Introductory Note.--This was a favorite game among the natives of the

Northeastern States; its "strange whimsies" were first mentioned by William

Wood in his book, "New England Prospect," published in London, 1634. It is

probable that some form of this game still persists among the scattered

descendants of those nearly extinct tribes, but it is not likely that at

the present day the victor would proclaim his prowess, as was formerly

done, by wearing in the holes of his ears the counters that marked the

number of his successful guesses.

_Properties_.--A number of wheat or other straws cut about a foot long; a

mat or blanket; a pointed staff for the Leader.

_Directions_.--Ten straws must be laid aside as counters for each player.

The rest of the straws are separated into tens and each ten tied with a

wisp, making a bundle; one bundle must have eleven straws. There should be

as many bundles as players. The bundles must all be tied alike. The game

consists in guessing which bundle has the eleven straws. The number of

guesses allowed in a game must be fixed upon before starting to play.

All the bundles are thrown in a heap upon the center of the mat. The

Leader, who is generally chosen by lot, leads the players to the mat

containing the bundles. Each player holds in his left hand his ten counters

and follows the Leader with his staff as he moves around the mat from left

to right, while all sing the following song, taking steps to the rhythm of

the music:


When the Leader strikes his staff on the ground every player must stop just

where he happens to be, stoop and pick up a bundle with his right hand and

begin to wave it above his head and sway his body to the time of the song.

When the Leader points with his staff to a player, that person must make a

guess. As he scans the waving bundles he points with his left hand that

holds his counters to the bundle which he thinks contains the eleven

straws. If the guess proves to be correct, the guesser puts one of his

counters in his hair or behind his ear. At once all bundles must be thrown

in a heap on the mat. The Leader then moves forward by the left, followed

by the players, every one singing and keeping time with the song. When the

Leader strikes the ground with his staff, all halt. Each player immediately

seizes a bundle, holds it aloft and begins to wave it. The Leader

designates with his staff a person who must guess. If the guess is wrong,

the guesser drops one of his counters on the mat and the Leader points to

another player who must guess. If he loses, he drops one of his counters on

the mat; the guessing goes on as described, until some one is successful

and puts a counter in his hair, when the bundles are all thrown on the mat

and the play begins again as before. Should the person designated by the

Leader to guess think that he holds the bundle with eleven straws, he must

point it at the Leader. If this surmise is correct, the person guessing

puts a counter in his hair and all bundles are again thrown on the mat.

In this way the game proceeds until some player has won the requisite

number of counters and has them all standing in his hair. Throughout the

game the singing must be kept up, accompanied by rhythmic movements of the

feet and the body, the players acting as though searching among the tall

grass for a desired clump. When a point is won, the Leader should shout out

the counter won, without interrupting the song or the play. Among the

Indians the game, once started, is kept going without halt or break in the

song or the movements. The calling out of the winnings in no way disturbs

the singing or the playing.

The victor should wear his successful counters in his hair the rest of the

day, if possible.

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