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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waist-belt, the third to mid-thigh. Then Thorstein went under the first. Then said Berg: ' Now I make thee stoop like a swine, who wast the loftiest of the Vatnsdale men.' Thorstein answers, 1 That hadst thou no need to say, but this will be the first return for those words, that I will not go under any more.' Finnbogi said, 'That is clearly not well said, but then not much comes in repayment for Berg's wrong, that he gat from Jokull, if the matter shall here come to a standstill, and everything seems to you lowly by the side of you Vatnsdale men, and I will challenge thee, Thorstein, to holm-gang a week hence by the stackyard which stands on the island down before my farm at Borg.' "— Vatnsdcela Saga, ch. xxxiii.
These significant customs, I think, bear out my theory as to the origin of the games played in the two methods of the arch form.
Lastly, I come to the " winding up " games. " Eller Tree " (i. p. 119) and "Wind up the Bush Faggot" (ii. pp. 384-387), show a game in which a tree or bush is represented, and is pro­bably indicative of tree worship. The tallest player represents the tree, and all the other players walk round and round in line form, getting closer and closer each time, until all are wound round the centre player. They call out when winding round "The old tree gets thicker and thicker," and then jump all together, calling out " A bunch of rags," and try and tread on each other's toes. This last action is evidently performed from not understanding the action of stamping, ■ which is, without doubt, the object of the players. It is probable that this game descends from the custom of encircling the tree (Mr. Addy suggests the alder-tree) as an act of worship, and the allusion to the " rags " bears at least a curious relationship to hanging rags on sacred trees. A ceremonial of this kind would probably take place each spring, and the stamping on the ground would be, as in " Oats and Beans and Barley," a part of the ceremony to awake and arouse the earth spirit to the necessity of his care for the trees under his charge. The connection of all the players, by means of the clasped hands, with the central figure or tree, may also be considered a means of communicating life and action to it; the tree requiring contact with living and moving creatures to enable it to put forth

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