Alternative Name(s); Children's Slide; Magic Lantern Slide
Lantern slide 'Six Little Nigger Boys Playing with a Hive', circa 1900s. It depicts two verses of the rhyme: Six little nigger boys playing with a hive; A bumble-bee stung one, and then there were five. Five little nigger boys going in for law; One got in chancery, and then there were four. From in an incomplete set of seven lantern slides (originally would have been ten), telling the story of 'Ten Little Nigger Boys'. The slides were produced by W. Butcher & Sons, London, under the trade name Primus, as part 515 of the Junior Lecturers' Series A set of lantern slides.
The rhyme was adapted in the late 1800s from '10 Little Injuns', written by Septimus Winner in 1868. It was a standard of the blackface minstrel shows and became widely known in Europe. It was used by Agatha Christie in her novel 'Ten Little Niggers' (1939) which was later re-titled 'And Then There Were None'. The version of the rhyme used in Christie's book does not end as happily as the version used on these lantern slides. 'Ten Little Niggers' was also used as the title for a 1940s book of children's nursery rhymes.
The full rhyme is:
Ten little nigger boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self, and then there were nine.
Nine little nigger boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself, and then there were eight.
Eight little nigger boys traveling in Devon;
One said he'd stay there, and then there were seven.
Seven little nigger boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in half, and then there were six.
Six little nigger boys playing with a hive;
A bumble-bee stung one, and then there were five.
Five little nigger boys going in for law;
One got in chancery, and then there were four.
Four little nigger boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one, and then there were three.
Three little nigger boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one, and then there were two.
Two little nigger boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up, and then there was one.
One little nigger boy living all alone;
He got married, and then there were none.
Description of Content
Double image of dark-skinned boys. The image on left shows six boys being attacked by bees flying from a hive. The image on the right shows a boy in a court room, with hands outstretched towards a judge. Legal figures in wigs watch.
Glass lantern slide, square format, colour, bound around edge with black paper tape.
Loan & Subsequent Donation from Australian Film Institute (AFI), Mr David Francis, by 11/1990
Lantern Slide, Standard (3¼ in. x 3¼ in.), Colour
Text printed on slide: 'SIX LITTLE NIGGER BOYS / PLAYING WITH A HIVE / A BUMBLE BEE STUNG ONE / AND THEN THERE WERE 5 / FIVE LITTLE NIGGER BOYS / GONG IN FOR LAW / ONE GOT INTO CHANCERY / AND THEN THERE WERE 4.' Printed printed in upper left: '5'.
Type of item
82 mm (Width), 82 mm (Height)