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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TWELVE HOLES—UNCLE JOHN IS ILL IN BED 321
before Christmas and not resumed until after Twelfth Day. Dr. Gregor records that no bread should be baked nor washing done during this period, nor work left unfinished. Jamieson, in a note on Yule, says that the gifts now generally conferred at the New Year seem to have originally belonged to Yule. Among the northern nations it was customary for subjects at this season to present gifts to their sovereign,—these were called Jolagiafir, i.e. Yule gifts. The custom in Scotland of presenting what we vulgarly call a sweetie-skon, or a loaf enriched with raisins and currants, has an analogy to this.
It is difficult, with the scanty evidence at command, to do more than make the simple suggestions above. The game is evidently in a process of very rapid decadence, and we have probably only poor specimens of what was originally the form of verses sung in the two versions from Halliwell and Chambers. The London version, No. III., is only recognisable as belonging to this game from the fact that it was known as playing at the " twelve days," was always played on Twelfth Day, and it was not considered proper nor polite for the guests to depart until this had been played. This fact has induced me to add the fourth version from Halliwell, because it appears to me that it may belong to the final form which this game is taking, or has taken, namely, a mere collection of alliterative nursery words, or rhymes, to puzzle the speaker under a rapid repeti­tion, and to exact forfeits for the mistakes made.
See " Forfeits."
Twelve Holes
A game similar to "Nine Holes," mentioned in Florio ed., 1611, p. 20.—Halliwell's Dictionary.
Uncle John is 111 in Bed
Uncle John is ill in bed,
What shall I send him ? Three good wishes, and three good kisses,
And a race of ginger. Who shall I send it by ?
By the carrier's daughter; vol. 11.                                                                     x







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