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                           501
those ending with a contest between two leaders. Of this first' form there are several examples. "London Bridge" (i. pp. 333-50) is possibly the most interesting. Two players form the arch, all the others follow in single file. The words of the story are sung while all the players run under or through the arch. The players are all caught in turn in the arch, and then stand aside; their part is finished. In some cases the game begins by all forming a circle, and the verses are sung while the circle dances round. The arch is then formed, and all run through it in single file, and are caught in turn by being imprisoned between the lowered arms. Also, we find the circle-dancing following the arch ceremony. In my account of this game (vol. i. pp. 341-50), I have drawn attention to the incident of a prisoner being taken as indicative of the wide­spread custom known as the foundation sacrifice, because of the suggested difficulty of getting the bridge to stand when the prisoner is taken. I have given a few instances of the custom, and the tradition that the stones of London Bridge were bespattered with the blood of little children, and that the mortar was tempered with the blood of beasts. In stories where a victim is offered as a foundation-sacrifice, the victim, often a prisoner, is sometimes forced to enter a hole or cavity left on purpose in the building, which is then walled or built up, enclosing the victim. In some, recourse to lottery is had; in others, as at Siam, mentioned by Tylor (Primitive Culture, i. gy), it was customary, when a new city gate was being-erected, for a number of officers to lie in wait and seize the first four or eight persons who happened to pass by, and who were then buried alive under the gate-posts. After these customs of human sacrifice had ceased to be enforced, animals were slaughtered instead; and later still the ceremony would be performed, as a ceremony, by the incident being gone through, the person or animal seized upon being allowed to escape the extreme penalty by paying a money or other forfeit; and it may be this later stage which is represented in the game. The dancing in circle form, which belongs, I think, to the original method of play, shows us a ceremony in which people of one place are concerned, and would supersede an older line

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