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Whehee is a children’s card game described in Francis Willughby’s (1635–1672) “Book of Games”, where it was entered by an unidentified young person.A[p. 160]
Whehee is played with a standard 52-card deck.
The aim of the game is to be Whehee — that is, to have three cards of the same suit.
Each player is dealt three cards. If anyone is Whehee, they win straight away. Otherwise, starting from the player on the dealer’s left, and proceeding clockwise, each player exchanges one card with the player next in order. If any player becomes Whehee, then they win.
If the dealer exchanges without becoming Whehee, then another round of exchanges is performed, where each player may exchange with any other player. If no one becomes Whehee after this round, then the cards are turned in and another game is dealt.
The meaning of the name of the game is uncertain. The closest I have found is “wehee” which is recorded in the OED as an old onomatopœic representation of a horse’s whinny (and can also be spelled in many different ways).
In the commentary of Francis Willughby’s Book of Games: a seventeenth-century treatise on sports, games and pastimes (p. 290) it is suggested that the sound is of the “squealing of piglets”, and that the game is related to My Sow (Has) Pigged.
The game is also possibly the same as the game later recorded as ‘Wizzy, Wizzy, Wee’ in Shropshire, which is said to be the same as My Sow (Has) Pigged.B[p. 527]
Cram, David, Jeffrey L. Forgeng, and Dorothy Johnston (, originally published 2003). Francis Willughby’s Book of Games: a seventeenth-century treatise on sports, games and pastimes. Routledge: London & New York. ISBN: 978-1-85928-460-5.
Jackson, Georgina Frederica and Charlotte Sophia Burne (). Shropshire Folk-lore: A Sheaf of Gleanings volume 3. Trübner & Co: London.