Considering Humpty Dumpty

Sitting around waiting for your foot to heal results in a lot of time on your hands. My mind has begun to wander as I've contemplated the great mysteries of the world. Such as this one:

Why is Humpty Dumpty always depicted as an egg?

Think about it. Nothing in the original rhyme says he was an egg, or even hints at the presence of eggs. There is no mention of yolks or whites, or broken shells. But if you Google "Humpty Dumpty" you get dozens of pictures of the poor old guy as an overgrown egg. Some of the more graphic ones even show his yolk dripping out to pool in a lemon-yellow puddle of goo on the ground beside the wall.

And while we're considering poor Mr. Dumpty, what was he doing perched all alone on that wall anyway? Did he have no friends, no family with whom to pass the time on the wall? Perhaps he had eleven brothers and sisters who'd deserted him. Or maybe he was shoved out of the nest prematurely.

We know that many nursery rhymes were originally satirical political statements. For instance, "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary" was a reference to Bloody Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII, who celebrated her rise to the throne by slaughtering every Protestant priest she could get her hands on. And "Jack be Nimble, Jack be Quick" referred to Black Jack, a pirate who evaded capture by the authorities. Knowing that, I've pondered the origins of poor Humpty Dumpty. Was he an overweight man who fell in public?

Turns out none of my suppositions were true. Humpty Dumpty was not a person. He was a cannon used in the 1600's during England's civil war. This cannon was gigantic and heavy, and the Royalists mounted it on a wall in Colchester. A shot from Parlimentary troops wrecked the wall, and because the cannon was so heavy, the Cavalry (the King's Horses) and the Royalists (the King's Men) couldn't get it put back up in time to use it. Colchester was taken by the Parlimentarians as a result.

There! I might be sitting around with my foot propped up for the next eight weeks or so, but that doesn't mean I can't learn something, right?