"N*gger" was a pejorative and generally offensive word that meant, in many contexts, African-American. Its insult was plain when seen in the context of typical speech by pro-slavery Colonel Jubal Eustace during the American Civil War:
- "You can't befriend a n*gger! They're property. No better than a plough or an ox! Would you try to make friends with an ox?"
However, it did not always have an American context. Once, it made its way into the Celestial Toyroom. There, Steven Taylor and Dodo Chaplet once heard the King of Hearts repeat a nursery rhyme that contained the word:
- Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
- Catch a n*gger by his toe.
- If he hollers, let him go.
- Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. (TV: "The Hall of Dolls")
Behind the scenes
The use of "the n-word" in the King of Hearts' recitation of the rhyme in "The Hall of Dolls" was actually still acceptable at the time of the original 1966 broadcast of The Celestial Toymaker. By the time of BBC Audio's CD release of the story, however, the word was deliberately obscured by placing part of Peter Purves's narration over the top.