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?
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.
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?
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?