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WIND, THE 387
almost military precision."—W. C. Wade (Western Antiquary, April 1881).
From this description of the " Snail Creep," it is not difficult to arrive at an origin for the game. It has evidently arisen from a custom of performing some religious observance, such as encircling sacred trees or stones, accompanied by song and dance. " On May Day, in Ireland, all the young men and maidens hold hands and dance in a circle round a tree hung with ribbons and garlands, or round a bonfire, moving in curves from right to left, as if imitating the windings of a serpent."— Wilde (Ancient Cures, Charms', and Usages of Ireland, 106).
It is easy to conjecture how the idea of " winding up a watch," or u rolling tobacco," would come in, and be thought the origin of the game from the similarity of action; but it is, I think, evident that this is not the case, from the words ° a bundle o' rags," the mention of trees, and the "jogging" up and down, to say nothing of the existence of customs in Ireland and Wales similar to that of " Snail Creep." It is noticeable, too, that some of these games should be connected with trees, and that, in the " Snail Creep " dance the young men should carry branches of trees with them.
See " Bulliheisle," " Eller Tree."
I. The wind, the wind, the wind blows high, The rain comes pouring from the sky ; Miss So-and-So says she'd die For the sake of the old man's eye. She is handsome, she is pretty, She is the lass of the golden city; She goes courting one, two, three, Please to tell me who they be. A. B. says he loves her, All the boys are fighting for her, Let the boys say what they will A. B. has got her still.
—Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire (Miss Matthews).
II. The wind, wind blows, and the rain, rain goes, And the clouds come gathering from the sky!