Posts Tagged ‘badger in the bag’

The Welsh national pastime

Friday, July 9th, 2010

I recently read The Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh legends from the 12th through 15th centuries recommended to me by Alexis, my favorite medievalist. The book's first tale includes a description of a game that was apparently quite popular at one time. In the story, a prince named Pwyll captures his enemy Gwawl in a magic bag:

As each of Pwyll's men entered, he struck the bag a blow and asked, 'What's in here?'

'A badger,' the others said.

This is how they played: each one would strike the bag a blow either with his foot or with a stick; and that is how they played with the bag. Each one as he entered would ask, 'So what game are you playing?' 'Badger in the Bag', the others would say. And that was the first time that Badger in the Bag was played.

The translator Sioned Davies's footnote doesn't elaborate too much on the rules, explaining it only as "a game which involves tying a man in a bag or sack, then beating and kicking him."

Badger in the Bag

I think we've found the perfect winter sport to play when my summer buck buck league is in its offseason.