the ordinary game of ''Tag," or impugn one's own, but there are varieties of the game less known, and their origin is interesting.
The original form of the game seems to have been "Iron-Tag" or "Tag on Iron." In the game, the pursued party was safe whenever touching iron in any shape, as the ring of a post, a horseshoe, grille, or fence. This reveals its original meaning.
As in other old-time games of chase, the pursuer represents an evil spirit, from whose attack, according to ancient superstition, iron was a protection. There are many forms of the game.
In Cross Tag, the pursuer must follow whoever comes between him and the pursued.
In Squat Tag, the fugitive is safe while in that position.
Tag and Flag.—The players are divided into sides, each of which chooses a captain. A chalk-line is marked between the antagonists, and twenty feet on either side of it a flag is planted in the ground.
Each group tries to defend the flag of its allegiance, while skirmishers go out from each party to try to seize that of the enemy's. The leaders only may prevent this by "tagging" any one who comes near—who if thus caught must drop out of the game.
If the pursuit can be eluded by dodging, and another of the opponent's side perhaps engage the attention of the Captain, and lead him by stratagem far afield, leaving the flag unguarded, the opportunity comes of seizing the colours and bearing them off in triumph.
The conquered then become prisoners to the victors, and after walking in their train once around the field, while the captured flag is borne proudly aloft at the head of the procession, the flag is restored and the battle renewed.