Monkey Tag




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By Dan Beard

Korungattam or Monkey Tag

"It" is a hunter who, we may suppose, wishes to supply some hand-organ men with monkeys. At any rate he is a monkey hunter, and all the other players are monkeys. There must be as many trees, stones, or bases of some kind as there are monkeys, and the boys to act their part must keep in constant motion, running from base to base as in the game of Pussy Wants a Corner, while the hunter uses his best endeavors to catch them between their bases.

The base, are supposed to represent the branches of trees and are called branches. No two monkeys can occupy the same branch, and if any monkey stands still for an instant and the hunter catches him while he is not moving, that monkey is "It." The monkeys endeavor by their constant chatter to disconcert the hunter and tantalize him with the oft-repeated rhyme of:

"Monkey, monkey, bottle of beer, You can't catch a monkey here!"

Korungattam is said to be the East Indian name for this game, which is played by the boys in India in the wide, spreading branches of some forest tree, each little Indian occupying a branch of the tree. Like the little animals they are supposed to represent, they jump from branch to branch while " It," the hunter, tries to catch them. A circle is drawn around the trunk of the tree and all the monkeys try to drop to the ground inside that circle. Any one putting a foot outside the ring is "dead," any one ceasing to move is dead, any one touched by the hunter while in the act of climbing or jumping from limb to limb is dead, and the game ceases when all are dead. The first monkey killed is " It," or the hunter for the next game.







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Last modified: October 15, 2016.