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This apparently inconsequent reply of the French peasant, who, judging from the locality, may very well have belonged to the non-Aryan, dark, round-headed race of Central France, is very significant, and takes us back to an attitude of mind that is difficult for us to realise, but which is still exemplified by many living savage peoples.

I have myself seen,' at the beginning of the rainy season in Torres Straits, a dance performed by natives whose heads were enveloped in large masks, which consisted of imitations of a human face resting on a crocodile's head and surmounted by a large figure of a saw-fish. It was called the “Saw-fish Dance," and was designed to bring good luck in the approaching fishing season. I have also seen these natives in their dances represent the actions of ordinary life, but sometimes in a slightly conventionalised manner, such as planting yams, picking up pearl-shell from the bottom of the sea, stamping out a fire, etc.

It is now recognised by anthropologists that ceremonies which are performed in connection with agriculture, fishing, hunting, and the like, are mainly magical rites, or rather magical pantomimes. The conventional realism (if the phrase may be permitted) of these performances ensures the success of the undertaking, mainly by the supposed sympathy between the mimetic action and the real operation.

1 A. C. Haddon, “The Secular and Ceremonial Dances of Torres Straits," Internat. Arch. für Ethnogr., vi., 1893, p. 131.

CHAPTER XII

LONDON BRIDGE": FOUNDATION SACRIFICE

“L

ONDON BRIDGE is broken down,

London Bridge is broken down,
London Bridge is broken down,

My fair lady.

“Build it up with bricks and mortar,

Build it up with bricks and mortar,
Build it up with bricks and mortar,

My fair lady.

“Bricks and mortar will mould away, [repeat three times ]

My fair lady.

"Build it up with penny loaves, [repeat three times ]

My fair lady.
"Penny loaves will be stolen away, [repeat three times]

My fair lady.
"Build it up with gold and silver, [repeat three times]

My fair lady.
"Gold and silver will be stolen away, [repeat three times]

My fair lady.
"Send a man to watch all night, [repeat three times ]

My fair lady.

“Suppose the man should fall asleep; [repeat three times ]

My fair lady.
"Set a dog to bark all night, [repeat three times]

My fair lady.
“Give him nuts to crack all night, [repeat three times]

My fair lady
‘Suppose the nuts should all be bad, [repeat three times ]

My fair lady.
"Set a horse to gallop all night, [repeat three times]

My fair lady."

These are the words of a singing game, which I saw played by a group of girls at the village of Barrington, near Cambridge. Variants of this game occur all over the country; and in Ireland it is recorded from Belfast and Cork.

A few of these variants only can be noted, and these very shortly. In Belfast the rhyme begins:

“London Bridge is broken down,

Grant said little bee';
London Bridge is broken down,

Where I'd be."

A common London version runs thus:

“ London Bridge is broken down,

Dance o'er my lady lee ;
London Bridge is broken down,

With a gay lady.
“How shall we build it up again?

Dance o'er my lady lee;
1 Another informant gives the refrain, "Grand says the little Dee."

How shall we build it up again ?

With a gay lady.
Silver and gold will be stole away,

Etc., etc., etc.

“Build it up with iron and steel,

Etc., etc., etc.

“ Iron and steel will bend and bow,

Etc., etc., etc.

“Build it up with wood and clay,

Etc., etc., etc.
“Wood and clay will wash away,

Etc., etc., etc.
“Build it up with stone so strong,

Dance o'er my lady lee;
Huzza! 't will last for ages long,

With a gay lady."

In some versions the watchman is replaced by a prisoner; after the “ penny loaves " verse we find in Hampshire:

“What have this poor prisoner done,

Prisoner done, prisoner done,
What have this poor prisoner done,

My fair lady?
"Stole my watch, and lost my key,

Lost my key, lost my key,
Stole my watch, and lost my key,

My fair lady.
“Off to prison you must go,

You must go, you must go,
Off to prison you must go,

My fair lady."

In one Kent variant we find :

“What has this poor prisoner done ?

Stole my watch and broke my chain.
How many pounds will set him free

Three hundred pounds will set him free.
The half of that I have not got.

Then off to prison he must go." The game is variously played. It is now generally played like “ Oranges and Lemons," only there is now no " tugof-war" at the end. Often two children join hands to form an arch, the remainder form a long line by holding to each other's dresses or waists, and run under. Those who are running under sing the first verse; the two who form the arch sing the second and alternate verses. At the words, “ What has this poor prisoner done ?” the girls who form the arch catch one of the line (generally the last one). When the last verse is sung the prisoner is taken a little distance away, and the game begins again.

At Barrington the children formed two parallel advancing and retreating lines, and finished by all dancing round in a circle. The same occurs in Berkshire.

Mrs. Gomme in her Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and Ireland analyses this game in a masterly manner, and shows that “the special feature of the rhymes is that considerable difficulty occurs in the building of the bridge by ordinary means, but without exactly suggesting that extraordinary means are to be adopted.” The London version alone faithfully reflects an actual building episode. The game then diverges into two groups, that with a watchman and that with a prisoner.

The watchman incident approaches nearer to modern facts, and is therefore probably a comparatively recent modification, since the prisoner, as we shall see, is an unex

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