Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/238

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214
DORSETSHIRE CHILDREN’S GAMES, ETC.

ring and kiss each other. The pursuer then takes the place of the captive in the ring and goes round singing as before.

The game is repeated until all have had their turn or have had enough of it.

(ix.)—Cat after Mouse. Sometimes called Threading the Needle.

This game, which may he said to come under the same category as the last two, is played by children forming a ring, with their arms extended; one—the “mouse”—goes outside the circle and gently pulls the dress of one of the players, who thereupon becomes the “cat,” and is bound to follow wherever the mouse chooses to go—either in or out of the ring—until caught, when he or she takes the place formerly occupied in the ring by the “cat,” who in turn becomes “mouse,” and the game is recommenced.

(x.)—Green Gravel.

A party of boys and girls join hands and form a ring. A boy or girl stands in the middle and says or sings this verse:

“Green gravel, green gravel, the grass is so green,
 The fairest young lady that ever was seen;
 Ah! Mary, ah! Mary, your true love is dead;
 I send you a letter to turn round your head.”

As soon as the boy or girl has sung this verse, and called out the name of one of the ring, the one so called upon must turn his or her back to the inside of the circle, and, still holding hands as before, continue the game facing outwards; and so on until all have been called upon and have their backs to the centre, when the whole ring dances round in a chorus.

In some parts of Dorset the game is called “Silly Gravels,” and the girl is called upon as:

“Oh! Silly, oh! Silly, your true love is dead,[1]
 I send you a letter to turn round your head.”


  1. Conf. the Shropshire variant in Miss Burne’s book, p. 510. See also Folklore Record, vol. v. p. 84, for a Surrey one.