Basket Ball
A game of ball which may be played either indoors or out, but...

Ducks' Eggs
Ducks' eggs, which are rather larger than hens' eggs, and pal...

Good Seaside Friends
So many interesting things are to be seen at the seaside that...

A Hallowe'en party is probably the only gathering where the...

I Sell My Bat I Sell My Ball
A ring is formed with one child in the middle, who is called ...

Wall Pockets
If your garden is very small, but is against a sunny wall, th...

Afternoon Tea
The tea-tray is brought in by one of the children and placed ...

Hide The Clock
This is a good quiet game for the schoolroom. A loud ticking ...


Source: Indian Games
Category: Hazard Games

INTRODUCTION.--All the games here presented have been played in our land
for untold generations, while traces of the articles used for them have
been found in the oldest remains on this continent. According to Dr.
Stewart Culin, the well-known authority on Indian and other games, "There
is no evidence that these games were imported into America at any time
either before or after the conquest. On the other hand they appear to be
the direct and natural outgrowth of aboriginal institutions in America."
Dr. Culin calls attention to the reference to games in the myths of the
various tribes. Among those of the Pueblo people mention is made of the
divine Twins who live in the east and the west, rule the day and the night,

the Summer and the Winter, "Always contending they are the original patrons
of play and their games are the games now played by men." (Bureau of
American Ethnology, Vol. 24, p. 32.) It would lead too far afield to follow
the interesting relation between ceremonials and games, a relation that is
not peculiar to the culture found on the American Continent but which
obtains the world around. The environment of man in general outline is much
the same everywhere; the sun ever rises in the east and sets in the west;
day and night always follow each other; the winds play gently or rend with
force; the rains descend in showers or fall in floods; flowers and trees
spring up, come to maturity and then die. Therefore, when man has
questioned Nature as to the why and the wherefore of life, similar answers
have come from all parts of the earth; so it happens that man's games,
which often sportively reflect his serious thoughts, show a strange

Indian games that depend upon chance, according to Dr. Culin, may be
divided "into those in which the hazard depends upon the random fall of
certain implements employed, like dice, and those in which it depends upon
the guess or choice of the player; one is objective, the other subjective."
Games of the first or objective class are generally played in silence,
while those of the second or subjective class, called guessing games, are
accompanied by singing. (Ibid., p. 44.)

In a game where the two sides contest, as in a ball game, the sides were
frequently played by two different tribes or by two villages in the same
tribe. In such cases the players often went through a course of training in
order to prepare them for the contest. Bathing, exercise and diet had to be
followed according to prescribed custom. Among the Cherokee the partaking
of rabbit was forbidden, because the animal is "timid, easily alarmed and
liable to lose its wits"; so if the player ate of this dish, he might
become infected with like characteristics. Mystic rites were sometimes
performed to prepare the player so that he would be successful. (Ibid.,
p. 575.)

According to the Indian belief, the pleasure of games was not restricted to
mankind but was enjoyed by birds and animals. The following story from the
Cherokee is told by Mr. James Mooney and quoted by Dr. Culin (Ibid., pp.
578, 579):

"The animals once challenged the birds to a great ball play. The wager was
accepted, the preliminaries were arranged, and at last the contestants
assembled at the appointed spot--the animals on the ground, while the birds
took position in the tree-tops to await the throwing up of the ball. On the
side of the animals were the bear, whose ponderous weight bore down all
opposition; the deer, who excelled all others in running; and the terrapin,
who was invulnerable to the stoutest blows. On the side of the birds were
the eagle, the hawk and the great Tlaniwa--all noted for their
swiftness and power of flight. While the latter were preening their
feathers and watching every motion of their adversaries below, they noticed
two small creatures, hardly larger than mice, climbing up the tree on which
was perched the leader of the birds. Finally they reached the top and
humbly asked the captain to be allowed to join in the game. The captain
looked at them a moment, and, seeing that they were four-footed, asked them
why they did not go to the animals where they properly belonged. The little
things explained that they had done so, but had been laughed at and
rejected on account of their diminutive size. On hearing their story the
bird captain was disposed to take pity on them, but there was one serious
difficulty in the way--how could they join the birds when they had no
wings? The eagle, the hawk and the rest now crowded around, and after some
discussion it was decided to try and make wings for the little fellows. But
how to do it! All at once, by a happy inspiration, one bethought himself of
the drum which was to be used in the dance. The head was made of ground-hog
leather, and perhaps a corner could be cut off and utilized for wings. No
sooner suggested than done. Two pieces of leather taken from the drumhead
were cut into shape and attached to the legs of one of the small animals,
and thus originated the bat. The ball was now tossed up and the bat was
told to catch it, and his expertness in dodging and circling about, keeping
the ball constantly in motion and never allowing it to fall to the ground,
soon convinced the birds that they had gained a most valuable ally. They
next turned their attention to the other little creature; and now behold a
worse difficulty! All their leather had been used in making wings for the
bat and there was no time to send for more. In this dilemma it was
suggested that perhaps wings might be made by stretching out the skin of
the animal itself. So two large birds seized him from opposite sides with
their strong bills, and by tugging and pulling at his fur for several
minutes succeeded in stretching the skin between the fore and hind feet
until at last the thing was done, and there was the flying squirrel. Then
the bird captain, to try him, threw up the ball, when the flying squirrel,
with a graceful bound, sprang off the limb and, catching it in his teeth,
carried it through the air to another tree-top a hundred feet away.

"When all was ready the game began, but at the very outset the flying
squirrel caught the ball and carried it up a tree, then threw it to the
birds, who kept it in the air for some time, when it dropped; but just
before it reached the ground the bat seized it, and by his dodging and
doubling kept it out of the way of even the swiftest of the animals until
he finally threw it in at the goal, and thus won the victory for the


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