fox and geese
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fox and geese n Also fox and goose
1 also fox: A board game in which markers represent geese and a fox or foxes; usu the fox can capture geese by jumping them, while the geese try to hem in the fox so it cannot move or jump. [OED 1633 →]1825 Neal Brother Jonathan 1.7 CT, Peters had beaten him . . first in argument . . ; then, at fox and geese; then, at morris; then, at checkers, or draughts. a1874 in 1949 PADS 11.32 cME, She beat me bad at fox and geese,/ But I beat her at morris. 1949 (1958) Stuart Thread 96 KY, We made our fox-and-goose boards and we played with white, yellow, and red grains of corn. 1954 Harder Coll. cwTN, Fox and geese. . . Table game played with corn grains and on a specially made board. 1965–70 DARE (Qu. DD37, . . Table games played . . by adults) Infs IL73, NY101, NC31, 54, PA63, VT16, WI26, WV7, Fox and geese; OK1, TN14, VA27, Fox and goose; AL32, Fox and geese—two fox and twenty geese. Try to hem the fox up. If the fox jumps the geese, he takes [them]; (Qu. EE38a) Inf IN19, Fox and geese; NC72, Fox and goose; VA24, Fox; (Qu. EE39) Inf NC72, Fox and goose; KY89, Fox and geese; KY40, Fox and goose—old-fashioned. Two foxes and twenty-two geese. Geese would try to trap foxes while foxes tried to get geese. Played with corn kernels. 1967 DARE FW Addit LA1, Fox and geese—played with grains of corn or buttons on a cardboard court. The fox chased the geese and the geese tried to hem the fox in. 1969 DARE Tape KY5, Fox an’ goose. . . Fox would be over here in this corner . . he could go anywhere he wanted to but the old goose, you’d have to move it a certain way all the time. 1980 Foxfire 6 285 nGA, Fox and Geese . . was usually played at the mill while people were waiting to have their corn ground. . . The miller was usually the fox and he was usually the winner because he got so much practice at it.
2 also fox and the geese, ~ goose, fox-and-goose ring, fox-the-goose: A tag game in which “foxes” chase “geese” in a wheel-shaped network of paths, usu marked out in deep snow. [Similar tag games, but without the marked paths, are called fox and geese in Engl dial] chiefly Nth, N Midl, Plains States, Rocky Mts See Map1846 Knickerbocker 27.279, Recollections of early school-days; . . fox-and-geese in the deep snow, ‘by the whole company.’ 1950 WELS (Games played in the snow) 34 Infs, WI, Fox and (the) geese; 8 Infs, Fox and (the) goose; [1 Inf, Fox chasing the goose]. [Only 9 of 52 Infs did not mention this game; 22 described it as in quot 1953.] 1953 Brewster Amer. Nonsinging Games 54 WI, Fox and Geese. . . The base and the paths . . are made by trampling down the snow. . . The center spot . . is the “hen house.” . . The “fox” tries to tag any “goose” who may try to stray from this safety zone. Both fox and geese must stay on the paths at all times. If the former succeeds in tagging a goose, the latter becomes a fox and must aid the captor. 1954 Harder Coll. cwTN, Fox and geese. 1965–70 DARE (Qu. EE26, . . Games . . children play in the snow) 286 Infs, chiefly Nth, N Midl, Plains States, Rocky Mts, Fox and geese; 15 Infs, scattered N Cent, West, Fox and goose; 8 Infs, 4 MO, Fox and the goose (or geese), CA136, Fox-and-goose ring; IL63, Fox-the-goose; (Qu. EE27, Games played on the ice) 14 Infs, scattered Nth, N Midl Fox and (the) geese; NJ1, Fox and goose; (Qu. EE2) Infs IA9, MA42, NY232, Fox and geese—played in snow; CO14, Fox and geese—a pie-shaped thing with alleys; (Qu. EE33) Inf NY52, Fox and geese—played in the snow. Tread a circle with spokes. The fox tried to catch somebody before they got back to the center hub; (Qu. EE1) Inf MI92, Fox and geese—winter game.
3 also the fox and the goose: A tag game in which the “geese” form a line and the “fox” tries to tag the hindmost “goose.”1885 Warner Wide World 315, There was a general call for “the fox and the goose.” . . [The fox’s] business was to catch the train of the goose, one by one, as each in turn became the hindmost; while her object was to baffle him and keep her family together, meeting him with outspread arms at every rush he made to seize one of her brood. 1909 (1923) Bancroft Games 92, Fox and geese. . . One player is chosen to be fox and another to be gander. The remaining players all stand in single file behind the gander, each with his hands on the shoulders of the one next in front. . . Only the last goose in the line may be tagged. . . A good deal of spirit may be added to the game by the following dialogue, which is sometimes used to open it: . . “Geese, geese, gannio!” . . “Fox, fox, fannio!” . . “How many geese have you today?” . . “More than you can catch and carry away.”
4 =fox in the morning 1.1952 Brown NC Folkl. 1.79, Three or four of the best runners challenge the crowd to a game of Fox and Geese. Bases are arranged and the challengers are foxes, while the rest of the players are geese. The foxes call from their base: “Goosey goosey gander!”/ Geese: Fox over yander./ Foxes: How many geese you got?/ Geese: More’n you can catch./ The geese all run out and the foxes chase them.
5 A children’s ring game, perh duck duck goose or a variant of it.1950 WELS (Games in which the players form a ring and either sing or recite a rhyme) 3 Infs, WI, Fox and geese; 1 Inf, Fox and goose. 1965–70 DARE (Qu. EE2, Games that have one extra player—when a signal is given, the players change places, and the extra one tries to get a place) 34 Infs, scattered, but esp Nth, N Midl, Fox and geese; (Qu. EE1, . . Games . . in which they form a ring, and either sing or recite a rhyme) Infs IA3, NJ6, PA71, Fox and geese; OH1, Fox and geese—like drop the handkerchief; WI47, Fox and geese—same game [as EE2]; WI70, Fox and geese—no rhyme or song. [Note: It is possible that some of these Infs are in fact referring to fox and geese 2 or some other game.]
6 A children’s game played in the water.1906 DN 3.136 nwAR, Fox and goose. . . A game played in the water. 1967–69 DARE (Qu. EE28, Games played in the water) Infs AL2, IL45, OH87, PA26, 104, Fox and geese; MO2, Fox and goose; CO21, Fox and geese—“it” [was] on bank, geese had to come out; CT5, Fox and geese—also played on dry land.
7 A children’s hiding game.1968–70 DARE (Qu. EE12, Games in which one captain hides his team and the other team tries to find it) Infs CA174, MD33, NJ48, PA134, Fox and geese [DARE Ed: Two Infs were doubtful about this resp.]; CT6, Fox and geese—one group of foxes tries to find group of geese; (Qu. EE13a, Games in which every player hides except one) Inf KY80, Fox and geese = hide-and-go-seek.