“Ten Little Soldier Boys” is the poem which inspired the story of “And Then There Were None”. The murders follow the verses, and the characters are killed off one-by-one in methods which remain faithful to the poem
Ten little Soldier boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine. Nine little Soldier boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight. Eight little Soldier boys traveling in Devon; One said he’d stay there and then there were seven Seven little Soldier boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in halves and then there were six. Six little Soldier boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five. Five little Soldier boys going in for law; One got into Chancery and then there were four. Four little Soldier boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three. Three little Soldier boys walking in the zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two. Two little Soldier boys playing with a gun; One shot the other and then there was One. One little Soldier boy left all alone; He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.
||Method||Relation to Rhyme|
|Anthony Marston||Poison||First to die; seemingly choked on his drink|
|Mrs. Ethel Rogers||Poison||Second to die; never woke up after getting a sleeping pill.|
|General MacArthur||Blunt Force||Third to die; said he would never leave and resigned himself to his own death, being bludgeoned with a lifesaver or similar object|
|Thomas Rogers||Axe||Fourth to die; was killed while chopping up sticks for firelighting|
|Emily Brent||Poison||Fifth to die; poison injection made to look like a bee sting|
|Justice Wargrave||Firearm||Sixth to (apparently) die; shot while wearing robes and wig to set law theme( Faked death)|
|Dr. Armstrong||Drowning||Seventh to die; red herring was believing the murderer to be his ally|
|William Blore||Blunt Force||Eighth to die; crushed by a marble ornament shaped like a bear|
|Philip Lombard||Firearm||Ninth to die; was shot on the beach on a sunny day|
|Vera Claythorne||Rope||Last to die:Hung herself|
In the original publication of And Then There Were None Christie used the rhyme with its original name, "Ten Little Niggers", written by Frank J. Green in 1869. This was later changed to "Ten Little Indians" but due to the ethical sensitivity of both of these words, modern day version use "soldiers", "sailors" or "teddy bears". As of the 2007 publication of And Then There Were None, the rhyme is known as "Ten Little Soldier Boys". In the 2005 game version, the rhyme was called "Ten Little Sailor Boys".
Instead of the line, "One got frizzled up", another variation has been: "One shot the other", which would also be fitting in the context of the novel.
Instead of the line, "He went out and hanged himself", another variation has been: "He got married", which is the line Vera thought ended the poem shortly before hanging herself.