Kathryn Flaherty

Writer, Reader, Truck Driver and Fairy Floss Maker

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Did Humpty Dumpty have a Yolk full of gunpowder?

I love to read. My family often complains that if something has print then I have to stop and read it. That’s probably why I have an odd collection of non-fiction books. One of my favourites is  Pop Goes the Weasel by Albert Jack. This is a book detailing the history behind some of the best known nursery rhymes. There are 88 nursery rhymes listed with 11 traditional songs and anthems.

I have a few favourites in the nursery rhyme section, one of which is Humpty Dumpty. Some sources dispute what Pop goes the Weasel claims is the truth behind the rhyme, I’d like to believe it was true.

Albert Jack says the Humpty Dumpty was the nickname of a cannon positioned on the church tower of St Mary-at-the-Walls during the Siege of Colchester in the English Civil War of 1642-1651. The gunner was named  One-eyed Thompson and he helped hold off the invading Roundheads for 11 weeks. Until the enemy managed to blow away the top of the church tower causing Humpty Dumpty to have a great fall.

I can imagine how difficult it would have been to try and fix a cannon during a siege when it had been one of the main defenders of the town. The invading force would have had an uplift of morale while you can imagine what the poor blokes trying to deal with Humpty felt. It think misery or despair wouldn’t have even come close.

I’ve enjoyed Humpty Dumpty since I was little. I can probably blame it on Benita from Playschool. I loved watching her play with the Humpty Dumpty doll when I watched the show.

If this is the truth it makes the new politically correct version my niece sings a bit strange.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

all the kings horses and all the kings men

gave him a hug and made it better again.