784.—Horse Beating a Tabor.details

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784.—Horse Beating a Tabor.

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In Olde England (the Anglo-Norman period of about a thousand years ago) the horses used to play drums, especally at Christmas and other holidays. Or when marching to war: the text explains that the horse is beating a war-tattoo.

Excellent schoolmasters they must have been, whose pupils were in the regular habit of bringing a fighting-cock on the Tuesday of Shrovetide to school, which was turned into a pit for their amusement, And a suitable preparative this was for such manly sports as that of horse-baiting (Fig. 788). There might be less inhumanity, perhaps (though the process of teaching was barbarous enough, no doubt), in the curious feats animals were taught to perform, as that of bear-playing (Fig. 793), and horses beating a war point on a tabor (Figs. 784, 786). But, happily, we have traces that the Norman-English delighted sometimes in sports more innocent: we can fancy them sitting absorbed in the intellectual game of chess (Figs. 798, 800), or enjoying the fresh air, the green grass, the summer sun on the bowling-green (Fig. 794), or bursting with obstreperous laughter by the rustic fireside at the game of bob-apple (Fig. 787). (p. 215)

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