"Oats and Beans and
Barley," a simple but pretty game, is played all over England, as well
as in most parts of Scotland, with varying rhymes. In Perthshire the
Oats and beans and barley
Oats and beans and barley grows;
But you nor I nor nobody knows
How oats and beans and barley grows.
First the farmer sows his seeds,
Then he stands and takes his ease
Stamps his feet, and claps his hands,
Then turns around to view his lands.
Waiting for a partner,
Waiting for a partner;
Open the ring and take one in.
And kiss her in the centre.
The players form a ring
by joining hands. One child, usually a boy—stands in the middle. The
ring moving round, sing the first four lines. These completed, the ring
stands, and still singing, each player gives suitable action to the
succeeding words; showing how the "farmer sows his seeds," and how he
"stands and takes his ease," etc. At the tenth line all wheel round.
They then re-join hands, still singing, and at the words, "Open the ring
and take one in," the child in the middle chooses from the ring a
partner (a girl, of course). whom he leads to the centre and kisses as
requested. The two stand there together, while the ring, moving again,
sing the marriage formula:-
Now your married, you must
Must be true to all you say;
You must be kind, you must be good,
And help your wife to chop the wood.