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Not all he's cracked up to be?

MMDE: Humpty Dumpty is an egg

Current: Humpty Dumpty is not an egg

What is Humpty Dumpty?

As soon as most people see the name, a mental picture of a fat egg with thin arms and legs perched precariously on a wall springs up. Why is this? References today show many images this way, but there's nothing in the original which remotely indicates he was in any way connected to eggs.

In fact one origin story has him as a cannon. This make some sense - it was on a wall, it is described as being broken beyond repair by "all the kings horses and all the kings men", i.e. an army, and has been linked to a battle in Colchester, England, during the English Civil War in 1648.

Lewis Carroll

Through the Looking Glass was the sequal to Alice in Wonderland, an incredibly popular novel the world over. It contained drawings of Humpty Dumpty as an egg, which most likely reinforced the image. Combine that with a simple tune and nursery rhyme and he's cemented forever in English literature as such.

The Cannon story

However, there are details which strongly suggest he was a cannon:

On June 15, 1648, the cannon referred to as “Humpty Dumpty” was positioned on the walls. By this time, the Parliamentarians had surrounded and laid siege to the city, so Humpty was used to bombard the enemy and prevent a full-scale assault. However, on July 14 or 15, a Parliamentarian cannonball blew apart the wall underneath Humpty Dumpty. This collapsed the fortification and sent Humpty Dumpty tumbling to the ground. Due to its size, none of the king’s horses and none of the king’s men were able to recover the cannon. On August 28, the city fell to the Parliamentarians, who eventually triumphed and toppled King Charles I in 1649, thus ending the war.