Mudcat Café message #2131459 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #103866   Message #2131459
Posted By: Anne Lister
22-Aug-07 - 05:58 PM
Thread Name: Folklore: Tag (the game)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Tag (the game)
I had a nomadic childhood and had to adjust quickly to the various rules of the games played - and the "safe" word. In one area it was "fainite", in another "pax" and in yet another "cree". In all cases it was accompanied with crossed fingers. We moved from Bromley in South East London to Reading, then to Worcester and then to Cardiff (all the UK variety, for our US cousins!).

We played a version of British Bulldog, but it was far more sedate than the versions written down by others - in fact, these versions make it clear why it was banned in many playgrounds! Our version had the rhyme "Farmer, farmer, may I cross your golden meadow?". The Farmer would give permission for certain colours, so if you were wearing them you'd be fine, but if not you had to run across the space and avoid being caught. Anyone who was caught would join the Farmer and be ready to catch the next unfortunates.

We played Sticky Tag, and various Cat and Mouse games, as well as Pirates and the "Ship, Lifeboat, Deck" game mentioned by others ... which also had the command "sharks!" at which point you had to lie on your back with one leg in the air, or "Bombs", for which you had to lie on your stomach with your hands over your head. I still do this with children now ... great fun to have them rolling over and over on the floor ... maximum energy dispersal for minimum effort on my part!

At my secondary school (all girls) we had numerous ball games. The main one was called Donkey, and involved throwing a ball against the wall, letting it bounce and then doing various things - either ways to catch it (one handed, two handed etc) or jumping over it. I think there was a hierarchy of what actions to take but I can't remember now what the various actions were!

My favourite current game (which I was taught by some children in London) is called Witches, Fairies and Giants.   There are two teams, either end of a space. They have a time to confer (regulated by some kind of referee) and to decide if they will be Witches, Fairies or Giants. Witches have to move forward going "cackle, cackle, cackle", Fairies have to say "twinkle, twinkle" and Giants go "stomp, stomp".   The rule is that Witches catch Fairies, Giants catch Witches and Fairies catch Giants, so once it's clear what each team is doing it becomes a catch game, and prisoners become members of the capturing team.