Chapter Five : Red Rover and British Bulldog

WARNING! Most of the information presented in this book is simply not true and, in fact, is a complete pack of lies. It is therefore highly recommended that you do not use any of its contents as part of a book report, a school project or as an answer to a question in a surprise test. CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED!

Through the shrouding mists of time, from the ancient shores of Scandinavia, comes a children’s game so violent, it is often spoken about in whispers, so as not to invoke the ghosts of its formidable creators: The Vikings.

The General Rules for Red Rover

A. Players divide into two teams. Each team forms a line, standing with arms linked to create a human chain. There should be no less than thirty meters between the lines but no more than 2,000 kilometers (see Illust. 6b).

(Illust. 6b A line of over five million players formed in preparation to a momentous game against a combined team of Manchurian and Mongolian players. Annoyingly, they had to stand around until the 15th century for the game to start. The line was so big it would have been seen from outer space if anyone back then had owned a space ship or knew anyone who might lend theirs.)

B. One team then calls out a player by name from the other team using a mystical incantation sung in four part harmony. “Red Rover, Red Rover, let (Insert first name here) come over!”

C. That player then runs towards the opposing team as fast as possible in an attempt to break the “chain”. Following the unexpected consequences of the “Calvin Coolidge Incident”, the traditional use of Viking battleaxes are no longer permitted when breaking through a line (see Illust. 6c).

(Illust. 6c An opposing player may now only break the “chain” using their body after one elementary school took the initiative to ban all Viking weaponry following a truly nasty game of Red Rover in 1919)

D. If the player is successful, they may choose one of the two broken “links” to join their team. If the player fails and the chain stays unbroken, then the other team may pounce on that player like a pack of jackals, ripping them limb by limb with savage delight. Or alternately, the player may simply have to join the other team.

D. The game continues until all but one member from one team is absorbed by the other team, or if a player from either team accidently does a convincing impression of a Tsunami Warning siren.


The commonly held opinion is that the game originated during the Viking Age by the children of those renowned warriors, who were often called the Northmen.

Red Rover is believed to be the title of a tale told by Norwegian poets and storytellers in the late 11th century. It gave an account of one of the most famous Vikings, Erik the Red (see illust. 6d ).

(Illust. 6d Using the most powerful, sophisticated, state-of-the-art computer-generated imagery, archeologist now have the ability to dress up historical figures in amazingly silly costumes.)

After being exiled from Iceland, Erik the Red went to sea in search of a new home and subsequently discovered Greenland. The word rover was originally roamer for that is what the Viking did (see illust. 6e). He was credited for bringing over hundreds if not thousands of settlers. The story then evolved into a game played by children in which Erik the Roamer calls over people by name, enticing them to live in cold, desolate Greenland.

(Illust. 6e Documents tell us that it took four months at sea before Erik the Red discovered Greenland. This has everything to do with the fact that he was a horrible navigator. Had he simply managed to sail west (see red dots) he would have discovered Greenland in just under three hours.)

As convincing as this explanation may sound, it simply isn’t true. According to prominent three-year-old historian, H. Timmy Bits, of Montee Verysorry University, the person who thought up this explanation “failed to evaluate the evidence correctly.” Moreover, this person is a “poo-poo head” and “his ideas are ca-ca”.


The word Rover has always been Rover, for it was the name of an actual dog.

The dog lived in the 9th century, somewhere near the border between Sweden and Germany. This dog was also red in colour, or more precisely, “as red as giant’s blood dripping off Thor’s hammer”, so described in a 13th century poem. Most importantly, the red dog was sixty feet tall and ate children.

As legend goes, Red Rover laid siege to the small isolated hamlet of Hamlet for over two years. Although gigantic in size and having a taste for human flesh, he was also extremely adorable and could speak in the villagers’ native tongue.

Once a month, Red Rover would call out the name of a child living in Hamlet, asking him or her to come over and pet him. Initially, each child would refuse. But then Red Rover would begin to whimper and get on his hind legs and beg. Again the child would refuse. Finally, Red Rover would chase his tail in a cute puppy dog-like way until the child simply could not resist. Upon seeing the child coming toward him, Red Rover would prance happily and bark gently and then finally, swallow the child in one gulp.

We can only speculate on just how darned cute Red Rover was that children would heed his call, month after month, year after year (see illust. 6f ).

(Illust. 6f Depiction of Red Rover laying siege to the hamlet of Hamlet. With no visual evidence to go upon, historians can only speculate on Red Rover’s looks.)


(A Different Breed of Red Rover)

Similar to Red Rover in certain aspects, this game has been popular throughout the United Kingdom as well in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and anywhere else where bulldogs like to gather in groups and smoke cigarettes.

Rule Variation

Instead of a player having to break through the linked arms of the other team, in this game, two players are selected as “bulldogs”. They stand in the middle of the field and call out a player who must attempt to get past them and to the opposite side. If the player is caught, they, too, become a “bulldog”, making it now harder for the other players to get across. The game continues until the last person caught, or until all “bulldogs” go in desperate search for a fire hydrant or a tree.


In the region south of Sheffield, England, between the towns of Chesterfield and Sofa, it has been common practice to teach sheep dogs rudimentary English (see illust. 6g ). This allows for better communication when herding flocks or when the dogs are sent to the local store to buy groceries.

(Illust. 6g Lanny Starkers has been recognized as one of the leading ESL teachers for dogs, cats and hamsters. Eight of his former pupils have been accepted to Oxford, five to Harvard and six to Miss Havisham’s Obedience School)

In 1924, unbeknownst to a teacher who was tutoring a border collie, four tough bulldogs were eavesdropping on the lesson. Eventually, they were able to speak English at a grade six level.

These were unruly dogs to say the least (see illust. 6h ). They would hang around the local elementary school and taunt the students. When classes concluded for the day, the children were required to cross the playground to leave the school grounds. However, the bulldogs prevented them of doing so by attacking any child attempting to get by.

(Illust. 6h Davey “the drooler”, Mickey “four-toes”, Fonzie, and Sidney Applebaum – otherwise known as The Puddles Gang)

At first, only the confident and the desperate tried. Then, some students charged across the field en masse knowing a few would be caught while others would escape. Some students waited until the very end, thinking the bulldogs would eventually get bored, which they didn’t.

Eventually, though, the dogs were apprehended by an SPCA Swat Team and in reflection of the strange events, some children spotted the makings of a pretty good game (minus the chomping of flesh with sharp teeth). What has never been explained properly is what grievance the four bulldogs had with the students at Sir Purrandfur Whiskers Elementary School.

In the next chapter, we will look at the chaos-creating game of Telephone.

Quiz Questions

  • How many lies or misinformation were you able to spot in this chapter?
  • What were some of the ways you figured out that they were not true?
  • Were there any bits that were true or that maybe sounded believable?
  • Have you overheard your pet speaking English lately?

Tips for Truth-seekers

In the last chapter, there was a link to a video that suggested five tips for spotting fake news. The last one said to try a Reverse Image Search. This allows you to find out if the image you came across on the internet:

  • has a long history of use.
  • whether its original use was to illustrate something completely different than what you were reading or looking at.
  • has been altered from the original (as I have done with the illustrations on this website)
How to do a Reverse Image Search using TinEye

TinEye is a search engine made specifically for this purpose. The website address is:

There are several ways of doing a search on TinEye.

  • Upload an image from your computer or mobile device by clicking the upload button to locate the image you wish to search for.
  • To search by URL, copy and paste an image url address into the search box.
  • Drag an image from a tab in your browser and drop it in a browser tab where TinEye is open.
  • Copy and paste an image from your clipboard.

According to the TinEye website, “When you search with TinEye, your image is never saved or indexed. TinEye adds millions of new images from the web every day—but your images belong to you.”

Chapter Six: The game of Telephone

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