Saturday, May 19, 2012

Red Rover, Red Rover

(Library of Congress, 1909): "I Guess Games in Gardens Ain't so Awful Healthy for Somebody, said Yetta."
What's cool about kids' games is how ancient they are, even if modified somewhat from their original intent. My guess is that Red Rover was originally a wargame -- the players were armed with knives, spears and short swords, and winning or losing had higher stakes. Indeed, Red Rover is not unlike war itself, the primal kind when groups of men faced off until one side either slaughtered the other, a champion won symbolically, or one side submitted in some way after their champion lost. I believe it's older than the 1800s, although its latest name may date to then.

A game that goes back to plague days ("Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush," 1891 Library of Congress).

Today's Rune: Signals.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I never thought of red rover as a war game but it makes perfect sense!