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Updated 05/24/2013


The Stool of Repentance

In Presbyterian polity, mostly in Scotland, the Stool of Repentance was an elevated seat in a church used for public penance of persons who had offended against the morality of the time, often through fornication and adultery. Often, at the end of the service, the offender had to stand upon the stool to receive the rebuke of the minister. 

Stool of Repentance is also the name of a parlor game for children and adults. The players sit in a circle around a stool. One of the group (the "victim") leaves the room, and the rest say or write all sorts of things about him. For instance, one will say he is handsome, another that he is clever, or stupid, or vain. The "victim" is then called back to sit on the stool, and one of the players begins to tell or read him the different charges that were made against him. "Someone said you were vain; can you guess who?" If the victim guesses correctly, he returns to the circle, and the person who made the accusation takes the stool as the new "victim". If, however, the "victim" is unable to guess correctly, he must leave the room again and fresh charges are made against him. The game almost certainly takes its name from the old Scottish church custom.