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Lakewood Times

“Humpty Dumpty Retold”

Fractured Fairy Tale

Night by night, a lowly Wicked Witch stooped in front of her magic mirror. With a cackle, and a leer, her awful, raspy voice routinely inquired, “Magic Mirror upon my wall, who is the fairest of them all?”

“Why, you, you wretched witch, are the fairest in all the land,” the Magic Mirror would disinterestedly respond.

But then, once upon a fateful day, alone in wretched tower quarters, the Wicked Witch stooped and asked again, “Magic mirror upon my wall, who is the fairest of them all?” The mirror began to swirl and whirl, the familiar cloudy storm taking form, only this time it came bearing a joyous grin. The magic mirror replied, “Why ole Humpty Dumpty of course!” 

The Wicked Witch steamed with anger. Could an old crusty egg be fairer than her? Why, she was fairer than ever! With clenched fists and gritted teeth, she rose from her seat, cursing, “Never!” The mirror continued to cackle and laugh at her as the Wicked Witch paced frustratedly throughout the tower. Suddenly, she got a wondrous, devilish idea and began to cackle maniacally back at the Mirror. “Magic Mirror, show me the location of this Humpty Dumpty.” Reluctantly, without much choice or free will, the Magic Mirror gave image to the beloved Humpty. There she gazed upon an egg, dressed in red silk and leather, sitting atop a castle wall. She smiled sinisterly.

Once upon a time, a friendly old egg named Humpty Dumpty would sit atop a wall. He quite liked the castle’s rampart; he could see all the kingdom from his perch. He spent most of his time simply sitting there, peacefully observing nature and chatting with the passersby, offering conversation and company to all that visited the castle; ole Humpty had become beloved within all the kingdom. He had even gained the good trust and friendship of the young King himself. The King visited Humpty often in the evenings, seeking guidance or simple company from perhaps the sole subject that treated him not as royalty, but as a man like any other. Humpty seemed always to possess the acute solution to any problem the King shared. “The measure of a man,” Humpty would often say to the King, “is what he does with power,” he would chortle, “Remember that.”

On a late night like any other, as the kingdom slept, Humpty Dumpty sat alone along the castle rampart. It was then, shrouded in the darkness of shadow, the Wicked Witch silently emerged atop the wall. With an awful, devilish grin, she tiptoed ever so quietly over to old Humpty’s perch. She raised her hand, her ghastly nails, sharp as talons, outstretched with temptation, and shaking with exhilaration. Now looming just behind the unaware egg, she began to cackle a dreadful cackle. Before he ever had the chance to turn, Humpty Dumpty was thrown from the perch of the rampart by the evil doer’s hand. Humpty let out a fearful shout yet was unable to catch his balance along the ledge — he fell, landing hard against the pavement. Beneath the rampart he once loved so, Humpty now laid shattered and broken. With sinful pleasure the Witch slowly retreated into the shadows. Back in wretched tower quarters the Witch spitefully asked again, “Who is the fairest of them all now, Mirror?” 

The mirror held great sadness in its soul, as it knew, “Why you, you witch, now it is you.” Her plan had succeeded; the fair Humpty Dumpty was gone.

Upon sunrise, as the kingdom woke from unbeknownst slumber, the streets bustled with activity, and Humpty was found. It was a boy that found him, the pieces of his shell. He ran through the streets, crying, “Humpty’s fallen! Humpty’s fallen!” 

Soon the patrolling Kingsmen assembled at the scene, “Call upon all the men,” the Knights cried, “We must put Humpty Dumpty back together again!” But it seemed of no use. Humpty had had a fall too great, and not even all the men in all the state could fix his pieces or his parts, he was but an egg, cracked, broken apart. 

Soon the King knew something was wrong, there had never been such a commotion outside the castle walls. Worriedly, he and his guards rushed into the streets, demanding an explanation from the crowding Kingsmen. A mournful silence began to take hold of the atmosphere as the crowd parted, revealing the fateful scene: dozens of pieces of Humpty scattered across the road. “No!” the King shouted, rushing to the ole Humpty’s shards and remains, “This cannot be!” The King stood and faced the sorry townspeople, every man avoided the sight of Humpty Dumpty this way, it was unbearable. “Who is responsible for this?” the King demanded from his Kingsmen — they all looked away, ashamed, for they did not know. Collecting a small piece of Humpty’s shell, the King stormed off, for he knew who he must seek.

Deep within the castle’s cellar the kingdom’s Wizard hunched in front of a bubbling cauldron, his blue robes and white beard draped over the mysterious colorful concoction. He carefully raised a small vial over top of the solution, ever so carefully extracting a single drop, when suddenly there was a pounding knock at his door. Immediately startled, the Wizard shot up, smacking his head against the low ceiling, dropping the entire contents of the vial into the oozing vat in the process. “Come in,” he grumbled as the concoction subsided, losing its vibrant color. The King entered impatiently, ducking his head to avoid scraping his crown along the wooden ceiling.

“Wizard, I need your assistance.”

“Ah, yes, Humpty Dumpty I presume,” the Wizard replied, paying more attention to the haphazard experiment than the King.

“Yes, yes, so you do know,” the King said, attempting to face the frantic Wizard, “Can you help me?”

“Yes,” he replied, showing no willingness to help.

“Will you help me?”
“Yes,” he paused and thought for a moment, “for one barrel of dried newts, I am fresh out.”
“That can be arranged,” the King sighed, “Now tell me how I can fix Humpty,” he said, offering the shell fragment. Taking hold of the shell piece, the Wizard promptly sat down on the floor with his legs crossed, closing his eyes and concentrating on the shell deeply.

“I see,” he said quietly after a duration of silence before shooting up again, “Humpty Dumpty was the victim of dark, twisted magic I have not seen for some time,”

“But you are able to fix him?”

“Not I,” the Wizard replied, “there is but one fix for ole Humpty’s shell.”

“What is it you speak of? Do tell!”

“True love,” the Wizard said, a wistful smile escaping his scraggly white beard as he gave the King back the fragment of Humpty’s shell.

The King left, lost. In all of the years he had known Humpty Dumpty he had never known anything of Humpty’s family, much less a lover. In the coming days he spoke with every man and woman that had ever met ole Humpty, with no luck. He was lost without his number one advisor, and every day seemed to worsen the notion that he may never put Humpty back together again. 

After another day of unsuccessful findings, the King returned to Humpty’s shattered shell. “I am sorry old friend,” he began, tears forming in his eyes, “I have failed you,” he relented, his tears beginning to stream along his face, falling against the pavement and Humpty’s shell, “I am sorry.” 

He cried alone for a moment, Humpty’s words of past encouragement ringing through his ears as he picked himself back up, turning away. He would have told the young King,“Be strong, a life without struggle is a life without strength,” and that, “loss is inevitable,” it was the first moment he wished Humpty had been wrong. Slowly he rose, beginning his trudge back to his castle alone, when a familiar voice called out to him.

“Why, young King, you have not a thing to be sorry for.” In disbelief and distrust at what his ears had perceived, the King turned to where the shards of Humpty Dumpty once sat scattered. There, the fair, wise egg stood, put back together again.
“Humpty!” the King exclaimed, choking back one last happy cry. He ran towards his advisor, confused, “But how?”

“You held love in your heart all along,” Humpty laughed, “Who else would go through all the trouble for an old egg like me?”

The King smiled wide, “It is good to see you again, friend.”
Finally, ole Humpty Dumpty returned to his perch atop the castle rampart and continued to be himself, the fair egg, a friend to all.

On that night, weeks after Humpty’s demise, the Wicked Witch sat once again in front of her Magic Mirror, asking with inflated confidence, “Who is the fairest of them all?”

The Magic Mirror had reason to smile once more as it replied again, “Why, ole Humpty Dumpty of course!”

The End.

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