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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handed down from father to son,1 and exhibited with tales of its former victories, I believe we have survivals of the form of transmission of virtues from one person to another through the means of an acquired object. I do not think that the cumula­tive reckoning and its accompanying ideas would occur to modern boys, unless they had inherited the conception of the virtue of a conquered enemy's weapon being transferred to the conqueror's.
Other games of skill are those played by two or more players on diagrams or plans. Many of these diagrams and plans are found scratched or carved on the stone flooring or walls of old churches, cathedrals, and monastic buildings, showing that the boys and men of the Middle Ages played them as a regular amusement—probably monks were not averse to this kind of diversion in the intervals of religious exercise; plans were also made on the ground, and the games played regularly by shepherds and other people of outdoor occupa­tion. We know this was so with the well-known " Nine Men's Morris" in Shakespeare's time, and there is no reason why this should not be the case with others, although " Nine Men's Morris" appears to have been the favourite. These diagram games are primitive in idea, and simple in form. They consist primarily of two players trying to form a row of three stones in three consecutive places on the plan; the one who first accomplishes this, wins. This is the case with '* Kit-Cat-Cannio " (better known as " Noughts and Crosses ") " Corsicrown " and " Nine Men's Morris."
Now, in " Noughts and Crosses " the simplest form of making a " row of three," where only two players play, and in another diagram game called "Tit-Tat-Toe," it is possible for neither player to win, and in this case the result is marked or scored to an unknown or invisible third player, who is called "Old Nick," "Old Tom," or "Old Harry." In some versions this third player is allowed to keep all the marks he registers, and to win the game if possible;- in others, the next successful player takes "Old Nick's" score and adds it to his own.
1 I know of one nut which was preserved and shown to admiring boys as a conqueror of iooo.

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