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 sitting in the sun; One got Frizzled up and then there was One.
One Little Soldier Boys left all alone; He went and hanged himself and then there were none.
In the novel, the murderer killed each of his victims in accordance with this rhyme.
|Guest||death||Relation to Rhyme|
|Anthony Marston||Poisoning||First to die; seemingly choked on poisoned drink|
|Mrs. Rogers||Poisoning||Second to die; never woke up after drinking poisoned brandy|
|General Macarthur||Bludgeoned||Third to die; said he would never leave and resigned himself to his own death|
Fourth to die; an ax split his cranium in half
|Emily Brent||Poisoning||Fifth to die; poison injection made to look like a bee sting|
|Judge Wargrave||Shot||Sixth to die; shot in the head, dressed in robes and wig, setting the law theme|
|Doctor Armstrong||Drowned||Seventh to die; pushed off a cliff into the sea|
|William Blore||Crushed||Eighth to die; a heavy marble clock shaped like a bear fell on him from Veras room|
Ninth to die; shot through the heart on the beach by Vera Claythorne
|Vera Claythorne||hanged herself||the tenth and final person to die;; hanged herself because of sadness for her lover.|
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".
In a television adaption, the line "Eight little Indian boys travelling in Devon; One said he'd stay right there and then there were seven" is changed to, "Eight little Indian boys travelling in Devon; One starved and caught fire and then there were seven." Rogers' head is bashed in with a fireplace poker, and he falls into the fireplace. In the same adaption, the lines of the sixth and seventh Indians are changed into one line. That line is: "Seven little Indian boys sitting quite alive; Two missed their dinner and then there were five." The fifth line changes as well. "Five little Indians sitting on the shore; One became a Brahmin and then there were four."
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.
WARNING CONTAIN SPOILERS:
In a twist end ing instead of the last person being the murderer, the judge is the murderer. He faked his death with help of Dr. Armstrong, whom he manipulated only to kill him after.
Why and how the judge killed all the people is written in a letter at the end of the book which the Judge puts in a bottle and throws into the sea for a person to read. The Judge explained that he has made a contraption so that when police come to the island he will be able to quickly shoot looking like he was long dead before he came to the island.
After the letter in the book it goes back to its original narrative to when the police are searching the island. The most reasonable answer would be that Vera Claythone killed all the people and hanged herself but the police see that the chair that she would have kicked over to kill herself is put up nicely by the wall. The police are baffled, and thus the story ends.