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LADY OF THE LAND

LADY OF THE LAND

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Written by Hunter   
Monday, 17 November 2008 00:21

4 to 10 players.

Indoors; out of doors.

This is one of the old dramatic games in which various parts are enacted by the different players.

One player takes the part of a lady and stands alone on one side. Another represents a mother, and the balance are children, from two to eight in number, whom the mother takes by the hand on either side of her, and approaches the lady, repeating the following verse; the children may join with her in this if desired:—

"Here comes a widow from Sandalam,
With all her children at her hand;
The one can bake, the other can brew
The other can make a lily-white shoe;
Another can sit by the fire and spin;
So pray take one of my daughters in."

The lady then chooses one of the children, saying:—

"The fairest one that I can see
Is pretty [Mary]; come to me."

Mother:—

"I leave my daughter safe and sound,
And in her pocket a thousand pound.
Don't let her ramble; don't let her trot;
Don't let her carry the mustard pot."

The mother then retires with the other children, leaving the daughter chosen with the lady. This daughter sits down behind or beside the lady. As the mother retires, the lady says, under her breath, so that the mother may not hear:—

"She shall ramble, she shall trot;
She shall carry the mustard pot."

This entire play is repeated until all of the children have been chosen and left with the lady. The mother then retires alone, and after an interval in which several days are supposed to have elapsed, calls to see her children. The lady tells her she cannot see them. The mother insists, and the lady finally takes her to where they are sitting.

The mother goes to one child and asks how the lady has treated her. The child answers, "She cut off my curls and made a curl pie and never gave me a bit of it!" The mother asks the next child, who says she cut off her ear or fingers, etc., and made a pie, not giving her a bit of it. When all have told the mother what the lady has done to them, they all rise up and chase the lady; when captured, she is led off to prison.

This is one of the oldest traditional dramatic games, and is found in some form in almost all countries. Sometimes the mother is supposed to be poor, and bestows her children upon the wealthy lady of the land for adoption. It is thought possibly to have come from the country practice in European countries of hiring servants at fairs.

 
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