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A children's game that has been documented in literary sources since the 16th century, and has changed little in format, as Joseph Strutt's 1801 account in The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England shows: ‘One boy stoops down with his hands upon his knees and others leap over him, every one of them running forward and stooping in his turn. The game consists in a continued succession of stooping and leaping.’ Strutt also cites Shakespeare's reference to the game in King Henry V: ‘If I could win a lady at leap-frog, I should quickly leap into a wife’, probably with more than athletic innocence in mind. Girls and boys have for centuries played the game, though, as an inexpensive and fun-based activity, that also cultivates athletic competence and physical flexibility. In France its equivalent has been called saute-mouton (sheep-leaping).

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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