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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496                  MEMOIR ON THE STUDY OF
children, there can be traced a relationship to a dance, in which the use of flowers, and all the dancers bowing or fall­ing prostrate to the ground together, with loud exclamations of delight obtained. It may well be that sneezing, an imitation of which is an essential part of the game, was actually a necessary part of the ceremonial, and sneezing was always considered of sacred significance among primitive peoples. It is not probable that children would introduce this of their own accord in a dance and " bop down " game.
The games played in the third method of this group are also representative of custom. In "Old Roger" (vol. ii. pp. 16-24), the circle of players is stationary throughout; the circle sings the words describing the story, and the other players or actors run into the circle and act their several parts in dumb show. The story, it will be seen, is not the acting of a funeral, but the planting of a tree over the grave of a dead person by relatives and friends, and the spirit connection which this tree has with the dead. The spirit of the dead "Old Roger" enters the tree, and resents the carrying away of the fruit by the old woman by jumping up and making her drop the apples. Possession of the fruit would give her power over the spirit. That the tree is sacred is clear; and I am tempted to suggest that we may possibly have in this game a survival of the worship of the sacred tree, and its attendant priest watching until killed by his successor, as shown to us by Mr. Frazer in the story of the " Golden Bough."
"Round and Round the Village" (ii. pp. 122-143) shows us the performance of a recurring festival very clearly in the words which accompany all versions, "As we have done before." This conveys the idea of a special event, the event in the game marriage, and I suggest that we have here a periodical village festival, at which marriages took place. It is characteristic of this, as in " Old Roger," that the chorus or circle stand still and sing the event, while the two characters act. This acting is the dancing round the village, going in and out the windows and houses, then choosing a lover, and " follow her to London." It is quite possible that the perambulation of boundaries with which festive dances and courtship were often associated would







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