They cast the BlacK Bullets as they sailed on the water;
The black bullet fell on the undutiful daughter.
Now who in the ship must go over the side, O!
O none save the maiden, the fair captain's bride O!
So the undutiful daughter is thrown overboard.
Tylor, in his Primitive Culture, holds that things held of highest importance and greatest weight by men in a savage state become the playthings of children in a period of civilisation; thus the bow and arrow, once the only means men had of obtaining food in the chase, and a main means of defence and assault in war, have become toys in the hands of civilised children at the present day. Adopting this theory, we may see how that methods of determining life or death in ancient times may now have degenerated into children's games.
The casting of lots was used by savage tribes as a means of selecting from a company of slaves or prisoners the unhappy individual who was to be offered in sacrifice; and one form of selection was by counting-out rhymes.
In an essay on Wandering Words, Mr T.W. Sandrey says: "The talismanic words uttered by children in their innocent games have come down to us very nearly as perfect as when spoken by the ancient Briton, but with an opposite and widely different meaning.