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Children's Rhymes. Children's Games, Children's Songs, Children's Stories
Children's Rhyme-Games - Here Comes a Poor Sailor from Botany Bay

"Here comes a poor sailor from Botany Bay." This is played as a preliminary game to decide who shall join, and which side they will take, in a coming tug-of-war. The chief delight derived is in putting and answering questions. Two principals, standing as rival chiefs, and acting together as catechists, begin the play; and all are warned before replying:---

You must say neither "Yes," "No." nor "Nay," "Black," "White," nor "Grey."

Then, as each child approaches, the formula proceeds:-

Here comes a poor sailor from Botany Bay
Pray, what are you going to give him to-day?
A pair of boots [may be the answer].
What colour are they?
Have you anything else to give him?
I think so.
What colour is it?
What is it made of?
And what colour?
Have you anything else to give him?
I don't think so.
Would you like a sweet?

Now he is trapped. He has given one of the fatal replies; and the child who answered "Yes" goes to a den. After all have gone through a similar form, the youngsters are divided into two classes—those who avoided answering in the prohibited terms, and the little culprits in the den, or prison, who hunt failed in the examination. The tug-of-war now begins, the one class being pitted against the other. No rope is used but arms are entwined round waists, or skirts, or coat tails are taken hold of  and the victors crow over the vanquished.

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