Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

The other day, I was driving home from work and for some reason the nursery rhyme popped into my head. For no good reason. Anyway, there it stayed, stuck for a bit. I thought about the lyrics and then realized that nowhere in the rhyme does it ever mention Humpty Dumpty being an egg. So how come every children’s book I’ve seen with the rhyme has an accompanying illustration of an anthropomorphic egg?

Why would an egg have a name? Why would an egg need to be put together again? Why was the egg talked about as though it was a living thing? These questions flooded my mind, so I decided to look it up. Thanks to the very detailed Wikipedia article I learnt a few things:

  • Humpty Dumpty was said to be an egg when the rhyme was told as a riddle.
  • Humpty Dumpty has also been illustrated as a human boy before.
  • “humpty dumpty” was also eighteenth-century reduplicative slang for a short and clumsy person.
  • There are multiple variations of the Humpty Dumpty rhyme, the most common one being the one I posted.
  • The character has also been referenced many times in pop culture and literary works.
  • Anyway, I guess the mystery is kinda solved. I won’t ever have to think about the strange egg again.

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