472 The Book of Indoor and Outdoor Games
swings it around the pole, aiming to knock down the ninepins. Each player is entitled to six chances. Sometimes sides are formed of an equal number of players, and the competition is the keener. The number in the game, and the counting as well, is determined by the players among themselves.
These games will be an excellent preparation for the Christmas dinner.
The subject of this feast has been considered in detail elsewhere, but at its close the following toast may be given:
"All joie and jollitie Wait on thy holiday; True love and friendlinesse Hallow thy happinesse!" Christmas Night
After dinner, the elders gather around the freshly replenished fire. Some may perhaps play round games of cards that usually had part in the old-time Christmas celebrations, while the children indulge in the dear old romping games that have contributed to the joy of childhood through so many generations.
Blindman's-buff is, of course, one of these—anciently called "hoodman blind," from the fact that at first the blindman wore the loose coat of the period, with a hood like a monk's cowl, which was drawn over the head far enough to cover the eyes.
Blindman's Wand may not be so familiar. Directions for playing it are given elsewhere. It comes to us from the Germans.
The children are usually soon joined in their games by the youths and maidens, and finally even the elders come under the spell of Christmas and frolic with the best.