Humpty Dumpty

Any fair analysis of nursery rhymes must include the study of Humpty Dumpty. Mother Goose is inclined to think that this bit of poetry has some underlying meaning, as so many of the childhood ditties do. Let’s take a quick look at 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.

Raise your hand if you think this nursery rhyme is about an egg… Yes, many people do assume that. According to my research, however, the poem is actually a riddle. Originally put to paper in the early 1800’s, the story had a different line at the end which changes the meaning altogether:

“Could not set Humpty Dumpty up again”

And here’s what the kind folks at Wikipedia say about that: “According to the Oxford English Dictionary the term “humpty dumpty” referred to a drink of brandy boiled with ale in the seventeenth century. The riddle probably exploited, for misdirection, the fact that “humpty dumpty” was also eighteenth-century reduplicative slang for a short and clumsy person. The riddle may depend on the assumption that, whereas a clumsy person falling off a wall might not be irreparably damaged, an egg would be.”

Wow! That’s a mouthful, even for Mother Goose! I will interpret the interpretation so that most of us common readers can understand. Humpty Dumpty was a short and clumsy fellow who spent the afternoon at the local eating and drinking establishment. He had stopped there for a lunch of some soup and sandwich and had planned to head right back to the office. But then he ran into his good friend Simple Simon and they started having a little drinking contest.

Well, as you might imagine, Humpty Dumpty got pretty tipsy. His drink of choice, brandy boiled with ale, probably went straight to his small and balding head. As he was walking back towards home later that afternoon, he stopped to rest at The Wall, another local pub. Actually, he climbed up onto the roof and started hollering for Simon to join him. And that’s when the accident happened. He was so clumsy, and down he tumbled onto the cobblestones below.

Of course, they called 9-1-1. And the King as well as his soldiers came out of the pub for a look.

“Oh, it’s just old Humpty Dumpty again,” they muttered and went back inside for a bit more libation and fun and games. They just left him lying on the street. The paramedics eventually arrived — they had been detained at the other end of the village where Simple Simon had fallen into his pail of water whilst he was fishing again. The first responders carefully dragged Humpty over to the wall of the tavern and propped him up against the building.

He tipped over again, completely passed out. Drunk as a skunk, you might say.

“Oh well, let’s just let him sleep it off, shall we?” They discussed it amongst themselves for a few minutes, and then joined the King and all the merry men inside The Wall.

Folks, the lesson today is so obvious. I shouldn’t even have to spell it out for you, but I will because I’m Mother Goose and that’s my job. If you find yourself sitting next to Simple Simon at lunchtime, get up and run away. And if you’ve had a few too many brandies with your ales, please do not climb onto The Wall.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bunn
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 16:52:06

    Good advice Mother Goose!! I will never call old Simon up for lunch!! And whew old humpy drinking so many shots and snits!
    Too funny!


  2. Dianna
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 16:56:59

    That is SO funny! I am loving Mother Gooses’s interpretation of all these nursery rhymes!


  3. Harriett Rickles
    Nov 23, 2011 @ 00:46:37

    Some soup and sandwich and his drink of choice..I laughed and enjoyed πŸ™‚


  4. eof737
    Nov 23, 2011 @ 09:33:39

    This is one of my all time favorite… something about an egg posing as a man always got me. πŸ˜†
    Have a Happy Thanksgiving weekend! πŸ™‚


  5. Three Well Beings
    Nov 24, 2011 @ 01:00:21

    Oh Mother Goose! You are just too funny! And this was quite informative…and I thought Old HD was just an egg! Happy Thanksgiving…Debra


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