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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/116

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of the group a second time, giving to each child one word of the doggerel. Having completed the verse or sentence, the child on whom the last word falls is said to be 'out' and steps aside.

"After the child thus counted out has withdrawn, the leader repeats the same doggerel with the same formalities, and, as before, the boy or the girl to whom the last word is alloted stands aside--is 'out'. The unmeaning doggerel is repeated again and again to a diminishing number of children, and the process of elimination is continued until only two of them remain. The leader then counts out once more, and the child not set free by the magic word is declared to be 'IT, and must take the objectionable part in the game.

"The word IT is always used in this technical sense, denoting the one bearing the disagreeable duty; no child questions its meaning, not have we learned of any substitute for this significant monosyllable. The declaration of a child, 'You are IT!' following the process of counting out, seems to carry with it the force of a military order, and is in many cases more promptly obeyed than a parent's command."