Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Cat's Cradle

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

CAT'S CRADLE (R8x32) 3C (4C set) Niall Mitchell Thistle Dubh 2

1- 8 1s and 3s petronella turn and set twice to opposite sides while 2s set and petronella turn twice to end between 1s/3's
9-16 1s and 3s cross RH and cast behind 2s (passing LSh) to other end while 2s set and cross RH, all dance ½ reel of 3 on sides (2s out and up to start)
17-24 1s dance ½ Fig of 8 on own sides (dance between 2s to start), dance up to top and cast to 2nd place (2s cast to top on bars 17-18)
25-32 1s dance reels of 3 across (1s giving LSh to 1st corner to start)

(MINICRIB. Dance crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)


Dance Information

Cat's cradle is one of the oldest games in recorded human history, and involves creating various string figures, either individually or by passing a loop of string back and forth between two or more players.

The type of string, the specific figures, their order, and the names of the figures vary.

Independent versions of this game have been found in indigenous cultures throughout the world.


Cats In The Cradle is also the title of a popular 1974 folk rock song by Harry Chapin from the album Verities And Balderdash, which contains the lyrics in the chorus...

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man on the moon...

The meaning of the Cats In The Cradle Lyrics is not entirely clear, but many sources (notably, Cat's In The Cradle - Songfacts) speculate that they reference the popular children's game: 'Cat's Cradle'.

In 1992 American rock band Ugly Kid Joe covered the song and released it as a single; their version topped the Australian Singles Chart and became a major hit in several other countries.

Cat's Cradle - Information Video

Cat's Cradle
"Two Young Women Seated By A Kotatsu Playing Cat's Cradle" Suzuki Harunobu (–1770), c. 1765


Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Cat's Cradle article on Wikipedia.
Text from this original Cat's In The Cradle article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright (cropped) Suzuki Harunobu / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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