What Shall We Do Now? 101
until actually home the victim remains stone, so that if the rescuer is surprised by the witch and lets go her hold, the stone has to stand where she is left and is so recovered by the witch. The witch must not, of course, guard her prisoners too closely. She ought to try and intercept the rescuers on their way home, rather than spring upon them in the act of finding the stone. But each time the stone is recovered the witch may place her in a more inaccessible spot, so that it becomes more and more dangerous to release her. Sometimes at the end of the game all the children are turned to stone in different parts of the garden, but sometimes, of course, a swift runner will outstrip the witch and drag the victim safely home. A clever witch acts the part too—appearing and disappearing suddenly, prowling about in a crouching attitude, making gestures of hate and rage, and so on."
Another home-made game is described by E. H. thus :—" The game is taken from the player's favourite ballads. In our play the eldest of the four players, who was also the best organiser, represented the cruel father. The youngest little girl was the fair damsel. The other two represented the wicked lover and the faithful knight, the part of the faithful knight being taken by the fleetest of the party to balance the combination of the father and the wicked lover. The game begins by the fair damsel being imprisoned in the coach-house because she refuses to marry the wicked lover. (Of course any shed would do.) Here she waits until her knight comes to rescue her, and they escape together, pursued by the other two. If the lovers succeed in getting away the story has a happy ending ; but the more dramatic ending is the tragic one, when the faithful knight is overtaken, and after killing the cruel father and the wicked lover, himself dies of his wounds, the fair damsel slaying herself with his sword over his dead body.
" The interest of this game is greatly increased by having retainers. These are armies of sticks which are planted al
The ballad game.