Traditional Indoor And Outdoor Games - online book

An Illustrated Collection of 320+ Games & Entertainments For Kids of All Ages.

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December                                 469
It was always the largest log procurable, and all the youngsters had to have a hand in carrying it to the fireplace—by means of ropes about the middle and either end—which was made the more difficult in that the favourite joke was for each party to try to drop the end on his neighbour's toes.
Just before it was deposited on the hearth, as many as could find room stood upon it and sang a carol or Yule-song, joined in by every one present. It was then lighted, and every one threw upon it a bit of evergreen, at the same time expressing some wish for a blessing on the roof-tree—all of which we may easily follow. When the great log is ablaze, all other lights are ex­tinguished save the Christmas candles—three great wax tapers among them larger than the rest—their number in honour of the Trinity. They were anciently believed to keep away evil spirits, for, though on Christmas Eve no malicious spirit had permission to be abroad, superstitious faith required to be reinforced by every precaution. As all gathered around the ample hearth, the wassail bowl was often brewed—instead of at the Christmas board—by the head of the house. The etiquette of the occasion required that each contribute a song, story, legend, or recital of personal adventure, after having had a second recourse to the inspiration of the wassail bowl. Its contents are explained in a preceding chapter.
Stories that still enjoy a hearty old age were told at medieval firesides, but as midnight approached, when the children were safe in bed, dreaming of the joys of the morrow, the narration took the form of ghost stories. The spell of the supernatural was upon them on the ''holy night." At modern firesides, the custom still survives.
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