A true story answering the question, which came first, the chicken or the egg?
|Humpty Dumpty was sitting on the wall. She’d been there, contemplating the meaning of life and such ever since the cook had told her, “You’re not getting pudding tonight, you should think about going on a diet!”|
Humpty had stared at her for almost 4 full minutes before closing her mouth and looking down at the ground. She was mortified. She’d never been talked to that way in her entire life. As the court Jester, she was used to lots of attention, everybody laughed at her jokes and her antics. The Queen had a special place in her heart for Humpty and would invite her into the royal parlor whenever she needed cheering up. Her husband was rather distracted with his new counting-house and when she was missing him, Humpty would go in and entertain the Queen and her friends. She would spend an afternoon or evening chatting with the court ladies and eating bread and honey. She was pampered and applauded and was not used to negative feedback of any sort.
As Humpty stood, staring down at the kitchen flagstones, she was also beginning to feel a little ashamed. She actually couldn’t see her feet. She was staring down at the floor and she couldn’t see her feet because her belly was in the way! Her heart was pounding faster than normal now and she tried to breathe steadily and even to slow it down to normal before looking back up at cook.
With a cold stare and a rather annoyed tone, she took a breath and said, "Alright then, keep your pudding! You're a mean old witch to say things like that to me! It was probably that sticky rice and raisin mush again anyway and I don't like that one little bit!" Humpty stuck her chin out and stalked from the kitchen, down the cobbled courtyard path that was especially edged with herbs for the King Cole’s breakfast eggs. As she emerged through the archway at the end of the path, she turned towards the main castle gates. her little legs and tiny, unseen feet, padding a familiar path out of the immediate castle grounds and into the surrounding shopping precinct.
The noise and bustle surrounded her like the familiar mohair-throw on the Queens chaise-lounge. she inhaled the freshly baked bread smell as she passed the bakers store and quickened her pace (as best she could on her invisible legs). Charlie-the-pie-man called to her as she came towards the pie-cart, “Hey HD, wanna try a sample of my new concoction? It’s a dessert pie, I know you’ll love it!” Humpty glanced away quickly and passed by without acknowledging him. Charlie frowned and sniffed at the plate of pie samples he was holding. They smelled delicious, there must be something else putting HD off her food, it was very unusual behaviour for the court jester. As he watched, Humpty trotted around the corner, on the exit road towards the castle drawbridge.
It was a warm evening, the sun just now sliding down behind the ragged ranges in the distance which would soon be casting their deep shadows over Castle Valley. From her perch on the castle wall, Humpty had been watching the slow-motion of Earth's closest star and breathing deeply in the summer light. If she swung her legs, she could see her feet. They were still there, they weren’t invisible at all. They were tiny, no, she thought of another word, they were delicate. Sweet and delicate, just like the pastries cook made on the weekends. Especially the strawberry ones. she licked her lips and sighed. No more pastries, no more pies, no more crunchy-crusty bread. she needed to go on a diet. There, he’d said it. Well, not out loud, not to anyone, just in her head. But he’d admitted it to himself. she was … slightly overweight for her height. The fact that she couldn’t see her feet had given her a scare.
Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, swinging her legs and pointing the toes on her feet as she did so. As they came down, the soles of her shoes made a loud “whack” sound on the castle wall. Swing up, down, whack, up, down, whack. It was on one of these downward whacks that she toppled over. The force of the whack as her shoes met the wall made her top-heavy form roll forward and the weight of it just kept her falling forward. Before you could say four-and-twenty-blackbirds, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
When she connected with the dry earth at the foot of the wall, Humpty felt herself break. The cracks in her shell started on the side and she could feel them slowly begin to stretch out longer. The membrane inside was holding, for now. she tried calling out for help, but her voice was weak and wavering. Humpty knew she couldn’t last, understood the frailty of her existence as the albumen inside began to leak out through the cracks in her shell. Suddenly, something her mother had told her jumped out of her memory. It made her chuckle to herself and sigh for ever doubting her body. What an actual egg-head she’d been, to listen to cooks demeaning comments. The clear liquid that was slowly spreading out around her, was in fact mostly water and almost no fat! It existed to protect the beautiful, life-sustaining yolk in her middle. She wasn’t fat! She wasn’t fat at all!! What a joyous surprise they’d get when they found her she thought as she drifted away to an endless sleep, content with her final performance.
And that is where they found her, Humpty Dumpty, Castle Valley Court Jester. Her cracked and broken shell was discovered at the foot of the castle wall by some village children early the next morning. All the kings horses and all the kings men were called to try and collect the pieces of shell and runny egg but, alas, although they tried their very best, they couldn’t put Humpty together again. As they were packing the pieces into a cart for transport back to the castle, there was a slight movement from within the messy remains. One of the horses nosed aside a piece of shell and began licking gently at some of the bright orange yolk. From within, emerged a tiny chicken. It was hairless and scrawny but it was alive. The horse nudged it and one of the soldiers scooped it up in a gloved hand. He patted his horse's nose and thanked her as he put Humptys baby in his breast-pocket to keep warm for the journey back to the castle.
The Queen and King Cole were waiting expectantly in her parlor when the freshly cleaned chick was presented to them with great fanfare. Humpty Dumpty had been a popular and enigmatic member of the court and was going to be missed by them all. The King stroked a bejeweled-finger down the wee chicks back, nodded at his wife, and left for his counting-house. As the Queen snuggled the baby chick into her mohair-throw she whispered, “Your mama used to like spending time here and I hope you will too. You are such a little wee chick, I think we’ll call you Chicken Little. ”
But that is the beginning of a whole other story!