Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/237

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THE HISTORY OF GAMES.

this means alone can he learn enough of the subject to be of value to him; by this means alone can he get the peculiar training which leads to that kind of mind known as the "scientific mind"—a something which is tangible and attainable, and which should be a characterizing feature of every medical man.

 
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THE HISTORY OF GAMES.
By EDWARD B. TYLOR, F. R. S.

BEFORE examining some groups of the higher orders of games, with the view of tracing their course in the world, it will be well to test by a few examples the principles on which we may reason as to their origin and migrations. An intelligent traveler among the Calmucks, noticing that they play a kind of chess resembling ours, would not for a moment entertain the idea of such an invention having been made more than once, but would feel satisfied that we and they and all chess-players must have had the game from one original source. In this example lies the gist of the ethnological argument from artificial games, that, when any such appears in two districts, it must have traveled from one to the other, or to both from a common center. Of course this argument does not apply to all games. Some are so simple and natural that, for all we can tell, they may often have sprung up of themselves, such as tossing a ball or wrestling; while children everywhere imitate in play the serious work of grown-up life, from spearing an enemy down to molding an earthen pot. The distinctly artificial sports we are concerned with here are marked by some peculiar trick or combination not so likely to have been hit upon twice. Not only complex games like chess and tennis, but even many childish sports, seem well-defined formations, of which the spread may be traced on the map much as the botanist traces his plants from their geographical centers. It may give us confidence in this way of looking at the subject if we put the opposite view to the test of history and geography to see where it fails. Travelers, observing the likeness of children's games in Europe and Asia, have sometimes explained it on this wise: that, the human mind being alike everywhere, the same games are naturally found in different lands, children taking to hockey, tops, stilts, kites, and so on, each at its proper season. But, if so, why is it that in outlying barbarous countries one hardly finds a game without finding also that there is a civilized nation within reach from whom it may have been learned? And, what is more, how is it that European children knew nothing till a few centuries ago of some of their now most popular sports? For instance, they had no battledoor and shuttlecock and never flew