July 9th, 2010



A few facts:

1. In H.C. Andersen's The Snow Queen, first published in 1845, the robber maiden says "Schnipp-schnapp-schnurre-basselurre," as if making a magic spell.

2. Wikipedia has an article about a card game called Snip Snap Snorem that well predates the H.C. Andersen's text and mentions a name of an almost identical German game: Schipp-Schnapp-Schnurr-Burr-Basilorum. (smth smth rope(?) smth of kings(?))

3. Googling "basilorum" finds "Schnipp, schnapp, schnorum, Rex Basilorum" that can be interpreted to have some religious meaning, but google only finds 8 occurrences of "Rex Basilorum" proper, including a quote from a 1902 book, but all in relation to the card game.

Does anyone have an idea how a reference to King of Kings got into the name of a kids' card game, how "Rex" mutated into (or from) "Burr", and why would Andersen adopt its variant pronunciation into his books as a magic spell?