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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SALLY WATER                                 177
certainly something a great deal more than the parallel to the Teutonic custom in the game of" Sally, Sally Water," and as it equates more nearly to Hindoo and Esthonian custom, the ques­tion is, Does it help Mr. Jevons in the important point he raises ? I think it does. A custom is very low down among the strata of survivals when it is only to be recognised as part of a children's singing game, and the proposition it suggests is that children have preserved more of the old custom than was preserved by the people who adopted a portion of it into their marriage « ceremony. A custom so treated must be older than the marriage ceremony with which it thus came into contact, and if this is a true conclusion, we have in this children's game a relic of the pre-Celtic peoples of these islands—a relic therefore going back many centuries for its origin, and which is of inesti­mable service in discussing some important problems of the ethnic significance of folk-lore. These conclusions are entirely derived from the significant position which this game occupies in relation to Esthonian (non-Aryan) and to Teutonic (Aryan) marriage customs respectively, and therefore it is of consider­able importance to note that it entirely fits in with the conclu­sion which my husband has drawn as to the non-Aryan origin of water-worship (seeGomme's EtJinology of Folk-lore, pp. 79-105).
There is, however, something further which seems to bring this game into line with non-Aryan marriage customs. The marriage signified by the game is acknowledged and sanctioned by the presence of witnesses; is made between two people who choose each other without any form of compulsion; is accompanied by blessings upon the young couple and prognos­tications of the birth of children. These points show that the marriage ceremony belongs to a time when the object of the union was to have children, and when its duration was not necessarily for life. It is curious to note that water worship is distinctly connected with the desire to have children (Proc. Roy. Irish Acad., 3rd ser., ii. 9); and that the idea of the temporary character of the marriage status of the lower classes of the people is still extant I have certain evidence of. Early in November of 1895, a man tried for bigamy gave as his defence that he thought his marriage was ended with his first
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