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                           505
game of the arch form, followed by the contest or tug-of-war. In this game two players, sometimes chosen by lot, clasp hands and form an arch. They have each a name, which is secret. One is called " Orange," the other is " Lemon." They sing the words of the game-rhyme, and the other players run under the arch in a long line or string. At the close of the verses which ends with the line, " Here comes a chopper to chop off your head," one of the string of players is caught and is asked which she prefers, orange or lemon. She chooses, and is told to stand behind that leader who took that name. This is repeated until all the players have been separately caught, have chosen their side, and are standing behind the respective leaders, holding on to each other by clasping each other's waists. A line is then drawn on the ground, and both sides pull; each endeavours to drag the other over the line. The tug is generally continued until one side falls to the ground. Now this is an undoubted contest, but I do not think the contest is quite of the same kind as the line game of con­test and fighting. The line form is one of invaders and invaded, and the fight is for territory. In this form it seems to me that the contest is more of a social contest, that is, between people of the same place, perhaps between parishes and wards of parishes, or burghers and apprentices (townspeople) on one side, and the followers of lords or barons (military power) on the other, or of two lords and barons. The leaders are chosen by lot. Each leader has a " cry " or " colour," which he calls out, and the other players run and place themselves under the banner they choose.
In my account of this game I draw particular attention to the following details:—The game indicates contest and a punishment, and although the sequence is not clear, as the execution precedes the contest, that is not of particular im­portance in view of the power of the old baronial lords to threaten and execute those of their following who did not join their armed retainers when required. All rhymes of this game deal with saints' names and with bell ringing. Now, the only places where it would be probable for bells to be associated with different saints' names in one area would be the old







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