11 September 2007

The Chatt'ring Magpie

My father-in-law has a fondness for antiquarian books, especially ones aimed at children. The other day, he emailed me about a book with a magpie in the title:

In 1817, John Marshall, a London publisher, put out "The Hopping, Prating, Chatt'ring Magpie – A game of Questions and Commands for Children." It is described in a recent bookseller's catalogue as being a "round robin memory counting game that ends with inflicting punishment on the loser."

It lacks, most likely, the whip that was polybagged with the original edition.

The only thing is, there weren’t any plastic bags in 1817. Maybe the whip was sold separately? Seriously though, what’s with a game that inflicts punishment on the loser? Isn’t losing enough?

8 comments:

niobe said...

Somehow it doesn't sound like a game I'd like to play.

slouching mom said...

Hahahahahah! A whip. Or perhaps a rod.

painted maypole said...

I recently got a google search for "what it means to hear the cry of 20 magpies" show up at my blog. Maybe you did, too? I thought of you, of course. :) What does it mean, anyways?

Aliki2006 said...

Punishment on the loser? Good grief...

Oh, The Joys said...

Yeouch! Serious stuff!

Mad Hatter said...

Ah yes, the great of children's books when it was all about "teach" and not at all about "delight." Unless you're into S&M.

NotSoSage said...

That's just dark.

Furrow said...

Okay, so I'll agree that inflicting punishment on the loser of a game is bad form, but whatever happened to celebrating the winner? It sounds like schools don't do that anymore, either. Doesn't everyone just get the same old lame participation ribbons these days?

Don't mind me -- I'm the reincarnation of an evil 19th century school marm.