Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/228

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

tion anything from “the oldest inhabitant” of a parish, who you have every reason to believe is the store-house of many a tale of superstition or witchcraft.

It may be that the greater facilities of communication that railways have now established between so many of the larger towns and the country districts have brought new and noisier games in the place of the simpler and old-world amusements of our grandparents’ days, for one hears it frequently said that “them gëames is a-dien out a’together,” and, in the words of a critical elder (as told by a correspondent), that “them childern, seemin’ to I, döan’t play nothen the gëames we user’t to do when I wer to schoöal!” I cannot help thinking, however, that the rapid spread of education and the institution of Board Schools in the country districts have much to do with this bashfulness and shyness on the part of the school children with regard to their games. They are beginning to think there is something almost to be ashamed of in their old-fashioned ways and sayings; and I verily believe that if it were not for the school-treats, where the restraint of personal supervision of the teachers is to a great extent relaxed or altogether removed, school children would soon be the last, instead of the first, to whom one should go for study and information on this interesting subject. I am told that in some parts of Germany, school-teachers (who are a-head of us in this as in most other things) are instructed to call upon the children in their classes to recount any stories of folk-tales which they may happen to know, and such tales when told, you may depend upon it, are carefully noted down and stored up for future tabulation. Could not some such system be brought to bear in our English country schools, whereby the games and pastimes of the young might be collected and preserved? If not taken out of their play-hours, I do not think the time covered by this inquiry would be grudged even by the children themselves. But, if this is to be done, it must be done quickly; it is more than probable that their children will have none to tell!

I have myself endeavoured to follow somewhat the principles of this plan, by obtaining the assistance of one or two ladies who have been in the habit of giving more or less of their time to visiting the