Folk-Songs and Games with Descriptive Introduction, Notes, Sheeet music & Lyrics

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90                       The Play-Party in Indiana.
Any order in the singing of these stanzas may be taken. The skipper selects and quite as often invents the words to suit the occasion. This, of all the games, is the most indicative of. the country life and of the things which are considered comic. Any number of other stanzas are sung but these are the most common ones. This game illustrates well the processes of invention, selection and continuity of the communal composition theory of ballad origins. (C. J. Sharp, English Folk Song. Chap. Ill, Evolution.)
b. All stand around in a circle, boys at the left of their partners. One boy skips around, to the right inside the ring; he slyly takes the arm of one girl whose partner is not watching and skips on around the circle with her. Her partner then skips after them singing perhaps, "I'll get her back in spite of you." If he can catch the couple before they get back to her former position, he gets back his partner.65 If he does not overtake her, he must skip around the circle and continue as the former boy has done. Much of the singing is in character and each boy tries to get words that will suit the situation.
d. Variants. Wedgwood: Jour. Am. Folk-lore, vol. XXV, p. 270. The music is nearly the same, but has not so much exact repetition of phrase.
Mrs. Ames (Jour. Am. Folk-lore, vol. XXIV, p. 302) gives lines which are the same, but prints no game of this name.
Miss Hofer (Popular Folk Games, p. 12) gives a very similar song "Skip-to-ma-Lou, ma children dear," whose melody with the exception of the second phrase is identical with this. She speaks of it as being played in the southern states.
Mr. C. E. Perrow (Jour. Am. Folk-lore, vol. XXVI, p. 136) gives this interesting note, " 'Lou', a common term for 'sweet­heart' in eastern Tennessee."
65 The first must then continue his search for a partner, but this is unusual.
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