Consider This: No One Ever Said Humpty Dumpty Was An Egg

At this point, I think we have to expect that most of the nursery rhymes we enjoyed as children have some kind of dark or disturbing origin. I’m not sure how or why people decided they were geared toward children, honestly, and almost without exception.

Now, we’re going to have to put Humpty Dumpty – who is almost certainly not an egg – on that list as well.

The discussion began when bestselling author Holly Bourne observed that it was odd that we had all decided Humpty Dumpty was an egg in the first place.

“It’s not in the lyrics, and deciding he’s a giant egg is quite a random leap for someone to make, and everyone else being like, ‘yeah, a giant egg on a wall. Of course.”

She’s right, too – his appearance and/or form is never mentioned in the original nursery rhyme. That said, the fact that Lewis Carroll depicted him as an egg in Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass is probably where the lasting association began.

Image Credit: Public Domain

If he’s not an egg, though, what is he?

King Richard III – Image Credit: Public Domain

Well, people have theories.

One is that Humpty is a nickname for a large cannon in Colchester that fell off a wall and smashed to pieces.

Others suggested that it could be a reference to King Richard III, who is described in the play as “a poisonous hump-backed toad.”

Also to consider: a “humpty dumpty” in the 17th century was “ale boiled with brandy,” so maybe he was just a clumsy drunk who took a tumble.

Not very savory or child-friendly, but you never know when it comes to og nursery rhymes.