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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288                              THREE SAILORS
tinguished by the performance of brave deeds, which had gained them renown and pre-eminence, or wealth. The fact that the rejection or acceptance of the suitors is made known to the girl by the " mother," or person having authority, shows that "sanction " or permission is necessary, and that " rejection " or u acceptance" is signified to the suitors in the words, you "may not," or, you "may" have a lodging here, signifies admission into the family. This is a most interesting feature. The girl is to " wake up," that would be to rouse up, be merry, dress in bridal array and prepare for the coming festival. She is also given to the suitors with " in her pocket one hundred pounds," and "on her finger a gay gold ring." This, it will be seen, is given her by her " mother " or person having authority, and probably refers to the property the girl brings with her to her new abode for her proper maintenance there; the ring shows likewise her station and degree in her former abode, and is the token that she is fit bride for a king, and must be treated accordingly. Curious, too, is " Here's my daughter safe and sound," which looks like a warrant or guarantee of the girl's fitness to be a bride. The expression "walk with," meaning " to marry," again occurs in this game as in "Three Dukes." The line occurring in two versions, " And down by the door they bend their knee," is suggestive of courtesy shown to the bride and her family at the threshold of the house.
The incident of the three kings becoming robbers is not easily understood. Robbery was common of course, particularly when money and valuables were known to be carried on the person ; but I do not think this is sufficient in itself to account for the incident. It may be a reflection of the later fact that a man always took possession of his wife's personal property after marriage, and considered it his own to do as he pleased with. When this idea became codified in written law, the idea might readily get reflected in the game, when kings would not be understood as apparently taking things that did not belong to them, unless they were bandits in disguise. This last verse and the robbery may be a later addition to the game, when robbery was of everyday occurrence. There may have been (although there is nothing now in any version to warrant the







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