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Old 02-10-2017, 06:21 AM
Biggirl Biggirl is offline
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Why is Humpty Dumpty an egg?

There are commercials for some tax service that feature Humpty Dumpty (some also include the King's men) that got me to thinking. We all remember the poem, right?

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 where does it say that Humpty is an egg. Are there other verses that I don't know that explain this? Is there any Ye Olde English word meanings that got lost to the ages? Is there anything as disturbing as in the tax commercial when Humpty starts 'bleeding' yolk from the corner of his mouth? What about that poem has subjected me to that sight? Why, oh why is he an egg?
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  #2  
Old 02-10-2017, 06:26 AM
Alessan Alessan is online now
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Probably because Carrol depicted him as an egg in Through the Looking Glass.
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Old 02-10-2017, 06:33 AM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is online now
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Humpty Dumpty was considered to be an egg before Lewis Carroll wrote about him:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humpty_Dumpty
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Old 02-10-2017, 06:48 AM
Smapti Smapti is offline
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The Master speaks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cecil Adams, world's smartest human
According to Martin Gardner, in The Annotated Mother Goose, the Humpty Dumpty rhyme is a riddle. Riddling rhymes were a popular source of entertainment for many centuries. The answer to the Humpty Dumpty riddle is, of course, "an egg."
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Old 02-10-2017, 06:51 AM
Biggirl Biggirl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
Humpty Dumpty was considered to be an egg before Lewis Carroll wrote about him:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humpty_Dumpty
So, no other verses. Just different versions of the same verse. If we go by Wiki, there is no real reason why he's an egg. Except perhaps 'egg' is the answer to a riddle posed in the poem. Or in a version of the poem that was a riddle if we step into the wayback machine.

Yeah, nobody knows.
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Old 02-10-2017, 07:58 AM
Two Many Cats Two Many Cats is offline
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Well, a good riddle can only last so long. Way back before TV, radio, or readily available books, jokes, stories, and riddles were the evening's entertainment. If the original fairy tales seem gruesome today, it's because they were meant for adults.

I don't know why the Humpty Dumpty riddle rhyme was chosen to survive so long in our Anglo-Saxon culture. Here's a 16th century riddle rhyme that no one hears anymore:

What being born without hand, lip, or eye,
Yet doth run roaring through the world 'til it die?

Last edited by Two Many Cats; 02-10-2017 at 07:58 AM..
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Old 02-10-2017, 08:00 AM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Many Cats View Post
What being born without hand, lip, or eye,
Yet doth run roaring through the world 'til it die?
sounds like fire
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Old 02-10-2017, 08:07 AM
casdave casdave is offline
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Or a hurricane/tempest after all we still talk of storms being born out to the east, west or whatever
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Old 02-10-2017, 08:45 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Oh boy, riddles!

What's the difference between your grandmother and your granary?
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Old 02-10-2017, 08:56 AM
Sir T-Cups Sir T-Cups is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casdave View Post
Or a hurricane/tempest after all we still talk of storms being born out to the east, west or whatever
Wouldn't work because hurricanes have eyes.
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Old 02-10-2017, 09:31 AM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
Oh boy, riddles!

What's the difference between your grandmother and your granary?
One stores a lot of old seed, the other's my granny.

What's the difference between your mother and a duck with a head cold, Trebek?
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Old 02-10-2017, 09:43 AM
Two Many Cats Two Many Cats is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Many Cats View Post

I don't know why the Humpty Dumpty riddle rhyme was chosen to survive so long in our Anglo-Saxon culture. Here's a 16th century riddle rhyme that no one hears anymore:

What being born without hand, lip, or eye,
Yet doth run roaring through the world 'til it die?
SPOILER:
And the answer is "A fart." I guess there's a reason this one isn't in the nursery rhyme books, but the kids would love it.
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Old 02-10-2017, 09:43 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
One stores a lot of old seed, the other's my granny.
Sorry, no. But thanks for playing!
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  #14  
Old 02-10-2017, 09:50 AM
Dolores Reborn Dolores Reborn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
Oh boy, riddles!

What's the difference between your grandmother and your granary?
SPOILER:
one is one's born kin, the other is one's corn bin


I read the Dark Tower books!
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  #15  
Old 02-10-2017, 10:14 AM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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Just an earlier version of the "Can of Worms" dilemma.

Even the King and all his men can't put a broken egg back together.
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Old 02-10-2017, 10:20 AM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Many Cats View Post
SPOILER:
And the answer is "A fart." I guess there's a reason this one isn't in the nursery rhyme books, but the kids would love it.
Ah, a cross-cultural interest!
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Old 02-10-2017, 10:24 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolores Reborn View Post
SPOILER:
one is one's born kin, the other is one's corn bin


I read the Dark Tower books!
Thankee sai!

taps throat

Last edited by Qadgop the Mercotan; 02-10-2017 at 10:24 AM..
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  #18  
Old 02-10-2017, 10:26 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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I've pondered the OP's question before myself. The riddle nature of the story actually does help me accept good old HD as an egg. Culturally it does make sense, and it does serve as a teaching riddle/thought experiment: What things, once broken, can't be fixed?
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  #19  
Old 02-10-2017, 12:23 PM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
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I like The Hobbit version better:
Quote:
A box without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid.
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  #20  
Old 02-10-2017, 01:01 PM
epolo epolo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Many Cats View Post
Way back before TV, radio, or readily available books, jokes, stories, and riddles were the evening's entertainment.

I just had a flash of a past life...

Sitting around the cooking fire early one evening

"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. What was he?"

"A cup"

"Wrong. Guess again. "

"No, he's right. A cup sits up on a shelf and when it breaks you can't fix it"

"I've heard this one before: it's an egg"

Multiple voices: "Spoilers!"

"It's not an egg, it's a cup"

"You can fix an egg"

"No you can't"

"My cousin had an egg that he broke and he was able to fix it"

"Anecdotes are not data"

"If a cup breaks when you drop it, the it's not really a cup; it's a glass"

"Oh, a no true Pict cup"

"Anyone who thinks it's a cup is an ass"

Multiple voices: "No personal insults!"

... much later

"People who break egg cups are worse than Attila"

"We're done here"



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  #21  
Old 02-10-2017, 05:32 PM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
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Inspired by Andrew Dice Clay:

HumpMe DumpMe loved to ball
HumpMe DumpMe was had by us all
All the King's horses and all the King's men
Meant HumpMe'd never be a virgin again.
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  #22  
Old 02-10-2017, 05:35 PM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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Was Humpty always intended to be an egg, or did an anonymous illustrator assume he was?
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  #23  
Old 02-10-2017, 10:38 PM
purplehearingaid purplehearingaid is offline
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http://www.todayifoundout.com/index....humpty-dumpty/
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  #24  
Old 02-11-2017, 03:00 AM
Weisshund Weisshund is offline
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Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
Four-score Men and Four-score more,
Could not make Humpty Dumpty where he was before.

not sure the original has the same flow though hehe

He does not seem to be portrayed as an egg until something like late 1700's to mid 1800's?

Some things say it's and allusion to king richard, or a cannon that rolled off a wall and was too heavy to pick up.

since the phrase itself seems to be a reference to a clumsy or drunk person, god only knows how he became an egg.
Maybe has to do with it becoming a childs nursery rhyme?
A clumsy egg is more of a kid safe thing?

Better question is why did he fall off the wall?
Was he drunk?
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Old 02-11-2017, 12:43 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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I'm fond of the cannon theory; he fell off the wall when opposing cannon knocked the wall down.
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Old 02-11-2017, 01:05 PM
mikecurtis mikecurtis is online now
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thanks epolo that made my day!

mc
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  #27  
Old 02-11-2017, 02:29 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Was Humpty always intended to be an egg, or did an anonymous illustrator assume he was?
The original illustrator of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is hardly anonymous — http://www.alice-in-wonderland.net/r...looking-glass/

It seems to me that it's pretty clear that "Humpty Dumpty" was a well-known riddle with a well-known answer ("an egg") long before Lewis Carroll included it in his book. That's why he didn't find it necessary to say explicitly that he was an egg.

Last edited by Acsenray; 02-11-2017 at 02:32 PM..
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  #28  
Old 02-11-2017, 11:35 PM
White SIFL White SIFL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weisshund View Post

Better question is why did he fall off the wall?
Was he drunk?
Forgotten verse:
If Humpty Dumpty couldn't be together again,
Then why the fuck was he drinking gin?
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  #29  
Old 02-12-2017, 12:15 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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It's a metaphor for the fall of man and the introduction of sin into the world.

(Okay, bullshit, no it isn't. But if one wanted to write a sermon on the subject, it could be made to fit. You can also drive nails with a wrench.)
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