[From Mannin #9,1917]

Folk-Lore Notes

(Continued from page 488)

Peel Street Games

Hammer, Block, and Bible

All the players placed their caps in a pile, one above the other, on the ground; they then joined hands in a ring with their caps in the centre. At a given signal they tugged and swayed in every direction, each trying to make one of the others knock the caps down, all the while endeavouring to avoid doing so himself. The first boy who knocked down the pile or touched it in any way had his choice of being the hammer, the block, or the bible. Usually he selected the bible; the game then proceeded in a similar manner until the hammer and the block were selected. The bible then stood with his back against a wall, the block placing his head against the bible's middle, the unfortunate hammer being seized bodily by the players and struck three times against the block's posterior.

Spanish Fly

A game in which one boy gave a back as in leap- frog, the other boys then leapt over him four times-- fore and aft and from each side---each calling out as he did so, spanish fly. The process was then repeated, varied by the cry 'tip on the bot, spanish fly,' suiting the action to the word. Then a cap was placed on his back, caps being added until they were knocked off, the boy knocking them down having to take his place under, when the game was repeated. If a boy omitted to call 'spanish fy' he was out.


There were two equal sides of any number, and each side had a large stone or slate, which was set up on end at a distance from the other of about eighteen yards. Then the members of the side which won the toss, each in turn lobbed a quoit stone and tried to knock down their opponents' duck; and, if it were knocked from its position, they ran backwards as far as possible, followed by their opponents. Each opponent on catching a runner had to carry him on his back till the knocked down duck was reached.

Hommer the Lett

This can scarcely be called a game. It was played with a soft rubber ball, each player scrambling for the ball and hitting the nearest boy to him.

Squatty Tig: Tig or tip without a den.


Pinn-realley, a holding peg, a stake (from pinn and frealley). This game was a trial of strength, very popular among boys and men. Two would sit facing each other on the ground, with the soles of their feet touching. With their hands placed alternately they held a thick stick, and each tried to pull the other up on to his feet. When one had been successful they changed hands and sides and tried again, so that each should have an equal chance. Sometimes both were successful at the same time, each being pulled to his feet by the other.

In Anglo-Manx Heisin is given to the boys' game of hoisting one another to their feet by tugging at each end of a stick or a piece of rope, and 'Le's see who can hen's,' or ' Who of us two can heis the bes' do you think,' may be heard to be said.,

The Salmon Leap

This game, which was really a considerable athletic feat, war played in the Arran Islands as well as in Mann. Synge thus describes it : 'One man, however, the champion dancer of the island, got up after a while and displayed the salmon leap-lying flat on his face, then springing up horizontally into the air.'

Mr. William Cashen (tailor) of Peel, remembers playing it as a youth, and says that he used to clap his hands once, when in the air, between each leap.*

Single Finger on the Block

I forget the proper name of this game. It was played with a standard. and a block. The standard and all the other players placed a single finger on the bent back of the block; the standard then started tapping with his finger, the others following and chanting the following jingle, suiting the actions to the words :-

'Single finger on the block, tommeree, tommerri, tom merra,
Double finger on the block, etc.; single fist, etc.,
Double fist, etc ; pins and needles, etc.

The latter was fists and elbows alternately. The game consisted of the standard, who was the leader, stopping suddenly. Any boy who went on with the jingle after the standard had stopped, became the block, the late block becoming the standard, and so the game went on.


This was a trick played upon a greenhorn rather than a game. He was unanimously appointed queen bee, and sat upon a low seat of some kind. The bees all clustered round him, making a humming noise, and at the command of the queen bee: 'Go gather honey, my faith- bees,' thew all flew away. In a short time they returned, and hummed round the queen as before. At the com- mand, `Deliver up your honey my faithful 3ses,' they squirted mouthfuls of water over the unfortunate dupe.

Fighting Etiquette

Before two boys fought, either to settle a quarrel or for the acquisition of honour, a challenge was usually given and accepted. There were various methods of challenging. The most popular was for the challenger to dare his opponent to give him the comys Llow, which was not necessarily a severe blow, a slight tap with the the fist being sufficient. The challenge being duly given and accepted, the fight began, and consisted of one round only, long or short, according to the mettle of the com- batants. Another method of challenging was for one opponent to dare the other to stroog his buttons, which was accepted by the challenged one's passing his hand lightly two or three times over the coat buttons of the chal- lenger. Another method was for one of the seconds or a bystander to hold out his fist at arm's length, one of the opponents resting his fist on it and daring the other to knock it off. I have never heard of any name being given to this particular form of challenge. It was con- sidered no disgrace to fight and be licked, but if a boy refused to fight after his challenge had been accepted, he was branded by his fellows as a coward for ever.


* These two notes were contributed by the late Miss S. Morrison.


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