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Call and Response Games Red Lion

( Call and Response, Chase and Catch, Hunting, Physical Contest, Running, Strategy )

A place is marked out at one side or end of the ground called the den. In this stands one player who is called Red Lion. The other players choose one of their number as a chief who does not run but stands at one side and directs the movements of the others. The chief calls “Loose ” to the Red Lion. After hearing this signal the lion is free to run out whenever he chooses. The players venture near to the den taunting the lion with the lines —

“Red Lion Red Lion come out of your den
Whoever you catch will be one of your men.”

When the Red Lion thinks the players are sufficiently near to give him a good opportunity to catch one he makes a sudden sortie and catches any player that he can. The player is not his prisoner until the Lion has held him and repeated three times “Red Lion ” Both the Lion and his prisoner must hurry back to the den as all of the other players may turn upon them at once to drive them back with blows. This is generally restricted to hitting with caps. Thereafter when the Red Lion issues forth he must take the prisoner with him hand in hand both of them endeavoring together to catch one of the other players by putting their arms over his head.

The Red Lion and his man may not issue however from their den until the chief calls “Cow catcher ” or some other signal as explained below. As in the previous case when a prisoner is caught he and his captors hurry to the den to avoid the buffeting of the other players. Each time that the Red Lion goes forth all of his prisoners must go with him. The method in which they go however and in which they capture their prey will be determined by the signals of the chief. When he calls “Cow catcher ” they must all run out in a long string hand in hand and capture their prisoner by any two in the line slipping their clasped hands over his head. If the chief calls “Tight ” the Red Lion and his men go forth in the same way holding hands and try to capture a player by surrounding him and so take him to the den. Should the chief call “Doubles ” then the Red Lion and his men come forth two by two and try to capture their prisoners. The order in which these varied commands are given is entirely at the discretion of the chief.

At any time when the Red Lion and his men are out on the hunt any of the other players may try to break apart the clasped hands of the hunters. Whenever this is done the lions must rush back to their den being driven back and buffeted by the outside players. The game ends when all of the men have been captured by the Red Lions party. The last man to be caught is the winner and becomes Red Lion for the next game.

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