Humpty Dumpty

Nursery Rhyme:

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.

Stephen King:

redrum redrum redrum.  Humpty Dumpty woke up in a cold sweat.  He had had that dream again.  The same one he had always had since he was a child.  Where he was being pushed down from his wall, pushed by an unnatural force, an ancient force, an evil, faceless, nameless enemy that sent him crashing down to a puddly, yellowish mess on the ground down below.  redrum redrum redrum REDRUM REDRUM REDRUM.  The voices in Humpty’s head now intensified and he grabbed his sweaty brow in his two hands as if to prevent it from exploding. His grandma had called those voices a gift, something special that only the two of us could share during her lifetime. But Humpty was being driven mad by them.  What did it signify? redrum redrum redrum redrum.  And suddenly, before he had time to cry out, a strange fog swept through that enveloped him like a coffin.  Humpty tried to get up, to get away, but he lost his footing and to his great horror, found himself plunging to his death.  Unable to put him back in his shell or to glue the shell parts back together, the King ordered his men to bury Humpty in a special semetary that had been rumored to bring back the dead.  And after a night where the full moon shone dangerously bright, Humpty did come back, to everyone’s great surprise and delight.  Unfortunately, he did not come back alone… 


He was an old egg that sat alone on top of a wall and he had gone eighty-four days now without falling off.  In the first forty days, the King’s horses had been with him.  But after forty days, the King’s men had told the horses to go away, that this egg was salao, which is the worst form of unlucky.  The egg was thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back of his neck. He sat there in silence, defying the wind, which had been trying to hurl him down to his death.  On that eighty-fifth day, the wind became angry.  It had risen and was blowing steadily.  The egg held on as best he could but the wind blew harder until finally the egg stumbled and slipped from the wall.  With all he could muster, the egg held on to the top of the wall, his legs swinging desperately down below.  The wind was blowing fiercely from above, pushing down on the egg with all its might.  The old egg fought valiantly for hours.  It was sunset now.  The egg could hardly breathe and felt a strange taste in his mouth.  It was coppery and sweet and he was afraid of it for a moment.  But there was not much of it.  With his last bit of strength, the egg spat at the wind and said: “Eat that, wind!  And make a dream you’ve killed Humpty.” With that, the egg finally let go of the wall and plunged to his death.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez:

As El Presidente Humpty Dumpty was being toppled from his wall in the coup orchestrated by the King’s men, he recalled in that split second the eighty-five years of his life in every poignant detail, from his birth that happened at the same time the gypsies were raising the moon to illuminate his birth village, to all the measureless swamps, stormy rivers and spicy jungles that he and his brothers would use as their own personal playground, to the way his sister would levitate to the ceiling every time one of her suitors would pay her a courtly visit, to his own wedding that was interrupted by the revolutionary army that invaded the church and killed Padre Diaz by hurling a spear through his eye.   

Azar Nafisi:

As I looked at Humpty Dumpty helplessly sitting there on his wall-prison, like a helpless Lolita sitting on the cruel Humbert’s lap, I could not help but to go into my kitchen, scoop up some saffron pistachio ice cream in a dish, pour some cold coffee over it, and, not being able to find sliced almonds, crush some left-over walnuts with my teeth and sprinkle them on top of my concoction.  When Humpty finally fell and cracked his shell, it was not only his yolk and yellow goopy stuff that spilled out but the blood of all the innocents in the world who have been oppressed by a maniacal tyrant. Then the Basijis and Revolutionary Guards descended upon the corpse like vultures, quickly sweeping up all the debris, erasing all but the memory of the Humpty that had once been, in one of those usual clean-ups that would occur soon after a political assassination.  Such were our lives under the Islamic Republic that we did not register the magnitude of what was happening before our very eyes until many years when my students and I reflected upon the meaning of this event and decided to use it as a theme for our discussion. 

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