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                           495
spring, when, according to Westermarck, natural human mar­riage, as also animal pairing, takes place. It is evidently necessary to this game for all the players to perform the same actions, and the centre player is not required until the choosing a partner occurs. There is no centre player in the other agri­cultural game, and no marriage occurs.
In "When I was a Young Girl" (ii. pp. 362-374) we have all players performing actions denoting the principal events of their lives from girlhood to old age. When young, enjoyment in the form of dancing is represented (in present day versions, going to school is taking the place of this), then courting, marriage, nursing a baby, and occupations which women perform; the death of the baby and of husband follows, and the woman takes in washing, drives a cart to support herself, and finally gets old. Here, again, there is little doubt that this game owes its origin to those dances originally sacred in character, in which men and women performed actions, accompanied with song and dance, of the same nature as those they wished or intended to perform seriously in their own lives. " Mulberry Bush" is another descendant of this custom. In " Green Gravel" and " Wall­flowers " we have a death or funeral custom. Originally there may have been other actions performed than those the game contains now. These two are noticeable for the players turn­ing themselves round in the course of the play so that they face outwards. It is this turning outwards, or " to the wall," which indicates hopeless sorrow and grief, and there is some probability that the death mourned is that of a maiden, by the other maidens of the village. The game is not a representation of an ordinary funeral.
I must here refer to the game of "Rashes" (Addenda, ii. pp. 452, 453). I have not succeeded in obtaining a version played now, and fear it is lost altogether, which is, perhaps, not surprising, as the use of " rushes " has practically ceased; but, as recorded by Mr. Radcliffe in 1873, there is no doubt it represented the survival of the time when rushes were gathered and used with ceremony of a religious nature.
Even in the extremely simple " Ring a Ring of Roses" (ii. 108-111), now only a nursery game played by very young







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