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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393                                           WOLF
At the end of the dialogue the sheep run across to the Shepherd and the Wolf pounces out, chases, and tries to catch them. Whoever he catches has to stand aside until all are caught. The game is played in this way in all versions sent me except Hurstmonceux, where there is the following addition :—The Wolf chases until he has caught all the sheep, and put them in his den. He then pretends to taste them, and sets them aside as needing more salt. The Shepherd or Mother comes after them, and the sheep cover their heads with their aprons. The Mother guesses the name of each child, saying, u This is my daughter------. Run away home I" until she has freed them all.
Versions of this game, almost identical with the Anderby version, have been collected from Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Mat­thews) ; Crockham Hill, Kent (Miss E. Chase); Hersham, Surrey (Folk-lore Record, v. p. 88); Marlborough, Wilts (H. S. May) ; Ash and Barnes, Surrey (A. B. Gomme). In Notting­hamshire, Derbyshire is the place the wolf is said to have gone to. Mr M. L. Rouse sends the following fuller description of the game as played at Woolpit, near Haughley, Suffolk, which gives, I think, the clue to the earlier idea of the game :—
The game was played out of doors in a meadow. Two long parallel lines were drawn about fifty yards apart, forming bases behind them. Two boys stood some distance apart between the bases, and the rest of the players all stood within one base. One of the two boys in the centre acting as decoy cried " Sheep, sheep, come home!" The sheep represented by the boys in the base cried back, " We can't, we're afraid of the Wolf." The decoy then said—
The wolf's gone to Devonshire, And won't be back for seven year. Sheep, sheep, come home.
The sheep then made rushes from different points, and tried to get across to the other base. The other player in the centre tried to catch the sheep as they ran. Those caught joined the side of the wolf, and caught others in their turn.
It appears clear that the " Decoy " is the correct character in this game instead of a " shepherd " or " master," as now given.

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