March 10, 2023 at 5:52 am

Humpty Dumpty Is Not A Giant Egg. Here’s What People Think It Actually Is.

by Trisha Leigh

If you think too hard about them, most classic fairy tales, rhymes, and children’s stories seem to have a dark side. Some of them are super obvious, and while you might have dismissed Humpty Dumpty as a strange tale about a sentient egg, the internet is here to ask you to think again.

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.

Humpty Dumpty Tenniel Humpty Dumpty Is Not A Giant Egg. Heres What People Think It Actually Is.

Image Credit: Public Domain

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

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.

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