London Bridge is Falling Down

Nursery song and Children's Game, popular in Britain and North America.  The song tells how the bridge is falling down and must be mended; various materials are suggested and rejected, then a 'victim' is chosen at random as the two leaders bring their linked arms down around the one who is passing beneath their arch as the song finishes.  In early versions of the game the 'prisoner' had to pay a forfeit, and many scholars have proposed that the song recalls ancient sacrificial rituals of bridge-building -- a bridge was not believed to be secure until a death had been offered to it. 

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