Ten Little Injuns

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"Ten Little Injuns"
(Comic Song and Chorus)
TenLittleInjuns1868.png
Cover, sheet music, 1868.
Written by Septimus Winner
Published 1868
Language English

"Ten Little Injuns" is a popular song written by Septimus Winner in 1868 for the minstrel trade. It was based on an 1850s minstrel skit about one John Brown whose Indian (referring to "Native American") boy grows from "one little Injun" into "ten little Injuns," and then back to one,[1] i.e.:[2]

John Brown had a little Injun;
John Brown had a little Injun;
John Brown had a little Injun:
Had a little Injun Boy!
One little, two little, three little Injuns, etc.
Ten little, nine little, eight little Injuns, etc.

Lyrics[edit]

The lyrics as published by Winner in 1868:[3]

Ten little "Injuns" standin' in a line,
One toddled home and then there were nine;
Nine little "Injuns" swingin' on a gate,
One tumbled off and then there were eight.
Chorus:
One little, two little, three little, four little, five little "Injun" boys,
Six little, seven little, eight little, nine little, ten little "Injun" boys.
Eight little "Injuns" never heard of heav'n.
One "kick'd the bucket" and then there were seven;
Seven little "Injuns" cuttin' up their tricks,
One broke his neck and then there were six.
(Chorus)
Six little "Injuns" kickin' all alive,
One went to sleep and then there were five;
Five little "Injuns" on a cellar door,
One tumbled in and then there were four.
(Chorus)
Four little "Injuns" out upon a spree,
One dead drunk and then there were three;
Three little "Injuns" out on a canoe,
One tumbled overboard and then there were two.
(Chorus)
Two little "Injuns" foolin' with a gun,
One shot t'other and then there was one;
One little "Injun" livin' all alone,
He got married and then there were none.
(Chorus)
Encore Verse:
This little "Injun," with his little wife,
Lived in a wigwam the balance of his life;
One daddy "Injun" and a mommy "Squaw"
Brought up a family of Ten "Injuns" more.
2nd Chorus:
One little, two little, three little, four little, five little "Injuns" more,
Six little, seven little, eight little, nine little, ten little "Injuns" more.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ —, "Reviews and Literary Notices", p. 770: "We are all familiar with that John Brown whom the minstrel has immortalized as being the possessor of a diminutive youth of the aboriginal American race, who in the course of the ditty, is multiplied from 'one little Injun' into 'ten little Injuns,' and who, in a succeeding stanza, by an ingenious amphisbænic process, is again reduced to the singular number."
  2. ^ Wilson, "John Brown's Ten Little Injuns"
  3. ^ Winner, "Ten Little Injuns" (Sheet music).

Bibliography[edit]

  • —, "Reviews and Literary Notices", pp. 770-779, The Atlantic Monthly Vol. III (June, 1859) No. XX, Boston: Phillips, Sampson, and Company.
  • Wilson, B.M. "John Brown's Ten Little Injuns" pp. 32-36, Wilson's Book of Drills and Marches for Young People and Small Children of Both Sexes. New York: Dick & Fitzgerald, Publishers (1895).
  • Winner, Septimus. "Ten Little Injuns" (Sheet music). Boston: Oliver Ditson Company (1868).