I HAVE SEEN CHILDREN PLAY many strange games, in many
strange parts of the world. The strangest of all, I think was the one I watched played in
a small field beside a little church on Lytchett Heath near Poole, Dorset, in the south of
England. It was the private church of the Rockley Family (called, I think, St. Adhelm's)
where Lord Rockley's family had been buried for hundreds of years. I stood at the Keening
(or Lych) Gate and watched the children at play.
There were about eight children, both boys and girls; they
stood in a single file with sticks between their legs. Each child held the stick of the
child in front with their right hand and the stick of the child behind with their left.
The biggest girl was in the lead and the biggest boy on the end. They moved around in a
big circle that had four stones at the four points of the compass, starting at the west
stone and moving to the south. When they came to the north stone, they moved out of the
circle and made a snake pattern all over the field. They then came back into the circle,
went twice around, and stopped in the centre in a line, with the big girl standing on the
west and big boy on the east.