It had been a grueling day for Humpty Dumpty. One of the younger eggs in the carton had been in hysterics most of the day, calling for the hen that had laid it; another of the eggs had been in a difficult mood and unwilling to do anything without a great deal of prodding. And of course, the refrigerator was a mess, someone still needed to change the light bulb, and there were disturbing reports about tensions on the eastern borders of the kingdom. Let things go the way they were right now, and the kingdom could end up involved in a third war by the end of the year, which of course meant that more eggs than ever would be needed to feed the troops.
He sighed, and wiped the moisture that was beading around the top of his shell. He thought back to the time when he had been a new egg, fresh from the henhouse. It couldn't have been that long ago, but it seemed impossibly remote. He hadn't known enough to be worried about what the farmer was putting into the chicken feed, nor had he ever thought to worry about whether the hens were getting enough exercise. And of course it had never even occurred to him that there might be mercury in his own yolk
The world was spinning out of control. Maybe it always had been, and he had been too young an egg to appreciate it before, but he certainly noticed it now. His carton, which originally had been nothing but a comfort a joy to him, now felt confining and he found himself growing resentful toward it instead of drawing strength and purpose from it.
At times like this, Humpty Dumpty needed a moment's respite to clear his head and let everything go. Perched here atop the kitchen counter, he could feel at ease again. He sat, like a bird on a wall, and tried to relax.
For a moment, he did feel at peace, but that moment of serenity evaporated into fear as he felt more than just his troubles slipping away. Terror swelled in him as he slipped from the counter and the hard tiles of the kitchen floor raced up at him. There was a sickening crack, and a fleeting sensation of ooze, and then the world went dark.
When the king's cook entered the kitchen the next morning, Humpty Dumpty was still lying there, a mouse burying its face in his splattered yolk. There was nothing to be done no one could put a shattered egg back together so with a weary sigh, the cook scraped the mess up and threw it into the slop bucket.
And no one ever noticed that the unfortunate egg was gone.