“Ten Little Injuns”


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"


Opie-Oxford2 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-Oxford2 has an early date c.1744 from _Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book_).

The Opie-Oxford2 376 texts are "Ten little nigger boys went out to dine" and "Ten little Injuns standin' in a line."

Opie-Oxford2 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 - 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") - BS

Cross references


  • 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"


  1. Opie-Oxford2 376, "Ten little nigger boys went out to dine" (2 texts); 511, "Tom Brown's two little Indian boys" (1 text)
  2. Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #818, pp. 304-305, "(Ten little Injuns standin' in a line)"
  3. Roud #13512
  4. BI, OO2376


Author: Septimus Winner (1868), with adaptions by Frank Green and others
Earliest date: 1868 (S Winner, according to Opie-Oxford2)