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
wife, as he had been away seven years. It is a frequently told story. A year and a day and seven years are the two periods for which the popular mind regards marriage bind­ing. " I was faithful to him for seven years, and had more than my two children," a woman said to me once, as if two children were the required or expected number to be born in that period. If there is a popular belief of this kind, it is strangely borne out by this game-rhyme. " First a girl, and then a boy," may also be shown to be a result to be desired and prayed for, in the popular belief that a man's cycle of life is not complete until he is the father of a daughter, who, in her turn, shall have a son. Miss Hawkins Dempster obtained evidence of such a belief from the lips of a man who considered he was entitled to marry another woman, as his wife had only borne him sons, and therefore his life was not (like hers) complete.
The free choice of both woman and man is opposed to the theory of our present marriage ceremony, where permission or authority to marry is only necessary for the woman, the man being able to do as he pleases. This is now regarded as a sign of women's early subjection to the authority of men and their subordinate place in the household. But it does not follow that this was the relative position of men and women when a ceremony was first found needful and instituted. I am inclined to think it must have been, rather, the importance attached to the woman's act of ratification, in the presence of witnesses, of her formal promise to bear children to a parti­cular man. Marriage would then consist of contracts between two parties for the purpose of, and which actually resulted in, the birth of children ; of concubinage, or the wife consent­ing to children being born to her husband by another woman in her stead, if she herself failed in this respect (such children being hers and her husband's jointly); of marriage without ceremony or set purpose, resulting from young people being thrown together at feast times, gathering in of harvests, &c, which might or might not result in the birth of children. These conditions of the marriage rite are at variance with what we know of the Aryan marriage generally and its results; and that they flow from the customs preserved in the game under







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