The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #12823   Message #102861
Posted By: Joe Offer
06-Aug-99 - 03:15 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Ten Little Indians
Hmmm. Could it be that the "Indian" version of this song is also no longer considered to be politically correct? I couldn't find it at Kididdles which is a pretty good site that sometimes lapses into the murky depths of the Politically Correct. Anyhow, I don't mind posting the lyrics, just a little different from what's posted above.
-Joe Offer-


One little, two little, three little Indians,
Four little, five little, six little Indians,
Seven little, eight little, nine little Indians,
Ten little Indian boys.

Ten little, nine little, eight little Indians,
Seven little, six little, five little Indians,
Four little, three little, two little Indians,
One little Indian boy.

Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Ten Little Injuns

DESCRIPTION: Ten Indians stand in a line, one goes home and there are nine. Each disappears in a new way until only one is left. The last one lives alone until "he got married and then there were none"
AUTHOR: Septimus Winner (1868), with adaptions by Frank Green and others
EARLIEST DATE: 1868 (sheet music published by Sep. Winner of Philadelphia)
KEYWORDS: humorous Black(s) Indians(Am.) | counting down
REFERENCES (8 citations):
Richardson/Spaeth-AmericanMountainSongs, pp. 84-85, "Ten Little Niggers" (1 text, 1 tune)
Heart-Songs, p. 357, "Ten Little Niggers" (1 text, 1 tune)
Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes 376, "Ten little nigger boys went out to dine" (2 texts); 511, "Tom Brown's two little Indian boys" (1 text)
Baring-Gould-AnnotatedMotherGoose #818, pp. 304-305, "(Ten little Injuns standin' in a line)"
Delamar-ChildrensCountingOutRhymes, pp. 50-51, "Ten Injuns" (1 text)
Averill-CampSongsFolkSongs, p. 259, "Ten Little Indians" (notes only)
Wolf-AmericanSongSheets, #2295, p. 154, "Ten Little Injuns" (1 reference)
cf. Delamar-ChildrensCountingOutRhymes, p. 18, "Big Indians" (not really this, but it's a decrementing song bout Indians)

Roud #13512
Bodleian, Harding B 11(1572), "Ten Little Niggers" ("Ten little niggers going out to dine"), unknown, n.d.; also Firth c.16(335), Firth b.27(94), "Ten Little Niggers"; Firth c.16(334), "Ten Little Ministers" ("Ten little ministers, sitting in a line"), unknown, 1874; also Johnson Ballads fol. 386a, "A new version of a popular song"
cf. "Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer" (counting)
cf. "Eight Little Cylinders" (counting)
cf. "Ten Little Indians" ("John Brown Had a Little Indian") (chorus)
Ten Little Furies (FIle: Tawn080)
O Belinda (File: OpGa046)
NOTES [400 words]: Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes 511 is one verse "Tom Brown's two little Indian boys; One ran away, The other wouldn't stay, Tom Brown's two little Indian boys." (Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes has an early date c.1744 from Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book).
The Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes 376 texts are "Ten little nigger boys went out to dine" and "Ten little Injuns standin' in a line."
Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes 376 lists the following names and publication dates of adaptations:
"Ten Little Niggers" Feb. 1869 [According to the Baring-Goulds, this is by Frank Green. The Opies say it might have been written in late 1868 - RBW]
"Ten Little Negroes" Mar. 1869
"Ten Little Darkies" June 1869
"The Ten Youthful Africans" Sep. 1869
"Ten Little Darkies" c.1870
"Ten Little Negro Boys" Dec. 1874
The things that reduce the number vary from text to text. So, for example, for the ministers of broadside Johnson Ballads fol. 386a, the last minister "was so very Low, Everybody told him they thought he'd better go." For broadside Harding B 11(1572) the last one gets married and raises a family of ten more.
Some versions, including Winner's original, share the chorus with "Ten Little Indians" ("John Brown Had a Little Indian").
See Tim Coughlan, Now Shoon the Romano Gillie, (Cardiff,2001), #165, pp. 437-441, "Yeck Bitto Rom'ni Chal Churyin ap a Ruck" ["One little Gypsy boy climbing up a tree"] [Romani-English text reported by Leland, English Gypsy Songs (1875)]. Coughlan: "Leland's informant seems to have been remarkably quick off the mark. [Septimus] Winner's original set was published in London in July 1868..... Also included by Leland is a second set from the pen of Hubert Smith .... ["Desh Tani Chavis Duriken," also quoted by Coughlan from Leland]. - BS
For more on Septimus Winner, see the notes to "Listen to the Mockingbird."
This appears to have been parodied by none other than Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), who in his report "Twelve Months in a Curatorship" wrote the following about the Wine Committee:
Tuns: 'Ten Little Nigger'
Four frantic Members of a chosen Committee!
One of them resigned, then there were three.
Three thoughtful members: they may pull us through!
One was invalided -- there there were Two.
Two tranquil members: much may yet be done!
But they never came together, so I had to work with one.- RBW
Last updated in version 6.4
File: OO2376

Ten Little Indians (II)

DESCRIPTION: "One, two, three, little Indians, ... Ten, little Indian boys." Game steps: "Open your gates and let us through"; "Not without your beck and bow"; "Here's our beck and there's your bow"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1907 (Greig/Duncan8)
KEYWORDS: nonballad Indians(Am.)
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Greig/Duncan8 1601, "Ten Little Indian Boys" (1 text, 1 tune)
Roud #12976
cf. "Ten Little Indians (John Brown Had a Little Indian)" (one verse)
File: GrD81601

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