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.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes



Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
CHILDREN'S GAMES                           503
entrances to fortified towns were called needle's" eyes, which were difficult to enter. But notwithstanding these apparent identifications with the conditions of a fortified town, I think the practice of going through the arch in this and in the previous game relates to the custom which prevailed at festivals held during certain seasons of the year, when people crept through holed stones or other orifices to propitiate a presiding deity, in order to obtain some particular favour. This would be done by a number of people on the same occasion, and would terminate by a dance round the church or other spot associated with sacred or religious character. " Long Duck " is another probably almost forgotten version of this game.
"Draw a Pail of Water" (vol. i. pp. 100-108), though not quite in accord with the arch form in its present state, is cer­tainly one of the same group. This game I consider to be a descendant of the custom of "well worship." In its present form it is generally played by children creeping under the arms of two or four others, who clasp hands and sway backwards and forwards with the other children enclosed in them. The swaying movement represents, I believe, the drawing of water from the well. The incidents of the game are :—
(1)  Drawing water from a well.
(2)   For a devotee at a well.
(3)  Collecting flowers for dressing the well.
(4)   Making a cake for presentation.
(5)  Gifts to the well [a gold ring, silver pin, and probably a garter].
(6)   Command of silence.
(7)  The presence of devotee at the sacred bush.
(8)  The reverential attitude (indicated' by the bowing and falling on the ground).
I can now add another incident, that of the devotee creeping through a sacred bush or tree (signified by the creeping under or getting enclosed within the arms of the leaders). These are all incidents of primitive well worship.
I have from many different versions pieced together the lines as they might appear in earlier versions (i. p. 107).







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III