by Anita Mae Draper
|A Child with a Teetotum by Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin. Public Domain|
In 1738, Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin (1699-1799), exhibited his painting of a young boy playing with a teetotum. Yes, it looks like a marshmallow on a toothpick, but it's a toy like a spinning top. Many of the early games which I've featured in my recent posts used a teetotum to see what the player's options were instead of dice which were considered a vice and not suitable for those of good morale standing. It's a funny sounding word, but looks like a spinning top and was often called a spinner.
|War of the Roses game, 1835. Public Domain|
Teetotums resemble spinning tops, which have been around since ancient times, as seen in this next photo of an Ancient Middle Eastern top which has been dated back to no later than the mid-2nd millenium BCE by Wilfred G Lambert.
|Ancient Middle Eastern top. Public Domain|
The ancient top above reminds me of the dreidel that is played with during the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah. (And now I have the song Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel running through my mind while write.)
References to teetotums are also mentioned in stories by Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, and others.
Have you played a game with a teetotum, or read a book that mentioned one?
Other posts in my puzzles and game boards series can be found here:
Anita Mae Draper served a 20-year term working on air bases in the communication trade of the Canadian Armed Forces before retiring to the open skies of the prairies. She uses her experience and love of history to pepper her stories of yesteryear's romance with realism and faith. Anita Mae Draper's published stories appear in Barbour Publishing, WhiteFire Publishing, and Guideposts Books. Readers can enrich their story experience with visual references by checking out Anita's Pinterest boards. All links available on her website at www.anitamaedraper.com