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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The words used in Galloway are—
Through the needle e'e, boys,
Through the needle e'e !
If 'twasna for your granny's sake,
I wadna let 'e through.
—Galloway (J. G. Carter).
Jamieson describes this game in the south of Scotland as follows: " Two children form an arch with both hands. The rest, who hold each other by the skirts following in a line, attempt to pass under the arch. The first, who is called the king, is sometimes laid hold of by those who form the arch, each letting fall one of his arms like a portcullis for enclosing the passenger. But more generally the king is suffered to pass, the attempt being reserved for the last; whoever is seized is called the prisoner. As soon as he is made captive he takes the place of one of those who formed the arch, and who after­wards stand by his side."
It is differently played in Mearns, Aberdeen, and some other counties. A number of boys stand with joined hands in a semicircle, and the boy at one end of the link addresses the boy at the other end of the line:
A------B------, if ye were mine,
I wad feed you with claret wine ; Claret wine is gude and fine, Through the needle-ee, boys.
The boy to whom this is addressed makes room between himself and his next neighbour, as they raise and extend their arms to allow the opposite boy to run through the opening followed by all the other boys still linked to each other. If in running through the link should be broken, the two boys who are the cause suffer some punishment.—Ed. Jamieson's Dic­tionary.
The Northumberland game resembles "Oranges and Lemons." The other versions are nearer the " Thread the Needle " and " How many Miles to Babylon " games. Both games may be derived from the same custom.
See " How many Miles to Babylon," " Thread the Needle."

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