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RING BY RING—RINGIE, RINGIE, RED BELT in
Addy, Sheffield Glossary, compares the old stories about rose-laughing in Grimm's Teut. Myth. iii. noi. "Gifted children of fortune have the power to laugh roses, as Treyja wept gold. Probably in the first instance they were Pagan beings of light, who spread their brightness in the sky over the earth —'rose children,' 'sun children.'" This seems to me to be a very apposite explanation of the game, the rhymes of which are fairly well preserved, though showing in some of the variants that decay towards a practical interpretation which will soon abolish all traces of the mythical origin of game-rhyme. It may, however, simply be the making, or "ringing," a ring or circle of roses or other flowers and bowing to this. Mr. Addy's suggestion does not account for the imitation of sneezing, evidently an important incident, which runs through all versions. Sneezing has always been regarded as an important or supernatural event in every-day life, and many superstitious beliefs and practices are connected with it both in savage and civilised life. Newell (Games and Songs of American Children, p. 127) describes "Ring around the Rosie," apparently this game, but the imitation of sneezing has been lost.
Ring by Ring
Here we go round by ring, by ring,
As ladies do in Yorkshire; A curtsey here, a curtsey there, A curtsey to the ground, sir.
—Hersham, Surrey (Folk-lore Record, v. 86).
There is no description of the way this game is played, but it is evidently a similar game to " Ring-a-Ring o' Roses."
Ringie, Ringie, Red Belt
Take a small splint of wood, kindle it, and when it is burning turn it rapidly round in a circle, repeating the words—
Ringie, ringie, Red Belt, rides wi' the king, Nae a penny in's purse t' buy a gold ring. Bow—ow—ow, fat dog art thou, Tam Tinker's dog, bow—ow—ow.
—Corgarff (Rev. W. Gregor).