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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WOULD YOU KNOW HOW DOTH THE PEASANT 401
move in alternate directions when dancing round. All the children sing the words of each verse and dance round. They unclasp hands at the end of each alternate verse, and suit their actions to the words sung. At the end of the first verse they stand still, crook their arms as if holding a basket, and imitate action of sowing while they sing the second verse ; they then all dance round while they sing the third, then stand still again and imitate reaping while they sing the fourth time. Then again dance and sing, stand still and imitate "thrashing" of barley and wheat; after "seed time is o'er," they drop on one knee and lift one hand as if in prayer, again dancing round and singing. Then they kneel on one knee, put their hands together, lay their left cheek on them, and close their eyes as if asleep; while singing, "when his labour is o'er," at the last verse, they all march round, clapping hands in time.
This is the Monton game. The Frodingham game is played in the same way, except that the children walk round in a circle, one behind another, when they sing and imitate the actions they mention. " When the hunting's begun" they all run about as if on horseback; " when the day's work is done," they all kneel on one knee and rest their heads on their hands.
This game is evidently a survival of the custom of dancing, and of imitating the actions necessary for the sowing and reap­ing of grain which were customary at one time. Miss Dendy says—" It is an undoubtedly old Lancashire game. It is some­times played by as many as a hundred players, and is then very pretty. The method of playing varies slightly, but it is generally as described above." The fact that this game was played by such a large number of young people together, points conclusively to a time when it was a customary thing for all the people in one village to play this game as a kind of religious observance, to bring a blessing on the work of the season, believing that by doing so, they caused the crops to grow better and produce grain in abundance.
See " Oats and Beans and Barley."
VOL. 11.
2 c







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