Ducks and Drakes

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DUCKS AND DRAKES. English, Country Dance Tune (6/8 time). D Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. This jig appears in all four editions of John Young's Second Volume of the Dancing Master [1], published in London from 1710 to 1728. It also appears in Walsh and Randall's The New Country Dancing Master, Second Book (New York, 1710), and three editions of John Walsh's Second Book of the Compleat Country Dancing-Master (1719, 1735, and 1749, latterly published by son John Walsh Jr.).

Ducks and drakes [2] is the old English name for the pastime of skimming flat stones on the surface of water to make them bounce as many times as possible. The first known reference to it in print is in The nomenclator, or remembrancer of Adrianus Junius, translated by John Higgins in 1585:

A kind of sport or play with an oister shell or stone throwne into the water, and making circles yer it sinke, etc. It is called a ducke and a drake, and a halfe-penie cake.

By 1615 the phrase came to mean to throw something away, or to squander, as to squander money.

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