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Mirth and Dancing
Peever Games

Peever is so peculiarly a Scottish game that the English call it Hopscotch. It is also sometimes known as Beds. But Peever is still the proper, as it is the old name. It is essentially a pavement game, as the lines between flagstones create natural "beds", and a hard smooth surface is best for the "scliffing" of the peever or pierre, which, along with a piece of chalk, is all the apparatus required. It can, however, be played in a large room or on hard earth, the beds on earth being scored in. The different sizes of paving stones may be utilised by players to create a stimulating unevenness which demands the utmost skill and judgment in hopping. But beginners or male players had better content themselves with regular beds. Those who regard the pastime as feminine-i.e. effeminate-had better try it first before expressing this opinion aloud. They will probably go back to its table variant, Shove-halfpenny, which is not only less strenuous but has the advantage over Peever in always being played to an accompaniment of beer.

The peever (pierre) is a roughly rounded flat disc of marble, stone or pipe-clay about 2 inches in diameter and I of an inch thick. A piece of tile will serve.


A diagram is marked out thus:

Order of play is decided by mutual agreement, fight or counting-out rhyme. Player A stands in space marked and "scliffs" the peever into Bed 1. If it does not come to rest in bed without touching a line, this is a "loss" and A retires until all the others have played. If peever lands fairly, A hops from Stand to 2 with one hop, from 2 to 3, then lands with one hop into 4 and 5, a foot in each; into 6 on one foot; 7 and 8, one foot in each; into 9 on one foot. Player turns round and comes down the row similarly.


A stops on one foot in Bed 2, picks up peever from Bed 1, hops into 1, thence into Stand. To fall, touch line with foot, land twice in one space, or indeed to infringe any rule of procedure constitutes a "loss" and retirement. If A has got through this ordeal successfully, he scliffs the peever into Bed 2, hops into I, over row 2 into 3, and then continues as before. After that he does his "Threesie Up", "Foursie Up", etc., to 9, which he does twice, then returns down the line - "Eightsie Down", etc. If he gets through these 18 rounds successfully he marks his initials on any space he chooses. This space must not be trespassed on by any player thereafter. It is definitely forbidden ground. A is rewarded for success by another turn. This time instead of hopping he jumps with both feet simultaneously. Of course, he has to do 4 and 5, 7 and 8 successively, instead of together as before. He does the "up and down" series. Note that there will be only 16 rounds this time, since a bed is initialled. He may be a "loss" at any time during this part of the game, but his initials remain; that is his point for the whole game. If he has succeeded in the jumping round, he has to walk the beds with eyes shut, taking one step and one step only to each bed and missing initialled beds. At 4 and 5 and at 7 and 8, he must come astride (unless one of these is initialled). This round finishes A, generally in both senses of the word. As soon as A has had a loss or gets three spaces initialled, B commences and acts exactly as A has done, except of course that he must avoid all initialled beds from the beginning. The game is finished when all the beds are initialled, and the winner is the player with most beds to his credit.


Draw the same diagram as for Game A. First player from Stand scliffs the peever into Bed 1, hops up to it on right foot, then with a tap with the side of the right foot knocks it into Bed 2. He approaches it again by hops (as many as he likes, but never landing on a line) and knocks it as before into Bed 3, then into 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9, 8, . . . 1, Stand. Thus "Onesy Right" is completed. Now begins "Onesy Left", which is the same programme, but hopping on the left foot and kicking with it. If he has not made a loss, he scliffs peever into Bed 2 and does his "Twosy Right", then "Twosy Left" and so on. If he gets right through his ordeal, finishing at "Ninesy Left", he has to go through the whole process once more, but allowing himself only one hop from bed to bed. This should kill him off; but, should he survive, he does the business once more with eyes shut and taking any number of hops to each bed but knocking the peever into the appropriate bed with one kick. It is unlikely that any player will finish the course. Next player begins, and whoever has gone furthest in the sequence is, of course, winner.


Discouraged or less ambitious players may use this diagram:


Another less ornate fashion of the game is played with this diagram:


Draw on the ground the following diagram:

Player A from the Stand scliffs the peever into the first bed, approaches it by one hop, kicks it with the side of the hopping-foot into second bed, approaches it by one hop again and knocks it into third bed, and so on till he reaches the centre. He then initials any one bed, and on his next round is entitled to rest as he pleases in that bed. This continues till he makes a "loss". Player B has to repeat A's performance, but he has to skip A's initialled beds, i.e. he must scliff the peever straight into the following bed and hop into it right over A's initialled bed. Game continues until every player in succession makes a loss. Player with most initialled beds wins.

This game may be played without a peever, players merely hopping.


Any game of "Peevers" may be transformed into a game of Ball Beds by substituting a ball for the peever. After the ball is picked up it must be bounced once and caught in each succeeding bed.


Bunnety is a severe Scots form of Leap Frog, for which caps are needed, and caps, these days, are not always forthcoming. The player who is "down" stoops in the usual way, and the others successively leap over him, placing their caps on his back as they go, each cap piled on the other. As the pile of caps grows, the placing becomes difficult. Whoever upsets the pile is "down". If all negotiate it successfully, they repeat the jump, touching the caps as they pass. If, as is unlikely, they succeed in this also, they have to leap the pile sideways, i.e. vaulting the cuddy from a side approach and thus having to spread the legs more widely. A whole team has rarely been known to survive this round, but should they do so, the next test is to leap from the side approach but without touching back or caps. Some boys can do this.


A player stands with his hands clasped behind his head, fingers interlocked. The others stand behind him. One of them hits him a smack on the hands with his open palm and he wheels round as quickly as he can and tries to spot the player who smacked him. This gives all the players an opportunity for acting. The one who is accused of the smack challenges his accuser by saying, "What have I to do?" The accuser orders any penalty (such as standing on his hands and smoking a cigarette through) he likes, but he does so in the knowledge that if he has not caught the right man he must himself undergo the punishment he prescribes. In addition to this he must go on in his original role till he catches somebody out, who takes his punishment and his place. Of course, instead of a smack, players can touch gently. Anything is allowed that aids deception and puts the standing member on the wrong tack.

[N.B.-The same game can be played with caps tied on to strings, the caps being used instead of hands for touching or walloping. It is then called Bu the Bear.]

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