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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THREE SAILORS
287
brings one of her daughters forward, presents her to the suitors, and shows them the money in her pocket, and the ring on her finger. The daughter goes with the kings, who take her a little way apart, pretend to rob her of her ring, money, and clothes, and then bring her back to her mother, and sing the last verse. They then run off in all directions, and the mother and daughters chase and catch them, and they change sides. Sometimes all the daughters are taken by the suitors before they are robbed and brought back. The game is also played by five players only; three representing the sailors or suitors, and -two the mother and daughter. The mother then chases the suitors, and whoever she catches becomes the daughter the next game. These are the usual methods of playing. In the Norfolk version the middle one of the three suitors takes the girl, robs her, and all three bring her back and sing the verses. In the Isle of Man version one player sits down, the others join hands, advance and retire singing the lines. The girl who is chosen joins the one sitting down.
(d) This game points to that period of tribal society, when the youths of one tribe sought to obtain their wives from the maidens of another tribe according to the laws of exogamy, but a definite person is here selected for the wife, and it is to the relatives or persons having authority (as in "Three Knights") that the demand for the bride is made, and not to the girl personally, as in " Three Dukes."
The game, while not so interesting a one to us as " Three Dukes," and " Three Knights," has its particular or peculiar features. It is probably later, and shows more clearly that position and wealth were of importance to a man in the obtain­ing of a wife. Individually he has not (apparently) courted the girl before, but he comes for that purpose now. He may be announcing himself under the various ranks or professions mentioned, before stating his real position; or, this may show that the girl having many suitors, and those of all degrees, the "mother" or relatives are actuated by purely mercenary motives, and wish to select the best and richest suitor for her. We must remember that it was accounted great honour to a girl to have many suitors and amongst these men dis-







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