A thinly-veiled attempt at entertainment

ONTARIO ELX DAY (6/2)

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Yea, Humpty Dumpty Was Never an Egg. Someone Lied to You Several Times.

Humpty Dumpty is commonly imagined as a rotund egg that sits on a wall before falling and smashing. Consequently, he suffers horrific disfigurement and ultimately dies.

Despite the actual rhyme never describing Humpty as an egg, he has been depicted as one for hundreds of years.

People never seemed to question the oddity of trying to fix a giant egg with horses. How were horse hooves going to pick up broken pieces of egg shell? Furthermore, why is the king so invested in this egg? Could it be a famous egg?

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.
No mention of an egg or egg-shaped object.

So, who the hell decided to make Mr. Dumpty an egg? The Egg Farmers of Canada? The American Egg Board? Is “Big Egg” trying to indoctrinate our children with pro-egg propaganda?

No, probably not.

You can blame author Lewis Carroll’s 1872 novel, “Through the Looking Glass,” which contained images of Humpty Dumpty as an egg. As a result, Humpty Dumpty has since been depicted as a giant anthropomorphic egg ever since.

Humpty Dumpty’s first appearance as an egg was in the novel “Through the Looking Glass.” (Internet Archive Book Images, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons)

Though Carroll is credited with introducing Humpty as an egg, he cannot be credited with writing the original nursery rhyme. But what was Humpty before he was an egg?

Well, to begin with, he’s not a he at all, and no, this isn’t a case of uber-woke misgendering. According to several historians, Humpty Dumpty was the nickname of a mortar cannon during the English Civil War.

During the war, Royalists placed several cannons on walls surrounding the city of Colchester. In 1648, while under siege, an enemy’s cannonball blew apart the wall upon which Humpty Dumpty sat.
Hence, Humpty Dumpty “came tumbling down,” and it proved impossible for the king’s men (or horses) to put the cannon back together again.

So there you have it – a favourite childhood rhyme came about because of war.

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