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TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 319
Eight joiners in a joiners' hall,
Working with the tools and all;
Seven lobsters in a dish,
As fresh as any heart could wish;
Six beetles against the wall,
Close by an old woman's apple stall;
Five puppies of our dog Ball,
Who daily for their breakfast call;
Four horses stuck in a bog,
Three monkeys tied to a clog;
Two pudding ends would choke a dog,
With a gaping wide-mouthed waddling frog.
—Halliwell's Nursery Rhymes, cclxxx., cvi.
(c) " The Twelve Days" was a Christmas game. It was a customary thing in a friend's house to play " The Twelve Days," or " My Lady's Lap Dog," every Twelfth Day night. The party was usually a mixed gathering of juveniles and adults, mostly relatives, and before supper—that is, before eating mince pies and twelfth cake—this game and the cushion dance were played, and the forfeits consequent upon them always cried. The company were all seated round the room. The leader of the game commenced by saying the first line. Generally the version used was similar to No. I. In later years the shorter version, No. III., was said. The lines for the " first day" of Christmas was said by each of the company in turn; then the first "day" was repeated, with the addition of the " second" by the leader, and then this was said all round the circle in turn. This was continued until the lines for the " twelve days" were said by every player. For every mistake a forfeit—a small article belonging to the person—had to be given up. These forfeits were afterwards " cried" in the usual way, and were not returned to the owner until they had been redeemed by the penalty inflicted being performed.
In version No. IV., the game began by the leader saying to the player sitting next to her, "Take this!" holding the hands as if giving something. The neighbour answered, "What's this?" The leader answered, "A gaping, wide-