Game: Mumblety-peg
(Detail from Brueghel's Painting)


One critic has said that …this game is …dangerous …and should be played only by older lads!

Any game played with a weapon is dangerous - but neverthless, people have continued to play "knife" games along with other weapon games down through the centuries. There are a number of "knife" games that children play today.

The game in Brueghel's painting is not as popular today as it once was - and with good reason.

How The Game Is Played

This is a game for two players, though more players can be involved. Usually, a circular target is drawn on the ground in soft earth. Players alternate turns. At a signal from one player, IT attempts to "drop" the knife into the target without looking. There are many variations to this game.

From the painting, it is apparent that the boy in blue has had his turn and missed - the hole in the ground illustrates this. He is about to give the "drop" signal. When he does, the second boy (in white) must quickly grasp the knife handle in his hand. The knife handle is now held between his chin and chest. Then, without looking - the boy in white must plunge the blade at the target on the ground.

Last update February 9, 2010