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By Dan Beard

Fig. 15. 
Top Time in the City.  
A Game of Plug in the Ring on the Housetop

There is no doubt about it, boys are the most conservative people in the world.  Nations have been born, grown great, and died, leaving only moldering ruins to tell of their former grandeur, but when those nations were young, boys were whipping tops, and today boys are belaboring their tops with a lash of soiled rags with as much vigor and enthusiasm as if the latter were newly discovered toys.

In fact the boys are more enthusiastic than they would be over a new toy.  No game or toy is considered respectable unless its ancestry is lost in the murky atmosphere that covers the prehistoric past.  Ever since I can remember each season has brought forth some novelty in tops, but the whip-top and the peg-top still hold their own and the novelties are lost and forgotten.

In the house, an American boy will occasionally condescend to spin a musical top or a whistling or humming top to amuse his little sister, but he never thinks of taking such toys on the playground or in the street to spin before his comrades and school-fellows.

With all these facts before me I dare not propose a new style of top or suggest a new game, because both would go to the land of useless toys, a land grownup men spend time and labor to supply with toys which boys will not use and games which boys will not play.  I say a land for lack of a better name.  No one knows what becomes of all the wonderful inventions for boys that boys do not want, unless they go to a place where very bad boys go who are compelled to play these new-fangled games and spin these wonderful tops as a punishment for sins committed in this glorious world, where good boys have the old reliable peg-top and its even more ancient brother, the whip-top.







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Last modified: October 15, 2016.