,
"Paradise, Purgatory, _Caldron_" (that is, Inferno).

No. 43.

_Use of Flowers in Games._

Flowers are gathered and loved by children as they have always been,
and are used by them in all sorts of imaginative exercises of their own
invention, as, for instance, by girls in their imitative housekeeping;
but there is singularly little employment of them in any definite
games. Formerly it was otherwise; but the deep sympathy which blooming
youth once felt and expressed for the bloom of the year seems to have
almost disappeared.

In the Middle Age, as in classic antiquity, flowers were much in use
for dances. Great attention was paid to the significance of particular
blooms. "What flowers will you give me for a garland? What flowers
are proper for adornment?" are mentioned as names of sports. It was a
practice for the lover to approach his mistress with a flower or fruit
which he offered for her acceptance. If the girl accepted the gift, the
youth led her out, and the dance began. Another ancient practice was
to throw to a girl some bloom, at the same time pronouncing a couplet
which rhymed with the name of the flower. The ball, too, with which
youths and maids played, was sometimes made of flowers.

Almost the only relic of ancient usage of this sort, with us, is the
employment little girls make of dandelions, with which (in some parts
of the country) they make long garlands, cutting off the heads and
stringing them together.

This use of the dandelion is very old, from which it derives one of
its many German names, the _chain-flower_ or _ring-flower_. On account
of its early bloom and golden hue it is especially the flower of
spring, and seems to have had a religious and symbolic meaning. In
Switzerland these garlands are used in the dance, the children holding
a long wreath of the flowers so as to form a circle within the ring;
and whoever breaks the chain pays forfeit. The plant is said to be
of healing virtue, gives happiness to the lover, and, if plucked on
particular days, will heal troubles of the eye. It has these qualities
on account of its brightness, which causes it to be associated with the
victorious power of light.

There are other ways of using this flower. A dandelion in seed is held
to the lips; if the seeds can all be blown off in three attempts, it is
a sign of successful love, of marriage within the year; or, with little
girls, that "my mother wants me."

Little girls also split the stalks of the flower, and, dipping them in
cold water, produce "curls," with which they adorn themselves. This
usage, too, is German.

We may speak of the trifling lore of one or two other flowers. A
buttercup is held against one child's chin by another, and a bright
reflection is supposed (prosaically enough) to indicate a fondness for

It was formerly said in New England that the heart's-ease (_Viola
tricolor_) represented a "step-mother sitting on two chairs." The
petals being turned up, the step-mother is seen to have two chairs, her
children one each, and her step-children only one between them.

That this flower represents an unkind step-mother is stated in a
Low-German rhyme of the fifteenth century; and step-mother is also
an English name for the heart's-ease. There is another reason for
the title besides that we have given. In Switzerland the flower is
considered a type of malice, because the older the flower is the more
yellow and "jealous" it becomes. Thus we have another striking example
of the original similarity of English and German usage.

Boys in the spring are fond of blowing on the fresh blades of grass,
with which they can make a loud but harsh trumpeting. This practice, in
Germany, is mentioned at the beginning of the thirteenth century.

It is the custom still for boys to make whistles in the spring from
the loosened bark of the willow; but they do not guess that this was
originally a superstitious rite, the pipe cut from a tree which grows
in the water being supposed to have the power of causing rain. The
Swiss children, though unconsciously, still invoke the water-spirit as
they separate the bark from the wood:

    Franz, Franz,
    Lend me your pipe.

No. 44.

_Counting Apple-seeds._

The following rhyme, used in New England at the beginning of the
present century, remains unchanged in a single word, except the
omission of the last three lines.

Apples formerly were an essential part of every entertainment in the
country; in the winter season, a dish of such always stood on the
sideboard. As the hours went by, a foaming dish of eggnog would be
brought in, always with a red-hot poker inserted, for the purpose of
keeping up the proper temperature. It was then that the apple, having
been properly named, with a fillip of the finger was divided, to decide
the fate of the person concerned according to its number of seeds.

    One, I love,
    Two, I love,
    Three, I love, I say,
    Four, I love with all my heart,
    And five, I cast away;
    Six, he loves,
    Seven, she loves,
    Eight, they both love;
    Nine, he comes,
    Ten, he tarries,
    Eleven, he courts,
    Twelve, he marries;
    Thirteen wishes,
    Fourteen kisses,
    All the rest little witches.

No. 45.

_Rose in the Garden._

We insert here, on account of the allusions to nature which they
contain, several pieces which might also have found a place elsewhere
in our collection; the present, for instance, being eminently a

A single player stands in the centre of the ring, which circles and

    There's a rose in the garden for you, fair man,
    There's a rose in the garden for you, fair maid;
    There's a rose in the garden, pluck it if you can,
    Be sure you don't choose a false-hearted one.

The youth or girl in the centre chooses a partner, and the ring sings:

    It's a bargain, it's a bargain, for you, fair man,
    It's a bargain, it's a bargain, for you, fair maid.

Now follows a fragment of romance, which in our version is unhappily

    You promised to marry me six months ago,
    I hold you to your bargain, "_you old rogue you_."

After a kiss, the first player takes his or her place in the ring, and
the partner selected is left to continue the game.

                                   _Deerfield, Mass._ (about 1810).

To the same game, perhaps, belongs the following fragment:

    Here stands a red rose in the ring--
    Promised to marry a long time ago.

The comparison of a youth or maid to a rose is not uncommon in dances.
We have a pretty French example in the Canadian round cited below;[85]
and another English instance in our No. 62.

No. 46.

_There was a Tree Stood in the Ground._


    There was a tree stood in the ground,
    The prettiest tree you ever did see;
    The tree in the wood, and the wood in the ground;
    And the green grass growing all round, round, round,
    And the green grass growing all round.

    And on this tree there was a limb,
    The prettiest limb you ever did see;
    The limb on the tree, and the tree in the wood,
    The tree in the wood, and the wood in the ground,
    And the green grass growing all round, round, round,
    And the green grass growing all round.

    And on this limb there was a bough,
    The prettiest bough you ever did see;
    The bough on the limb, and the limb on the tree, etc.

    And on this bough there was a twig,
    The prettiest twig you ever did see;
    The twig on the bough, and the bough on the limb, etc.

    And on this twig there was a nest,
    The prettiest nest you ever did see;
    The nest on the twig, and the twig on the bough, etc.

    And in this nest there were some eggs,[86]
    The prettiest eggs you ever did see;
    The eggs in the nest, and the nest on the twig, etc.

    And in the eggs there was a bird,
    The prettiest bird you ever did see;
    The bird in the eggs, and the eggs in the nest, etc.

    And on the bird there was a wing,
    The prettiest wing you ever did see;
    The wing on the bird, and the bird in the eggs, etc.

    And on the wing there was a feather,
    The prettiest feather you ever did see;
    The feather on the wing, and the wing on the bird, etc.

    And on the feather there was some down,
    The prettiest down you ever did see;
    The down on the feather, and the feather on the wing,
    The feather on the wing, and the wing on the bird,
    The wing on the bird, and the bird in the eggs,
    The bird in the eggs, and the eggs in the nest,
    The eggs in the nest, and the nest on the twig,
    The nest on the twig, and the twig on the bough,
    The twig on the bough, and the bough on the limb,
    The bough on the limb, and the limb on the tree,
    The limb on the tree, and the tree in the wood,
    The tree in the wood, and the wood in the ground,
    And the green grass growing all round, round, round,
    And the green grass growing all round.

                                               _Savannah, Georgia._

This song is not known in the North, and it is equally unrecorded
in English nursery-lore, but is very familiar in France (as well as
Germany, Denmark, etc.). We are inclined to look on it as an adaptation
from the French, made by the children of _émigrés_, like the curious
game which makes our next number.[87]

No. 47.


In parts of Georgia and South Carolina, as soon as a group of girls
are fairly out of the house for a morning's play, one suddenly points
the finger at a companion with the exclamation, "Green!" The child so
accosted must then produce some fragment of verdure, the leaf of a
tree, a blade of grass, etc., from the apparel, or else pay forfeit to
the first after the manner of "philopoena." It is rarely, therefore,
that a child will go abroad without a bit of "green," the practice
almost amounting to a superstition. The object of each is to make the
rest believe that the required piece of verdure has been forgotten, and
yet to keep it at hand. Sometimes it is drawn from the shoe, or carried
in the brooch, or in the garter. Nurses find in the pockets, or in the
lining of garments, all manner of fragments which have served this
purpose. This curious practice is not known elsewhere in America; but
it is mentioned by Rabelais, under the name by which it is still played
in parts of Central France, "Je vous prends sans vert"--"I catch you
without green." The game, however, is not merely a children's sport,
and is played differently from our description. At Châtillon-sur-Inde
it is during Lent, and only after the singing of the _Angelus_, that
"green" is played. If any lady accost you and shows you her bough, you
must immediately exhibit yours. If you have not such a one, or if your
green is of a shade less rich than your adversary's, you lose a point;
in case of doubt, the matter is referred to an umpire. The game was
much in vogue from the thirteenth to the fourteenth century, and is
described as a May-game. "During the first days of May, every one took
care to carry on his person a little green bough, and those who were
not so provided were liable to hear themselves addressed, _I catch you
without green_, and to receive, at the same instant, a pail of water on
the head. This amusement, however, was in use only among the members
of certain societies, who took the name of _Sans-vert_. Those who
belonged to these had a right to visit each other at any hour of the
day, and administer the bath whenever they found each other unprovided.
In addition, the members so surprised were condemned to a pecuniary
fine, and the income of these fines was devoted to merry repasts
which, at certain seasons of the year, united all the comrades of the

The practice has given to the French language a proverb: _to take any
one without green_, to take him unawares.

Our child's game was doubtless imported by Huguenot immigrants, who
established themselves in the states referred to two centuries since,
where they long preserved their language and customs, and from whom
many well-known families are descended.


[83] Played also on buttons. A friend informs us that, as a child,
he had his buttons altered, in order that the oracle might return an
agreeable response.

[84] In Cambridge, Mass.


    Dans ma main droite je tiens rosier,
    Qui fleurira, qui fleurira,
    Qui fleurira au mois de Mai.
    Entrez en danse, joli rosier,
    Et embrassez qui vous plaira.

                                                    --_Canadian Round._

[86] So recited.

[87] A French version:

    Au dedans Paris,
    Vous ne savez ce qu'il y a?

    Il y a-t-un bois,
    C'est le plus beau bois
    Parmi tous les bois;
    Le bois est dans Paris.
        Ah! le joli bois,
        Ah! le joli bois!
           *       *       *       *       *
    Il y a-t-une plume,
    C'est la plus belle plume
    De toutes les plumes;
    La plume est sur l'oiseau,
    L'oiseau est dans l'oeuf,
    L'oeuf est dans le nid,
    Le nid est sur la feuille,
    La feuille est sur la branche,
    L'arbre est dans le bois.
        Ah! le joli bois,
        Ah! le joli bois!

[88] The custom has been supposed to be derived from the ancient
Roman usage of gathering _green_ on the calends of May, with which to
decorate the house.



    "My brother, the hare,... my sisters, the doves...."

                                           _St. Francis of Assisi._

No. 48.

_My Household._

The names of animals being distributed among children, one, in the
centre of the ring, sings the words; at the proper point the child who
represents the animal must imitate its cry; and as at each verse the
animals who have already figured join in, the game becomes rather noisy.

    I had a little rooster, and my rooster pleased me,
    I fed my rooster beneath that tree;
    My rooster went--Cookery-cooery!
    Other folks feed their rooster, I feed my rooster too.

    I had a little lamb, and my lamb pleased me,
    I fed my lamb beneath that tree;
    My lamb went--Ma--a--a!
    Other folks feed their lamb, I feed my lamb too.

And so on with the names of other beasts.


In another version, it is under the "green bay-tree" (_Magnolia
glauca_) that the animals are stabled.

       *       *       *       *       *

This is another of the games which have been widely distributed through
Europe, and date back to a remote past. At present, with us it is a
child's jest, the noisy imitation of animal cries; but, as in all such
cases, sense preceded sound. Comparing German versions, we see that our
game is properly a song, the idea of which consists in the enumeration
by significant and comical names of the members and possessions of
a family. "When I was a poor woman, I went over the Rhine: my goose
was called _Wag-tail_, my maid _So he said_, my pig _Lard-pot_, my
flea _Hop-i'-straw_" etc. A more courtly version gives us a pleasing
pilgrim's song: "Whence come you?--From sunset. Whither will you?--To
sunrise. To what country?--Home. Where is it?--A hundred miles away.
What is your name?--The world names me _Leap a-field_, my sword is
_Honor worth_, my wife _Pastime_, her maid _Lie-a-bed_, my child
_Rush-about_," etc.

Thus we see the ancient earnestness appearing behind the modern
mirth. It is likely that the origin of the song would take us back to
those lists of mythical titles which were regarded as conveying real
knowledge of the relations of things, at a time when a large part of
learning consisted in the knowledge of the significant names which were
given to objects.

No. 49.


A party of children, who represent frogs by a hopping motion. At the
word "kough," they imitate the croaking of the frog.


    Come, neighbors, the moon is up,
    It's pleasant out here on the bank.
    Come, stick your heads out of the tank,
    And let us, before we sup,
      Go kough, kough, kough.
    And let us, before we sup,
      Go kough, kough, kough.

Enter child in character of duck--

    Hush, yonder is the waddling duck,
    He's coming, I don't mean to stay.
    We'd better by half hop our way,
    If we don't he will gobble us up,
      With a kough, kough, kough.
    If we don't he will gobble us up,
      With a kough, kough, kough.

Every frog hops to his separate den, while pursued by the duck, the
game after the duck's advent being extremely animated.


No. 50.

_Bloody Tom._

Within the ring is the shepherd; the wolf approaches from without. A
dialogue ensues:

    "Who comes here?"
    "Bloody Tom."
    "What do you want?"
    "My sheep."
    "Take the worst, and leave the best,
    And never come back to trouble the rest."

                                                     _Salem, Mass._

A New Hampshire version makes the game represent a fox, who carries off
chickens, thus:

    "Who comes here this dark night?"
    "Who but bloody Tom!--Which you druther be, picked or scalded?"

The Esthonian Fins have a characteristic children's game, based on
the same idea, which may be quoted, to show how much imagination and
spirit enter into the sports of a simple people. A watchman on duty at
the sheepfold announces his office in a soliloquy:

    Thus I guard my mother's lambkins,
    Guard the flocks of my good mother,
    Here before God's holy temple,
    Here behind Maria's cloister,
    Near the halls of our Creator.
    At the house the mother, knitting,
    Shapes the stockings of blue woollen,
    Woollen stockings seamed with scarlet,
    Jackets of the snow-white worsted.
    I build hedges, stakes I sharpen,
    Mould the brazen gratings strongly,
    That the thieves come in and steal not,
    Take not from the flock its sheep-dog,
    Nor the wolf steal in and plunder,
    Seize my mother's tender lambkins,
    Rob the young lambs of my father.

A girl entices away the shepherd, while a boy as wolf carries off part
of the herd, and another as dog barks. The mother of the family hastens
up, beats the traitor, and the herdsmen go with staves to seek the lost
lamb. The garland it wore is found and identified. With shouts of,
"Lamb, lamb," it is found at last, caressed, and its bruises examined.

No. 51.

_Blue-birds and Yellow-birds._

A ring of girls with their hands clasped and lifted. A girl, called
(according to the color of her dress) blue-bird, black-bird,
yellow-bird, etc., enters, and passes into the ring under an arch
formed by a pair of lifted hands, singing to any suitable tune:

    Here comes a blue-bird through the window,
    Here comes a blue-bird through the window,
    Here comes a blue-bird through the window,
        High diddle dum day!

She seizes a child, and waltzes off with her, singing:

    Take a little dance and a hop-i'-the-corner,[89]
    Take a little dance and a hop-i'-the-corner,
    Take a little dance and a hop-i'-the-corner,
        High diddle dum day!

After the dance the chosen partner leads, named, as before, according
to the color of her costume. The child, as she enters, must imitate by
her raised arms the flight of a bird, making a very pretty dance.


No. 52.

_Ducks Fly._

A girl, speaking the words "Ducks fly," raises her hand to imitate the
flight of the bird; so on with robins, eagles, etc., while all the rest
must imitate her example; but she finally says "Cats fly," or some
similar expression, when any child who is incautious enough to raise
the hand (or thumb) must pay forfeit.

                                                        _New York._

Trifling as the catch is, it has been popular in Europe. In some
countries, instead of birds who fly, the question is of beasts who have
or do not have horns.


[89] Pronounced _hop-sie-corner_.



    Lilies are white, rosemary's green;
    When you are king, I will be queen.

    Roses are red, lavender's blue;
    If you will have me, I will have you.

                                         _Gammer Gurton's Garland._

No. 53.

_King and Queen._

This game is now a mere jest. A row of chairs is so arranged as to
leave a vacant space, which is concealed by shawls or other coverings,
and represents a throne. The courtiers having taken their places,
the newly elected monarch is ceremoniously seated by the side of his
consort, and the fun consists in witnessing his downfall.

By Strutt's description, it appears that in the beginning of the
century this was in use as a species of "hazing" in English girls'

"In some great boarding-schools for the fair sex it is customary, upon
the introduction of a novice, for the scholars to receive her with
much pretended solemnity, and decorate a throne in which she is to be
installed, in order to hear a set speech, addressed to her by one of
the young ladies in the name of the rest. The throne is wide enough
for three persons to sit conveniently, and is made with two stools,
having a tub nearly filled with water between them, and the whole is
covered with a counterpane or blanket, ornamented with ribands and
other trifling fineries, and drawn very tightly over the two stools,
upon each of which a lady is seated to keep the blanket from giving way
when the new scholar takes her place; and these are called her maids
of honor. The speech consists of high-flown compliments calculated to
flatter the vanity of the stranger; and as soon as it is concluded, the
maids of honor rising suddenly together, the counterpane of course
gives way, and poor miss is unexpectedly immerged in the water."

In Austria the same game is called "conferring knighthood." All present
are dressed as knights, in paper helmets, great mustachios, sticks for
lances, wooden swords, etc. Two, who represent the oldest knights, are
seated on the two stools, between which is a vacant space, while the
rest form a half-circle about the _Grand Master_, who wears a mask
and wig, and holds a great roll of paper. Meanwhile the candidate, in
a separate room, is prepared by two knights for the ceremony; these
instruct him in his behavior, until the embassy arrives to lead him
before the Grand Master. The latter delivers a solemn address, and
from the document in his hands reads the rule of the order--silence,
courage, truth, etc. Then follows the vow, the delivery of the knightly
costume, and the solemn bestowal of the stroke which dubs the victim a
knight. He is finally invited to take his seat in the circle, with the
result described in our own jest.

The name, "King and Queen," recalls a game as old as history, that of
electing a king, who proceeded to confer offices of state, and assign
duties. Herodotus tells us how the child Cyrus showed his royal birth
by the severity with which he punished his disobedient subjects. In
Switzerland, the children still choose, by "counting out," a king
and an executioner. The king proceeds to impose tasks. Geiler of
Kaisersberg, in a sermon, A.D. 1507, gives the formula then in use in
the game: "Sir king, I wish to serve you." "And what is your service?"
"What you command me, I would execute." "I bid you do an honor to the
king." For this game, as still played in Switzerland, a queen is also
chosen; after a time, the king exclaims, "I make a journey," when the
whole company, in couples, follow him through the chambers of the house
or streets of the town on his royal progress. The old English game of
"Questions and Commands" seems to have been the same. A writer in the
_Gentlemen's Magazine_, February, 1738, gives its formula: "King I
am," says one boy; another answers, "I am your man." Then his majesty
demands what service will he do him; to which the obsequious courtier
replies, "The best, and worst, and all I can."

No. 54.

_Follow Your Leader._

In this game, the leader having been chosen by "speaking first," or
"counting out," the rest must do whatever he does. It is usually played
out-of-doors, and the children "follow their leader" in a row, across
roads, fences, and ditches, jumping from heights, and creeping under
barriers.[90] We are told that the game is played in a peculiarly
reckless fashion in the South, where the leader will sometimes go under
a horse's legs or between the wheels of a wagon, whereupon the driver,
knowing what to expect, will stop for the rest.

No doubt this sport, now a mere exhibition of daring, has an ancient
origin and history. Perhaps it was a development of the _king game_,
already referred to.

The technical word for challenge among children in America is "stump."
One boy "stumps" another to do a thing. Whence derived?

No. 55.


The game of "Truth," as played in Massachusetts, is described by Miss
Alcott in her "Little Women," chapter xii. The players are there said
to pile up their hands, choose a number, and draw out in turn, and the
person who draws his or her hand from the pile at the number selected
has to answer truly any questions put by the rest.

We have heard of a party of young people who met regularly to play this
game, but have been assured that it proved prolific of quarrels.

No. 56.


We have seen that the imitation of the ceremony of knighthood is still
a form of childish amusement in Europe. Here follows a jesting New
England formula for such a purpose, though not a game of children, but
belonging to an older age:

"You must promise to obey three rules: first, never to do to-day what
you can put off till to-morrow; secondly, never to eat brown bread when
you can get white; thirdly, never to kiss the maid when you can kiss
the mistress, unless the maid is prettier than the mistress."

These vows having been taken, it is then said, "Now I dub you knight of
the whistle." Meantime a whistle having been attached to the back of
the candidate, the fun consists in his attempts to discover the person
who blew it.

No. 57.

_Judge and Jury._

A child is chosen to be judge, two others for jurors (or, to speak with
our little informant, _juries_), who sit at his right and left hand.

Each child must ask the permission of the judge before taking any step.
A platter is brought in, and a child, rising, asks the judge, "May I go
into the middle of the room?" "May I turn the platter?" "On which side
shall it fall?"

If the platter falls on the wrong side, forfeit must be paid.

                                                 _Cambridge, Mass._

The nursery, we see, does not understand republicanism. The fairy tale
has never got beyond the period in which the monarch orders the wicked
witch to immediate execution.

In the ancient world, however, where the courts were a place of resort,
and law was not a specialized profession, the case was different.
Maximus of Tyre tells us that the children had their laws and
tribunals; condemnation extended to the forfeiture of toys. Cato the
Younger, according to Plutarch, had his detestation of tyranny first
awakened by the punishment inflicted on a playmate by such a tribunal.
One of the younger boys had been sentenced to imprisonment; the doom
was duly carried into effect, but Cato, moved by his cries, rescued him.

In a German game there is a king, a judge, an executioner, an accuser,
and a thief. The parts are assigned by drawing lots, but the accuser
does not know the name of the thief, and, if he makes an error, has
to undergo the penalty in his stead. The judge finally addresses the
king, inquiring if his majesty approves of his decision; and the king
replies, "Yes, your sentence entitles you to my favor;" or, "No, your
sentence entitles you to so many blows." Thus we see how modern
child's play respects the dignity of the king as the fountain of law.

In a Swiss sport the thief flies, and is chased over stock and stone
until caught, when he is made to kneel down, his cap pushed over his
brows, and his head immediately struck off with the edge of a board. So
is preserved the memory of the severity of ancient criminal law.

No. 58.

_Three Jolly Sailors._

    Here comes a set of jolly sailor-boys,
      Who lately came on shore;
    They spend their time in drinking of the wine,
      As they have done before.
    As we go round, and around and around,
      As we go round once more.

                                                _New York streets._

At the second verse, the little girls by whom this round is danced
turn so as to follow each other in an endless chain, each grasping the
skirts of the child in front, while they move faster and faster to the
lively tune.

Some of our readers may think this song not a very creditable specimen
of modern invention; but it is no doubt a relic of antiquity. A similar
round, given in "Deuteromelia," 1609 (as cited by Chappell), begins:

    We be three poor mariners, newly come from the seas;
    We spend our lives in jeopardy, while others live at ease.

The children of the poorer class, therefore, who still keep up in the
streets of our cities the present ring-dance, are only maintaining the
customs which belonged to courtiers and noble ladies in the time of

No. 59.

_Marching to Quebec._

This piece of doggerel may be of revolutionary origin, as it can be
traced to near the beginning of the present century. It is unusual for
political or military events to be alluded to in children's games.

    As we were marching to Quebec,
      The drums were loudly beating;
    The Americans have won the day,
      The British are retreating.
        March! march! march! march!

So the game was played in Philadelphia in the childhood of a lady born
at the end of the last century. In Massachusetts and Maine it continued
to be popular until within a few years, as follows:

    We were marching to Quebec,
      The drums were loudly beating;
    America has gained the day,
      The British are retreating.

    The war is o'er, and they are turned back,
      For evermore departed;
    So open the ring, and take one in,
      For they are broken-hearted.

    Oh, you're the one that I love best,
      I praise you high and dearly;
    My heart you'll get, my hand I'll give,
      The kiss is most sincerely.

                                                 _Worcester, Mass._

That the population of Dutch extraction in New York had no deep
sympathy with the patriotic sentiments of revolutionary times seems
to be indicated in a satirical stanza, which has come to us from an
informant who learned it in youth of her aged grandmother, and which
appears also to have been originally a dance-song. We hope that errors
in spelling American Dutch may be forgiven:

    Loope, Junger, de roier kome--
    Spann de wagen voor de Paarde!

That is,

    Run, lads, the king's men are coming;
    Harness the wagons before the horses!

in jesting allusion to the speed with which the patriots were supposed
to make off. The refrain is in part unintelligible to us, but seems to
belong to a dance.

No. 60.

_Sudden Departure._

A visitor approaches the ring from without, and pleads:

    It snows and it blows, and it cuts off my nose,
      So pray, little girl, let me in;
    I'll light my pipe, and warm my toes,
      And then I'll be gone again.

He is admitted into the circle, and proceeds to perform the designated
actions. Having "lighted his pipe and warmed his toes," he suddenly
attempts to make his exit from the ring (all the members of which have
clasped hands in expectation of his onset), throwing himself with that
object against a pair of linked arms.

No. 61.


Such was, and perhaps still is, the name of an amusement of a not very
agreeable nature, familiar at children's parties in New England. A girl
was seated on a chair in the middle of the room, and one child after
another was led to her throne. She would turn away with an expression
of contempt, until some one approached that pleased her, who, after a
kiss, took her place.

"Derision" is the name of a game mentioned by Froissart as an amusement
of his childhood. It is not at all unlikely that the present sport
represents the old French pastime.

Speaking of representations of the passions, we may say that we have
heard of a game formerly played in New York, called "Hatred and
Revenge;" but have not succeeded in obtaining it.


[90] A friend recollects how he "followed his leader" over the roofs of
houses in Boston.



    He asked a shepherd who stood near:
    "Why do these lads make merry here,
    Why is their round so gay?"
    "They dance about a violet sweet, a lad hath found to-day."
    The drum, the harp, and fife, resounded round their play,
        All were of heart elate,
        Each dancing with his mate.
        I, Nithart, led the row,
    Once and again, around the violet to and fro.

                                       _Minnesinger, 13th century._

No. 62.

_Ring Around the Rosie._

This little round, universally familiar in America, meets us again
in Germany and Provence. After the transit of various languages, and
thousands of miles, the song retains the same essential characteristics.


    Ring a ring a rosie,
    A bottle full of posie,
    All the girls in our town,
    Ring for little Josie.

                                 _New Bedford, Mass._ (about 1790).

Another version:

    Round the ring of roses,
    Pots full of posies,
    The one who stoops last
    Shall tell whom she loves best.

At the end of the words the children suddenly stoop, and the last to
get down undergoes some penalty, or has to take the place of the child
in the centre, who represents the "rosie" (rose-tree; French, _rosier_).

Vulgarized forms of the round are common:

    Ring around the rosie,
    Squat among the posies.

    Ring around the roses,
    Pocket full of posies,
    One, two, three--squat!

And finally it is deformed past recognition:

    A ring, a ring, a ransy,
    Buttermilk and tansy,
    Flower here and flower there,
    And all--squat!

This last corruption was in use some forty years since in Connecticut.

No. 63.

_Go Round and Round the Valley._

A ring of dancers with clasped hands. A girl circles about the outside
of the rest, who join in singing--


    Go round and round the valley,
        As we are all so gay.

The players now let go hands, and she winds in and out of the circle,

    Go in and out of the windows,
        As we are all so gay.

She now stands facing one of the children, who sing--

    Go back, and face your lover,
        As we are all so gay.

Taking the hand of one of the children, she salutes her--

    Such love have I to show you,
        As we are all so gay.

The child selected then takes her place.

                                                _New York streets._

No. 64.

_The Farmer in the Dell._


    The farmer in the dell,
    The farmer in the dell,
        _Heigh ho! for Rowley O!_
    The farmer in the dell.

The first child chooses and places beside himself a second, then a
third, and so on, while the rest sing to the same tune:

    The farmer takes the wife--
    The wife takes the child--
    The child takes the nurse--
    The nurse takes the dog--
    The dog takes the cat--
    The cat takes the rat--
    The rat takes the cheese--
    The cheese stands alone.

The "cheese" is "clapped out," and must begin again as the "farmer."

                                                _New York streets._

No. 65.

_The Game of Rivers._

A girl is chosen to be the _Ocean_. The rest represent _rivers_. The
rivers, by very devious courses (around school-desks, etc.), flow into
the Ocean. Not unfrequently in their course to the sea, the rivers
encounter somewhat violently.

                                                        _New York._

No. 66.

_Quaker, How is Thee?_

    "Quaker, Quaker, how is thee?"
      "Very well, I thank thee."
    "How's thy neighbor, next to thee?"
      "I don't know, but I'll go see."

The question is accompanied by a rapid movement of the right hand. The
second child in the ring inquires in the same manner of the third; and
so all round. Then the same question is asked with a like gesture of
the left hand, and, after this has gone round, with both hands, left
foot, right foot, both feet, and finally by uniting all the motions at
once. "A nice long game," as our little informant said.

                                     _New York, Philadelphia, etc._

No. 67.

_Darby Jig._

This absurd little rhyme was formerly used to accompany an animated
dance, in which the arms were placed behind the waist, and the hands
rested on the hips, with alternate motion.

    Darby, darby, jig, jig, jig,
    I've been to bed with a big, big wig!
    I went to France to learn to dance--
    Darby, darby, jig, jig, jig!

                                     _Philadelphia; Massachusetts_.

No. 68.

_Right Elbow In._

    Put your right elbow in,
    Put your right elbow out,
    Shake yourselves a little,
    And turn yourselves about.

    Put your left elbow in,
    Put your left elbow out,
    Shake yourselves a little,
    And turn yourselves about.

Then followed _right ear_ and _left ear_, _right foot_ and _left
foot_, etc. The words we give were in use some sixty years since,
when the game was danced deliberately and decorously, as old fashion
was, with slow rhythmical motion. Now it has been turned into a romp,
under various names (in Boston, "Ugly Mug"). The English name is

No. 69.

_My Master Sent Me._

    "My master sent me to you, sir."
    "For what, sir?"
    "To do with one as I do, sir."

The person who gives orders beats time with one foot, then both feet,
one hand and both feet, two hands and both feet, etc. The game, like
the preceding, is performed with a dancing motion.

                                                        _New York._

No. 70.

_Humpty Dumpty._

This game is for girls only. All present sit in a circle, then each
girl gathers her skirts tightly, so as to enclose her feet. The leader
begins some rhyme; all join in, and at a word previously agreed on,
keeping the skirt tightly grasped, throw themselves over backward. The
object now is to recover the former position without letting go the

                                                        _New York._

No. 71.

_Pease Porridge Hot._

This familiar little rhyme is accompanied by two players with alternate
striking of the hands together and against the knees, in a way easier
to practise than to describe. School-girls often use it to warm their
hands on cold winter mornings.

    Pease porridge hot,
      Pease porridge cold,
    Pease porridge in the pot,
      Nine days old.

No. 72.

_Rhymes for a Race._

    Up the street, down the street,
    Here's the way we go.
    Forty horses standing in a row;
    [Dolly] on the white one,
    [Harry] on the black one,
    Riding to Harrisburg _five_ miles away.


We suppose the above formula to be a rhyme for starting in a race. The
common schoolboy verse--

    One to make ready,
      Two to prepare,
    Three to _go slambang_,

appears to be a parody of the older English rhyme,

    One to make ready,
      And two to prepare,
    Good luck to the rider,
      And away goes the mare.

No. 73.

_Twine the Garland._

We find mentioned in the "Girls' Own Book," Boston, 1856, a dance of
girls which has the characteristics of an old game. Girls take hold of
hands, one standing still; the rest twist about her until they form
a knot. They then untwist in the same manner, singing, "Twine the
garland, girls!" and, "Untwine the garland, girls!"

No. 74.


This name was formerly given in New England to a dance similar to
that known in Scotland as _Curcuddie_. The hands were clasped under
the knees, and the children slowly and solemnly described squares and
triangles on the floor.

We may add here an unnamed amusement for school-girls, which consists
in joining hands behind the back (giving the right hand to the left
hand of a partner), and then turning, while retaining the hold, so as
to stand facing each other. This movement is then repeated until the
couple whirl about with considerable rapidity.



          --fulle stuffed a male
    Of disportes and newe pleyes.

                                                 _Chaucer's Dreme._

No. 75.

+_Club Fist._+

A child lays on a table his clenched fist, with the thumb elevated;
another grasps the raised thumb with his own fist, and so on until a
pile of fists is built up. A player, who remains apart from the group,
then addresses the child whose hand is at the top:

    "What's that?"
    "A pear."
    "Take it off or I'll knock it off."

The same conversation is repeated with the next child, and so on; the
fist being withdrawn as speedily as possible, to escape a rap from the
questioner. When only one is left, the following dialogue ensues:

                          "What have you got there?"
                          "Bread and cheese."
                          "Where's my share?"
                          "Cat's got it."
                          "Where's the cat?"
                          "In the woods."
                          "Where's the woods?"
                          "Fire burned it."
                          "Where's the fire?"
                          "Water quenched it."
                          "Where's the water?"
                          "Ox drank it."
                          "Where's the ox?"
                          "Butcher killed it."
                          "Where's the butcher?"
                          "Rope hung him."
                          "Where's the rope?"
                          "Rat gnawed it."
                          "Where's the rat?"
                          "Cat caught it."
                          "Where's the cat?"
    "Behind the church-door. The first who laughs, or grins, or shows the
    teeth has three pinches and three knocks."

Then follows a general scattering; for some child is sure to laugh, and
if he does not do so of his own accord, his neighbors will certainly
tweak him, poke him, or otherwise excite his risibility.


In Pennsylvania the conversation ends:

                    "Where's the butcher?"
    "He's behind the door cracking nuts, and whoever speaks first
        I'll slap his fingers,
                    Because I am the keeper of the keys,
                    And I do whatever I please."

This dialogue, based on a well-known nursery tale, has maintained
itself with remarkable persistence, and even verbal identity, in
several European languages. We meet it in Germany and Denmark, as well
as England.

No. 76.

_Robin's Alive._

This celebrated game was formerly much played in New England during the
winter evenings. A stick was lighted, and passed from hand to hand. It
was an object to transfer it as quickly as possible; but each player,
before handing it to his neighbor, must repeat the rhyme--

    The bird is alive, and alive like to be,
    If it dies in my hand you may back-saddle me.

Or else, "Robin's alive," etc.

The "back-saddling" consisted in depositing the person, in whose hand
the light went out, upon the back on the floor, and afterwards piling
upon him (or her) chairs and other furniture.

Another formula is given in the "Girls' Own Book:"

"Robin's alive, and alive he shall be; if he dies in my hand, my mouth
shall be bridled, my back shall be saddled, and I be sent home to the
king's Whitehall."

When the light expired it was said: "Robin is dead, and dead he shall
be; he has died in your hand, and your mouth shall be bridled, your
back shall be saddled, to send you home to the king's Whitehall."

This game is played all over Europe with similar formulas; but we are
not aware that the "back-saddling" feature has been practised out
of England and America. The person in whose possession the light is
extinguished usually pays forfeit.

It has been suggested, with plausibility, that the sport is connected
with an ancient rite: namely, the races of torch-bearers, which formed
part of certain festal ceremonies, and in which the courier in whose
hands the torch went out was a loser. Such contests are repeatedly
alluded to by classic writers; but their exact conduct is involved in
some obscurity. In such a race, at Athens, the torch was kindled on the
altar of Prometheus, and handed to the runner, whose duty it was to
pass it, while still alight, to a second, and so on. This ceremony has
suggested a celebrated line to Lucretius, who compares the flying ages
to "runners who pass from one to another the torch of life."

No. 77.

_Laughter Games._

There is a whole class of games of which the object is to excite to
laughter by means of some ridiculous action.

Such games are sometimes played with a lighted candle. The players
approach each other from opposite sides of the room, and sustain a
dialogue in solemn tones, while they must keep a grave countenance on
penalty of paying forfeit. For example:

"The king of Turkey is dead." "What did he die of?" "Doing so" (some
ridiculous gesture).

A more characteristic version (in Nantucket, Mass.) had it: "The royal
Russian princess, Husty Fusty, is defunct." To which it was necessary
to answer soberly--"I'm very sorry to hear it; even the cats bewail her

A game which was formerly popular with children in Massachusetts was to
lean a staff in the corner, while a player was seated in the centre of
the ring. Another child now entered, took up the staff, approached and
addressed the one sitting, and a rhymed dialogue ensued:

    "My father sent me here with a staff,
    To speak to you, and not to laugh."
    "Methinks you smile." "Methinks I don't.
    I smooth my face with ease and grace,
    And set my staff in its proper place."

If the staff-bearer laughed, he or she must take the chair; otherwise
the next player continued the game.

A third amusement is for girls to excite one another to laugh by gently
pinching in succession the ears, nose, lips, etc., while making use of
some ridiculous expression.

This usage is alluded to more than three centuries ago by Rabelais.

In a Swiss game, this performance is complicated by a jest. Each child
pinches his neighbor's ear; but by agreement the players blacken their
fingers, keeping two of the party in ignorance. Each of the two victims
imagines it to be the other who is the object of the uproarious mirth
of the company.

No. 78.

_Bachelor's Kitchen._

The children sit in a row, with the exception of one, who goes in
succession to each child, and asks him what he will give to the
bachelor's kitchen. Each answers what he pleases, as a saucepan, a
mousetrap, etc. When all have replied, the questioner returns to the
first child, and puts all sorts of questions, which must be answered by
the article which he before gave to the kitchen, and by no other word.
For instance, he asks, "What do you wear on your head?" "Mousetrap."
The object is to make the answerer laugh, and he is asked a number of
questions, until he either laughs or is given up as a hard subject. The
questioner then passes to the next child, and so on through the whole
row. Those who laugh, or add any other word to their answer, must pay
a forfeit, which is redeemed in the same way as in other games.

                                                 _Cambridge, Mass._

No. 79.

_The Church and the Steeple._

Little girls, with appropriate motions of the closed fist, or of the
inverted hand with raised fingers, say,

    Here is the church,
    Here is the steeple,
    Here is the parson,
    And all the people.

An Italian finger-game well exhibits the different mental state of
children in the two countries. The words are: "This is the Inferno,
and this the Paradiso." The fingers of the two hands, crossed within,
represent the disturbed world of wretchedness; the back of the hands,
turned, where all is calm, typify Paradise.

No. 80.

_What Color?_

A tumbler of water and a thimble are required. One child is sent out
of the room, and to each of the others a different color is allotted.
The first is then expected to name the color of some child. If she
succeeds in her guess, a thimbleful of water is thrown in her face. The
guessing is continued till this takes place, when the thrower becomes
the guesser for the next turn.


No. 81.

_Beetle and Wedge._

There are games in which the guesser has only _Scogan's choice_[91]
between two sorts of disaster.

Thus, a party of boys pitch on two who are unacquainted with the game,
and ask them if they would not like to play "Beetle and Wedge." "The
fun is to be the Beetle and the Wedge," they explain. The victims
consenting, the Beetle is then driven against the Wedge, back to
back, with a force that "sends him flying." This amusement belongs to

In Philadelphia a boy is asked whether he prefers _mustard_ or
_pepper_; in either case receiving corresponding personal inflictions.
So in the English game of "Trades" a boy is made to guess the trade of
the questioner, and is _hammered_, _planed_, or _rasped_, accordingly.

No. 82.

_Present and Advise._

All the children, except two, are seated in a row. One of these
whispers in the ear of each child, "I present you with this." The
second, in like manner, adds, "I advise you what to do with it."

Another old whispering-game, belonging, like the preceding, to New
York, is called "Sentiment." Each child tells his neighbor on the right
the name of a person, and repeats to the one on the left a verse of
poetry, usually of a sentimental character. The name and verse are then
to be repeated together as in the former game.

No. 83.

_Genteel Lady._

"I, genteel lady, always genteel, come from the genteel lady, always
genteel, beg leave to inform you that my ship has just come in from
China laden with apricots."

The next player has to repeat, adding some object beginning with _b_,
such as biscuit; the next player one beginning with _c_, and so down
the alphabet. If any one hesitates, or makes a mistake, a lighted
"lamp-lighter" (New England, _spill_) is stuck in her hair, and she is
the "one-horned," instead of the "genteel" lady; and for two mistakes
the "two-horned" lady, and so on. This juxtaposition of curls and
"lamp-lighters" is by no means always safe.


Of this game we observe that, like several amusements familiar in this
State, it is of French origin.[92]

No. 84.

_Beast, Bird, or Fish._

A member of the party throws to another a knotted handkerchief, saying
one of the above words, and counting up to ten. The catcher must answer
in the given time the name of some animal of the kind required, not
already cited by some other player.

Whoever fails to reply while the counting is going on, is out of the
game. After the names of commoner animals are exhausted, the game
becomes a test of quickness and memory.

No. 85.

_Wheel of Fortune._

A picture of a wheel is drawn upon the slate, and a number written
between each of its spokes. The eyes being then closed, the child whose
turn it is raises a pencil in the air, twirling it, and saying,

              Tit for tat,
              Butter for fat,
    If you kill my dog I'll kill your cat.

At the last word the pencil is brought down; if the point of the pencil
falls on a space, the number there written is scored; if on a line, or
outside the circle, or on a number previously secured (and erased by
a line), the turn is forfeited. The game is continued until a certain
number has been scored by the winning player.


No. 86.


    "I went up one pair of stairs."
    "Just like me."
    "There was a monkey."
    "Just like me."
    "I one'd it."
    "I two'd it," etc.
    "I ate [eight] it."

This (to children) exquisitely witty dialogue has its German
counterpart.--"I went into the wood." "So did I." "I took an axe." "So
did I." "I made a trough." "So did I." "Seven pigs ate of it." "So did

Equally well known is the jest, "I am a gold lock," "I am a gold key,"
etc.--ending "I am a monk-lock," "I am a mon-key."

We may mention also a familiar catch, "Say my cat, my cat, and not my
dog." "My dog" must not be spoken.

Of a different character are the following jests:

The lights being extinguished, a knife is passed round the circle of
players, and the following conversation ensues, each phrase being
continued from left to right of the ring:

    "What's this?"
    "A dagger."
    "Where did you get it?"
    "Stole it."
    "What was done with it?"

All of the company who understand the jest shriek aloud, which
accomplishes the object of terrifying the rest.

Somewhat similar (in New York) is the following:

    "Neighbor, I've got a hatchet to sell."
    "Did you buy it?"
    "Did you steal it?"

In the following conversation, one sentence at a time is repeated in a
whisper to the left-hand neighbor, and so passed round the circle, the
fun consisting in the imitation of crowing at the end.

"Hath she feathers?" "Feathers she hath." "Doth she crow?" "Crow she
doth." "How doth she crow?" (An imitation of crowing follows.)

No. 87.

_Intery Mintery._

An evening amusement formerly common in Massachusetts. All present
laid their hands with fingers resting on the knees. The speaker then
told off the words of the rhyme, one for each finger. The rhyme being
thus recited, that finger to which the last syllable fell must be
quickly withdrawn, on penalty of being sharply rapped by the hand of
the leader. After all had been counted out but one person, he or she
was liable to the same risk for every word of the rhyme--the result of
which situation is alluded to by the epithet "black finger."

    Intery mintery cutery corn,
    Apple-seed and apple-thorn,
    Wire, briar, limber lock,
    Twelve geese in a flock;
    Sit and sing by a spring,
    O-u-t spells out, and in again.
    Over yonder steep hills,
    Where my father he dwells,
    He has jewels, he has rings,
    And very many pretty things.
    Strike Jack, lick Tom,
    Blow the bellows,
    Black finger--out-of-the-game.

No. 88.

_Redeeming Forfeits._

The girl who is to assign the penalty by which the forfeit must be
redeemed lays her head on the lap of another who sits on a chair, while
a third, standing behind, holds the article over her head and asks:

    "Here is a forfeit, a very fine forfeit; what shall be done to
        redeem it?"
    "Is it fine or superfine?" (_i.e._, does it belong to a gentleman
        or to a lady).

The sentence is then declared.

Another formula, used in the Middle and Southern States, is:

    "Heavy, heavy, what hangs over you?"

The German usage is nearly the same, the question being "Lord judge,
what is your sentence, what shall he do whose pledge I have in my hand?"

The following are examples of old penalties, which usually involved
kissing, with infinite variety of method:

    _To go to Rome._ To kiss every girl in the room.

    _Flat-irons._ The lad and lass lay their hands on the wall and

    _Measuring yards of tape, and cutting it off._ To kiss with the
        arms extended.

    "_I'm in the well._" "How many fathoms deep?" (Any number is

    "Whom will you have to take you out?" (Some one of the company is
        named.) Each fathom represents a kiss.

No. 89.

_Old Mother Tipsy-toe._

This is a very popular game with girls in various parts of the United

The children sit in a row, with the exception of the mother, who comes
up and asks each child in turn, "How did you tear your dress?" After
hearing their various excuses, she again traverses the row, indicating
the part of the dress to be mended, and saying:

    I give you so much work to do,
    Use thimble, thread, and needle too;
    If you don't get it done before I come back,
    I'll give you a slap across your back.

She slaps her children on the shoulder and goes out, forbidding them
to follow her. As soon as her back is turned, they all jump up and run
after her, shouting, "Old mother Tipsy-toe,"[94] or, as in a variation
from New York:

    Old mother Tippety-toe, old mother Tippety-toe,
    I'll follow my mother wherever she go.

The mother now goes into a shop, and orders various articles, the
children repeating after her whatever she says. For instance, the
mother says, "I want two pounds of butter." "I want two pounds of
butter," shout the children in chorus. Finally she says, "And I want
a stick to whip my children with," upon which she turns to leave the
shop, while the children rush before her, and scramble back to their
seats before their mother comes home. The latter then goes to each
child in turn, saying, "Let me see how well you have mended your
dress." The children all hold the hem of their dresses as firmly as
they can, with their hands somewhat apart. The mother strikes with her
hand the part of the dress that is between their hands; and if they let
it go, she scolds and beats them for their bad mending.

                                                 _Cambridge, Mass._

In another way of playing, which makes the game one of chase, "Old
mammy Tipsy-toe" addresses her children:

    I give you this much work to do,
      Use thread and needle, thimble too;
    If you don't have it done
      By the time that I come home,
    You'll be beaten black and blue
      With my old shoe.

She then makes preparations to depart:

    I'm going to Lady Washington's,
      To get a cup of tea,
    And five loaves of gingerbread,
      So don't you follow me.

The children, of course, pursue her with shouts of defiance, upon which
she turns and chases them, while they rush to their places. She comes
back, and demands of the children:

"Have you been out to-day?" "No." "You have. Where have you been?" "To
grandmother's." "What did you get?" "A slice of cake." "Where is my
share?" "In the band-box." "But I might break my neck getting it." "I
wish you would." On this, she chases the children, who fly and scatter.
Any child she catches is out of the game, which is continued until all
are captured.


No. 90.

_Who Stole the Cardinal's Hat?_

The children being seated in a circle, a child, who does not take part
in the game, whispers to each of the rest a name representing some
color, as "Red-cap," "Blue-cap," "Yellow-cap," etc. Two players are
excepted, one of whom is called "My man John," and one represents the
cardinal. The latter now leaves the room, first placing in the hands of
"John" a little billet of wood, bidding him take care of the Cardinal's
hat, which at the same time he declares to be of some particular color,
as green. "John" conceals this somewhere in the room. The child who
went out then enters, armed with a cane, and demands the Cardinal's
hat. "John" affects to have forgotten all about it, and asks, "What
color was it? green?" and so on until he guesses the color. Being thus
reminded, he declares that some one of the group, as, for example,
"Red-cap," has stolen it. "Red-cap" is now asked by the questioner,
"Red-cap, did you steal the Cardinal's hat?" He also must pass on the
charge, saying, "No, it was White-cap" (or any other color). If he
omits to do so, or names a color not included among the players, he
must pay forfeit. Meanwhile the questioner becomes indignant at the
numerous denials, and proceeds to extort confession by torture, rapping
with his cane the fingers of those whom he addresses. If he succeeds
in obliging any child to confess, the latter must pay forfeit. At last
"My man John" owns the theft, produces the hat, and the game is begun
again, until a sufficient number of forfeits have been collected.

                                              _Saratoga, New York._

This game is also played in Switzerland. The name of a color having
been given to each child, a ball is stealthily passed about the circle.
The "Abbot of St. Gall" enters, and exclaims, "The Abbot of St. Gall
has lost his night-cap; they say White stole it." The player whose
color is named, if he has the ball, must pass it behind his back to
another, saying, "Not White, Red has it." Whoever is caught in passing
the ball, or names a color not in the game, or fails to answer when his
name is called, must pay forfeit, or have his face marked with burned
cork. It will be seen that the Swiss game corresponds to the American,
except that in the latter the ball is concealed instead of being passed
round; but we think it likely that the memory of our informant (a
child) may have been at fault in this respect.

The _Gentleman's Magazine_, February, 1738, mentions a game called "The
Parson hath lost his Fuddling Cap." _The Spectator_, No. 268, also
refers to this sport: "I desire to know in your next if the merry game
of 'The Parson has lost his Cloak,' is not mightily in vogue amongst
the fine ladies this Christmas, because I see they wear hoods of all
colours, which I suppose is for that purpose." From this last extract
it appears that the names "Red-cap," etc., are a reminiscence of the
variously colored hoods once employed in the game.


[91] _Scogan's choice_ is equivalent to _Hobson's choice_; both are
heroes of old jest-books.

[92] The game is called "Le Chevalier Gentil," and proceeds thus: "Bon
jour, chevalier gentil, toujours gentil; moi chevalier gentil, toujours
gentil, je viens de la part du chevalier gentil, toujours gentil (so
designating the left-hand neighbor) vous dire qu'il y a un aigle à bec
d'or, à pattes d'argent," etc. A player who misses receives "un petit
cornet de papier," and is known as "chevalier cornu, biscornu," etc.,
or "damoiselle cornette à tant de cornes."

[93] A French catch: "J'ai monté un escalier." "Comme moi." "Je suis
entré dans la chambre." "Comme moi." "J'ai vu une petite boîte." "Comme
moi." "Je l'ai ouverte." "Comme moi." "Il y avait une grosse bête."
"Comme moi."

[94] Or, as played by the children from whom this version was obtained,
_Old mother Cripsy-crops_. The name "Tipsy-toe" is derived from the
limping gait supposed to belong to witches. See No. 154, C.



"As boys, when they play at 'how many,' hold out their hands in such
a way that, having few, they pretend to have many, and having many,
they make believe to have few."--XENOPHON, _Treatise on the Duties of a
Cavalry Officer_.

No. 91.

_Odd or Even._

A small number of beans or other counters are held in the hand, and the
question is, Odd or Even? If the guess is even, and the true number
odd, it is said "Give me one to make it odd," and _vice versâ_. The
game is continued until all the counters belong to one or other of the
two players.

This amusement was familiar in ancient Greece and Rome, as it is in
modern Europe. In the classic game the player gained or lost as many as
he held in his hand.

No. 92.

_Hul Gul._

This game is played by three, four, or more, who stand in a circle. A
child then addresses his left-hand neighbor, and the dialogue is:

    "Hul Gul."
    "Hands full."
    "Parcel how many?"

The second player then guesses the number, two guesses being sometimes
allowed. If, for example, the guess is five, and the real number seven,
the first responds, "Give me two to make it seven," and so on until
all the counters have been gained by one player. The number allowed to
be taken is often limited, by agreement, to six or ten.

The counters are beans, grains of corn, marbles, nuts, and, in the
South, _chinquapins_.[95]

A childish trick is to expand the hand as if unable to hold the number
of counters, when in fact they are but one or two. Oddly enough, this
same device is alluded to by Xenophon as in use in his day in the
game of "How many?"--the classic equivalent of our game, in which the
question was, "How many have I in the hand?" just as we say, "Parcel
how many?" So, in these sports, the interval of two thousand years

No. 93.

_How many Fingers?_

A child hides his head on another's lap, and guesses the number of
fingers raised. We find a rhyme for this given in the "Girls' Own Book."

    "Mingledy, mingledy, clap, clap, clap,
    How many fingers do I hold up?"
    "Three you said, and two it was," etc.

Another form of this game consists in schoolboys mounting on each
other's back and raising fingers, of which the number is to be guessed.
The English formula for this purpose is given by Tylor thus, "Buck,
buck, how many horns do I hold up?" We are not aware that the practice
continues to exist in this country.

In the famous finger-game of "Morra," the sum of the fingers raised
by the two players is counted. The game is played with such rapidity,
and the calling is so rapid, that conjecture plays a larger part in
the game than eyesight. "Morra" has been a favorite for nearly four
thousand years, for it is represented on early Egyptian monuments,
where the players are depicted as using the right hand, and scoring
with the left, very much as is done in the south of Europe at the
present day.

It is very likely, however, that the nursery usage we are now concerned
with is as old. Petronius Arbiter, in the time of Nero, describes
Trimalchio as so playing with a boy. The latter, mounting as on
horseback, smote his shoulders with the open hand, and laughing said,
"Bucca, bucca, how many?"[96]

We will not undertake to decide whether the reported coincidence of the
Latin and English formulas is a genuine example of transmission. The
game, however, and the question, "How many?" have certainly endured for
two thousand years, and very likely existed as long before the days of
Petronius, or from a time as remote as that to which can be traced the
more complicated game of "Morra."

No. 94.

_Right or Left._

A common way of deciding a dispute, selecting players, or determining
who shall begin a game, is to take a pebble or other object in the
closed fist, and make a comrade guess in which hand it is contained.

The old-fashioned way of holding the hands, both in England and
Germany, was to place one fist on top of the other; and a like usage
formerly prevailed in New England, though we have not met with the
English rhyme:

    Handy-dandy riddledy ro,
    Which will you have, high or low?

No. 95.

_Under which Finger?_

A child takes a bean in the hand, closes it, and asks a companion to
guess under which finger it lies; if the latter fails, he must pay a

No. 96.

_Comes, it Comes._

A simple guessing-game, familiar to children in New England. One
child of the party says to another, "It comes, it comes." The player
addressed replies, "What do you come by?" The first replies by naming
the initial letter of some object in the room; if, for instance, it is
the table he has in mind, he says, "I come by T." The rest must now
guess what thing, beginning with this letter, is meant.

No. 97.

_Hold Fast My Gold Ring._

The children sit in a circle, with hands closed; one takes the ring,
and goes around with it, tapping the closed fists of the players as if
inserting the ring, and saying:

    Biddy, biddy, hold fast my gold ring,
    Till I go to London, and come back again.

Each child, in turn, is then required to guess who has the ring, and,
if successful, takes the leader's place; if unsuccessful, he pays


This is known in Massachusetts as,

    Button, button, who's got the button?

Another form of the question is, "Fox, fox, who's got the box?"

In England the game goes,

    My lady's lost her diamond ring,
      I pitch on you to find it.

No. 98.

_My Lady Queen Anne._

A ball is concealed with some one of the children who form the circle.
A girl is placed in the centre, and a dialogue ensues; the ring singing:

                  "My lady Queen Anne,
                    She sits in the sun,
                  As fair as a lily,
                    As brown as a bun.
    The king sends you three letters, and bids you read one."

The girl answers:

    "I cannot read one unless I read all,
    So pray, Mr. [or Miss] ----, deliver the ball."

If the person named has the ball, he or she takes her place; if not,
she continues as before. In England, a rhyme is given for the latter

    "The ball is mine, and none of thine,
    So you, proud queen, may sit on your throne,
    While we, your messengers, go and come."

No. 99.

_The Wandering Dollar._

A coin is passed about the circle, and the central player is to guess
who has it. The dollar is held in the palm, then passed about the
ring by each player alternately clapping his hands together, and then
extending his arms so as to touch the hands of his neighbor. For this
purpose the right hand should be held downward, and the left turned
upward, as the arms are extended. The coin is to be _palmed_ from hand
to hand, and the rhythmical motions being accompanied with song (to
almost any tune) make a very pretty game, but one which requires much
practice to master. The verse sung is,

    Dollar, dollar, how you wander,
    From the one unto the other!
        Is it fair, is it fair,
    To leave Miss [Anna] so long without a chair?


The game is a modern translation from the German, presumably by the
children themselves.

No. 100.

_Thimble in Sight._

Among games of search may be mentioned the present, in which, the
greater part of the company being sent out of the room, a thimble must
be placed so as to escape notice, and yet in such a position as to be
visible when the attention is once directed to it. As each of the party
discovers the thimble, he indicates his success by saying "Rorum torum
corum," or some such formula, and then takes his seat.

In other games, in which some small object is hidden, there are various
ways of assisting the seeker when at fault; thus, it is said you
_freeze_, you are _cold_, you are _warm_, you _burn_, according as the
object is approached; or the search is directed by _magical music_,
which grows louder as the person comes nearer to his object. These
usages belong also to other countries. More original is a practice,
common in Massachusetts, according to which the height of the concealed
object above the floor of the room is indicated by the words "So high
water," addressed by one of the company to the person who has been sent
out, as he enters and begins his search.


[95] "Chinquapin (_Castanea primula_), an ovoid, pointed, sweet nut,
half the size of a common chestnut."

[96] "Bucca, bucca, quot sunt hic?"



    The spring clade all in gladness
      Doth laugh at winter's sadness,
    And to the bag-pipes round,
      The maids tread out their ground.

    Fy, then, why are we musing,
      Youth's sweet delight refusing?
    Say, dainty nymph, and speak,
      Shall we play Barley Break?

                                                        _Old Song._

No. 101.

_How many Miles to Babylon?_

A party of young people stand at each end of a space, such as a
portico, a field, etc., and a single player is stationed in the middle.
The former address the latter:

    "Marlow, marlow, marlow bright,
    How many miles to Babylon?"
    "Threescore and ten."
    "Can I get there by candlelight?"
    "Yes, if your legs are as long as light,
    But take care of the old gray witch by the road-side."

The players at the ends of the field then run from side to side, and
must be caught by the central player, whom they then assist to catch
the rest.


This sport, which has been universally familiar in America, is a form
of the old English game of "Barley Break," and probably the "marlow
bright" of our version is a corruption of that name.

The Scotch variety given by Chambers has a very chivalric turn, which
may give an idea of the song which must have accompanied the game in
the time of Queen Elizabeth:

    "King and queen of Cantelon,
    How many miles to Babylon?"
    "Eight and eight, and other eight."
    "Will I get there by candlelight?"
    "If your horse be good and your spurs be bright."
    "How many men have ye?"
    "Mae nor ye daur come and see."

The poets of the Elizabethan age fully describe the game of "Barley
Break," and seem to think it the most delightful of youthful
amusements. They represent Diana and her nymphs as amusing themselves
with this sport.

It appears from Sidney's description that the game was played by three
couples, each of a youth and a maid, one couple standing at each end
of the area, and the third remaining in the centre. The mating was
determined by lot, and the last pair mated were obliged to take the
central position, and saluted each other by a kiss. This pair were
required to pursue with joined hands, while the others were at liberty
to separate. Any maid caught replaced the maid, and any youth the
youth, of the central couple. Notwithstanding the courtly nature of
the sport, that its fundamental idea is the same as that of our game
appears by the name of the central space, as Sidney gives it in the

    Then couples three be streight allotted there,
    They of both ends the middle two do flie,
    The two that in mid-place Hell called were,
    Must strive with waiting foot and watching eye
    To catch of them, and them to Hell to bear,
    That they, as well as they, Hell may supplie.

A New England variation introduces blindfolding, thus adapting the game
to a chamber. Two children are made to kneel on stools, their eyes
bandaged, and the rest must run between. The dialogue is:

    "How many miles to Barbary-cross?"
    "Are there any bears in the way?"
    "Yes, a great many; take care they don't catch you!"

No. 102.

_Hawk and Chickens._

A hen with her brood. A child represents the "Old Buzzard," about whom
the rest circle. The hen addresses the latter:

    "Chickany, chickany, crany, crow.
    Down in the gutter
    To get the hog's supper--
    What o'clock is it, old buzzard?"

The Buzzard, meanwhile, is busied in building up a fire with sticks,
and abruptly names any hour, when the question and answer are repeated
for each child of the ring, until twelve o'clock, thus--

    "Half-past ten."
    "What o'clock is it, old buzzard?"
    "Half-past eleven."
    "What o'clock is it, old buzzard?"
    "Twelve o'clock."

The ring now halts, and the dialogue proceeds:

    "Old buzzard, old buzzard, what are you doing?"
    "Picking up sticks."
    "What do you want the sticks for?"
    "To build a fire."
    "What are you building a fire for?"
    "To broil a chicken."
    "Where are you going to get the chicken?"
    "Out of your flock."

The Buzzard gives chase and captures a child. He brings him back, lays
him down, and proceeds to dress him for dinner. All the rest stand
round in admiring silence. The Buzzard asks,

    "Will you be picked or scraped?"

According to the choice he proceeds as if picking the feathers of a
bird or scaling a fish, and continues, with appropriate action,

    "Will you be pickled or salted?"
    "Will you be roasted or stewed?"

He drags the victim into one or another corner of the room, according
to the reply, and the game proceeds as before.[97]

                                                     _New England._

In the Southern States a witch takes the place of the bird of prey, and
the rhyme is,

    "Chickamy, chickamy, crany, crow,
    I went to the well to wash my toe,
    And when I came back my chicken was gone;
      What o'clock, old witch?"

The witch names any hour, and questions and answers are repeated as
before, up to twelve:

    "What are you doing, old witch?"
    "I am making a fire to cook a chicken."
    "Where are you going to get it?"
    "Out of your coop."
    "I've got the lock."
    "I've got the key."
    "Well, we'll see who will have it."

The witch tries to get past the hen, and seize the last of the line;
the mother, spreading out her arms, bars the passage. The witch cries,

    "I must have a chick."
    "You sha'n't have a chick."

Each child caught drops out, and as the line grows shorter the struggle
becomes desperate.


This latter way of playing is the older form of the game, and is also
familiar, though without words, in the North, where it is known as "Fox
and Chickens."

This game is one of the most widely diffused, and the dialogue is
marvellously identical, from Russia to Italy.

In Schleswig-Holstein the conversation runs thus:

    "Hawk, what are you lighting?"
    "A fire."
    "What is the fire for?"
    "To make ashes."
    "What are the ashes for?"
    "To sharpen a knife."
    "What is the knife for?"
    "To cut off chickens' heads."
    "What have the chickens done?"
    "Gone into my master's corn."

In our own country, among the Pennsylvania Germans, or, to use their
own agreeable idiom, "De Pennsylfaunisch Deitsch," this game enjoys the
distinction of being almost the only child's game which is accompanied
by words, and is played as follows:

A boy who is digging in the earth is accosted by a second, who carries
a handful of sticks, the longest of which represents the needle:

    "Woy, woy, was grawbst?"
    "Meine Moder hat erne silberne Nodel verloren."
    "Is sie des?"
    "Is sie des?"
    "Is sie des?"

The stooping child now rises and pursues the rest.

A similar dialogue is used for a game of chase in New York:

    "Old mother, what are you looking for?"
    "A needle."
    "What do you want a needle for?"
    "To sew my bag with."
    "What do you want your bag for?"
    "To keep my steel in."
    "What do you want your steel for?"
    "To sharpen my knife to cut off your head."

In the same spirit, the Venetian game has:

    "Sister, what are you looking for?"
    "A knife to kill you with."

Whereupon she pursues the questioners. In this version we find also
the inquiry about the hour, the putting of the pot on the fire, the
searching for the knife, and final scattering.

The Finns on the Baltic coast, too, have the game in the form of a long
song, beginning,

    Close together! see the hawk yon!
    Close together! see his talons?

Which exactly corresponds to the Scotch,

    Keep in, keep in, wherever ye be--
    The greedy gled is seeking ye!

No. 103.


In this game a child, usually selected by "counting out," pursues
his comrades till he has caught one who must replace him. There is
generally some asylum of refuge, where the pursued are safe.

The original form of this game seems to have been "Iron Tag," or "Tag
on Iron," once universal in the United States, and still here and there
played. In Germany and Italy, also, this is the usual form of the
sport. In this game the pursued party is safe whenever touching iron
in any shape, as the ring of a post, horse-shoe, etc.[99] A writer in
the _Gentleman's Magazine_, February, 1738, speaking of this amusement,
says that "the lad saves himself by the touching of cold iron," and
that "in later times this play has been altered amongst children of
quality, by touching of gold instead of iron." In like manner, owing
to the occasional scarcity of iron objects, _wood-tag_ and _stone-tag_
have been varieties of the sport in America.

This form of the game exhibits its original meaning. As in several
other games of chase, the pursuer represents an evil spirit, from whose
attack, according to ancient superstition, iron was a protection. Hence
the challenge, in Silesia and Switzerland, is, "Father, I have no iron,
hit me."[100] The chaser, it seems, was conceived as the aged but
powerful dwarf, of malignant character. Thus we get a vivid idea of
the extent to which such representations once affected the lives even
of children, and see that an amusement which is now a mere pleasurable
muscular exercise followed the direction imposed by belief.

There are numerous varieties of this game. In _cross-tag_, the pursuer
must follow whoever comes between him and the pursued. In _squat-tag_,
the fugitive is safe while in that position, or is allowed a given
number of "squats," during which he cannot be touched. A peculiar
variety (in Philadelphia) is "Tag, tag, tell a body." In this game
every child is forbidden to tell who is "it," on penalty of replacing
him. Sometimes the name of the pursuer is kept secret until revealed
by his actions, or the child who has been tagged deceives the rest by
keeping up his speed. On the other hand, the catcher is sometimes bound
to turn his cap inside out, whence the game is called _turn-cap_.

"Pickadill" is a kind of tag played in Massachusetts during the winter.
A large circle is made in the snow, with quartering paths; if there are
many players, two circles are made. There is one tagger, and the centre
is the place of safety.

"London Loo" is a particular species of the game (in Philadelphia) in
which the following: formula is used:

    "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10--London!"
    "I'll try to catch one of you."

No. 104.


This is an out-of-doors game. Each boy represents a wild beast, and
has a separate tree, which represents his "den." Any player who leaves
his den is liable to be tagged by any who has started out at a later
moment. The best runner usually ventures first, a second pursues him,
and so on, until all may be out at once. If a player can tag any one
whom he has a right to capture, he takes him home to his own den, and
the latter must help him to take the rest. The pursuer cannot be tagged
while bringing home his prisoner.

                                                 _Cambridge, Mass._

No. 105.

_I Spy._[101]

This game is world-old and world-wide. To judge by the description of
Pollux (in the second century), it was then played exactly as American
children play it to-day. "One of the party places himself in the middle
of his comrades, and closes his eyes, unless some other covers them for
him. The players run away and scatter. Then the pursuer opens his eyes
and proceeds to look for them. It is each player's object to reach that
one's[102] ground before him."

An ancient painting represents this game. Cupids are playing together.
One of these, with his face turned away, has his hands before his
eyes, and appears to be counting. Another is running to a place of
concealment, while a third peeps from behind the door.

Children, with us, usually count a hundred before beginning the search;
but there is an abbreviated method, not accounted fair--

    Ten, ten, and double ten,
    Forty-five and fifteen.

The "home" is usually a tree. When the seeker catches sight of any
of the players, he (or she) runs to the tree, and touches it thrice,
saying, "One, two, three, for----" (naming the child). On the other
hand, if the latter can reach the tree first, he touches it, saying,
"One, two, three, for myself."[103]

In a variety of the game, a stick is set up against a tree. One of
the players seizes it, and throws it as far as possible. The children
hide, while the one who happens to be "it" gets and replaces the stick,
after which he proceeds to look for the rest. Those whom he discovers
he captures as above described, until all are taken. If any of the
hiders can reach the tree and throw down the stick, all prisoners are
released, and the seeker must begin over again. A similar game, in New
York, is called "Yards off."

"Hide and Seek" differs only in this, that there is no home to be
touched, but the game is ended when the concealment is discovered. When
the players are hidden they announce it by "whooping."

No. 106.

_Sheep and Wolf._

This is a very ancient hiding-game. A wolf is chosen by "counting out"
or otherwise, who conceals himself, and then indicates that he is ready
by howling.

The rest of the party, who are supposed to be sheep, walk round the
corner in a casual way, until one calls out, "I spy a wolf," whereupon
all immediately take to their heels. Whoever is caught by the wolf
before reaching home must take his place for the next turn. This game
is nearly identical in most European countries.

                                                        _New York._

No. 107.

_Blank and Ladder._

A boy is selected by the following peculiar counting rhyme:

    In came a little man with a white hat;
      If you want a pretty girl, pray take that;
    Take your choice of one, two, or three,
      If you want a pretty girl, pray take she.

Lad after lad being successively excluded, the last remaining is "it,"
and has to hide himself, when he calls out,

    Blank and ladder!

The searcher may summon the fugitive to indicate his whereabouts:

    Halloo if you're far off, whistle if you're nigh.

                                                     _Salem, Mass._

In Portland, Me., the shout of the concealed party is, "Blank,
blank, Cornelia!" and in the western part of the State of New York,

The searcher, on discovering one of the hidden players, calls "Hi spy!"
and tries to touch the latter before he can reach goal, the rule being

    Elbow and knee
    Always go free.

No. 108.

_Blind-man's Buff._

A blindfolded player is led into the centre of a room, taken by the
shoulders, and turned about three times, after which he must catch
somebody to replace him.

For this initiation there is in the Middle States a rhyme:

    "How many horses have you in your father's stable?"
    "Three; black, white, and gray."
    "Turn about, and turn about, and catch whom you may."[104]

The English name, "Hoodman-blind," is derived from the manner of
blindfolding formerly in use. When caps were worn which could be
drawn at will over the face, the caps, reversed so as to cover the
countenance, formed the mask.

This game belongs to all ages and most countries, and is known by many
different names, frequently taken from animals, for example: "Blind
Cow" in Germany; "Blind Goat" in Sweden; "Blind Mouse" in South Germany
and Servia; "Blind Hen" in Spain; "Blind Fly," or "Blind Cat," in
Italy. To the English name, "Blind-man's Buff," correspond the Polish
"Blind Old Man," and the Norwegian "Blind Thief." In these titles a
mythologic allusion is probably contained, which is quite clear in the
Scotch "Belly-blind,"[105] the latter name representing a malicious
demon. Thus again appears the conception of a supernatural adversary so
common in games of pursuit.

A familiar variation makes this a ring-game. The blindfolded person
stands in the centre, with a staff, while the ring circles about him.
When he strikes the floor three times, the ring must pause. The person
in whose direction he points must grasp the staff, and utter some
sound, disguising the voice as much as possible. The first must then
guess the name from the sound. In New York this form of the game is
called "Peggy in the Ring," and the request is "to squeak."

In Cincinnati the game is also played in a dark room, without
bandaging the eyes, and is then called "Devil in the Dark."

Another variety, also commonly played without blindfolding, goes by the
name of "Still Pond," or "Still Palm." The child who is "it," counting
up to ten, says,

    Still proving,
    No moving.

All now keep their places. The catcher must guess by the touch the name
of his captive.

The game of which we write is described by Pollux, as played seventeen
hundred years since in various forms, all of which are still familiar:
"The game of 'Muinda,' when any one, closing his eyes, cries, 'Look
out!' and whomsoever he catches he makes him close his eyes instead;
or when, keeping his eyes shut, he seeks after the children who have
hidden until he catches them; or else he closes his eyes while the
others touch him, and if anybody gives a clue himself, he speaks out
and guesses till he gets it right."

When a bandage was used, the game was called the "Brazen Fly" (we may
suppose a gaudy species of insect, from the zigzag motion, as boys run
when chasing butterflies), and is thus described by the same author:
"The eyes of a boy having been bound with a bandage, he goes round,
saying, 'I shall chase the _brazen fly_;' but the others, answering,
'You will chase him but not catch him,' hit him with whips of papyrus,
till he catches one of them." These papyrus whips were the equivalent
of our knotted handkerchiefs.

No. 109.

_Witch in the Jar._

One of the children is selected for a witch, and each of the others
chooses some tree or post for a goal. The witch then marks out on the
ground with a stick as many circles as there are players, which she
calls "jars." The children run out from their homes, and are pursued by
the witch. Whenever she catches one, she puts him in one of her jars,
from which he cannot escape unless some one else chooses to free him by
touching. Once freed, he cannot be recaught until he has reached his
home, and ventures out once more. The freer, however, can be caught,
and as the witch keeps guard over her prisoners, it is a dangerous
task for a player to attempt to set his companions free. When all are
caught, a new witch is chosen.

No. 110.

_Prisoner's Base._

This game is also called "Prisoner's Bars;" but the first name,
mentioned in "Cymbeline," seems the older, from which the latter has
arisen by misunderstanding.

The game, which is also popular in Europe, is originally an imitation
of warfare. The two armies stand facing each other, and have their
_bases_ each on a line parallel with that of the adversary. But in
the United States the game has been changed, so that the two parties
stand on the same line, and the bases are placed diagonally opposite
at a distance of some thirty yards, so that each base is nearer to the
enemy's forces than to those of the side to which it belongs. The game
is opened by a challenge given by one leader to the other; each player
can tag any one of the opponents who has quitted his line before he has
left his own. Any player tagged must go to his base. Any player who can
reach his base in safety may release a prisoner.

As it often happens that a half-dozen runners may be pursuing a single
fugitive, who is cut off from his friends, the chase may be prolonged
far from the point of departure, through streets of the town or fields
of the country.

No. 111.

_Defence of the Castle._

After the battle of Dunbar, Oliver Cromwell sent Colonel Fenwick with
two regiments to reduce Hume Castle. The governor, Cockburn, when
ordered to surrender, replied by quoting the following lines, which
must have belonged to a boys' game of his day:

    I, William of the Wastle,
    Am now in my castle,
    And a' the dogs in the town
    Winna gae me gang down.

The rhyme, with small change, is still familiar in Scotland, and
the game well known in Pennsylvania, where the defiance runs, less

    Hally, hally, hastle,
    Come into my new castle!

Or, with a change of usage,

    Hally, hally, hastle,
    Get off of my new castle!

In the first case the defender maintains his post against assailants;
in the latter, he endeavors to capture one of a group who have
established themselves in his castle, represented usually by a

No. 112.

+_Lil Lil._+

This game is played in an open field. A boy stands in the centre of the
field, and the other players at the sides. With the cry "Lil lil!" they
run across. The tagger must touch a runner three times on the back, and
whoever is so caught must assist him. There is a rhyme for this game--

    Lil, lil,
    Over the hill,
    Wash my lady's dishes,
    Hang them on the bushes, etc.

"Lil lil!" is also a cry (in Boston) of children "coasting," when the
track is to be cleared.

No. 113.

_Charley Barley._

    Charley, barley, buck and rye,
    What's the way the Frenchmen fly?
    Some fly east, and some fly west,
    And some fly over the cuckoo's nest.

                                                   _Portland, Me._

We have not obtained information as to the manner in which this game
was played, but it is evidently identical with the Scotch rhyme:

    Hickety, bickety, pease, scone,
    Where shall this poor Scotchman gang?
    Will he gang east, or will he gang west,
    Or will he gang to the craw's nest?

In the Scotch game, a boy, whose eyes are bandaged, rests his head
against a wall, while the rest come up and lay their hands upon his
back. He sends them to different places, according to the rhyme, and
calls out, "Hickety, bickety!" till they have returned, when the
last in must take his place. The "crow's nest" is close beside the
blindfolded boy, and is a coveted position.

This game is also played in Switzerland. Each of the children receives
the name of some animal, as Goat, Wolf, Snake, Frog, etc. To the
swifter and more dangerous beasts are assigned the more distant
positions. The keeper then shouts out that supper is ready, whereupon
all rush home, each animal uttering his own peculiar cry. The last in
is punished.

No. 114.


All the players join hands in a row, except one, who stands facing
them at a distance of a few feet. The row slowly advances towards the
solitary child, and then retreats, singing,

    "Will you buy me a pair of milking-pails,
      Oh, mother! Oh, mother?
    Will you buy me a pair of milking-pails,
      Oh, gentle mother of mine?"

The mother, advancing and retreating in her turn, sings,

    "Where is the money to come from,
      Oh, daughter! Oh, daughter?
    Where is the money to come from,
      Oh, gentle daughter of mine?"

The dialogue then continues to the same air,

    "Where shall your father sleep?"
    "Sleep in the servant's bed."
    "Where shall the servant sleep?"
    "Sleep in the stable."
    "Where shall the pigs sleep?"
    "In the wash-tub."
    "Where shall we wash the clothes?"
    "Wash them in the river."
    "What if they should swim away?"
    "You can jump in and go after them."

On this the indignant mother chases her daughters, and whoever is first
caught must take the mother's place.

This game does not appear to be established in America, though we have
heard of it as played in West Virginia. Our present version is from
children lately arrived from England, where it seems to be a favorite.

No. 115.

_Stealing Grapes._

A circle of children with arms raised. Enter keeper of garden:

    "What are you doing in my vineyard?"
    "Stealing grapes."
    "What will you do if the black man comes?"
    "Rush through if I can."

                                                       _New York._

This game is probably a recent translation from the German. It is also
played in Italy in a more humorous form. The thief exclaims, as he
picks each, "A delicious grape!" The guardian demands,

    "What did you pick that grape for?"
    "Because it's first-rate."
    "What would you do if I took a stick and chased you?"
    "Pick a bunch and run."

Which he accordingly does.

No. 116.

_Stealing Sticks._

A company of players divide, each having the same number of sticks,
which they deposit on each side of a line; whoever crosses the line may
seize a stick, but if caught is confined in a prison, marked out for
the purpose.

This is the game of "Scots and English," and may be classed among
sports originating in border warfare.

No. 117.

_Hunt the Squirrel._

A ring of players is formed, about the outside of which circles a child
who carries a knotted handkerchief, with which he finally taps another
on the shoulder, and starts to run round the ring. The child touched
must pick up the handkerchief, and run in the opposite direction from
the first. The two players, when they meet, must courtesy three times.
The toucher endeavors to secure the other's place in the ring, failing
which, he must begin again. As he goes about the circle, he recites the

    Hunt the squirrel through the wood,
    I lost him, I found him;
    I have a little dog at home,
    He won't bite you,
    He won't bite you,
    And he _will_ bite you.

                                                _Cambridge, Mass._

In Philadelphia, a corresponding rhyme begins:

    I carried water in my glove,
    I sent a letter to my love.

A variation from New York:


    I tis-ket, I tas-ket, A green and yel-low bas-ket. I
    sent a let-ter to my love, And on the way I dropp'd it.

The name of the game in England is "Drop-glove."

Another and apparently older way of playing "Hunt the Squirrel" is a
game in which the child touched follows the toucher until he has caught
him, pursuing him both in and out of the ring, being obliged to enter
and leave the circle at the same point as the latter.

A kissing-game, in which the player who makes the circuit taps another
on the shoulder, and then takes flight, while the person touched is
entitled to a kiss if he can capture the fugitive before the latter
has made the tour of the circle and gained the vacant place, is a
favorite among the "Pennsylvania Dutch," under the name of "Hen-slauch"
(Hand-slag), that is, striking with the hand. The game is there called
"Ring," and has inspired certain verses of Harbach, the nearest
approach to a poet which that unimaginative race has produced.[106]

In a similar game, formerly played in Massachusetts, the leader of the
game touches one of the party on the shoulder, and asks, "Have you seen
my sheep?" The first replies, "How was it dressed?" The toucher now
describes the costume of some player, who, as soon as he recognizes the
description of himself, must take flight, and endeavor to regain his
place in safety.


[97] The first lines, "Chickany," etc., are from one old version, the
rest from another. In the first the bird of prey was called the "Blind
Buzzard," and the game ended as Blind-man's Buff.

[98] That is: "Hawk, hawk, what are you digging for?" "My mother has
lost a silver needle." "Is it this?" "No." "Is it this?" "No." "Is it
this?" "Yes."

[99] "So-and-so had a nail driven into his shoe, and insisted that he
could not be touched while standing on iron."--_A Bostonian informant._

[100] The French name in Berry is _Tu l'as_; elsewhere _La caye_; in
Limousin, _Cabé_, which may have been derived from _hoc habe_.

[101] Pronounced _Hie_ Spy.

[102] He who is "it."

[103] The identical words in Switzerland--"eis, zwei, drü für mich;"
or, "eis, zwei, drü für den oder den."

[104] The formula of German children in New York, translated, runs:
"Blind cow, we lead thee." "Where?" "To the stable." "What to do
there?" "To eat soup." "I have no spoon." "Go get one." The "blind cow"
then seeks her "spoon."

[105] Professor F. J. Child has shown that _Billie Blin_, which occurs
in English ballads, is originally a name of Odin, expressing the
_gracious_ side (German _billig_) of the blind deity. But it seems to
have passed into a bad use, as a murderous dwarf or fairy.

[106] See his "Schulhaus an dem Krik."



    Dans mon coeur il n'y a pas d'amour,
    Mais il y en aura quelque jour.

                                                   _French Round._

No. 118.

_Sail the Ship._

Two little girls, clinching fingers, and bracing their feet against
each other, whirl rapidly round, a movement which they call "Sailing
the ship."

No. 119.

_Three Around._

Three little girls join hands and swing about, being the simplest form
of motion without song, to which they give the name of "Three Around."

No. 120.

_Iron Gates._

Two little girls clasp hands tightly, singing,

    Iron gates,
    Never break,

While a third throws herself against them, and endeavors to break

No. 121.

_Charley Over the Water._

Children sing, as they dance with clasped hands about one who stands in
the centre of the ring:


    Charley over the water,
      Charley over the sea,
    Charley catch a black-bird,
      Can't catch _me_!

At the last word all stoop, and if the child in the centre can catch
any other before assuming that position, the latter must replace him.

Almost any summer evening, in certain streets of New York, children may
be seen playing this round, which they sing on one note, with a shriek
to conclude.

No. 122.

+_Frog in the Sea._+

    Frog in the sea,
    Can't catch me?

Played like the preceding.


No. 123.


A mother and children:

    "Mother, can I pick a rose?"
    "Yes, my dearest daughter, if you don't tear your clothes,
    But remember, to-morrow is your sister's wedding-day."

The children now retire to a safe distance, and sing:

    "I picked a rose.
    I tore my clothes!"
    "Come home!"
    "I don't hear you."
    "I'll send your father after you."
    "I don't hear you."
    "I'll send your brother after you."
    "I don't hear you."
    "I'll send the dog after you."
    "I don't hear you."
    "I'll send myself after you."
    "Sen' 'em along!"

A chase follows, and the child caught must replace the mother.

The dialogue (which belongs to Georgia) is also extended by the
mother's threatening to send the _cow_, or the _trees_, after the

This game is differently played by little girls in Philadelphia, thus:

    "Oh, mother, mother, may I go out to play?"
    "No, no, no, it's a very cold day."
    "Yes, yes, yes, it's a very warm day,
    So take three steps, and away, away, away."
    "Where's your manners?"
    "I haven't any."

The indignant mother now pursues the disobedient children.

No. 124.

_My Lady's Wardrobe._

The children sit in a ring, and are named according to the articles of
a lady's wardrobe. The child in the centre of the circle of players
names some article, as, "My lady wants her brush, brush, brush." She
who has received that name must answer before the third utterance or
pay forfeit. The speaker naturally pronounces the word as fast as

No. 125.


                              (A ROUND.)


    Kittie put the kettle on,
    Kettle on, kettle on,
    Kittie put the kettle on,
      We'll all have tea.

To this familiar little round, girls five or six years of age, in New
York, sometimes prefix a fragment of some ballad--

    Here stands a red rose in the ring--
    Promised to marry a long time ago.

No. 126.

+_A March._+

    March, march, two by two,
    Dressed in yellow, pink, and blue.


No. 127.

_Rhymes for Tickling._

    1. Tickle'e, tickle'e on the knee;
    if you laugh, you don't love me.


    2. If you're a little lady, as I take you for to be,
    You will neither laugh nor smile when I tickle your knee.


    3. Old maid, old maid, you'll surely be,
    If you laugh or you smile while I tickle your knee.




    I call, I call; who doe ye call?
      The maids to catch this cowslip ball;
    But since these cowslips fading be,
      Troth, leave the flowers, and maids take me.
    Yet, if but neither you will doe,
      Speak but the word, and I'll take you.


No. 128.

_The "Times" of Sports._

In an account of boys' sports, it would not be proper to omit some
allusion to the custom of having a certain "time" of the year devoted
to each amusement. These "times" succeeded each other almost as
regularly as the flowers of summer, the children dropping one and
taking up another every year at the same season. This succession,
which the children themselves could hardly explain beforehand, but
remembered when the occasion came, has impressed itself on observers as
almost a matter of instinct. There was, however, a considerable degree
of variation in the succession of sports in different parts of the
country, and as the practice, though by no means obsolete, is now less
strictly observed than formerly, we cannot give any very exact details
on this head. It seems, however, that this succession was only partly
dependent on the climate, and in part inherited from the mother country.

Thus, in all the states from Maine to Georgia, the first "time" was
_marble-time_. In New England, the snow had hardly disappeared, when
boys began to make the necessary holes in the ground, kneeling for
that purpose on the night-frozen soil, from which the moisture was
just oozing out, to the great detriment of their pantaloons. A friend,
indeed, asserts that this was the _object_ of the choice of seasons.
But at the same time boys in Georgia (and, indeed, in England and
Germany) were playing the same game.

The subsequent succession of sports in New York is indicated by the
adage, "Top-time's gone, kite-time's come, and April Fool's day will
soon be here."

In Georgia the succession was, kites, tops, and hoops. In that region
the season for popguns is when the _China-berries_[107] ripen. It is a
provision of Providence, a clear case of design, thinks a friend, that
just at that season the elder pith is ripe enough to be pushed out, and
so leave the stalks empty to form the barrel of the weapon.

Ball is especially a holiday game. In Boston, _Fast-day_ (the first
Thursday of April) was particularly devoted to this sport. In England,
the playing of ball at Easter-tide seems to have been a custom of the
festival, inherited probably from pre-Christian ages. Foot-ball was a
regular amusement on the afternoon of a New England Thanksgiving.

The invariable succession of children's sports has been also remarked
in other countries. A Swiss writer says, "The principal games of boys
belong to the first third of the year, return always in a like order,
and replace each other after an equal interval, as if it were in the
natural course of events, and without the individual child being able
to say who had given the sign and made the beginning."

We may remark that another American usage has been remarked in other
countries. In the last generation the boys of different towns, or of
different quarters of the same town, waged regular and constant war.
In Boston, for example, there was a well-defined line, beyond which
no "North-ender" dared be seen. Any luckless lad obliged to go into
the hostile district took good care to keep his eyes open, to dodge
cautiously about the corners, and to be ready for instant flight in
case of detection. So in France and Switzerland, where this warfare is
a sort of game, a relic, no doubt, of the ancient separatism, which
made every community in a measure an independent state. The chief
weapons are stones, as they were formerly in the United States. In the
old town of Marblehead boys were accustomed to "rock" any stranger, and
no unknown driver dared to enter its limits with a vehicle.

No. 129.

_Camping the Ball._

In the vocabulary of a Massachusetts schoolboy, to "camp" a foot-ball
is to kick it, while held between the hands, from one side of the field
to the other. In England, country-folk speak of the "camp-game" of
ball, of the "camping-ground." In this amusement there are lines which
mark the rear limit of the respective sides, while the ball is placed
in the middle, and the object of either party is to drive it, with foot
or hand, over the enemy's line. Similar, in the United States, is the
old-fashioned game of foot-ball, in which, to use the expression of the
play-ground, two captains "choose up" sides, selecting alternately from
those present, and first play is determined by lot.

This description of foot-ball, or the English "camp-game," will answer
very well for a translation of the account which Pollux, writing in
Greek in the second century, gave of the "common ball," or "ball
battle,"[108] of his day. Almost exactly the same was the ancient Norse
game, except that the resemblance to warfare was closer; the players
were matched by age, and played against each other in the order of
choice. The balls were heavy, sometimes made of horn, so that we read
of men killed and wounded in the encounter. In like manner, up to a
very recent time, in Lower Germany, villages contended against each
other, hurling wooden balls loaded with lead, man against man. Thus the
game was really "kemping" (_Kemp_, a warrior, champion), and the field
a kemping-ground.

It was natural that, while the men contended, the boys also should have
their mimic sports, in all respects similar; and we read in a Saga how
the seven-year-old Egil slew with an axe his antagonist Grim, who had
very properly knocked him down for breaking a bat over Grim's head. In
those days such feats were held to presage an honorable career.

The Persians and Turks still practise a different sort of game, which
is played on horseback, the riders using a racket to strike with. Five
or six horsemen circle about, and strike the ball at each other; if it
drops on the ground, a slave picks it up. The ball is heavy, covered
with hard leather, and capable of doing serious harm. This game is, in
fact, an imitation of warfare, a modification of casting the "jered,"
or javelin. The "Arabian Nights" recite how, while the Caliph Haroun
Al-Raschid was playing, a spy aimed a ball at him from behind, with the
intent of assassination.

The Byzantine court adopted from the East the playing on horseback and
the racket, but introduced these into a game resembling the ancient
"ball-battle." The historian Cinnamus describes the Emperor Manuel, in
the twelfth century, as fond of this species of polo.

From Eastern custom we get our tennis, while most of our games with bat
and ball seem to have come down to us from the ancient North.

The history of the change from actual to imitative warfare, from the
latter to a harmless and courtly amusement or to a rustic pastime,
from this last again in our own days to a scientific sport, may supply
material for serious reflection.

No. 130.


No doubt our Saxon ancestors had, besides the half-military exercise
referred to, other sports with the ball, better adapted to girls and
children, though no description of such has come down to us. We know,
however, that the Roman games with the ball were essentially the same
as our own. Girls still strike, as then, balls with the palm of the
hand to keep up their bouncing, or fling them against the wall to drive
them back on the return, or pass the ball from hand to hand in the ring
or row. Boys in those days, standing on the corners of a triangle, sent
back the ball on the fly or the bounce, giving with one hand and taking
with the other, much as they do to-day. The ball itself was very much
the same in the time of the early empire as now, soft or hard, plain or
covered with painted or embroidered cloth, a large hollow balloon, or
a small light sphere. Children's balls were made with a rattle inside,
and divided into gaudy divisions like the lobes of an orange, then as
at present.

The oldest mention of a girls' game of ball is in the "Odyssey." It is
a grand washing-day in the palace of Alcinous, and Nausicaa, daughter
of the house, is to preside over the operation. So the "shining" but
soiled raiment is brought out of a storeroom, loaded on a mule-wagon,
with food, wine, and dainties, not forgetting a flask of oil for use
after the bath. When the clothes have been scoured in pits along
the river-side, and spread out to dry on the rocks by the shore, the
maidens bathe, anoint themselves, and lunch. Afterwards the ball is
brought out; the game is accompanied with song, in which the princess
leads, and far excels the rest. The party is on the point of returning,
the mules have been harnessed, and the clothes folded, when Nausicaa
has a fancy for a romp; she throws the ball at one of her damsels, but
misses her aim, and the ball falls into the eddying river, while the
maidens shriek out loudly.

Misson (about 1700) mentions "the throwing at one another of
tennis-balls by girls" in England, as a practice of a particular season
of the year.

The German poets of the Middle Ages abound in allusions to the game,
which is described with the same fresh poetical feeling that inspires
the whole period. It was the first sport of summer. "When I saw the
girls on the street throwing the ball, then came to our ears the song
of the birds," says Walter von der Vogelweide. A common way of playing
was for youths and maids to contend for the ball, which the possessor
then threw to the one he or she "loved the best." A minnesinger
pleasantly depicts the eager girls calling to some skilful and favorite
lad, as he is about to throw, holding out their hands,

    "Thou art mine, cousin--throw it here, this way!"

No. 131.


William Bradford, the second Governor of Massachusetts, records,
under date of the second Christmas-day of the colony: "The day called
Christmas-Day, ye Gov.r caled them out to worke (as was used), but ye
most of this new company excused themselves, and said it wente against
their consciences to work on ye day. So ye Gov.r tould them that if
they made it mater of conscience, he would spare them till they were
better informed. So he led away ye rest, and left them; but when they
came home at noone from their worke, he found them in ye streete at
play openly, some pitching ye bar, and some at stoole-ball and such
like sports. So he went to them, and took away their implements, and
tould them that it was against his conscience, that they should play
and others work. If they would make ye keeping of it mater of devotion,
let them keep their houses, but there should be no gameing or
revelling in ye streets. Since which time nothing hath been attempted
that way, at least openly."

Stool-ball was so named from the setting-up of a stool to be bowled at.
The ball was struck with the hand by the player at the stool. If the
ball struck the stool, the players changed places. In another form of
the game, which seems to be that referred to here, there were several
stools, men at each, and a bowler outside. When the ball was hit (with
the hand) the players must change places, and the bowler was at liberty
to hit with the ball any player while between the stools, and so put
him out.

Bradford, as a Puritan, had perhaps some reason for his aversion to
hand-ball on holidays, seeing that it appears to be connected with
ancient religious usage. "Stool-ball" was especially an Easter-game,
played by ladies for small stakes, particularly a _tansy_ or
Easter-cake;[109] thus we have the name in a pretty rhyme of the
seventeenth century--

    At stool-ball, Lucia, let us play,
    For sugar, cakes, or wine;
    Or for a tansey let us pay,
    The loss be mine or thine.
    If thou, my dear, a winner be,
    At trundling of the ball,
    The wager thou shalt have, and me,
    And my misfortunes all.

According to a curious extract from a manuscript given by Ducange, of
the diocese of Auxerre, it was an ancient custom to play in the church,
on Easter Monday, a solemn game of ball, while singing anthems proper
to the season.

"The ball having been received from a proselyte, the dean, or another
in his stead, he and the rest wearing the _almutia_, sang the
antiphonal which begins, "_Victimæ Paschali laudes_;" then seizing the
ball with his left hand, he led the dance, the others, taking hold of
hands, variously inflecting the chorus, while the ball was delivered
or thrown by the dean to one or more of the choristers alternately, so
as to weave a garland, as it were. The game and motions were conducted
according to the numbers of the prose. The dancing having been
finished, the chorus after the dance hastened to the banquet."

This dance was not merely a local custom, but practised in other towns.
At Vienne it was conducted by the archbishop in his palace.

No doubt we have here a survival of the ancient games of the spring
festival, in a day when mirth and the exhibition of physical prowess
were considered acceptable to deity, and elevated into religious

No. 132.


This game (commonly called Callie-ball, or Ballie-callie), was formerly
a common sport of schoolboys in New England. The ball was thrown
against a house, and at the same time a name called. The lad named must
strike back the ball on its rebound.

We are not well informed as to the sequence, but the game in Austria,
where it is well known, goes on as follows: If the player, whose name
is called, drops the ball, he must pick it up as quickly as possible,
while the rest scatter. He then calls "Stand!" upon which the players
halt, and he flings it at whom he pleases. If he misses his aim, he
must place himself in a bent position with his hands against a wall,
until every player has taken a shot at him.

The delightful lines of Herrick, cited as the motto of the present
chapter, show us youths and maids playing at "call-ball;" but the game
here appears to consist simply in calling out the name of the person
of the opposite sex who is to catch the ball, as in the mediæval sport
referred to in No. 130.

No. 133.


The players are divided into equal parties, who take position on
different sides of a building, out of sight of each other. A lad then
throws the ball over the roof of the house, to any height or in any
direction he pleases. It is the object of the opposite side to catch
the ball on its descent; and if any player succeed in doing so, he
immediately darts round the corner, and attempts to hit with the ball
some player of the other side, who scatter in all directions. To this
end, he may either throw the ball from a distance, or chase any
antagonist till he has come up with him, and has an easier mark. If he
succeed in hitting a boy, the latter must follow the former back to
his own side, to which he henceforward belongs. The game is continued
until all players have been brought over to one side. The party from
which the ball has been thrown have no means of knowing whether it has
been caught or not, until its return, and must be prepared to see an
adversary suddenly appear, ball in hand, and ready to throw. Hence the
excitement of the game, which belongs to Connecticut.

No. 134.


In this amusement of New England school-girls, the ball is tossed by
the _teacher_ to the head of the class, and, after being returned by
the latter, sent to the next of the row, and so on. If any girl misses,
she must go to the foot, and if the _teacher_ misses, the _first
scholar_ takes her place.

No. 135.


This exercise is an old-fashioned game resembling cricket. A peculiar,
long, shovel-shaped bat is used, flat, straight on one side and
spoon-shaped on the other. The ball is bowled at the wicket, which is
defended by the player. When the ball is struck, a run must be made to
the base of the bowler, and return.

No. 136.


This sport is also called _Shinny_. The ball is struck on the ground
with a bent stick, the object being to drive it over the enemy's line.
The game is much played on the ice, as has been the case from the
oldest times in the North; for this is doubtless a descendant of the
games with bat and ball described in Icelandic Sagas. The name of "Bat
and Ball," also given to this sport, indicates that in many districts
this was the usual way of playing ball with the bat.

No. 137.


A row of holes large enough to contain the ball is made, one for each
boy. The player to whom is allotted the last hole takes the ball,
stands off, and rolls it in such a way as to stop in one of the holes.
The boy into whose place the ball has rolled seizes it, while the rest
scatter, and throws it at some one of the group; if he succeeds in
hitting him, a stone is placed in the hole of that boy; if not, the
thrower must put a stone in his own. The rolling of the ball is then
repeated. When five stones (called _babies_[110]) are lodged in any
hole, that boy is out of the game.

This New England game is exactly paralleled in Switzerland and Austria.

No. 138.


This is the same game as the preceding, played (among the Pennsylvania
Germans) with _hats_ instead of _holes_. The ball is tossed into the
hat of the player who is to begin. The first to get five stones in his
hat loses, and must undergo the punishment of being "paddled," passing
under the legs of the row of players for that purpose.

No. 139.


This is also an old game kept up by the Pennsylvania
Germans--Pennsylvania Dutch,[111] as they are commonly called. Four
players stand on the four angles of a square, and the four adversaries
in the centre.

The ball is passed from one to another of the players in the corners,
and finally thrown at the central players. For this purpose the
following rhyme (which our readers may translate if they can) is used
by the boy who aims the ball at the players in the centre. These last,
if they can catch the ball, may fling it back.

    Bola we Sols,
    Butar we Schmols,
    Pef'r gat uf,
    War fongt schmeist druf.

If the player in the corner hits a central player, the latter is out,
and _vice versâ_.

The last player of the losing party has to stand with his head against
a wall till every antagonist has flung the ball at him.

No. 140.


It is only within a few years that Base-ball has become the "national
sport" of America. The present scientific game, which we naturally do
not intend to describe, was known in Massachusetts, twenty years ago,
as the "New York game." A ruder form of Base-ball has been played in
some Massachusetts towns for a century; while in other parts of New
England no game with the ball was formerly known except "Hockey." There
was great local variety in these sports.

We may refer to some features of the old-fashioned game which possess
interest. The first duty, in games with the bat, is "to choose up."
The two best players, or any two selected, toss the bat from one
to another; the tosser places his right hand above the hand of the
catcher, who in turn follows with his own left, and so on.[112] He who
can get the last hold has first choice; but the hold must be proved
by ability to whirl the bat three times round the head, and throw
it. Another test of a sufficient grasp is for a player to hammer
with a second bat on the hand which is uppermost. In this last case,
therefore, the grasp must be low enough for the wood of the bat to be
struck by the blow.

In this game there were three "bases" besides the "home" base, at
about the same distance as at present; but the number of players was
indeterminate. The pitcher threw the ball, and the catcher stood close
behind the striker. When the batsman struck the ball, a run must be
made; and the ball was not, as at present, thrown _to_ the base, but
_at_ the runner, usually with all the force possible. If he was hit,
he was out; and each member of the side had to be put out separately.
There were, moreover, ways in which a side could recover its lost
players. When all were out but one, who was on one of the bases, the
pitcher and catcher, approaching to within some thirty feet, tossed the
ball to and fro, and the runner must "steal" his next base, while the
two former watched his movements, ready to throw to the nearest fielder
of their side, who in turn would hurl the ball at the remaining player.
If under these circumstances he could reach home untouched, he might
"put in" any player of his side.

As there was never any umpire in these games, the field for controversy
was unlimited. One way, as we recollect, of settling disputes was as
follows: All proceeding to the spot of the doubtful catch, the best
player on one side hurled the ball with all his force upwards; if it
was caught by the designated player of the other party, the point was
given in the latter's favor, and _vice versâ_.

We need only mention the game of "Old Cat," in which there are two
goals--the striker's and the pitcher's--and the run is made from the
former to the latter and return. The game is then named from the number
of batters, "One Old Cat," or "Two Old Cat."

No. 141.


We do not intend to describe the various games of marbles, which might
probably fill a small volume. Of these there are two principal types.
One consists in striking the marbles out of a ring, by shooting from a
line, or _taw_, drawn as a limit; the other, in making the tour of a
series of holes made for the purpose. Whoever first gets back to the
starting-point, or taw, wins.

The first of these games may be descended from a sport of Roman
children, mentioned by Ovid, and still in existence, in which nuts are
rolled down an inclined plane, with the object of striking the nut of
the adversary. The second seems to be the childish reduction of a game
with the ball, similar to "Golf."

Extensive is the lore of marbles. When a lad wishes to change his
position, so that, while preserving the same distance from his mark,
he may have a more favorable position, he exclaims, "Roundings." If,
however, his antagonist is quick enough, he will cry "Fen [defend]
roundings." The game, when played to win the marbles of the opponent,
is said to be "in earnest." If any accident happens, and the opponent's
play is to be checked, a Georgia lad will say "King's excuse." That
this is an ancient phrase is shown by the corruption of the same cry in
Pennsylvania, "King's scruse." Under certain circumstances a boy who
puts down a second marble is said to "dub" (double) a marble, or to
play "dubs."[113]

No. 142.


The "cat" is a little billet of wood, about four inches long, and
pointed at the ends, which is to be struck with a light stick. A player
stands at a little distance, and endeavors to throw this missile into
a hole or circle previously made. Another stands over the circle, and
defends it with his stick. If the cat falls in the circle, the batter
is out. If, on the other hand, it falls out of the circle, he has the
right of making a stroke. Placing the cat within the circle, he hits it
on one end with his bat; and, as it bounds upwards, endeavors to strike
it as far away as possible. If the cat is caught, he is out; otherwise,
he is entitled to score a number, proportioned to the distance which
the cat has been struck, estimated in jumps or foot-lengths. This
score, however, is subject to a peculiar negotiation. The pitcher
offers the batter a certain number of points--as, for example, five.
If this is not accepted, he raises his bid to eight, ten, or as high
as he thinks proper; but if his final offer is refused, the pitcher
measures the distance (in jumps or lengths of the foot), and if he
can accomplish it in a less number than that offered, the striker or
his side lose that number of points; otherwise, the number measured
is scored. The game is an agreed number of hundreds. This game is now
played in Hindostan, as well as in Italy and Germany.

No. 143.


Cherry-pits are referred to as used in boys' games as early as A.D.
1522, and are still so used in the streets of New York.

The pits are thrown over the palm by the boy whose turn it is to play;
they must fall so far apart that the finger can be passed between them.
Then the player with a fillip of the thumb makes his pit strike the
enemy's, and wins both. If he misses, the next takes his place.

This game, like the rest, has its regular season, at which all the boys
in the neighborhood may be seen playing it.[114]

No. 144.


Buttons are in extensive use in the sports of German children, with
whom they form a sort of coinage, each sort having a stipulated
exchangeable value. Traces of similar usage exist in the United States.

A common New York game consists in throwing buttons. A line is drawn,
and a hole made about twelve feet off. The players toss their buttons,
and whoever comes nearest the hole has the first shot. He endeavors to
drive the buttons of the rest into the hole, striking them with the
extended thumb by a movement of the whole hand, which is kept flat
and stiff. When he misses the next takes his turn, and so on. Whoever
drives the adversary's button into the hole wins it.

Another game, for two players, is called "Spans." The buttons are cast
against the wall, and if a player's button falls within a span of the
adversary's, he may aim at it and win it by striking as before.

No. 145.


A figure of about twelve feet in length, similar to that represented in
the diagram, is described on the ground, and selection made of a small
flat stone, having sharp edges. From a line drawn at a distance of a
few paces, a stone is tossed into No. 1, after which the boy or girl
hops on one foot into No. 1, and kicks out the stone, which is then
thrown into No. 2. The player now hops into No. 1, and jumps into No.
2, in such a way that one foot is in the division 2, and one foot in 1.
The stone is kicked into 1, and then out, and so on. In passing through
divisions 1 and 2, 4 and 5, 8 and 9, a straddle must be made, one foot
being placed in each; in the others a hop only mast be taken. A failure
to throw the stone into the right place, or to kick it into the right
division, or leaving it on any line, or touching the raised foot, or
stepping on a line, puts out, and the next takes his or her turn.


In other localities, no straddling step is taken, but the player, in
certain divisions, is allowed to place the stone on his foot, and so
expel it from the figure at a single kick; the compartments also vary
in number and arrangement.

This is one of the universal games, common from England to Hindostan.
Everywhere the game consists in describing on the soil an oblong figure
with several divisions, and in tossing a flat stone or potsherd into
them, and then kicking it out with a hopping motion; the arrangement
of the divisions differs. From the shape of the last compartment, the
game is called in Italy "The Bell," and in Austria "The Temple." In
Italy the three last divisions are the _Inferno_, _Purgatorio_, and
_Paradiso_. In New York the last is called _Pot_.

No. 146.

_Duck on a Rock._

We will suppose a party of boys to be debating what game to play. "What
shall we play?" "Duck on a Rock," suggests one. The idea is instantly
taken up. "My one duck," cries some boy. "My duck," shouts a second,
seizing a stone. The last to "speak" gets no duck, and has to guard
the "drake." The drake is a good-sized stone, which is placed on an
elevated position, or boulder, if such be at hand. The "ducks" are
stones about the size of the fist. The object is to knock the drake off
the rock. After each player has thrown his duck, and missed, he must
recover it. The guardian stands by the "rock," but cannot tag a player
until the latter has touched his own duck, when he must replace the
keeper. Meanwhile, if the drake is knocked off the rock, the keeper
must replace it before he can tag any one, and this is therefore the
signal for a rush to recover the thrown ducks. The game is not without
a spice of danger from these missiles.

No. 147.


In this game of boys and girls, a knife is cast to the earth, on a
piece of turf, with the point downwards, and must remain sticking
there; there are several successive positions of throwing, as follows:
(1) the knife is held in the palm, first of the right and afterwards of
the left hand, point outward, and thrown so as to revolve towards the
player; (2) it is rested successively on the right and left fist, with
the point uppermost, and thrown sideways; (3) the knife is pressed with
the point resting on each finger and thumb of both hands in succession,
and cast outwards; after this it is held by the point, and _flipped_
(4) from the breast, nose, and each eye; (5) from each ear, crossing
arms, and taking hold of the opposite ear with the free hand; (6) over
the head backwards. If the knife does not "stick," the next player
takes his turn; the first to conclude the series wins. The winner
is allowed to drive a peg into the ground with three blows of the
knife, which the other must extract with his teeth, whence the name,
"Mumblety-peg." Another title is "Stick-knife."

No. 148.


Such was the title of the common game in a New England town (Salem,
Mass.).[115] The same amusement, under the same name, was popular in
Greece more than two thousand years ago, being mentioned as a girls'
game by Aristophanes. It is thus described by Pollux: "The game of
'five-stones;' little stones, pebbles, or bones are thrown up, so as to
catch them on the back of the turned hand, or if not all are caught,
the rest must be picked up with the fingers, while the others remain on
the hand."

A pleasing painting in the Museum of Naples represents goddesses
playing at "Five-stones." Aglaë is looking on; three of her bones lie
on the ground, one is pressed by her thumb, the fifth is hidden by her
garments. Hileæra has just thrown; she has caught three, the other
two are falling to the ground. Niobe, Latona, and Phoebe are standing

One of the movements of the Spanish game is still exactly the same as
that described by the Greek writers of the second century. The game
in America, as played in the childhood of the writer, also began with
catching the stones on the back of the hand, at first one only out of
the five tossed up, then two, three, four, and, finally, the whole five.

The game now consists of an indefinite number of figures, of which
the names and arrangements vary in different localities. In all those
described below, a single stone is tossed up, to be caught in the palm,
and while this is in the air the others must be taken into the hand, or
certain motions made.

_Ones, twos, threes, fours._--The stones are rolled on the table or
floor, either directly from the right hand, or over the back of the
left hand resting on the table. A single stone being selected and
tossed in the air, as above mentioned, the rest must be picked up; in
the first figure one at a time, in the second by groups of two, in the
third by three and one, and finally the whole four together. In case of
an error, the next takes his turn.

_Jumping the Ditch._--The four stones remaining, after one has been
chosen, are placed in a line; the first and third of the row are then
to be caught up together, and afterwards the second and fourth.

_Knock at the Door_, _Strike the Match_, _Wash the Clothes_, etc.--A
selected stone being thrown up, motions corresponding to the title are
to be made on the floor while it is in the air.

_Set the Table._--Four stones are placed in a heap, as if to represent
a pile of plates. One of these is taken from the heap, in the usual
manner. It is then held between the thumb and palm of the right hand,
and, with a second toss of the chosen stone, is deposited on the floor
at the corner of an imaginary square. The square having been completed
by four stones, motions are made to indicate the arrangement of the
glasses, etc. _Clear the Table_ is the reverse movement, in which the
stones are again brought to the centre.

_The Well._--The left hand is laid on the table with the thumb and
index finger joined. Into the opening so formed the four stones are
pushed, by a fillip of the finger. The hand is then removed from the
table, and the stones must be caught up together as they lie. The
figures vary, according as the thumb and index are made to form an
arch or circle, are laid on the table or floor horizontally, or in an
upright position, or, finally, as the hand is raised above the table in
the form of a cup. These varieties receive the names of _Peas in the
Pod_, _Doves in the Cot_, etc.

_Horses in the Stall._--The left hand is laid on the table with the
fingers extended, and four stones placed in front of the openings,
representing stalls. A stone being thrown up as usual, the four others
are filliped into the openings, and afterwards must be picked up
together from the positions in which they lie. In _Horses out of the
Stall_ the stones are brought out from between the fingers, and then
caught up.

Other movements are _Feeding the Elephant_, _Spinning the Wheel_,
_Going up the Ladder_, etc., to the number of thirty or more. Failing
to catch the stone thrown up, or not succeeding in the required motion,
or touching a stone unnecessarily, constitute errors, in which case it
is often required to go back to the very beginning of the game.

Instead of pebbles, little double tripods of iron, probably
representing the more ancient _bones_, are generally in use; and the
fifth stone, or "jack," is often replaced by a ball or marble, the
latter being allowed to bound before it is caught. This usage seems to
be of German origin. Sometimes marbles are used, the "jack" being of
a different color from the rest, and school-girls take pride in the
beauty of the agates they employ for this purpose.

About Boston a similar game is much played under the name of "Otadama,"
or "Japanese jacks." Seven little silk bags are filled with rice, one,
of a different color from the rest, being called the "jack." The game
consists of four parts. In the first figure, the silk bags being placed
on the floor, the "jack" is thrown up, and the other six picked up one
by one, being so deposited as to keep them together in groups of twos,
so that two at a time may be caught up, which is the next thing to be
done. Then come groups of three, four and two, and five and one, next
the six together, the bags, after being caught, being so dropped as to
prepare for the following movements. The next motion is "tattoo," which
consists in throwing up the "jack" and catching it on the back of the
hand, then throwing it up again from the back of the hand and catching
it in the fingers, without turning over the palm.

The second figure contains "second ones," "second twos," "second
threes," "second fours," "second fives," "second sixes." These are
the same as in the first figure, except that in each case the bags
caught, instead of being merely dropped from the hand, as before, are
tossed up together with the "jack," which last must be caught again
before falling. In the second and third figures "tattoo" follows every

The third figure begins with "third sixes," in which, the six bags
being caught up and held tightly, the "jack" is again tossed, the six
slapped on the floor, and the "jack" caught on the back of the hand.
The second motion is "fourth sixes," which resembles second sixes,
except that the "jack" is now caught on the back of the hand. Next
comes "touch." The six bags are caught up, thrown with the "jack"
into the air, and the floor is touched with the middle finger, before
catching the "jack." After this follows "fours and threes," in which,
the six bags having been caught up, the palm is turned uppermost with
the seven bags (including the "jack"), and it is required to throw off
first four at a time, and afterwards the other three. "Pack up" is the
next motion. The six bags are caught up, compactly arranged in the palm
of the hand, and must be thrown up and caught on the back of the hand.
Two chances are allowed. The bags dropped the first time may be tried
by themselves. Then "third ones," which is the same as "second ones,"
except that, the bags being placed in a row with the "jack" at the
left, the "jack" is constantly exchanged for each bag that is caught
up. "Tattoo" follows each of these movements.

The fourth and last figure is done with the left hand. The palm is
turned towards the floor, upon which all the bags lie in a row,
the "jack" at the right; a bag is then picked up by the thumb and
forefinger, keeping the other fingers extended, and is tossed on the
back of the hand. It must remain there while the second bag is picked
up, and is tossed off the hand when the second is tossed on. This
motion is repeated with the other five, ending with the "jack," and the
game is finished with "tattoo."

The game is played by two or more. In case of an error, the next plays;
but an error in the last figure requires the player to go back to the
beginning of the game. The "jack" is often made square and somewhat
flat, while the other bags are drawn up at two ends, and have a rounder
shape. It is necessary that they should be soft and flexible.

This game is of Japanese origin, "Tedama"[116]--that is,
"Hand-balls"--being its proper name. As the specimen given shows, it
closely resembles the ancient game of "Five-stones." We are informed,
on Japanese authority, that stones are habitually used by boys in
playing, and that the number of these varies. 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.


[107] "Do you like best to stay at father's or grandma's?" "There's the
most berries at grandma's--I'll rather be there."

                                                     _Georgia Boy._

[108] Sphaeromachia.

[109] Made, according to Johnson, with the leaves of newly sprung herbs.

[110] The identical name in Austria, "Kinder."

[111] They are descendants of emigrants from the Upper Rhine, and speak
a dialect resembling that of the Palatinate, but mixed with English

[112] The like method in Austria, where the general idea of the game,
and many particulars, are the same. There are, however, only two
bases. The same way, even to the ability to throw the bat with two
fingers, which is the test of a doubtful hold, is used in Switzerland
to determine choice of sides in the game answering to No. 139. These
coincidences seem to point to a remote antiquity of usage.

[113] "Fen burnings!" "Roundings!" "Dubs!" "Knuckle down tight where
you lay!" "Burnings" signifies breathing on a marble, and thereby
getting certain advantages. The lads whom we quote never used the word
marbles, but _mibs_. "Let's play mibs."

[114] "Cherry-pits are in now; buttons won't be in for a
fortnight."--_New York boy._

[115] Communicated by the late Mr. George Nichols, of Cambridge,
Mass., formerly of Salem. The common name, _Jack-stones_, seems to be
a corruption for _Chuck-stones_, small stones which can be chucked
or thrown. "Chuckie-stanes," in Scotland, means small pebbles.
"Checkstones, small pebbles with which children play."--_Dialect of

[116] O-tédama (pronounce as in Italian) is, we learn, compounded of
_O_, the, _te_, hand, and _tama_, balls. It is played with song, which
consists in chanting the titles of the several movements; thus, in the
first figure, (1) O Hito, (2) O Fu, (3) O Mi, (4) O Yo, (5) O Itzu,
(6) O Mu. The second figure, in which begins _Tonkiri_ ("tattoo"),
is called Zakara (a meaningless word); and the chant is, (1) O Hito
Zakara, (2) O Fu Zakara, (3) O Mi Zakara, etc. These numbers are
children's numeration, of which there are two sorts; the present series
continues, (7) Nana, (8) Ya, (9) Kono, (10) To. We have varying forms
from a friend in Hartford, Conn., where the song has been borrowed from
Japanese students. Probably provincial usages in Japan differ. We give
the above terms (not the game, which is current in the United States),
as written by a Japanese gentleman. It is noteworthy that this childish
system has no connection with the regular table.



    Petite fille de Paris,
    Prête-moi tes souliers gris,
    Pour aller en Paradis.
      Nous irons un à un,
      Dans le chemin des Saints;
          Deux à deux,
      Sur le chemin des cieux.

                                           _French Counting Rhyme._

No. 149.

_Counting Rhymes._

There are various ways in which children decide who shall begin in a
game, or, as the phrase is, be "it."[117] When this position is an
advantage, it is often determined by the simple process of "speaking
first." So far as can be determined when all are shouting at once, the
first speaker is then entitled to the best place. Otherwise it is the
practice to draw straws, the shortest gaining; to "toss up" a coin,
"heads or tails;" or to choose between the two hands, one of which
holds a pebble.

The most interesting way of decision, however, is by employing the
rhymes for "counting out." A child tells off with his finger one word
of the rhyme for each of the group, and he on whom the last word falls
is "out."[118] This process of exclusion is continued until one only
is left, who has the usually unpleasant duty of leading in the sport.
All European nations possess such rhymes, and apply them in a like
manner. These have the common peculiarity of having very little sense,
being often mere jargons of unmeaning sounds. This does not prevent
them from being very ancient. People of advanced years often wonder to
find their grandchildren using the same formulas, without the change
of a word. The identity between American and English usage establishes
the currency of some such for three centuries, since they must have
been in common use at the time of the settlement of this country.
We may be tolerably sure that Shakespeare and Sidney directed their
childish sports by the very same rhymes which are still employed for
the purpose. Furthermore, German and other languages, while they rarely
exhibit the identical phrases, present us with types which resemble
our own, and obviously have a common origin. Such a relation implies a
very great antiquity; and it becomes a matter of no little curiosity to
determine the origin of a practice which must have been consecrated by
the childish usage of all the great names of modern history.

This origin is by no means clear; but we may make remarks which will at
least clear away misconceptions. We begin with that class of formulas
which we have marked from 1 to 13 inclusive.

Respecting these rhymes, we observe, in the first place, that they are
meaningless. We might suppose that they were originally otherwise;
for example, we might presume that the first of the formulas given
below had once been an imitation or parody of some list of saints, or
of some charm or prayer. A wider view, however, shows that the rhymes
are in fact a mere jargon of sound, and that such significance, where
it appears to exist, has been interpreted into the lines. We observe
further, that, in despite of the antiquity of some of these formulas,
their liability to variation is so great that phrases totally different
in sound and apparent sense may at any time be developed out of them.

These variations are effected chiefly in two ways--rhyme and
alliteration. A change in the termination of a sound has often involved
the introduction of a whole line to correspond; and in this manner
a fragment of nursery song may be inserted which totally alters the
character of the verse. Again, the desire for a quaint alliterative
effect has similarly changed the initial letters of the words of the
formulas, according as the whim of the moment suggested.

From the fact that neither rhyme nor alliteration is any guide to the
relations of these formulas, but seem arbitrarily introduced, we might
conclude that the original type had neither one nor the other of these
characteristics. This view is confirmed by European forms in which they
appear as mere lists of unconnected words, possessing some equality of
tone. Rhythm is a more permanent quality in them than termination or
initial. From these considerations it appears likely that the original
form of the rhymes of which we speak was that of a comparatively brief
list of dissyllabic or trisyllabic words.

Now, when we observe that the first word of all the rhymes of this
class is obviously a form of the number _one_; that the second word
appears to be _two_, or a euphonic modification of _two_, and that
numbers are perpetually introducing themselves into the series, it is
natural to suppose that these formulas may have arisen from simple

This supposition is made more probable by a related and very
curious system of counting up to twenty (of which examples will be
found below), first brought into notice by Mr. Alexander J. Ellis,
vice-president of the Philological Society of Great Britain, and
called by him the "Anglo-Cymric Score." Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull, of
Hartford, Conn., noticing the correspondence of Mr. Ellis's score with
numerals attributed to a tribe of Indians in Maine (the Wawenocs),
was led to make inquiries, which have resulted in showing that the
method of counting in question was really employed by Indians in
dealing with the colonists, having been remembered in Rhode Island,
Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Ohio (where it passed
for genuine Indian numeration), and in this way handed down to the
present generation as a curiosity. Mr. Ellis has found this score
to be still in use in parts of England--principally in Cumberland,
Westmoreland, and Yorkshire, where it is employed by shepherds to count
their sheep, by old women to enumerate the stitches of their knitting,
by boys and girls for "counting out," or by nurses to amuse children.
It is, therefore, apparent that this singular method of numeration must
have been tolerably familiar in the mother-country in the seventeenth
century, since the Indians evidently learned it from the early settlers
of New England. It appears, indeed, that not only the score itself, but
also its chief variations, must have been established at that time.
Mr. Ellis, however, who has shown that the basis of these formulas
is Welsh, is disposed "to regard them as a comparatively recent
importation" into England. Be that as it may, we see that the elements
of change we have described, alliteration and rhyme, have been busy
with the series. While the score has preserved its identity as a list
of numerals, the successive pairs of numbers have been altered beyond
all recognition, and with perfect arbitrariness.

It is plain that our counting rhymes cannot have been formed from
the "Anglo-Cymric score," since the latter is only in use in parts
of England, while the former are common to many European nations.
Nothing, however, prevents the supposition that they owe their origin
to a similar root. All that can be said is, that no modern language
is responsible for the practice, which can hardly be supposed to have
originated within the last thousand years.

Turning now to other types of formulas for counting, we see that any
game-rhyme or nursery verse may do duty for such. Of lines used solely
for this purpose, we find forms which have analogies on the continent
of Europe. Some of the childish verses so used, like the French rhyme
we have set at the head of our chapter, contain allusions which stamp
them as ancient. On the other hand, it seems that, in our own country,
little American inventions of the sort, recommended by some attractive
quaintness, have gained currency, unwritten as of course they are, from
Canada to the Gulf.

It appears, from foreign usage, that it was formerly common for each
game to have its own especial formula for "counting out," a practice of
which we have an example in No. 107.

    (1.) Onery, uery, hickory, Ann,
         Fillison, follason, Nicholas John,
         Queevy, quavy, Virgin Mary,
         Singalum, sangalum, buck.


    (2.) Onery, uery, ickory, Ann,
         Filisy, folasy, Nicholas John,
         Queevy, quavy, Irish Mary,
         Stingalum, stangalum, buck.[119]

                                                   --_New England._

    (3.) Onery, uery, ickory, Ann,
         Fillison, follason, Nicholas John,
         Queevy, quavy, English navy,

         Stinkalum, stankalum, John Buck.
         =B-u-c-k= spells buck.

                                             --_Cincinnati_ (1880).

    (4.) Onery, uery, ickory, a,
         Hallibone, crackabone, ninery-lay,
         Whisko, bango, poker my stick,
         Mejoliky one leg!

                                  --_Scituate, Mass._ (about 1800).

    (5.) Onery, uery, hickory, able,
         Hallowbone, crackabone, Timothy, ladle,
           *       *       *       *       *

                                                --_Salem, Mass._[120]

    (6.) One's all, zuzall, titterall, tann,
         Bobtailed vinegar, little Paul ran,
         Harum scarum, merchant marum,
         Nigger, turnpike, toll-house, out.

                                                --_Salem, Mass._[121]

    (7.) One-amy, uery, hickory, seven,
         Hallibone, crackabone, ten and eleven,
         Peep--O, it must be done,
         Twiggle, twaggle, twenty-one.


    (8.) Onery, uery, ickery, see,
         Huckabone, crackabone, tillibonee;
         Ram pang, muski dan,
         Striddledum, straddledum, twenty-one.[123]


    (9.) Eny, meny, mony, my,
         Tusca, leina, bona, stry,
         Kay bell, broken well,
         We, wo, wack.[124]


    (10.) Eny, meny, mony, mine,
          Hasdy, pasky, daily, ine,
          Agy, dagy, walk.


    (11.) Eny, meny, mony, mite,
          Butter, lather, bony strike,
          Hair cut, froth neck,
          Halico balico,
          We, wo, wack.


    (12.) Ena, mena, mona, my,
          Panalona, bona, stry,
          Ee wee, fowl's neck,
          Hallibone, crackabone, ten and eleven,
          O-u-t spells out.

    (13.) Intery, mintery, cutery corn,
          Apple-seed and apple-thorn,
          Wire, briar, limber lock,
          Five mice in a flock;
          Catch him Jack,
          Hold him Tom,
          Blow the bellows,
          Old man out.


    (14.) Ikkamy, dukkamy, alligar, mole,
          Dick slew alligar slum,
          Hukka pukka, Peter's gum,


  (15.) 1. ane.
       2. tane.
       3. tother.
       4. feather.
       5. fip.
       6. sother.
       7. lother.
       8. co.
       9. deffrey.
       10. dick.
       11. een dick.
       12. teen dick.
       13. tother dick.
       14. feather dick.
       15. bumfrey.
       16. een bumfrey.
       17. teen bumfrey.
       18. tother bumfrey.
       19. feather bumfrey.
       20. gig it.

  (16.) 1. een.
        2. teen.
        3. tuther.
        4. futher.
        5. fip.
        6. sother.
        7. lother.
        8. porter.
        9. dubber.
        10. dick.
        11. een dick.
        12. teen dick.
        13. tuther dick.
        14. futher dick.
        15. bumpit.
        16. een bumpit.
        17. teen bumpit.
        18. tuther bumpit.
        19. futher bumpit.
        20. gig it.[125]

    (17.) Stick, stock, stone dead,
          Set him up,
          Set him down,
          Set him in the old man's crown.


    (18.) Apples and oranges, two for a penny,
          Takes a good scholar to count as many;
          O-u-t, out goes she.


    (19.) a, b, c, d, e, f, g,
          h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p,
          q, r, s, t,
          u are out.


    (20.) 1, 2, 3, 4,
          Mary at the kitchen-door,
          5, 6, 7, 8,
          Mary at the garden-gate.

                                          --_Massachusetts_ (1820).

    (21.) 1, 2, 3, 4,
          Lily at the kitchen-door,
          Eating grapes off the plate,
          5, 6, 7, 8.

                                           --_Philadelphia_ (1880).

    (22.) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,
          Mary sat at the garden-gate,
          Eating plums off a plate,
          1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

    (23.) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
          All good children go to heaven.

                                 --_Massachusetts to Pennsylvania._

    (24.) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,
          All bad children have to wait.


    (25.) Monkey, monkey, bottle of beer,
          How many monkeys are there here?
          1, 2, 3,
          You are he (she).

                                      --_Massachusetts to Georgia._

    (26.) Linnet, linnet,
          Come this minute,
          Here's a house with something in it;
          This was built for me, I know.


    (27.) School's up, school's down,
          School's all around the town.

    (28.) Three potatoes in a pot,
          Take one out and leave it hot.


    (29.) Mittie Mattie had a hen,
          She laid eggs for gentlemen,
          Sometimes nine and sometimes ten.


    (30.) William a Trimbletoe,
          He's a good fisherman,
          Catch his hands, put them in pens,
          Some fly East, some fly West,
          Some fly over the cuckoo's nest--
          O-u-t spells out and be gone.


    (31.) Red, white, and blue,
          All out but you.


    (32.) Engine No. 9,
          Out goes she.


    (33.) As I went up the apple-tree,
          All the apples fell on me;
          Bake a pudding, bake a pie,
          Did you ever tell a lie?
          Yes, you did, you know you did,
          You broke your mother's teapot-lid--
          L-i-d, that spells lid.


    (34.) Little man, driving cattle,
          Don't you hear his money rattle?
          One, two, three,
          Out goes he (she).


    (35.) Monday's child is fair of face,
          Tuesday's child is full of grace,
          Wednesday's child is sour and sad,
          Thursday's child is merry and glad,
          Friday's child is full of sin,
          Saturday's child is pure within;
          The child that is born on the Sabbath day,
          To heaven its steps shall tend alway.[126]



[117] The French expression is the same, _l'être_ or _en être_. The
Germans do not use an equivalent, but say to be _in_, to be _out_;
_sein daran, sein daraus_.

[118] An old way of arranging this is for each of the group to put a
finger inside a hat, in order that the words may be told off on the

[119] English _onery_, _twoery_, etc. The forms we give date back to
about 1820, before the publication of the "Nursery Rhymes of England."
There are numerous small variations. "_Virgin_ Mary" we have from
informants in the Middle States; "_Irish_ Mary" was the common New
England phrase.

[120] This rhyme was used only by _girls_. Boys employed No. 2, and
would have been laughed at for counting like girls.

[121] Used by _boys_ in the western part of the town, where were the
toll-house and negro settlement.

[122] English rhymes:

    Oneery, twoery, ziccary, zan,
    Hollowbone, crackabone, ninery, ten--etc.

[123] This class of formulas (Nos. 1 to 8) appear to be mere variations
of the same type, a fact which does not prevent individual forms from
exhibiting a wonderful permanence. We consider as identical a class of
German formulas, very wide-spread and variable, thus:

    (_a._) Unichi, dunichi, tipel-te! Tibel, tabel, domine.
    (_b._) Eckati peckati zuchati me, Avi schavi domine.
    (_c._) Aeniga mäniga tumpel-ti, Tifel, tafel numine.
    (_d._) Anigl panigl subtrahi! Tivi tavi, domini.
    (_e._) Endeli bändeli deffendé, Gloria tibi domine.

A rhyme quoted by Mr. Ellis from the _Millhill Magazine_ (a school
paper), and credited to America, is similar:

    (_f._) Eeney, meeny, tipty te, Teena, Dinah, Domine.

The following formulas from Transylvania are of a simpler type; the
first is said to imitate the _Gipsy_, the second the _Magyar_, speech:

    (_g._) Unemi, dunemi, tronemi, ronemi, donemi,
    ronza, konza, jewla, dewla, tschok!

    (_h._) Aketum, täketum, tinum, tanum, ärsak, märsak, etc.

We take the latter type to be a nearer approach to the original form.
All sorts of intermediate stages can be observed from between these
lists and the more complicated examples; but we find no signs of
numbers above ten, as in the "Anglo-Cymric score." The Russian and
Finnish tongues present similar rhymed lists, while many Italian rhymes
are of like origin, though disguised and extended.

[124] In North Germany:

    Ene tene mone mei, Paster Lone bone, strei,
    Ene fune herke berke, Wer? wie? wo? was?

As this is but one case of identity out of many hundreds, we suppose
the rhyme borrowed from the English. There are many German rhymes
beginning "Ene mene mu," or similarly; but the variation of the first
sounds is endless: ene dene, ene tene, ene mene, ente twente, entele
mentele, ane tane, unig tunig, oringa loringa, etc.; by association or
rhyme, any nursery song may be introduced, or the first words may be

[125] These examples of the "Anglo-Cymric score" (see page 196) were
obtained, No. 15 from Mrs. Ellis Allen of West Newton, now ninety years
of age, who was born at Scituate, Mass., where she learned the formula;
and No. 16 of her daughter, who learned it from an Indian woman, _Mary
Wolsomog_, of Natick. Though mother and daughter, neither had ever
heard the other's version of the score. To illustrate the relation of
this score with Welsh numerals, we add two examples from Mr. Ellis's
paper ("reprinted for private circulation from the Transactions of
the Philological Society for 1877-8-9," pp. 316-372), selected from
his fifty-three versions; the first is from England, the second from

  1. aina.
  2. peina.
  3. para.
  4. peddera.
  5. pimp.
  6. ithy.
  7. mithy.
  8. owera.
  9. lowera.
  10. dig.
  11. ain-a-dig.
  12. pein-a-dig.
  13. par-a-dig.
  14. pedder-a-dig.
  15. bumfit.
  16. ain-a-bumfit.
  17. pein-a-bumfit.
  18. par-a-bumfit.
  19. pedder-a-bumfit.
  20. giggy.

  1. eina.
  2. mina.
  3. pera.
  4. peppera.
  5. pinn.
  6. chester.
  7. nester.
  8. nera.
  9. dickera.
  10. nin.
  11. eina dickera.
  12. mina dickera.
  13. pera dickera.
  14. peppera dickera.
  15. pumpi.
  16. eina pumpi.
  17. mina pumpi.
  18. pera pumpi.
  19. peppera pumpi.
  20. ticket.

The modern Welsh numerals, as given by Mr. Ellis:

  1. un.
  2. dau.
  3. tri.
  4. pedwar.
  5. pump.
  6. chwech.
  7. saith.
  8. wyth.
  9. nau.
  10. deg.
  11. un ar deg.
  12. deuddeg.
  13. tri ar deg.
  14. pedwar ar deg.
  15. pymtheg.
  16. un ar bymtheg.
  17. dau ar bymtheg.
  18. tri ar bymtheg.
  19. pedwar ar bymtheg.
  20. ugain.

The numbers 4, 5, 15, and combinations 1+15, 2+15, 3+15, 4+15, seem to
make the connection unmistakable; but 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 appear to have
been arbitrarily affected by rhyme and alliteration.

[126] This verse is used as a counting rhyme by children in the state



    In the olde dayes of the Kyng Arthour,
    Of which that Britouns speken gret honour,
    Al was this land fulfilled of fayrye.

                                          _The Wife of Baths Tale._

No. 150.

_London Bridge._

No game has been more popular with children than this, and any summer
evening, in the poorer quarters of the cities, it may still be seen
how six years instructs three years in the proper way of conducting
it. Two players, by their uplifted hands, form an arch, representing
the bridge, under which passes the train of children, each clinging to
the garments of the predecessor, and hurrying to get safely by. The
last of the train is caught by the lowered arms of the guardians of the
bridge, and asked, "Will you have a diamond necklace or a gold pin?"
"a rose or a cabbage?" or some equivalent question. The keepers have
already privately agreed which of the two each of these objects shall
represent, and, according to the prisoner's choice, he is placed behind
one or the other. When all are caught, the game ends with a "Tug of
War," the two sides pulling against each other; and the child who lets
go, and breaks the line, is pointed at and derided. The words of the
rhyme sung while the row passes under the bridge are now reduced to two

    London Bridge is falling down,
           My fair lady!

Readers may wonder why this well-known game should be classed as
_mythological_; but such a character appears in the European versions.
Thus, in Suabia, the two keepers of the "Golden Bridge" are called
respectively the "Devil" and the "Angel," and the object is to decide
who shall be devils and who angels. In France the game is known as
"Heaven and Hell." The children who have made a good choice, after the
selection is finished, pursue the devils, making the sign of horns with
fingers extended from the forehead. In Italy, the name of the sport is
"Open the Gates." The gates are those of the Inferno and of Paradise;
_St. Peter_ is the keeper of one, _St. Paul_ of the other. The children
choose between _wine_ and _water_; but when the destiny of the last
child is decided, the two girls who represent the keepers of the bridge
break their arch of lifted hands and move in different directions,
followed by their subjects, "while the cries and shrieks of the players
condemned to the Inferno contrast with the pathetic songs and sweet
cadences of those destined to the happiness of Paradise."

The game is mentioned by Rabelais (about A.D. 1533) under the name of
the "Fallen Bridge."

In German versions, the keepers are called "Devil and Angel," "King
and Emperor," or "Sun and Moon." In this latter form the game has been
one of the few kept up by the Germans of Pennsylvania, who call it the
"Bridge of Holland."[127]

Connected with this game in Massachusetts is a curious piece of local
lore. A lady[128] recollects that, in the first years of the century, a
pedler came to her father's house in Plymouth, Mass., and, in default
of three cents change, left a "chap-book" or pamphlet of that value,
called "Mother Goose's Melodies." In this pamphlet (the first authentic
mention of a publication of that title) the song was included, in
the familiar words; but, instead of _London_ bridge, _Charlestown_
bridge was substituted in the rhyme. In that form only the verses were
familiar to herself and her companions.

Charlestown Bridge, over Charles River, connected Boston with Cambridge
and other suburban towns, before that time only accessible by ferry or
a long detour. The bridge was "dedicated" July 17, 1786; and was, in
the eyes of the rustic population of Massachusetts, quite as important
a structure as the London erection of the thirteenth century. The
project was undertaken after a long incubation of sixty years, and not
without many apprehensions lest the vast masses of ice rushing down the
river in winter should sweep it away. The cost was fifteen thousand
pounds. At the celebration, a salute of thirteen guns was fired from
Fort Hill, "almost every person of respectable character in private
and public life walked in the procession," and eight hundred persons
sat down to dinner. No wonder that its fame superseded, locally at
least, that of the celebrated structure which was so long the wonder
of London, and so sacred in nursery lore. We may thus form an idea of
the importance of bridges in earlier times--which importance, and the
superstitions consequent, were the root of our game--and also of the
tendency of each town to localize its traditions, even those of the

With the exception of the name, the words of the song, in the chap-book
referred to, were identical with those of the familiar English version.
We learn from another informant that these same words (this time,
however, under the proper title of London Bridge) were often used as a
dance-song at children's parties about the beginning of the century.
The dancers sat in a circle, a boy next a girl; as each verse was
sung, the lad whose turn it was led out his partner and promenaded,
suiting action to meaning. The exact verbal correspondence, and absence
of the original mode of playing, show that this version of the song,
and consequently the rhymes of the pamphlet called "Mother Goose's
Melodies," were not taken from the lips of Americans, but reprinted
from English sources.

The version repeatedly printed in books for children is not truly
popular. It has been remodelled by the recorder, and so the original
idea has been disguised. We have, however, the pleasure of offering
a genuine English version. We add fragments of American forms, and
finally a curious text, for which Ireland is ultimately responsible.
From these, taken together, the character of the old English game can
be made out.

       *       *       *       *       *

A.--Song of Charlestown Bridge, as printed (probably about 1786) in the
chap-book, "Mother Goose's Melodies:"

    Charlestown Bridge is broken down,
          Dance o'er my lady Lee;
    Charlestown Bridge is broken down,
          With a gay lady.

    How shall we build it up again?
          Dance o'er my lady Lee, etc.

    Build it up with silver and gold,
          Dance o'er my lady Lee, etc.

    Silver and gold will be stole away,
          Dance o'er my lady Lee, etc.

    Build it up with iron and steel,
          Dance o'er my lady Lee, etc.

    Iron and steel will bend and bow,
          Dance o'er my lady Lee, etc.

    Build it up with wood and clay,
          Dance o'er my lady Lee, etc.

    Wood and clay will wash away,
          Dance o'er my lady Lee, etc.

    Build it up with stone so strong,
          Dance o'er my lady Lee,
    Huzza! 'twill last for ages long,
          With a gay lady.


    London Bridge is broken down,
        Dance over my lady Lee;
    London Bridge is broken down,
        With the gay lady.

    How shall we mend it up again?
        Dance over my lady Lee;
    How shall we mend it up again
        For the gay lady?

    We will mend it up with gravel and sand,
        Dance over my lady Lee;
    We will mend it up with gravel and sand
        For the gay lady.

    But gravel and sand will wash away,
        Dance over my lady Lee;
    Gravel and sand will wash away
        From the gay lady.

    We will mend it up with iron and steel,
        Dance over my lady Lee;
    We will mend it up with iron and steel
        For the gay lady.

    But iron and steel will bend and break,
        Dance over my lady Lee;
    Iron and steel will bend and break,
        With the gay lady.

    We will mend it up with silver and gold,
          Dance over my lady Lee;
    We will mend it up with silver and gold
          For the gay lady.

    Silver and gold will be stolen away,
          Dance over my lady Lee;
    Silver and gold will be stolen away
          From the gay lady.

    We will put a man to watch all night,
          Dance over my lady Lee;
    We will put a man to watch all night
          For the gay lady.

    Suppose the man should fall asleep?
          Dance over my lady Lee;
    Suppose the man should fall asleep?
          My gay lady!

    We will put a pipe into his mouth,
          Dance over my lady Lee;
    We will put a pipe into his mouth,
          For the gay lady.[129]


    London Bridge is falling down,
        Falling down, falling down,
    London Bridge is falling down,
        My fair lady!

    You've stole my watch and kept my keys,
        My fair lady!

    Off to prison she must go,
        My fair lady!

    Take the key and lock her up,
        My fair lady![130]

                                                  --_Boston, Mass._



    London Bridge is falling down,
        My fair lady!

    What did the robber do to you?
        My fair lady!

    He broke my watch and stole my keys,
        My fair lady!

    Then off to prison he must go,
        My fair lady!

                                                  --_Savannah, Ga._

E.--Our last version is from the convent-school of Savannah, and,
although recited by a girl of American birth, is of Irish origin:

    London Bridge is falling down, etc.
          _My fair lady!_
    How shall we build it up again?--
    Build it up with lime and stone.--
    Stone and lime would wash away.--
    Build it up with iron bars.--
    Iron bars would bend and break.--
    Build it up with gold and silver.--
    Gold and silver would be stole away.--
    Get a watch to watch all night.--
    Suppose the watch should fall asleep?--
    Get him a pipe to smoke all night.--
    Suppose the pipe should fall and break?--
    Get a dog to bark all night.--
    Suppose the dog should get a bone?--
    Get a cock to crow all night.--
    Suppose the cock should fly away?--
    What has this poor prisoner done?--
    He's broke my box and stole my keys.--
    A hundred pounds will set him free.--
    A hundred pounds he has not got.--
    Off to prison he must go,
        _My fair lady!_[131]

As to the origin of this remarkable game, our citations have already
made clear that one of its features consists in a representation of the
antagonism of celestial and infernal powers, and the final decision by
which each soul is assigned a place on the one side or the other. It
was universally believed in the Middle Ages, that the soul, separated
from the body, had to cross a dangerous bridge, and subsequently
undergo a literal weighing in the balance, according to the result
of which its destiny was decided. It is in the nature of things that
children, conversant with these ideas, should have dramatized them in
their sports. We see no reason, with the German writers, to go back
to ancient Northern mythology; nor do we find any ground for believing
that our game is more likely to be of Teutonic than Romance descent.

We suspect, however, that that part of the sport which relates to
the warfare of good and evil powers does not belong to the original
idea, but that a still more primitive game has taken on an ending
which was common to many amusements in the Middle Ages. The central
point of the whole is the repeated downfall of the structure. Now
there is a distinct mythologic reason for such a representation. In
early times no edifice was so important as a bridge, which renders
intercourse possible between districts heretofore separated. Hence the
sanctity attributed in mediæval times to the architects of bridges.
The Devil, or (in more ancient guise) the elemental spirit of the
land, who detests any interference with the solitude he loves, has an
especial antipathy to bridges. His repeated and successful attempts
to interfere with such a structure, until he is bought off with an
offering like that of Iphigenia, are recorded in legends which attach
to numerous bridges in Europe. It is on such supernatural opposition
that the English form of the game appears to turn. The structure,
which is erected in the daytime, is ruined at night; every form of
material--wood, stone, and gold--is tried in vain; the vigilance of
the watchman, or of the cock and the dog--guardian animals of the
darkness--is insufficient to protect the edifice from the attack of the
offended spirits.

The child arrested seems to be originally regarded as the price paid
for allowing the structure to stand. In times when all men's thoughts
were concerned about the final judgment, a different turn was given to
the sport--namely, whether the prisoner should belong to the devils
or to the angels, who wage perpetual warfare, and dispute with each
other the possession of departed souls. Finally, in quite recent days,
religious allusions were excluded, and the captive, now accused of mere
theft, was sentenced to be locked up, not in the Inferno, but in a
commonplace jail.

No. 151.

_Open the Gates._

This game is a variation of the last, and is played similarly, ending
with a "tug of war," as described on page 204.

    Open the gates as high as the sky,
    And let the King of Spain pass by;
            Choose one,
            Choose two,
    Choose a pretty little girl like you.

More usual is a shorter rhyme, thus:

    Open the gates as high as the sky,
    And let King George and his troops[132] pass by.

No. 152.


Two children, linking hands, form a "basket" (each grasping with the
left hand the right wrist of the other, and with the right hand his
left wrist), in which another child is lifted, who embraces with his
arms the necks of his bearers. He is then swung to and fro, and finally
made to strike the wall. If he lets go his hold, he is called "Rotten
egg," which is regarded as a highly ignominious name.

This title is also applied to the child who lets go in the "tug of war"
in "London Bridge." A similar lifting in a basket (as we have been told
by one who remembered so playing in youth) formed, in Philadelphia,
part of the same game.

The original meaning of this exercise is made clear by an Italian
counterpart, in which it is called "Weighing." The child after being
lifted is made to jump over one of the lowered arms of his bearers, and
if he escapes from their grasp is destined for _Paradise_, otherwise
for the _Inferno_. The French usage is the same.[133] Weighing, to
decide whether the child should be angel or devil, sometimes forms
part, also, of the German game corresponding to "London Bridge."

Another English game shows us a relic of this practice--namely, that
called "Honey-pots," from which, as usual in children's sports, the
original religious idea has disappeared. A child is lifted and swung
until the hold is relaxed, when the _pot_ is said to weigh so many

Other tests used in German games to decide whether a child shall be
an angel or not, are--tickling, in which a sober face must be kept;
jumping over a cord, or measuring the height. These customs of play are
surviving forms of usages once equally common in English sports.

No. 153.


A.--A row of children, on the doorsteps of a house, or against a
chamber wall. Opposite each other stand two girls, representing, one
the good, the other the bad, angel. Every child selects a color. The
mother stands at the foot of the steps. The "Good Angel" knocks at the
door (_i.e._, the side of the flight of house-steps), and is answered
by the mother:

    "Who's knocking at the door?"
    "The Angel with the Golden Star."
    "What do you want?"
    "Blue" (or any color).

The "Good Angel" names a color. If this color is represented among
the children, the angel takes the child, but if the application is
unsuccessful, must retire, whereon the "Bad Angel," or the "Angel with
the Pitchfork," comes forward in like manner. When all the children are
divided, a "tug of war" ensues, as in "London Bridge."

This form of the game is probably a recent translation from the German,
by New York children.[135]

B.--In the convent-school of Savannah, Ga., as we learn from a former
pupil, birds instead of colors represented the children, and the
formula was, "Barn, barn,[136] who comes here?" It was replied, "Good
angel," or "Bad angel." The angels then "fought and tried to get the

C.--In Philadelphia there is a game in which the children, having
received birds' names, are pursued by the mother, and, if captured, are
put into the slop-bowl; otherwise, into the sugar-bowl.

Similarly, in a Swiss game, we have the mother and a bird-catcher. The
latter endeavors to guess the titles of the children, who are called
after birds or colors. When the name of a child is guessed, she takes
flight, and if she can escape, returns to the mother; if caught, she
belongs to the pursuer, and the game ends with a "tug of war."

Corresponding is the French game of "Animals." The devil and a
purchaser are first chosen. The seller names the animals, and shuts
them up in an enclosure. The devil, who has not heard the naming, comes
up[137] and guesses the title of the beast. If he guesses right, the
seller says "Go!" while the animal makes a circuit to return to his
den. The devil must first buy (with so many taps on the palm of the
hand of the dealer) the beast, before he can pursue. If he catches the
latter, he marks him with three blows on the head and tail, and the
animal becomes the devil's dog. The game finishes when all the animals
have been so captured.

The conflict which ends this game is curious. In Switzerland, the angel
who obtains a child carries it in his arms within his limit, and the
devil similarly. After all the children are divided, a struggle begins,
the devils defending themselves with claws, the angels with wings. In
Austria the boundary between Heaven and Hell is marked out by a piece
of wood, called "Fire." Each child grasps the waist of his predecessor
with both arms, the leaders join hands over the "Fire," and the contest
lasts until all are pulled to one side or the other.

These battles between opposing supernatural forces rest on a basis
older than Christianity. The "Game of the Shell" is thus described by
Pollux: "The shell-game; where the boys draw a line on the ground and
choose sides, one side selecting the outside of a shell, the other
the inside. One who stands on the line having thrown up the shell,
whichever face comes uppermost, those who belong to that give chase,
and the other party turn and fly. Any fugitive who gets caught is
called the _ass_. He who pitches the shell says, 'Night, day;' for the
outside is smeared with pitch, and signifies night; whence this boys'
game is also called the 'turning of the shell.'"

The word _ass_ here means that the boy caught had to carry home his
pursuer on his back.

Plato alludes to this game in the "Republic," saying of the efforts of
the soul to pass from the realm of darkness to that of light, "it does
not depend on the turn of a shell."

We thus see the successive mental conceptions of antiquity, the Middle
Ages, and modern time reflected in the changes of children's sports.

No. 154.

_Old Witch._

A.--Ten girls, a mother, a witch, and eight children--namely, Sunday,
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and the eldest
daughter Sue. The mother, preparing to go out, addresses her children:

    Now all you children stay at home,
    And be good girls while I am gone;
    Let no one in[138]
           *       *       *       *       *
    Especially you, my daughter Sue,
    Or else I'll beat you black and blue.[139]

The witch knocks at the door, and is refused entrance by the children.
She beguiles them by promises to admit her, which they finally do. She
then holds out her pipe (a bit of stick), which she carries between
her teeth, saying to Sue, "Light my pipe!" Sue refusing, she makes
the same demand to each child, in the order of the days of the week,
in which they are ranged. All refuse till she reaches the last, who
consents and touches her pipe, whereupon the witch seizes her hand, and
drags her out of the house to her "den."

The mother then returns, counts the children, and Sue is questioned and
punished. This is played over until each child is taken, Sue last.

When the mother has lost all her children, the witch calls, and invites
her to dinner. Upon going to the witch's door, she finds a table set
for the meal, and the witch asks her to order a dish to suit her taste.
She does so, whereupon the witch produces Sunday, and lays her upon the
table, with considerable assistance from Sunday.

A very amusing dialogue now ensues between the witch and the mother.
The former urges the mother to eat, with many blandishments, and the
mother (recognizing her child) declines, with such excuses as any
ingenious child can devise.

The mother, upon pretence of inability to eat the food, calls for
another dish, and, when the witch leaves the room, hurries the child
from the table and places her behind the chair. When the witch returns,
she says that she found the dish so good that she ate it all, and calls
for another.

Each child is produced in turn, with the same result. When all are
arranged behind their mother, she calls for another dish, and when the
witch leaves the room to get it, runs home with all her children.

                                                  _Hartford, Conn._

       *       *       *       *       *

Our second version (B) is from the lips of a little girl in New York
city. The persons represented are the same, except that a servant
instead of one of the daughters is left to take care of the children.
Scene, the doorsteps, or "stoop," of a New York dwelling-house.

    _Mother_ [_sings_]. Chickany, chickany, crany, crow.
                    Went to the well to wash her great toe,
                    And when she came back her chicken was dead.[140]

    [_To Servant_].   I am going out, and let nobody come in.

                                       [_Exit. Enter presently, Witch._

    _Witch_ [_to Servant_]. Give me a match to light my pipe.

    _Servant._ I haven't any.

    _Witch._ Your kettle's boiling over.

    _Servant._ No.

    _Witch._ Your kettle is boiling over.

    _Servant_ [_goes to look_]. _Witch seizes a child and carries her
        off._                                        [_Re-enter Mother._

    _Mother_ [_to servant_]. Where's my Monday?

    _Servant._ Under the table.

    _Mother_ [_calls_]. Monday!

    _Servant._ Up in the band-box![141]

    _Mother._ How to get up?

    _Servant._ Put two broken chairs on a broken table.

    _Mother._ Suppose I should fall and break my neck?

    _Servant._ Good enough for you.

Mother beats servant, but recovering from her loss, goes out again.
Witch enters as before, and carries off successively all the children,
and at last the servant. Witch then puts the children in a row, cooks
them, and makes them into pies, naming them apple-pie, peach-pie, etc.
Mother goes out to buy pies.

    _Mother_ [_to Witch_]. Have you any pies?

    _Witch_. Yes, some very nice apple-pies, which you will like.

    _Mother_ [_tastes_]. This tastes like my Monday. [_Re-animates
        Monday_.] Monday, who brought you here? [_Beats her, and sends
        her home._]

The mother proceeds in the same manner, and brings to life the other

C.--The name of the witch in this variation is "Old Mother
Cripsy-crops," and the game begins by playing No. 89. When the mother
goes out, the children call after her, "Old mother, the kettle boils."
She answers, "Take a spoon and stir it." "We haven't got any." "Buy
one." "We have no money." "Borrow," says the mother. "People won't
lend," reply the children.

The witch comes in, and entices Sunday away by fine promises. When the
mother comes back, she inquires, "Where's my Sunday?" The children make
some excuse, as, "Perhaps he has gone down cellar," etc. She tells
Tuesday to take care of Monday, as she had previously placed Monday in
charge of Sunday, and goes out again, when the same scene is repeated,
until all the children have been carried off.

The mother now calls at the witch's house, and asks to be let in. The
witch refuses, saying, "No, your shoes are too dirty." "But I will take
off my shoes." "Your stockings are too dirty." "Then I will take off my
stockings." "Your feet are too dirty." "I will cut off my feet." "That
would make the carpet all bloody." "But I must see my children, and you
have got them." "What should I know about your children? But if you
like you may call to-morrow at twelve."

The mother departs, and as soon as she is gone the witch goes to the
children and renames them all. One she calls Mustard, another Pepper,
another Salt, another Vinegar, etc. Then she turns their faces to the
wall, and tells them to give these names if they are asked who they
are. The mother calls again at the house of the witch, and this time
is admitted. She asks the children what their names are, and they all
answer as they were instructed by the witch. She then asks the first
child to let her feel his toe. He puts up his foot, and when the mother
feels it she says, "This is my Sunday! let your big toe carry you
home;" whereupon he runs off. The same process is gone through with all
the other children.

D.--To the mother (this time present), in the midst of her children,
approaches the witch, who comes limping, leaning on a cane. The
dialogue is between mother and witch.

    "There's old mother Hippletyhop; I wonder what she wants to-day?"
    "I want one of your children."
    "Which one do you want?"

The witch names any child of the row.

    "What will you give her to eat?"
    "Plum-cake" (a different delicacy for each child).

The witch carries off the child, and observes: "Walk as I do, or else
I'll kill you." She takes the child home and kills her, then returns
for another. When all are gone the mother goes out to look for her
children. She goes to the witch's house, and finds all the children
(presumed to be dead) against the wall, making the most horrible faces.
She points to a child, and asks, "What did [Mary] die of?" "She died
of sucking her thumbs" (naming the child's gesture). Suddenly all the
children come to themselves, and cry out, "Oh, mother, we are not dead!"

                                                _Portsmouth, N. H._

E.--In a fifth version, which we have failed to obtain in full, the
witch changed the children into birds; and the mother, in order to
recover them, must guess the name of the bird. Colors, instead of
birds, were also used to represent the children.

F.--We have already spoken of the old English game of "Honey-pots" as
an imitation of "Weighing." This trait, however, as might be supposed
from its insignificant character, is a mere fragment of the original.
In London (as we learn from an informant of the laboring class, who
remembers taking part in the amusement), a child as market-woman
arranges the rest in a row to indicate honey-pots, each with its
specific flavor. While she is busy at one end of the row, a thief comes
in and steals a pot from the other end. This process is repeated, until
all the pots are taken. The dealer then goes out to buy honey-pots, and
recognizes her own by the flavor, so recovering the stolen goods.

       *       *       *       *       *

This game without doubt is the most curious of our collection, both
on account of its own quaintness, and because of the extraordinary
relation in which it stands to the child's lore of Europe. We have, in
a note, endeavored to show that our American versions give the most
ancient and adequate representation now existing of a childish drama
which has diverged into numerous branches, and of which almost every
trait has set up for itself as an independent game. Several of these
offshoots are centuries old, and exist in many European tongues; while,
so far as appears, their original has best maintained itself in the
childish tradition of the New World.

Among a great number of German forms, only one (from Suabia) nearly
corresponds to ours, with the exception of a corrupted ending.

In this childish drama a mother has many children, who sleep. In her
absence comes "Old Urschel" with her two daughters, the "Night-maidens"
(a sort of fairies), who steal three children, and carry them off
to their cave (hiding them behind their extended dresses). The
mother visits Urschel's abode to complain of the theft, but the
"Night-maidens," with deprecating gestures, deny any knowledge of the
lost. The action is then repeated, the eldest daughter (who plays the
same part as in our first version) being taken last.

When the mother's complaints are useless, she becomes a witch. The
next day Urschel takes her stolen family for a walk. The mother comes
up and pulls the dress of a child; by her magic art all feel it at the
same time, and cry to Urschel, "Oh, mother, somebody is pulling my
gown!" The latter replies, "It must be a dog." The mother then asks
and obtains leave to join the party, but endeavors to bewitch (or
disenchant) her children, who cry, "The Witch of London!" and scatter,
but are captured by the latter and turned into witches.[142]

In Sweden the mother is called "Lady Sun." An old woman enters, propped
on a cane, goes to Lady Sun's house and knocks. "Who is that knocking
at my door?" "An old woman, halt and blind, asks the way to Lady Sun;
is she at home?" "Yes." The old woman points out a child, and asks,
"Dear Lady Sun, may I have a chicken?" She is refused at first, but
by piteous entreaties obtains her wish, and returns, until all the
"chickens" are carried off. "She was not so lame as she made believe,"
says Lady Sun, looking after her.

The antiquity of our game is sufficiently attested by the wide
diffusion of many of its comparatively recent variations. We remark,
further, that the idea of the child-eating demon, so prominently
brought forward in our American versions, is a world-old nursery
conception. The ancients were well acquainted with such feminine
supernatural beings. "More fond of children than Gello," says Sappho,
referring to an imaginary creature of the sort. The most ancient view
of this passion for stealing children was, that it was prompted by the
appetite. Tales of ogres and ogresses, who carried off and devoured
young children, must have been as familiar in the Roman nursery as in
our own.

The trait of _limping_, characteristic of "witches" in games, is
equally ancient. That such demons are defective in one foot is
expressed by the ancient Greek name "Empusa" (literally One-foot), to
whom was attributed an ass's hoof, a representation which contributed
to the mediæval idea of the devil. A child's game, in which a boy,
armed with a knotted handkerchief, pursues his comrades, hopping on
one foot, is known in France as "The Limping Devil."[143] This game
existed also in ancient Greece.

The reanimation and recovery of the children, with which the American
performance closes, is a familiar trait of ancient nursery tales.

No. 155.

_The Ogree's Coop._

Half a century since, in eastern Massachusetts, it was a pastime of
boys and girls for one of the number to impersonate an _Ogree_[144]
(as the word was pronounced), who caught his playmates, put them in a
coop, and fattened them for domestic consumption. From time to time
the Ogree felt his captives to ascertain if they were fat enough to be
cooked. Now and then a little boy would thrust from between the bars
of his cage a stick instead of a finger, whereupon the ogree would be
satisfied of his leanness.

No. 156.

_Tom Tidler's Ground._

A boundary line marks out "Tom Tidler's Ground," on which stands a
player. The rest intrude on the forbidden precinct, but if touched must
take his place. The words of the challenge are--

    I'm on Tommy Tidler's ground,
    Picking up gold and silver.

Or, dialectically, "_Tickler's_ not at home."

This Eldorado has many different local names--_Van Diemen's land_ in
Connecticut; _Dixie's land_ in New York, an expression which antedates
the war; _Judge Jeffrey's land_, in Devonshire, England; _Golden
Pavement_, in Philadelphia.

In the Southern States, "Tommy Tidler's Ground" is the name of the
spot where the rainbow rests, and where it is supposed by children that
a pot of gold is buried. A highly intelligent Georgian assures us that
as a boy he has often searched for the treasure, but could never find
the spot where the rainbow touched the ground.

"Tommy Tidler" represents the jealous fairy or dwarf who attacks any
who approach his treasure.

No. 157.

_Dixie's Land._

This is a variety of the last game, in which a monarch instead of a
fairy is the owner of the ground trespassed upon. A line having been
drawn, to bound "Dixie's Land," the players cross the frontier with the

    On Dixie's land I'll take my stand,
    And live and die in Dixie.

The king of Dixie's Land endeavors to seize an invader, whom he must
hold long enough to repeat the words,

    Ten times one are ten,
    You are one of my men.

All so captured must assist the king in taking the rest.

The word "man" seems to be used in the ancient sense of subject, as
in the Scotch formula, where one boy takes another by the forelock (a
reminiscence of serfdom), saying,

    Tappie, tappie, tousie, will you be my man?

The game is played in much the same manner in Germany, with a rhyme
which may be translated:

    King, I'm standing on your land,
    I steal your gold and silver-sand.

No. 158.

_Ghost in the Cellar._

One of the children represents a ghost, and conceals himself in the
cellar. Another takes the part of a mother, who is addressed by one of
her numerous family:

    "Mother, I see a ghost."
    "It was only your father's coat hanging up."

Mother goes down with a match. Ghost appears. Terror and flight.
Whoever is caught becomes the ghost for the next turn.

A similar game is played in London, called (we are told) "Ghost in the

The original of the "ghost" appears in the corresponding German game,
where we find in his stead the "evil spirit," who haunts the garden.

No. 159.

_The Enchanted Princess._

This interesting European game, though never naturalized in this
country, has been occasionally played as a literal translation from the
printed French. A little girl raises above her head her frock, which
is sustained by her companions, who thus represent the tower in which
she is supposed to be confined. The "enemy" comes up, and asks, "Where
is pretty Margaret?" The answer is, "She is shut up in her tower." The
"enemy" carries off one by one the stones of the tower (leads away,
that is, the girls who personate stones), until one only is left, who
drops the frock, and flies, pursued by Margaret, who must catch some
one to replace her.

The celebrated French song begins, "Where is fair Margaret, Ogier,
noble knight?"[145] "Ogier" is none other than Olger the Dane, hero
of mediæval romance. The childish drama is one form of the world-old
history of a maiden who is delivered by a champion from the enchanted
castle. In the territory of Cambrai, she who is shut up in the tower
is said to be "the fair one with the golden locks." We consider the
following number to be a variation of the same theme.

No. 160.

_The Sleeping Beauty._

About fifty years since, in a town of Massachusetts (Wrentham), the
young people were in the habit of playing an exceedingly rustic
kissing-game. A girl in the centre of the ring simulated sleep, and the
words were--

    There was a young lady sat down to sleep;
    She wants a young gentleman to wake her up;
    Mr. ---- ---- shall be his name.

The awakening was then effected by a kiss.

The same game comes to us as a negro sport from Galveston, Texas, but
in a form which shows it to be the corruption of an old English round:

    Here we go round the _strawberry bush_,
          This cold and frosty morning.

    Here's a young lady sat down to sleep,
          This cold and frosty morning.

    She wants a young gentleman to wake her up,
          This cold and frosty morning.

    Write his name and send it by me,
          This cold and frosty morning.

    Mr. ---- his name is called,
          This cold and frosty morning.

    Arise, arise, upon your feet,
          This cold and frosty morning.

Some unintelligible negro rhymes follow.

The refrain of the last version indicates that it is of old English
origin, and was used as a May-game.

It would appear, from the character of the round, that various
names are proposed to the sleeping girl, which she rejects until a
satisfactory one is presented. At all events, this is the case in a
Provençal game which we take to be of the same origin as ours. In this
game it is explained that the girl is not asleep, but counterfeiting
death. "Alas! what shall we give our sister? N. N. to be her husband."

A favorite French round describes the maiden as asleep "in the tower."
The pretty song represents her as awakened by the rose her lover
has left upon her breast. Though there is no very close resemblance
between this and the Provençal game, the same idea of deliverance from
enchantment appears to underlie both.

We infer, therefore, that the game, apparently so natural an invention,
originally represented some form of the world-wide story of the
"Sleeping Beauty." If this be so, to explain its history would lead us
to write of Northern lay and mediæval legend; we should have to examine
the natural symbolism of primitive religions, and the loves of ancient
gods. The kissing-romp of a New England village would be connected with
the poetry and romance of half the world.

In any case, this interlinking of the New World with all countries and
ages, by the golden network of oral tradition, may supply the moral of
our collection.


[127] Die Holländisch' Brück'.

[128] Mrs. R. W. Emerson, of Concord, Mass.

[129] From Prof. G. J. Webb, now of New York, who learned it from his
mother, in the Isle of Wight, his birthplace.

[130] As the last verse is sung, the raised arms of the two directors
of the game descend, and enclose the child who happens to be passing at
the time. The prisoner is then led, still confined by the arms of her
captors, to the corner which represents the prison. After this she must
choose as described on page 204, and the two sides finally pull against
each other. Our informant well remembers how seriously the matter was
taken, and how disturbed and disgraced she felt when arrested and

[131] We have obtained a nearly identical, but more fragmentary version
from Waterford, Ireland, with a refrain that seems a corruption of that
belonging to the ordinary English song; thus--

    London Bridge is broken down,
              _Fair lady!_
    How shall we build it up again?
        _Grand says the little dear._

We have also, from an Irish domestic, a most curious account of the
use of the latter version in the town named. Agreeing, as it does,
in essential respects with the character which the European game now
possesses, and which the English game once evidently possessed, we do
not doubt its general correctness; but we have had no opportunity to
verify the statement of the somewhat inconsequent informant.

An actual bridge was built up with sticks and boards, and surrounded
by the ring of players, dressed in costume; without stood the Devil.
Little girls in variously colored dresses represented the angels.

The repeated fall and rebuilding of the bridge was acted out, as
described in the verses of the song; this fall was ascribed to the
malice of the Devil, who ruined it _during the night_ (watching it,
said the narrator, from the top of an ash-tree during the day).

The imprisonment of the child enclosed by the arms of the leaders was
acted out as described in the note on page 208, but in a noteworthy
fashion. A chain was taken, and wrapped round the child, in the form
of a serpent (for the Devil _is_ a serpent, said the reciter); the
captive was taken to a hut (representing apparently the entrance to the
Inferno) built by the sea. Meantime, the rest of the train called on
their leader for help; but he answered, "the Devil has five feet, and
thirteen eyes, and is stronger than I!" The performance lasted five
hours; and the name of the edifice was the Devil's Bridge.

In this Irish game, tests were employed to determine whether the
captive should belong to the Devil or not. One of these was the ability
to walk on a straight line drawn on the ground.

On the windows of French mediæval churches devils may be seen
surrounding the condemned with a great chain, which they use to drag
them into their clutches.

[132] Or, his _wife_.


    À l'épayelle (that is, in the _basket_)
    Tout du long de ciel,
    Tout du long du paradis,
    Saut'! Saut'! Saut souris!

[134] See No. 154, E, and note.

[135] Game of New York German children: "Wer ist daraus?" "Der Engel
mit dem goldenen Strauss." "Was will er?" "Eine Farbe." "Was für eine?"
"Blau," etc. Then "Der Engel mit dem Feuerhaken" comes forward, and so
on, "bis alle Farben fort sind."

[136] An imitation of knocking. Italian, Din-din; French, pan! pan! etc.

[137] The dialogue is: "Pan! pan!" "Qui est-ce qui est la?" "C'est le
diable avec sa fourche." "Que veut-il?" "Un animal." "Entrez."

[138] A line and a half are wanting.


    "I charge my daughters every one,
    To keep good house while I am gone.
    _You_ and _you_ [points] but specially _Sue_,
    Or else I'll beat you black and blue."

From "Nursery Rhymes of England," where it is said to be a game of
the Gypsy, who "during the mother's absence 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."

[140] This verse is borrowed from another game, No. 102. The drama
opens with a foreboding. The prophetic soul of the mother uses the
lament of a hen who has lost one of her brood.

[141] Or any elevated position. Also, _in heaven_.

[142] This Urschel is a mythologic character. When the children of
Pfüllingen climb the Urschelberg, where she lives, each child deposits
on a certain stone two or three horn buttons as an offering. On
returning, they observe whether she has not taken them away; and, even
if the buttons remain, they are sure that she has taken pleasure in
them. When they pass a certain slope they roll down perforated stones
(called "suns"), and the child whose "sun" rolls farthest says with
pride, "Urschel liked my present best."

Urschel passes for an enchanted maiden, whose original name was Prisca.
Every four centuries she plants a beech-tree for the cradle of the
youth whose love is at last to release her. The chosen shepherd sees
her sitting by the road-side, in the shape of an old woman, dressed in
green gown and red stockings. But none has ever dared to wed her for
the sake of the castle and treasure she offers.

[143] "Le Diable Boîteux."

[144] "An Ogree is a giant with long teeth and claws, with a Raw Head
and Bloody Bones, and runs away with naughty boys and girls, and eats
them all up."--Story of the "Sleeping Beauty," as given in an old


    Où est la belle Marguerite,
    Ogier, beau chevalier?



The following is a list of collections of popular games of children, or
collections containing such, consulted in preparing the present volume,
and referred to in the notes by the names of the editors:

    BRAND, J. Popular Antiquities of Great Britain. With corrections
        and additions by W. Carew Hazlitt. (Lond. 1870, 3 vols.) The
        same, arranged and revised by Henry Ellis. (Lond. 1813, 2
        vols.; new ed. 1849.)

    CHAMBERS, R. Popular Rhymes of Scotland. (New ed. Edinb. 1870;
        1st ed. 1842.)

    HALLIWELL [PHILLIPS], J. O. The Nursery Rhymes of England. (6th
        ed. Lond. 1860; 1st ed. 1842; 2d ed. 1843.)

      Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales. (Lond. 1849.)

    STRUTT, J. The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England.
        (Lond. 1801.)

       *       *       *       *       *

    BELÈZE, G. Jeux des Adolescents. (Paris, 1873.)

    BUJEAUD, J. Chants et Chansons Populaires des Provinces de
        l'Ouest. (Niort, 1866, 2 vols.)

    CELNART, MADAME. Manuel Complet des Jeux de Société. (2d ed.
        Paris, 1830.)

    CHABREUL, MADAME DE. Jeux et Exercises des Jeunes Filles. (2d ed.
        Paris, 1860.)

    DUMERSAN, M. Chansons et Rondes Enfantines. (Paris, 1858.)

    DURIEUX, A., and BRUYELLE, A. Chants et Chansons Pop. du
        Cambresis. (Cambrai, 1864-68, 2 vols.)

    GAGNON, E. Chansons Pop. du Canada. (Quebec, 1880.)

    GAIDOZ, H., and ROLLAND, E. Mélusine. Recueil de Myth., Lit Pop.,
        Trad., et Usages. (Paris, 1878.)

    KUHFF, P. Les Enfantines du Bon Pays de France. (Paris, 1878.)

    PUYMAIGRE, T. J. B. DE. Chants Pop. Rec. dans le Pays Messin.
        (Paris, 1865; 2d ed. 1881.)

    TARBÉ, P. Romancero de Champagne. (Reims, 1843, 5 vols.)

       *       *       *       *       *

    ARBAUD, D. Chants Pop. de la Provence. (Aix, 1862. 2 vols.)

    MONTEL, A., and LAMBERT, L. Chants Pop. du Languedoc. (Paris,

       *       *       *       *       *

    COELHO, F. A. Romances Pop. e Rimas Infantís Portuguezes. (Zeit.
        f. Rom. Phil. vol. iii. 1879.)

    MARIN, F. R. Cantos Pop. Españoles, Tomo 1. Rimas Infantiles.
        (Sevilla, 1882.)

    MASPONS Y LABRÓS, F. Jochs de la Infancia. (Barcelona, 1874.)

    VILLABRILLE, F. Los Juegos de la Infancia. (Madrid, 1847.)
        Contains little of a popular character.

       *       *       *       *       *

    BERNONI, G. Guiochi Pop. Veneziani. (Venezia, 1874.)

    CORAZZINI, F. I Componimenti Minori della Letteratura Pop. Ital.
        (Benevento, 1877.)

    DALMEDICO A. Ninne-nanne e Guiochi Infantili Veneziani. (Venezia,

    FERRARO, G. Canti Pop. di Ferrara, etc. (Ferrara, 1877.)

      Cinquanta Guiochi Fanciulleschi Monferrini. In Archivio per lo
        Studio delle Trad. Pop. G. Pitrè, S. Salomone-Mario. Fasc.
        I., II. (Palermo, 1882.)

    GIANANDREA, A. S. Saggio di Guiochi e Canti fanciulleschi delle
        Marche. In Vol. I. of Rivista di Letteratura Pop., G. Pitrè,
        F. Sabatini. (Roma, 1877.)

    IMBRIANI, V. Canti Pop. Avellinesi. (Bologna, 1874.)

      Canzonetti Infantili Pomiglianesi. In Vol. X. of Il
        Propugnatore. (Bologna, 1877.)

    IVE, A. Canti Pop. Istriani. In Vol. V. of Canti e Racconti del
        Pop. Ital., D. Comparetti and A. D'Ancona. (Torino, 1877.)

    PITRÈ, G. Canti Pop. Siciliani. (Palermo, 1870-71, 2 vols.)

       *       *       *       *       *

    COUSSEMAKER, C. E. DE. Chants Pop. des Flamands de France. (Gand,

    HOFFMANN VON FALLERSLEBEN, A. H. Horae Belgicae. (2d Aus.
        Hannover, 1866.)

    LOOTENS, A., and FEYS, J. Chants Pop. Flamands rec. à Bruges.
        (Bruges, 1879.)

    WILLEMS, J. F. Oude Vlaemsche Liederen. (Gent, 1848.)

       *       *       *       *       *

    Aus dem Kinderleben, Spiele, Reime, Räthsel. (Oldenburg, 1851.)

    Baslerische Kinder-und Volks-Reime. (Basel, 187-.)

    BIRLINGER, A. Nimm mich mit! Kinderbüchlein. (Freiburg, 1871.)

    DUNGER, H. Kinderlieder und Kinderspiele aus dem Vogtlande.
        (Plauen, 1874.)

    FEIFALIK, J. Kinderreime und Kinderspiele aus Mähren. (Zeit. f.
        deutsch Myth., Vol. IV.)

    FIEDLER, E. Volksreime und Volkslieder in Anhalt Dessau. (Dessau,

    FRISCHBIER, H. Preussische Volksreime und Volksspiele. (Berlin,

    HANDELMANN, H. Volks-und Kinder-Spiele aus Schleswig-Holstein.
        (Kiel, 1874.)

    KEHREIN, J. Volkssprache und Volkssitte im Herzogthum Nassau.
        (Weilburg, 1862, 2 vols.)

    MANNHARDT, W. Germanische Mythen. (Berlin, 1858.)

    MEIER, E. Deutsche Kinderreime und Kinderspiele aus Schwaben.
        (Tübingen, 1851.)

    MULLENHOFF, K. Sagen, Märchen, und Lieder d. Herzogthümer
        Schleswig-Holstein und Lauenburg. (Kiel, 1845.)

    PETER, A. Volkstümliches aus Österreichisch-Schlesien. (Troppau,
        1867, 2 vols.)

    ROCHHOLZ, E. L. Alemannisches Kinderlied und Kinderspiel.
        (Leipzig, 1857.)

    SCHUSTER, F. W. Siebenbürgisch-Sächsische Volkslieder.
        (Herrmannstadt, 1865.)

    SIMROCK, K. Das deutsche Kinderbuch. (Frankfurt am Main, 1857.)

    STOEBER, A. Elsässisches Volksbüchlein. (Strasburg, 1842.)

    VERNALEBEN, T., and BRANKY, F. Spiele und Reime der Kinder in
        Oesterreich. (Wien, 1873.)

    Wiegenlieder, Ammenreime und Kinderstuben-Scherze in
        plattdeutscher Mundart. (Bremen, 1859.)

    Zeitschrift für deutsche Myth. und Sittenkunde, I.-IV.
        (Göttingen, 1853-59.)

    ZINGERLE, J. V. Das deutsche Kinderspiel im Mittelalter. (2d ed.
        Innsbruck, 1873.)

       *       *       *       *       *

    ARWIDDSON, A. I. Svenska Fornsånger. (Stockholm, 1842, 3 vols.)

    DJURKLOU, G. Ur Nerike's Folkspråk och Folklif. (Örebro, 1860.)

    DYBECK, R. Runa, En Skrift för fädernes-landets fornvänner.
        (Stockholm, 1842-49.)

    GRUNDTVIG SVEND. Gamle Danske Minder i Folkemunde. (Copenhagen,
        1854. New Series, 1857.)

      Danske Folkeminder. (Copenhagen, 1861.)

    HAMMERSHAIMB, V. U. Faeröiske Skikke og Lege. (Antiquarisk
        Tidsskrift, Copenhagen 1849-51.)

    THIELE, J. M. Danske Folkesagn. (Copenhagen, 1820-23, 4 vols.)

    WIGSTROM, EVA. Folkdiktning. (Copenhagen, 1880.)

       *       *       *       *       *

    BEZSONOFF, A. Dyetskia Pyesni. Songs of (Russian) Children.
        (Moscow, 1868.)

    MOZAROWSKI, A. Svyatochnoia Pyesni. Christmas Games of the
        Government of Kazan (Kazan, 1873.)

    VRCEVIC, V. Sprske Narodne Igre. Servian Popular Games (Belgrade,

       *       *       *       *       *

    NEUS, H. Ehstnische Volkslieder. (Reval, 1850.)


The object of the following notes is to exhibit, in a clear manner, the
extent of the correspondence between the games of American children
and those belonging to children in other countries. This volume is not
intended to include all games of children, but (with some exceptions
in favor of certain amusements which possess interest as folk-lore)
only such as are played with words or quaint formulas. Of games of this
class, we find in the collections very few known to children in Great
Britain, and possessing European diffusion, which are not represented
in this series by independent American versions (see No. 160, note,
end). With these exceptions, the British game-formulas to which
American usage does not offer equivalents are local and of trifling
interest. The references given below may, therefore, be considered as a
comparative account of English children's games in general.

The coincidence which this comparison shows to exist between
English and German games is very close. Taking three German
collections--belonging respectively to Switzerland (Rochholz), to
Suabia (Meier), and to Schleswig-Holstein (Handelmann)--and leaving
out of account songs and ballads, we have about eighty games played
with rhymes or formulas. Of this number, considering only cases of
obvious identity, we estimate that forty-five have equivalents in the
present series, and thirty-three are not so paralleled. But of the
latter class, six are known to have been played in Great Britain, while
thirteen others appear to be variations of types represented in this
collection. Of the small number remaining, few seem to be ancient, it
being impossible to point out more than three or four really curious
games which are not played also in an English form. This agreement
cannot be explained by inheritance from a common stock, a theory which
research has also discredited in other branches of folk-lore. The
relationship is only a degree less near in other countries; thus, in a
collection of Spanish games belonging to Catalonia (Maspons y Labrós),
we find that, out of thirty-eight games, twenty-five have English


CAROL, p. 9. Middle Latin _Choraula_, from _choreola_. The word
_coraula_ is still used to denote the ring-dance in Switzerland; also
_coreihi_, to leap (choreare), Rochholz, p. 371. Russian _chorom_, a
round of children, Bezsonoff, p. 190.

MAY-GAMES, pp. 16-19. Tarbé, "Romancero de Champagne," ii. 61.
Puymaigre, p. 201, "Trimazos." A. Rivinus, "De Majumis," etc., in
Graevius, Syntagma (Utrecht, 1702).

GAMES CITED BY FROISSART (pp. 34, 35).--The passage here rendered
(with the omission of two or three obscure names of amusements) is
from "L'Espinette Amoureuse," l. 143-338, 35-47. Many of the games
mentioned cannot now be recognized from the titles given. Others,
however, can be identified; thus, _Queue loo loo_ (keuve leu leu) is
No. 106 of the present collection; _Oats_ (avainne), No. 21; _Scorn or
Derision_ (risées), perhaps No. 61; _King who does not lie_, perhaps
No. 55; _Grasses_ (erbelette), No. 42; _Cligne-musette_ (Cluignette),
No. 105; _Pince-merine_, according to Menagier de Paris, lxxvii., the
same as _Pince-sans-rire_, No. 77, C. _Playing with nuts_, No. 144;
_Throwing pence_, etc., No. 144, B. _Pebbles_ (pierettes), No. 137,
or No. 148. _Hook_ (havot), perhaps _Hockey_, No. 136. _Mule_, a kind
of leapfrog, still played in Italy, _Salta-muletta_, Gianandrea, No.
30. A species of this game in Philadelphia is now called _Saults_.
Replies (réponniaux), a sort of _Hide and seek_, No. 105, in which the
concealed person indicates his whereabouts in answer to a call; see
same poem, l. 2653. _Astonishment_ (esbahi), a game which consisted in
imitating that emotion; thus, when the horses of a party have given out
unexpectedly--"I should think we were playing at Astonishment," says
one of the cavaliers, looking at the faces of the rest (Dict. of La
Curne de Sainte-Palaye, art. "Esbahi"). On the whole, the impression
which the catalogue gives us, is that the sports of a child in the
Middle Ages were very similar to those of to-day, or, perhaps we should
rather say, of yesterday.

LOVE-GAMES (p. 39).--This is an old name for games representing or
offering opportunity for courtship, as "love-songs" is for ballads.
We have heard both expressions in New England, from the lips of
aged persons, in whose youth they were current. See the Gentleman's
Magazine, Feb. 1738.


    No. 1. English versions are numerous. Halliwell, Nurs. Rh. (6th
         ed.), Nos. 332, 333. Pop. Rh., pp. 123, 124. Chambers, p.
         143; p. 141, "Janet jo." Notes and Queries, 1st ser. VI.
         241; 5th ser. IV. 51, 157.--_German_, Meier, p. 107 (cited),
         109: Handelmann, p. 62. Vernaleken, p. 55, etc.--_Swedish_,
         Arwiddson, iii. 175 f.--_Icelandic_, Arwiddson, iii. 182.
         Lyngbye, Faeröiske Quaeder, p. 37, introd. note.--_Faroese_,
         Antiq. Tids., 1849-51, p. 310, "Princes riding," compare No.
         3.--_Italian_, Bernoni, p. 43, "L'Imbasciatore." Gianandrea,
         No. 23, "Il bel Castello."--_Spanish_ (Catalan), Maspons y
         Labrós, p. 47, "La Conversa del rey Moro."--_French_, Ch. du
         Cambresis, i. 80.

    2. A variety of No. 1. Corresponding is the _Faroese_ version
         referred to, in which the suitors, after rejection as
         thralls, smiths, etc., are finally accepted as princes,
         with the expression "tak vid" (literally "take with"), be
         welcome, which may explain the peculiar use of the word
         "take" in our rhyme.

    3. Also a variety of No. 1. Folk-lore Record, iii. 170.
         Chambers, p. 139 (cited). "I am a lusty wooer" (the version
         referred to, p. 49, note) is said to have been played by
         Charles II. See the Gentleman's Magazine, Feb. 1738; Nurs.
         Rh., No. 491.

    4. Henderson, Folk-lore of the Northern Counties (Lond. 1879),
         p. 27. Compare French round in Celnart, p. 24.

    5. Nurs. Rh., No. 479. Compare No. 31.

    6. Nurs. Rh., No. 466, "The Keys of Canterbury." Chambers, p.
         61, "The Tempted Lady."

    7. _French_, Celnart, p. 15, sixth round, presents verbal

    8. These versions belong to a game, widely diffused through
         Europe, in which a "rich" mother begs away, one by one, the
         daughters of a "poor" mother, until she has secured them
         all.--_German_, Frischbier, No. 657.--_French_, Chabreul, p.
         175, "Riche et Pauvre." Celnart, p. 382, "Olivé Beauvé et la
         voisine." Ch. du Camb., i. 77, "La Boiteuse." The celebrated
         song "Giroflé Giroflà" is of the same origin. In the
         Canadian round (Gagnon, p. 149), and in the English rhyme,
         for the sake of the dance, the mother whose daughters are
         begged away or stolen is turned into a mother whose object
         is to marry her many daughters; so the _Swedish_ (Arwiddson,
         iii. 203), which presents verbal correspondence to the
         English song of our collection. Arwiddson, iii. 167, game of
         "Rich and Poor Birds." The first comes in limping, leaning
         on a cane, and with piteous gestures begs the train of the
         other. By comparing No. 154, and note, it will be seen that
         all the above games make up a single branch of the numerous
         outgrowths of a primitive root, which is responsible for no
         small part of the amusements of youth in Europe. Compare
         Nurs. Rh., No. 343.

    10. Connected is a European game representing
         courtship--meeting, saluting, parting, etc.--_German_,
         Frischbier, No. 674.--_Swedish_, Arwiddson, iii.
         257.--_Flemish_, Looten and Feys, No. 113. A different but
         related game is _French_, Celnart, p. 14 (cited). Chabreul,
         p. 157. Gagnon, p. 151.--_Italian_, Corazzini, p. 84.--The
         words "Rowe the boat" begin a waterman's roundel, A.D. 1453;
         see Chappell's Pop. Music of the Olden Time, p. 482.--(4.)
         _French_, Ch. du Camb., i. 221 (cited).

    11. Chambers, p. 140, "Janet jo." Folk-lore Record, iii.
         171, "Jenny Jones." See Coussemaker, p. 100, Flemish
         "Maiden's Dance."--Bernoni, Cant. Pop. Venez. xi. 2,
         "Rosetina."--Roxburghe Coll. i. 186-189, Ballad of "The
         Bride's Buriall."

    12. Compare N. and Q., 3d ser. VII. 353.

    13. Halliwell, Pop. Rh., p. 133. Henderson, Folk-lore, p. 26.

    15. N. and Q., 5th ser. III. 482.--French round cited, Ch. du
         Camb., ii. 58. Gagnon, p. 303 (cited, p. 8). Bugeaud, i. 202.

    16. Chambers, p. 118.--_French_, Ch. du Camb., ii. 42.

    17. _Danish_ and _Swedish_ ballads, Sv. Grundtvig, Danmarks
         Gamle Folkeviser, Nos. 180, 181.

    18. Child, Eng. and Scot. Ballads, 1857, iii. 136.

    19. Child, ii. 154.

    20. _Swedish_, Arwiddson, iii. 196.

    21. _French_, Celnart, p. 21, etc.--_Provençal_, see Fauriel,
         Hist. de la Poésie Prov., ii. 87.--_Spanish_ (Catalan), Mila
         y Fontanals, Romanc. Cat., p. 173.--_Italian_, Bernoni,
         p. 37. (Sicily) Pitrè, ii. 33.--_German_, Meier, pp. 136,
         137.--_Swedish_, Arwiddson, iii. 326.--Rounds of a similar
         type, Chabreul, p. 146, "Salade." Bugeaud, i. 48, "Plantons
         la Vigne."

    22. _German_, Dunger, pp. 184-186. Mullenhoff, p. 484, No. 2.
         "Aus dem Kinderleben," p. 33.--_Finnish_, Neus, p. 387.

    23. Halliwell, Pop. Rh., p. 127. Chambers, p. 134.

    25. A variation of 23, 24. Halliwell, Pop. Rh., p. 130.
         Chambers, p. 135.--_French_, Gagnon, p. 99. Chabreul, p.
         141, etc.--_Spanish_, Marin, i. 96, "Thus do the Shoemakers."

    26. Folk-lore Rec., iii. 170. Compare French game, Ch. du Camb.,
         i. 223.

    28. Nurs. Rh., No. 287.

    29. Folk-lore Rec., iii. 169. For French game referred to, see
         Laisnel de la Salle, ii. 151.--_French_, Celnart, p. 53,
         "L'Anguille Enfilée."

    30. Compare Provençal nurse-songs, in Chants Pop. du Languedoc,
         "Chants énumeratifs," especially p. 432.

    31. Compare No. 5.

    32. Halliwell, Pop. Rh., p. 119, "Mary Brown." N. and Q., 6th
         ser. II. 248.--_Swedish_, Arwiddson, iii. 233.--_Finnish_,
         Neus, p. 388.--_Italian_, Comparetti, iv. 263.--_French_,
         Mélusine, p. 542.

    33. Chambers, p. 25. N. and Q., 4th ser. II. 274.--_Flemish_,
         _Dutch_, _German_, Hor. Belg., ii., Nos. 143, 145.--_French_
         (Canada), Gagnon, p. 129.

    34. Nurs. Rh., No. 290. To this class of jests belongs the
         German tale, Grimm, No. 119, "Die sieben Schwaben."

    35. Chambers, p. 344. Halliwell, Pop. Rh., p. 218, quotes the
         first lines of this rhyme from Aubrey's Miscellanies, ed.

    36. Compare Chambers, p. 137, "A Courtship Dance."--_French_,
         Celnart, p. 19.--Canadian song of Perrette, Gagnon, p. 286.

    38. For way of playing, compare No. 22.

    40. Chappell, Pop. Music of the Olden Time, p. 589.--_French_
         (Canada), Gagnon, p. 223.--_Swedish_, Arwiddson, iii. 369.

    42. _German_ usages, Rochholz, pp. 172-174. Meier, p. 93.--In
         Middle Ages, Zingerle, pp. 32, 33.--_Italian_, Corazzini,
         pp. 93, 94.--Drawing lots by spires of grass is probably the
         "Erbelette" of Froissart; see Celnart, p. 105, "L'Herbette
         Joliette."--_Spanish_, Marin, i. 123.

    43. _German_ usages, Rochholz, pp. 174-183.

    45. Compare French of Gagnon, p. 147.

    46. _French_, Ch. du Camb., i. 119, etc.--_German_, Peter, p.
         49, etc.--_Flemish_, Willems, p. 522.--_Breton_, Mélusine,
         p. 462.

    47. _French_, Rabelais, Gargantua, ch. xxii. Laisnel de la
         Salle, ii. 156.

    48. Halliwell, Pop. Rh., pp. 263-265. Chambers, p.
         31.--_German_, Rochholz, pp. 156-170; he refers to
         the Rigsmál of the poetic Edda. Schuster, p. 364,
         etc.--_Provençal_, Ch. Pop. du Languedoc, p. 517, "Las

    50. Nurs. Rh., No. 278. Compare Finnish game, Neus, p. 417.

    52. _German_, Vernaleken, p. 94. Meier, p. 135.--_French_,
         Chabreul, p. 183.--_Swedish_, Arwiddson, iii. 400.

    53. Strutt, p. 294. Brand, ii. 287.--_German_, Vernaleken,
         p. 86, "Ritterschlagen." Rochholz, p. 435.--_French_,
         "Les Ambassadeurs," Celnart, p. 131. Old English game of
         "Questions and Commands," Gent.'s Mag., Feb. 1738; Rochholz,
         p. 413.

    55. Perhaps the "Roi qui ne ment" of Froissart, which he
         mentions as a game of his childhood (see p. 34), and also as
         played by great personages.

    56. _French_, Celnart, p. 125.

    57. Similarly, in a French game, "Le Roi Dépouillé" (Celnart, p.
         139), the player must say "Oserais-je?" at every movement.

    58. See the round in Chappell, Pop. Mus., p. 77.

    60. Perhaps connected with No. 154. Compare German, Vernaleken,
         p. 52, No. 8.

    61. Very likely the "Derision" (Risées) of Froissart.

    62. _German_, Rochholz, p. 183. Vernaleken, p. 47,
         etc.--_Provençal_, "Lou brandet de Roso," Ch. Pop. du
         Languedoc, p. 577.

    64. _German_, Dunger, p. 176, played also in New York. The rhyme
         in the text seems a recent translation.

    68. Nurs. Rh., No. 352. Chambers, p. 137.--_French_, Celnart, p.
         19.--_Spanish_, Maspons y Labrós, p. 100, "Jan petit."

    71. Nurs. Rh., No. 218.

    74. Chambers, p. 139, "Curcuddie."--_French_, Celnart, p. 353,
         "Les Jarcotons."--Among games of motion might have been
         mentioned the familiar "Puss in the Corner," Gent.'s Mag.,
         Feb. 1738.--_French_, Celnart, p. 57, "Les Quatre Coins,"

    75. Halliwell, Pop. Rh., p. 128.--_Danish_, Grundtvig, Dansk.
         Folk., 2d ser. p. 142.--_Italian_, Bernoni, p. 19, No.
         18.--_Spanish_, Marin, I. 52, No. 84.

    76. Halliwell, Pop. Rh., p. 112.--_French_, Chabreul, p.
         8, "Petit bonhomme vist encore, car il n'est pas
         mort."--_German_, Handelmann, p. 31, "Little man still
         lives."--The _High-German_ formula is, "Stirbt der Fuchs, so
         gilt der Balg." Like the English phrase is a Danish game,
         "Do not let my master's bird die", Syv, "Adagia Danica,"
         p. xlvii.--_Russian_ (Kazan), Mozarowski, p. 88, "Kurilka
         lives, she is not dead."

    77. (a) _German_, Vernaleken, p. 89.--_French_, Celnart, p.
         307--(b) Nurs. Rh., No. 282.--_German_, Vernaleken, p. 88,
         "Vater Eberhard."--(c) _German_, Rochholz, p. 430, No.
         50.--_French_, Rabelais, Gargantua, ch. xxii. Celnart, p.
         124, "Pince-sans-rire."

    79. Compare finger-game in Chambers, p. 116. Italian finger-game
         referred to, Bernoni, p. 22, No. 25.

    81. Strutt, p. 290, "Hammer and Block."

    83. _French_.--Celnart, p. 162, "Le Chevalier Gentil."

    86. Nurs. Rh., Nos. 297, 307.--_German_, Meier, p. 138;
         Handelmann, p. 40.--_French_, Mélusine, p. 198.

    87. _Italian_ (the game, not the rhyme), Ferraro, G. Monfer.,
         No. 10.--_Spanish_, Marin, i. 48, No. 71. Compare Nurs. Rh.,
         No. 293; Chambers, p. 159.

    88. Celnart (2d ed., A.D. 1830) gives sixty kinds of
         "pénitences," consisting in kissing, as then usual in French
         society (see p. 6).--_French_, Celnart, p. 302, "Les Aunes
         d'Amour," the same as "Measuring yards of tape."--_German_,
         Frischbier, p. 201, "Aus dem Brunnen erretten," equivalent
         to "I'm in the well." "Redeeming forfeits in Germany,"
         Frischbier, p. 199.

    89. With the dialogue at the end of the second version, compare
         No. 154, B. An Italian game, Corazzini, p. 104, has a
         similar theme.

    90. Spectator, No. 268.--_German_, Rochholz, p. 440.

    91. Strutt, p. 386. "Even or Odd." A universal game.--_Ancient
         Egyptian_, Wilkinson, ii. 416.--_Ancient Greek_, Aristotle,
         Rhet. iii. 5. The formula is #artia ê perissa#--_Latin_,
         "par impar."--_German_, "grad oder ungrad," or "effen oder
         uneffen."--_Spanish_, Marin, i. 51, "Pares ó Nones" ("par
         est, non est").

    92. The similar _Italian_ game begins, "Galota, galota," whence,
         no doubt, our "_Hulgul_," Gianandrea, No. 20.--_Ancient
         Greek_, Scholiast to Aristophanes, Plut. 1057, #posa en
         chersin echô#; "How many have I in my hands?" Suidas
         (10th century), Lexicon, under #paidia#, writes: "There
         is a game of the following character among the Athenians:
         Having taken up a number of nuts and holding out his hand,
         one asks, 'How many have I?' And if [the other] guesses
         the number, he takes as many as he has in his hand; but
         if he fails to guess, he loses as many as the asker holds
         in his hand."--_Latin_, given by Helenius Acron (4th
         century), "quot in sunt?" See Marin, note to preceding
         game.--_German_, Meier, p. 123, "Wie viel sollen Kerner in
         meiner Hand sein?" Handelmann, p. 35, etc.

    93. A child rests his head in the lap of another, while a third
         claps the back of the first, keeping time to the words of
         the rhyme, and finally raises a certain number of fingers;
         if the kneeling child can guess the number, he takes the
         other's place.--_Spanish_, Marin, i. 51, No. 81. The rhyme
         closely resembles the English given in the text.--_Italian_,
         Imbriani, No. 30, where the question is, "How many horns
         do I hold up?"--_German_, Meier, pp. 135, 136, where it is
         asked, "Wie viel Hörner hat der Bock?" This allusion to the
         goat (as a leaping animal) refers to the usual practice of
         riding on the back of the stooping child while putting the
         question.--_German_, Rochholz, p. 434.--_Dutch_, Hor. Belg.,
         vi. 182. The formulas differ. Tylor, Primitive Culture, i.
         67. The Latin formula of Petronius is curiously translated
         by F. Nodot, A.D. 1694: "Étant à cheval sur luy, il luy
         donna plusieurs coups du plat de la main sur les épaules,
         disant tout haut en riant, Quatre cornes dans un sac,
         combien font-ils? ce jeu fini," etc. Nodot remarks of his
         free translation, that it is still a boys' game in France.

    94. Halliwell, Pop. Rh., p. 116, "Handy-Dandy."--_German_
         (Austria), Vernaleken, p. 41. The formula is the
         exact counterpart of the English: "Windle, wandle,
         in welchen Handle, oben oder unt?" Handelmann, p. 35
         (Schleswig-Holstein), "Where dwells the smith? Above or
         below?"--_Spanish_, Marin, p. 50, No. 77.

    95. _German_, Meier, p. 124, "Under which finger sits the hare?"

    97. Halliwell, Pop. Rh., p. 125, "My Lady's lost her diamond
         ring."--_Low-German_ formulas exactly correspond to our
         "Hold fast what I give you." Thus the North Frisian, "Biwari
         wel, wat ik di du," Handelmann, p. 38. Corresponding to
         "Button, button, who's got the button?" is the _Italian_
         "Anello, anello, chi ha mi anello?" Gianandrea, No.
         14.--_Spanish_, Maspons y Labrós, p. 86.

    98. Halliwell, Pop. Rh., p. 133.

    99. _German_, Frischbier, p. 195.

    100. A universal game.

    101. Halliwell, Nurs. Rh., Nos. 328, 357; Pop. Rh.,
         p. 118; Chambers, p. 123, "The King and Queen of
         Cantelon."--_German_, Rochholz, p. 414, No. 32.

    102. Halliwell, Pop. Rh., p. 132, "The Old Dame," like our B.
         The Scotch of Chambers, p. 130, "Gled Wylie" (wily hawk)
         corresponds to our first version.--_German_, Mullenhoff, p.
         488; Handelmann, p. 76, etc.--_Swedish_, Arwiddson, iii.
         164.--_Italian_, Bernoni, p. 34, No. 40, here a game of a
         witch like our second version.--_Finnish_, Neus, p. 418,
         begins like the Scotch.--_Russian_, Bezsonoff, p. 195,
         probably borrowed from the German.

    103. The name, "Tag," in Gent.'s Mag., Feb. 1738.--_German_,
         Handelmann, p. 66, "Eisen anfassen;" "Eisenzech" in Berlin;
         "Eisenziggi" in Switzerland.--_Italian_, Bernoni, p. 62,
         "Toca fero."--"Squat-tag" is also _Spanish_, Maspons y
         Labrós, p. 81.

    105. _Ancient Greek_, Pollux, ix. 117, #Apodidraskinda#,
         "Game of Running Away."--_German_, Vernaleken, p. 89,
         "Verstecherlspiel," "Einschauen."--_Italian_, Bernoni,
         p. 61, "Chi se vede, eh!"--_French_, Celnart, p. 55,
         "Cligne-musette" or "Cache-cache."

    106. _French_, Chabreul, p. 1, "La Queue Leuleu," mentioned by
         Froissart.--_German_, Rochholz, p. 408, etc.; Schuster, p.
         392, a game of wolf and geese; so _Russian_, Bezsonoff, p.

    107. _Spanish_, Marin, i. 169. The seeker must wait until the
         hiders, who go off one by one as they are counted out, cry
         "Jilo bianco, jilo negro," etc. Hence, probably, the cry
         "Blancalilo," etc., of the English game. The rest proceeds
         like No. 105. In the Spanish sport, a player reaching goal
         must spit three times; this seems to have been originally
         a conjuration against the Evil Spirit, whom the seeker

    108. _Ancient Greek_, Pollux, ix. 113, 123. The game is
         universal. See Handelmann, p. 71. Child, Eng. and Scot. Pop.
         Bal., 1882, i. 67.

    109. _German_, Handelmann, p. 65, "Die Hexe." The games are
         identical; yet the children, from whom the version in the
         text was learned, imagined that they had "made it up!"

    110. Strutt, p. 61.--_German_, Vernaleken, p. 63,
         "Das Barlaufen."--_French_, Celnart, p. 58, "Les
         Barres."--_Italian_, Bernoni, p. 87. The French word
         _barres_ is probably only a false interpretation of an older
         word _bar_, a form of our base, meaning goal; so Swiss
         "Bahre," Basle. Kindr., p. 30.--_Flemish_, in Hor. Belg.,
         vi. 181.

    111. N. and Q., 2d ser. VIII. pp. 70, 132. Brand, ii.
         316.--_German_, Handelmann, p. 81, "Die Katzen von dem
         Berge." The phrase is "Cat, cat, off my hill!"--_French_,
         Belèze, p. 42, "Le Roi Détroné."

    113. Chambers, p. 122, "Hickety Bickety."--_German_, Aus dem
         Kinderleben, p. 24. Rochholz, p. 442.

    114. Folk-lore Rec., iii. 169; Chambers, p. 36. See No. 89.

    115. _German_, Vernaleken, p. 74,
         "Weinbeer-Schneiden."--_Italian_, Bernoni, p. 50. This is a
         variation of No. 156; compare Frischbier, p. 186.

    116. Chambers, p. 127, "Scots and English."

    117. This number includes the remains of two ancient games: (a)
         _Ancient Greek_, #schoinophilinda#, Pollux, ix. 115, in
         which a player must be whipped round the ring with the cord
         he has dropped at the back of another.--_German_, in 14th
         century, Mone, Anzeiger, 1839, p. 395.--_Spanish_, Maspons
         y Labrós, p. 22.--_French_, Celnart, p. 55. (b) Strutt, p.
         285, "Cat and Mouse, or Kiss in the Ring," where a player
         pursues another round and through the circle.--_French_,
         Celnart, p. 39, "Le Chat et la Souris."--_Italian_,
         Gianandrea, No. 6.--_German_, Handelmann, p. 78.

    122. Variation of No. 121. The name connects it with the old
         English game of "Frog in the Middle," Strutt, p. 293; the
         ancient Greek, #chytrinda#," pot-game," see p. 31, note.

    123. _German_, Vernaleken, p. 75. Handelmann, p. 80. Meier, p.
         105. See No. 89.

    124. _French_, Chabreul, p. 22, "La Toilette de Madame."

    125. Nurs. Rh., No. 131.

    127. _German_, Rochholz, p. 430, No. 50. See Nos. 77, 152, 153.

    128. "Marble-day" in Sussex is Good Friday, N. and Q., 5th ser.
         XII. 18. "Times" of German sports, Basle. Kindr., p. 30.
         Meier, p. 92, 8.

    129. Brand, ii. 302, "Camp." Strutt, p. 78.--_Ancient Greek_,
         Pollux, ix. 104.--_Icelandic_ and _Low-German_, Weinhold,
         Altnord. Leben, p. 292. Egils Saga, ch. 40.

    130. Games of ball played with the hand are, of course, universal.

    131. Strutt, p. 381 (new ed.). Strutt, p. 76. Bradford's History
         of Plymouth (ed. by Ch. Deane, Boston, 1856), p. 112.
         Ducange, under Pelota. Wirt Sikes, British Goblins, p. 272.

    132. _German_ (Austria), Vernaleken, p. 2. (Schleswig-Holstein),
         Handelmann, p. 88, "Stehball." (Switzerland), Rochholz, p.

    136. Jamieson gives Scotch name as "Shinty."--_Italian_, Ferraro,
         G. Monfer., No. 38.

    137. _German_, Vernaleken, p. 9.--_French_, Celnart, p.
         69.--_Italian_, Ferraro, G. Monfer., No. 23, "Le Pietruzze."

    138. _German_, Vernaleken, p. 10. Rochholz, p. 389.

    139. _German_, Vernaleken, p. 11. Rochholz, p. 399.

    140. _German_, Vernaleken, p. 15.--The American word "Cat" ("one
         old cat," "two old cat," etc.) is explained by the Flemish
         "Caetsen, Ketsen," the common name of the game of ball in
         the Netherlands, Hor. Belg., vi. 177.

    141. _German_, names of "marbles." "Schnell-Kügelchen" (15th
         century), "Schusser," "Löper," also "Marmeln," the latter
         when made of marble. A MS. of the 15th century mentions
         "the yellow glass used for the little yellow balls with
         which schoolboys play, and which are very cheap," Rochholz,
         p. 421.--Playing marbles (_kluckern_) in the streets
         was forbidden on pain of torture, by the Reformers in
         Zurich, A.D. 1530.--The general name in North Friesland
         is "Rollkugle," "rollballs."--_French_ name, "_billes;_"
         see Celnart and Belèze for description of games. The game
         of Roman boys with nuts, from which marbles is probably
         derived, is still played in the Netherlands, Hor. Belg.,
         vi. 182. Nuts are also used instead of marbles in Italy,
         Gianandrea, No. 20.

    142. Strutt, p. 86, "Tip-cat." Brand, ii. 303, "Kit-cat." The
         game, which is played in _Hindostan_, N. and Q., 4th ser.
         IV. 93, may probably have made its way into Europe from the
         East.--_German_, Handelmann, p. 89, "Kipseln." Vernaleken,
         p. 29, "Titschkerln."--_Italian_, Bernoni, p. 81; p. 82,
         "Chiba e Cheba."

    143. Brand, ii. 305.

    144. (a) _German_, Rochholz, p. 426. Vernaleken, p.
         25.--_French_, Celnart, p. 379, "La Fossette aux Noyaux,"
         played with cherry-stones or plum-stones. The fillip given
         to the stone is called _poguer_, poke. Froissart appears
         to allude to this game, (b) Also ancient.--_Italian_,
         Gianandrea, No. 20, "Battemuro."

    145. _German_, Handelmann, p. 92, "Kaak."--_Italian_, Gianandrea,
         No. 17, "La Checca."

    146. Strutt, p. 266. Brand, ii. 330, "Scotch-hoppers"
         mentioned A.D. 1677.--_German_, Vernaleken, p.
         38, "Tempelhupfen."--_Italian_, Bernoni, p. 84,
         "El Campanon."--_French_, Celnart, p. 379, "La
         Marelle."--_Hindostan_, N. and Q., 4th ser. IV. 93.

    147. _German_, Handelmann, p. 96, "Stickmest."

    148. Though played in Great Britain, the game is not (so far as
         we know) mentioned by writers.--_French_, Celnart, p. 375
         f., "Les Osselets."--_Spanish_, Marin, pp. 80-95, 150-159,
         "Juego de las Chinas," "Game of the Stones."--_German_,
         Meier, p. 145.--_Japanese_, Tedama, "Hand-balls."

    149. Rhymes for counting out are used throughout Europe, and
         examples could be cited of types corresponding to most
         of the English forms, and sometimes evidently related.
         Peculiar is the usage in Spain, where the syllables are told
         off alternately on the closed hands of a player, who holds
         a pebble; if the last syllable falls on the hand containing
         the stone, the lad proving his fortune is free, and so on
         until only one child remains. The custom has given a proverb
         to the language. Marin, i. 117. A like usage (without the
         rhymes) we have found to be the usual way of selection in a
         town of Pennsylvania (Bethlehem).

    150. First printed in Ritson's "Gammer Gurton's Garland."
         Other original versions: (1) Gent.'s Mag., Sept. 1823;
         (2), (3) The Critic, Jan. 15, 1857, and (4) Feb. 2, 1857.
         The last mentioned is nearly identical with our B. The
         communicator of (1) refers it, through an aged informant,
         to a lady born in the reign of Charles II.; it has several
         more verses than the last, generally agreeing with our E,
         but lacks the ending. The rhyme, in England, appears at
         present to be known as a song only. The European rhyme is
         properly a dialogue, the verses being sung alternately by
         the warders and the approaching party; the former, whose
         joined and lowered arms represent the fallen bridge, do
         not elevate them until the negotiations are concluded.
         The game is, no doubt, that mentioned under the name of
         "Coda Romana," by G. Villani, Istorie Fiorent., A.D.
         1328, ch. xcvi., as played by the boys of Florence, in
         which the question put to the imprisoned player is said
         to have been, "Guelf or Ghibelline?"--_German_, Meier, p.
         101 (cited), etc. Mannhardt in Zeitschr. f. d. Myth., iv.
         301-320, gives twenty-seven versions, including _Slavic_,
         _Hungarian_, _Scandinavian_.--_Swedish_, Arwiddson, iii.
         250.--_French_, Chabreul, p. 117, "Le Ciel et l'Enfer."
         Celnart, p. 52, 'Le Pontlevis.'--_Italian_, Bernoni, p. 46,
         "Le Porte." Corazzini, pp. 90-93; p. 87 (a mixed form with
         No. 154).--_Spanish_, A. de Ledesma, A.D. 1605, beginning
         "Fallen is the bridge." See Marin, i. 166-168.--For the
         English rhyme, see also N. and Q., 1st Ser. II. p. 338.

    The name "Lady Lee" in the song may imply a legend. We read in
         Nature, June 15, 1871, p. 118: "It is not, for example, many
         years since the present Lord Leigh was accused of having
         built an obnoxious person--one account, if we remember
         right, said eight obnoxious persons--into the foundation of
         a bridge at Stoneleigh." The communicator of version (2)
         (The Critic, Jan. 15, 1857) spelt the name _Leigh_, and took
         "the Lady Leigh of the song to be the wife of Sir Thomas
         Leigh, who was Lord Mayor of London in 1558, ... ancestor
         of the noble family of Leigh of Stoneleigh, Warwickshire."
         Compare the ballad of "The Bridge of Arta," Passow, Pop.
         Carmina Græciæ Recent., No. 511; Tommaseo, Cant. Pop.
         Toscani, iii. 174 f.; F. Liebrecht, Zur Volkskunde, 1879, p.

    151. A variation of No. 150.--_Italian_, Corazzini, pp. 91-93,
         beginning, "Open, open the gates." Gianandrea, No. 3, "Le
         Porte del Paradiso." The dialogue ends, "Let the King of
         France with all his soldiers pass."

    152. _Italian_, Bernoni, p. 54.--_French_, Ch. du Camb. i.
         133.--_German_, Vernaleken, p. 55.

    153. _German_, Meier, p, 117, "Farben aufgeben," etc.--_Italian_,
         Bernoni, p. 51, "I colori." This version is identical with
         the German and our A, as is also the _Spanish_ (or Catalan),
         Maspons y Labrós, p. 91. The game of "Los Colores" is
         mentioned by A. de Ledesma, A.D. 1605.--_French_, Belèze, p.
         40 (cited).

    Intermediate between this number and the following are games of
         _selling birds_, Frischbier, p. 184; of _catching birds_,
         Rochholz, p. 449.

    Greek game of the shell, #Ostrakinda#, Pollux, ix. 111.

    154. The following is our classification of the numerous games
         (not before noticed as connected) belonging to this cycle of
         childish tradition:

    (1.) Versions preserving the original idea of the child-stealing
         witch (as in our A, B, and C).--Halliwell, Pop. Rh., p.
         131 (cited).--_German_, Meier, p. 117 (cited).--_Italian_,
         Corazzini, p. 110, a fragment.

    (2.) Versions in which (as in our D) the mother is represented
         as present, and the game becomes one of _begging_ instead
         of _stealing_ children. This is the case in most _German_
         versions. The tests described in No. 152 are introduced
         and become the leading feature of the game.--_German_,
         Frischbier, p. 183. Rochholz, p. 436, and p. 444, where
         the mother is called "Maria, mother of God," and the game
         "Getting Angels." Mullenhoff, p. 486, No. 7.--_Swedish_,
         Arwiddson, iii. p. 437 (cited). Mannhardt, Germanische
         Mythologie, pp. 273-321, gives fourteen versions, with
         a long discussion of this game, and concludes (p. 297)
         that the last girl of the row (who in our A is the eldest
         daughter, but here represents the "Mother Rose") "personates
         the goddess Freya cherishing in or behind the clouds the
         souls of the dead, who, renewed through the heavenly waters
         (the fountain of youth), are destined to return to earth at
         new birth as the souls of children!"

    It is very curious to observe that several Prussian versions
         contain traits only explained by the American games, the
         form of which they thus imply as more original. Thus the
         mother is _invited to a meal_ by the witch, Frischbier, p.
         182, and the person invited sends _excuses_ (see our A).

    (3.) The mother and children are represented in childish fashion
         as a hen and her brood (see our B, and No. 101). Hence the
         game of the "Rich and Poor Birds;" see references in No. 8,
         note.--_Italian_, Corazzini, pp. 86-88. Gianandrea, No. 19,
         "Madonna Pollinara."

    (4.) The children are denoted by the names of leaves or
         flowers.--_German_, Vernaleken, p. 58, "Die Grossmutter."
         The visitor begs for a leaf as balsam to heal her injury,
         and the girls are gathered under the name of leaves. So
         Frischbier, p. 181. Feifalik, No. 81.--_Spanish_, Maspons y
         Labrós, pp. 87-89, game of "Pulling Leeks."

    (5.) The game has become a representation of selling
         pottery.--_German_, Frischbier, p. 183. Mannhardt, p.
         284.--_Swedish_, Arwiddson, iii. 169, "Selling Pots,"
         a dance, has become a mere mercenary transaction.--The
         English game of "Honey-pots" is a version of this,
         where the weighing feature is to be explained as in No.
         152.--_Italian_, Bernoni, p. 57, "I Piteri," where the
         original idea reappears. The purchaser advances _limping_ (a
         characteristic of witches), and the game is one of stealing
         and recovery (like our London version E).--_Italian_,
         Gianandrea, No. 19. The first part of the game is played
         as in (3). The "pots" are weighed, as in the English game
         mentioned. Ferraro, G. Monfer., No. 43, where the purchaser
         is the devil, and the game thus passes over into the form of
         No. 153.--_Spanish_, Maspons y Labrós, p. 87, "Las Gerras."

    (6.) A game of stealing or measuring cloth.--_German_, Rochholz,
         p. 437, "Tuch anmessen." In this game, mentioned by the
         mother of Goethe (Düntzer, Frauenbilder aus Goethe's
         Jugendzeit, p. 506), the children are arranged against the
         wall to represent cloth, which the dealer measures and
         names by the color of the stockings of the children. A
         thief steals the cloth bit by bit, which the dealer must
         recover by guessing the color, a task of some difficulty,
         the stockings having been taken off in the interval. A
         very curious Low-German version, Brem. Wiegenlieder, p. 61,
         removes any doubt as to the relation of the amusement to
         the original game. In this version the colored cloths are
         only names for children. There are verbal coincidences with
         forms given in the text, the dialogue beginning "Mother,
         the broth is boiling over!" (as in our version B), put (as
         in our version C) into the mouth of the watcher left in
         charge by the absent mother; so Aus dem Kinderleben, p.
         39, "Leinendieb." The remainder of the first paragraph of
         C will be found almost word for word in Handelmann, p. 57,
         No. 80, "Frau Rosen," a version of the form (2).--_Italian_,
         Bernoni, p. 55, "I Brazzi de Tela," "the measures of cloth."
         The thief advances _limping_, the owner having departed,
         steals the cloth, but is pursued, and the goods recovered,
         as in the game of pots described above. Ferraro, G. Monfer.,
         No. 3.--_French_, Celnart, p. 43, "La Toile," has become a
         kissing romp of grown people.

    (7.) Finally, to the same root belong various rounds and dances
         which represent a mother who wishes to marry her many
         daughters, or of a poor widow who has but one daughter; see
         our No. 8, and note.

    155. _German_, Grimm, No. 15, "Hansel und Grethel."

    156. Gent.'s Mag., Feb. 1738, "Fryar's Ground."--_Spanish_,
         Maspons y Labrós, p. 92.--_French_, Celnart, p. 53, "Chateau
         du Corbeau;" "Je suis dans ton château, corbeau, et j'y
         serai toujours."--_German_, Meier, p. 98, "Ist der Kukuk
         zu Haus?" see No. 115, note. German games based on this
         idea are numerous. Vernaleken, p. 77, "The Black Man;" p.
         62, "Dead man, arise;" p. 73, "Wassermannspiel." The child
         representing the Water-spirit lies in the dry bed of a brook
         and pretends to sleep. The rest approach to tease him, when
         he endeavors to seize one without leaving the brook or pit.
         The first so caught must assist him to capture the rest.
         The superstition about a treasure buried at the foot of the
         rainbow is also Swiss, see Lütolf, Sagen, etc., Von Lutzern,
         p. 384.

    157. A variation of 156.--_German_, Meier, p. 121. Rochholz, p.

    158. _German_, Meier, p. 102, "Der Böse Geist."

    159. _French_, Celnart, p. 365, etc.--_German_, Vernaleken, p.
         52, etc. See Mannhardt, Germ. Myth., pp. 492-511, who gives
         twenty-three versions, including a Spanish (Catalan) one. He
         imagines, as usual, a good deal of mythology in the game.
         The mythologic character belongs, not to the details of
         the children's rounds, but to the cycle of traditions on
         which these are founded. The name in Suabia is "Prinzessin
         erlösen," "to disenchant the princess."

    160. _Provençal_, Arbaud, ii. 207.--_French_, Puymaigre, p. 334.
         Bugeaud, i. 126. Tarbé, ii. 178.

  Of the following games played in Great Britain, and possessing
  European equivalents, we have not obtained American versions:
  (1.) Halliwell, Pop. Rh., p. 131, "Game of the Fox."--_German_,
  Rochholz, p. 44, "Fuchs aus dem Loche." Handelmann, p.
  74.--_French_, Belèze, p. 27, "La Mère Garuche," also "Le Diable
  boiteux."--_Ancient Greek_, Pollux, ix. 121. (2.) Halliwell, Pop.
  Rh., p. 126, "The Poor Soldier."--_Spanish_, Maspons y Labrós, p.
  86, mentioned A.D. 1605, Marin, i. 177. (3.) "The Wadds," Chambers,
  p. 124.--_German_, Rochholz, p. 432, No. 52. (4.) Chambers, p.
  128, "The Craw."--_German_, Rochholz, p. 445, "Der Teufel an
  der Kette." (5.) Nurs. Rh., No. 323, "This is the Key of the
  Kingdom."--_German_, Handelmann, p. 39.--_French_, Celnart, p.
  181.--_Spanish_, Marin, i. 88.

  Transcriber's Notes:

  Simple spelling, grammar, and typographical errors
  were corrected.

  Punctuation normalized.

  Anachronistic and non-standard spellings retained as printed.

  Italics markup is enclosed in _underscores_.

  Bold markup is enclosed in =equals=.

  Gesperrt markup is enclosed in +plus signs+.

  Greek text is transliterated and enclosed in #number signs#.

  Beginning with p. 236 several numbers were skipped in the original.

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