Permanent Tourist

The personal website of Mark Howells-Mead

One little soldier boy, marching around Bern

I’ve recently joined Jo in a drive towards more fitness and have rescinded the use of tram transport in and around Bern in favour of foot power. I’m doing my best to lay as many kilometres behind me each day as I can, not just on the 1.5 kilometre walk each way to and from the office, but also over lunchtime. Having exhausted – or, should I say, outpaced – my regular selection of BBC podcasts, I’ve turned to my first new audio book for quite some time. Currently joining me on my daily average of 7 kilometres’ walking is the Agatha Christie story “And Then There Were None” (first published in 1939 under the politically incorrect title of “Ten Little Niggers“). The story features the following children’s poem, which turns more macabre as you read each line.

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 boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.

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