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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several other players who play with corresponding articles belonging to them; (2) where one player attempts to gain articles deposited beforehand by all the players as stakes or objects to be played for. These games are played with buttons, marbles, cherry-stones, nuts, pins, and pence. In the second group, each player stakes one or more of these articles before beginning play, which stakes become the property of the winner of the game. The object of some of the games in the first group is the destruction of the article with which the opponent plays. This is the case with the games of "conkers" played with nuts on a string, and peg-top; the nuts and top are broken, if possible, by the players, to prevent their being used again, the peg of the top being retained by the winner as a trophy. The successful nut or top has the merit and glory of having destroyed previously successful nuts or tops. The victories of the one destroyed are tacked on and appro­priated by each victor in succession. So we see a nut or a top which has destroyed another having a record of, say, twenty-five victories, taking these twenty-five victories of its opponent and adding them to its own score. In like manner the pegs of the tops slain in peg-top are preserved and shown as trophies. That the destruction of the implements of the game, although not adding to the immediate wealth of the winner, does materially increase his importance, is manifest, especially in the days when these articles were compara­tively much more expensive than now, or when it meant, as at one time it must have done, the making of another implement.
These games are of interest to the folk-lorist, as showing connection with early custom. We know that playing at games for stakes involving life or death to the winner, or the possession of the loser's magical or valuable property or know­ledge, is not only found in another branch of folk-lore, namely, folk-tales, but there is plenty of evidence of the early belief that the possession of a weapon which had, in the hands of a skilful chief, done great execution, would give additional skill and power to the person who succeeded iji obtaining it. When I hear of a successful "conker" or top being preserved and

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