Red Ogre




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By Dan Beard

ohb259.gif (4741 bytes)
Fig. 259.
Red Ogre.

The ogre appears in various forms in a majority of the children's games, more frequently, perhaps, in the girls' and small children's play than in that of the boys ; but even in the boys' sport he is to be found.

It may be that he likes girls and little children best because they are more tender, and avoids boys because they are tough. Probably it was this same ogre, "Old Raw-bones," who invented these lines :

"What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and everything nice. That's what little girls are made of! What are little boys made of? Snaps and snails and puppy dogs' tails. That's what little boys are made of!"

If he did I trust he is happy, because these silly lines have made more small boys indignant than any others that I can recall. But, on the whole, one is led to believe that Old Rawbones's ugly face is only a mask that hides a laughing countenance, and that his bloody talk is only a make-believe to disguise his jovial disposition. Otherwise, why should be take part in so many games, and always be found on the playground and in the best storybooks?

When the boys have decided who is to be Ogre, the lather hides around the corner, and in his deepest voice growls out these gory line,:

I'm the great Ogre Red! I will eat you when you're dead! I must be fed! Your bones are my bread. Come, come, and be bled!"

The other players, to show how little they fear the Red Ogre, rush by the corner shouting challenges to the monster, who darts out and usually manages to catch one or more of the players. These captives then help him catch their playmates in the following manner:

The players who escaped the Ogre's first rush, retreat to their starting-point. The captives then clasp hands and shout together:

"We are the great Ogre, Red! We'll eat you when you're dead! We must be fed! Your bones are our bread. Come, come, and be bled!

Again the players rush by the corner, while the Red Ogres try to intercept them, as they string across the street with joined hands, and thus the game goes on until all are caught'

In Brooklyn the boys call this game Red Robin, but the rules are the same, and the same game possibly has twenty names in various parts of the United States.







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Last modified: October 15, 2016.