The Traditional Children's Games of England Scotland
& Ireland In Dictionary Form - Volume 2

With Tunes(sheet music), Singing-rhymes(lyrics), Methods Of Playing with diagrams and illustrations.

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PRIEST-CAT—PRISONER'S BASE                  79
Priest-Cat (2)
A peat clod is put into the shell of the crook by one person, who then shuts his eyes. Some one steals it. The other then goes round the circle trying to discover the thief, and addressing particular individuals in a rhyme—
Ye're fair and leal, Ye canna steal; Ye're black and fat, Ye're the thief of my priest-cat! If he guesses wrong he is in a wadd, if right he has found the thief.—Chambers' Popular Rhymes, p. 128.
This is an entirely different game to the " Priest-Cat" given by Mactaggart (see " Jack's Alive "), and seems to have origi­nated in the discovery of stolen articles by divination.
Priest of the Parish
William Carleton describes this game as follows :—" One of the boys gets a wig upon himself, goes out on the floor, places the boys in a row, calls on his man Jack, and says to each, 1 What will you be ?' One answers,' I'll be Black Cap,' another, ' Red Cap,' and so on. He then says, * The priest of the parish has lost his considering-cap. Some says this, and some says that, but I say my man Jack.' Man Jack then, to put it off himself, says, ' Is it me, sir?' 'Yes you, sir.' 'You lie, sir.' 'Who then, sir?' 'Black Cap.' If Black Cap then doesn't say, ' Is it me, sir ?' before the priest has time to call him he must put his hand on his ham and get a pelt of the brogue. A boy must be supple with the tongue in it."—Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry, p. 106 (Tegg's reprint).
This game is no doubt the original form of the game im­perfectly played under the name of " King Plaster Palacey" (see ante, i. 301).
Prisoner's Base or Bars
The game of "The Country Base" is mentioned by Shake­speare in "Cymbeline"—
" He, with two striplings (lads more like to run The country base, than to commit such slaughter), Made good the passage."—Act v., sc. 3.







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