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Children's Rhymes. Children's Games, Children's Songs, Children's Stories
Children's Rhyme-Games - Blind Man's Buff

Blind Man's Buff, though not a rhyme-game, is yet so well known it is worth mentioning for the mere purpose of telling its story. Like many more such—if we only knew how—it is based on fact. It is of French origin, and of very great antiquity, having been introduced into Britain in the train of the Roman conquerors. Its French name, "Colin Maillard," was that of a brave warrior, the memory of whose exploits still lives in the chronicles of the Middle Ages.

In the year 999) Liege reckoned among its valiant chiefs one Jean Colin. He acquired the name Maillard from his chosen weapon being a mallet, wherewith in battle he used literally to crush his opponents.

In one of the feuds which were of perpetual recurrence in those times, he encountered the Count de Lourain in a pitched battle, and—so runs the story—in the first onset Colin Maillard lost both his eyes.

He ordered his esquire to take him into the thickest of the fight, and, furiously brandishing his mallet, did such fearful execution that victory soon declared itself for him.

When Robert of France heard of these feats of arms, he lavished favour and Honours upon Colin, and so great was the fame of the exploit that it was commemorated in the pantomimic representations that formed part of the rude dramatic performances of the age. By degrees the children learned to act it for themselves, and it took the form of a familiar sport.

The blindfold pursuer, as with bandaged eyes and extended hands he gropes for a victim to pounce upon, seems in some degree to repeat the action of Colin Maillard, the tradition of which is also traceable in the manse, "Blind man's buff."

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