Three Hundred Games & Pastimes - complete online book

A Book Of Suggestions For Children's Games And Employments.

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102
What Shall We Do Now?
Counting-out rhymes.
particular corners. There must be some mark by which your own retainers can be distinguished from the enemy's. For instance, the faithful knight may have peeled sticks and the others unpeeled. If, when charging round the house, you come across a troop of the enemy's retainers, you cannot go on until you have thrown them all down, as they are set to guard the pass. So, if the lovers are escaping and they find their way blocked by the father's retainers (the father and the wicked lover may have separate sets of retainers, in which case the war is always bitterest between the two rivals, as the father's retainers are sometimes spared for the damsel's sake), they have to lose time by first overcoming the retainers and that gives time to their pursuers to come up. But if they are so far in advance that they can stop to set up their own retainers in the place of the enemy, it serves to give them further time to make good their escape, as the others have to wait to overthrow the knight's sticks in their turn. In no case are you allowed to take away your enemy's sticks. If the lovers are overtaken, the rivals have to fight, and meanwhile the father once more carries off and imprisons the damsel."
To decide who is to begin a game there are various counting-out rhymes. All the players stand in a circle, surrounding the one who counts. At each pause in the rhyme (which occurs wherever a stroke has been placed in the versions which follow) this one touches the players in turn until the end is reached. The player to whom the last number comes is to begin. This is one rhyme :
Een-a, | deen-a, | dine-a, | dust, |
Cat'll-a, | ween-a, | wine-a, | wust, |
Spin, | spon, | must I be | done, |
Twiddlum, | twaddlum, | twenty-one. |
O- | U- | T | spells | out. |
Others :
Intery, | mintery, | cutery | corn, | Apple | seed | and | apple | thorn ; |
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