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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with a fixed periodical custom, we can at least say that the rhymes, though not suggesting this, do not oppose it.
This game belongs to the group of "custom games." The first characteristic which suggests this is that the children, who join hands and form a circle, are always stationary, and do not move about as in dance games. To the minds of the children who play the game, each child in the circle represents something other than human beings, and this "something" is indicated in the first and second verses, which speak of the " windows," of houses, and a journey round " a village." In this game, too, the children, who thus represent a village, also act as "chorus," for they describe in the words they sing the various actions of those who are performing their parts, as in the game of " Old Roger."
With this evidence from the game itself, without reference to anything outside, it is possible to turn to custom to ascer­tain if there is anything still extant which might explain the origin of the game. Children copy the manners and customs of their elders. If they saw a custom periodically and often practised with some degree of ceremonial and importance, they would in their own way act in play what their elders do seriously.
Such a custom is the perambulation of boundaries, often associated with festive dances, courtship, and marriage. More particularly indicative of the origin of the game is the Helston Furry Dance—"About the middle of the day the people collect together to dance hand-in-hand round the streets, to the sound of the fiddler playing a particular tune, which they continue to do till it is dark. This is called a ' Faddy.' In the afternoon the gentility go to some farmhouse in the neighbourhood to drink tea, syllabab, &c, and return in a morrice-dance to the town, where they form a Faddy and dance through the streets till it is dark, claiming a right of going through any person's house, in at one door and out at the other."—Gent. Mag. Lib. Manners and Customs, p. 217. "In one, if not more, of the villages," says Mr. Gregor (Folk-lore N.E. Scotland, p. 98), " when the marriage takes place in the home of the bride the whole of the marriage party makes the circuit of the village."

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