In hindsight, that smile clearly belied a quiet desperation

In hindsight, that smile clearly belied a quiet desperation

In all my years as a nursery rhyme detective, few cases haunt me like the Dumpty death.

By fairy tale standards, his story isn’t even that surreal. Hell, the gingerbread man takes the cake there. Who would have thought the soul of a madman could run up the fires of hell into an old woman’s oven, take possession of a cookie and run away?

Humpty was just a six foot egg with a penchant for top hats and books.

I guess the thing about Mr. Dumpty was how untroubled he seemed. You could set your watch to him. Literally. At precisely 7:05 a.m. every morning he stepped out of his door, walked for 15 minutes around the square and then took another 168 paces to the door of the castle to tutor the royal children.

He did this for over a decade without even the slightest variation until it started.

At first he would walk out and sit for a few minutes atop the low wall by his door. Then he moved on to the higher wall by the butcher shop. Finally he ended up on the battlements near the south gate, and then without saying a word he edged himself off and fell to the ground.

Humpty Dumpty enjoyed his solitude, but he wasn’t a loner. He had a large group of friends, was well known throughout the kingdom, and after his accident humans and enchanted animals alike came to his aid.

It’s just too bad none of us answered his cries for help before it was too late.