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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. CHILDREN'S GAMES                           489
marriage, and the fact that these customs, namely, those of marriage by capture, marriage by purchase, marriage by consent of others than those principally concerned, in other words, marriage between comparative strangers, occur in games played in line form, a form used for contest and fight­ing games, tends to show that the line form is used for the purpose of indicating the performance of customs which are supposed to take place between people living in different countries, towns, and villages, or people of different tribes or of different habits and customs. The more imperfect games of this type, though they have lost some of the vigour, have still enough left to show, when placed with the others, a con­nection with customs performed in the same manner.
In " Lady of the Land," for instance (vol. i. pp. 313-20), the words indicate a lady hiring a poorer woman's daughters as servants, and, no doubt, originates from the country practice of hiring servants at fairs, or from hirings being dramatically acted at Harvest Homes. The old practice of hirings at fairs is distinctly to be traced in local customs (see p. 319), and is a common incident in folk-tales. In this game, too, actions would be performed suitable to the work the players under­take to do.
It is not necessary to mention in detail any of the re­maining line games, because they are fragmentary in form, and do not add any further evidence to that already stated.
In considering this group of games it is obvious, I think, that we have elements of custom and usage which would not primarily originate in a game, but in a condition of local or tribal life which has long since passed away. It is a life of contest, a life, therefore, which existed before the days of settled politics, when villages or tribal territories had their own customs differing from each other, and when not only matters of political relationship were settled by the arbitra­ment of the sword, but matters now considered to be of purely personal relationship, namely, marriage. While great interest gathers round the particular marriage customs or particular contests indicated in this group of games, the chief point of







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