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                           497
originate this game. The perambulation was a recurring custom periodically performed, and on p. 142, vol. ii., I have given some instances of custom which, I think, confirm this.
In " Who goes round my Stone Wall" we find the players in circle form, standing still and representing the houses of a village (the stone wall), and also animals. The game repre­sents the stealing of sheep, one by one, from the village, by a predatory animal or thief. In this game the circle do not sing the story. That element has disappeared; the two actors repeat a dialogue referring to the stealing of the sheep from the " wall." This dialogue is short, and is disappearing. The game is not now understood, and consequently is dying out. " Booman," another of the same kind, represents a funeral. The grave is dug in action, Booman is carried to his grave, the dirge is sang over him, and flowers are pretended to be strewn over.
There are other circle games, which it is not needful to examine in detail. They are fragmentary, and do not present any fresh features of interest. It is, however, important to note that a few examples have evidently been derived from love ballads, drinking songs, and toasts; some of the dance games are of this origin. This may be explained by the fact that children, knowing the general form of marriage games, would naturally dance in circle form to any ballad verses in which marriage or love and courtship occurs, and in this manner the ballad would become apparently a fresh game, though it would only be putting new words to an old formula of action.
Dr. Jacob Jacobsen, in Dialect and Place Names of Shet­land, tells us that all the vissiks or ballads have been forgotten since 1750, or thereby. They were sung to a dance, in which men and women joined hands and formed a ring, moving forwards, and keeping time with their hands and feet. Mr. Newell (Games, p. 78), records that "Barbara Allen" was sung and danced in New England at children's parties at a period when dancing was forbidden to be taught in schools. 11 Auld Lang Syne " is a further instance.
It will easily be seen that the circle games have a distinctive VOL. II.                                 ■ •                                                   2 1

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