A Scrambled Conversation
The fairy tale village doctor hurried to Humpty Dumpty’s door. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men had failed out of medical school yet again, and the doctor was still the only one qualified to put everyone back together again. Unfortunately, there were a lot of emergencies in the fairy tale village, so the doctor was very busy.
He knocked on the door. The neighbors had called him about the emergency, and he hoped they’d be here to let him in. He was surprised when Humpty answered the door himself.
“Humpty Dumpty, I heard you had a great fall,” the doctor said.
Humpty smiled. “It was nice. The leaves were great colors, and I was invited over to eat tarts with the king and queen twice. The winter was terrible. The knave of hearts stole the tarts, and there was a long trial, and this giant girl knocked everyone over…”
“I thought that happened last summer.” The doctor was confused.
“Winter, summer, what’s the difference? It wasn’t fall, was it?”
The doctor opened his mouth to reply, and then closed it again. He narrowed his eyes. “Wait, I meant to say that I heard you’d been sitting on a wall and fell off.”
“Well it was more like a fence.” Humpty held his palms out, and mimed weighing things on scales. “I was trying to decide whether to wear a belt or a tie. I can’t wear both, you know.” He let one hand drop. “The tie won today.”
“I’m a doctor and don’t really care about fashion. I just need to know if you were injured.”
“I’m sad that you haven’t complimented the tie, but not offended.” Humpty smiled. “It is rather understated, so I suppose you hadn’t noticed it yet. Now that you have, you have to tell me your opinion.” The bow tie was plain and black.
“It’s lovely.” The doctor managed not to roll his eyes, but it was a close call. “So you haven’t broken anything?”
“Well, I promised myself that I’d be rich and famous by this age, but I’ve obviously broken that promise. I’ll probably never trust myself again. It’s a terrible thing. Why, just the other day, I said that the sky was blue, and I still had to go outside to check and see if it really was.”
The doctor sighed. “Your neighbors called and said that you’d fallen from a wall and broken into tiny pieces.”
Humpty frowned. “Which neighbors? The wooden puppet people with the long, long noses? Or that boy who watches the sheep and keeps being overrun by wolves?”
The doctor thought for a moment. “I think I see the problem. You need new neighbors.”
“They’re not so bad. They’re always complimenting my ties. And my belts. They say the nicest things.” Humpty smoothed his tie. “Would you like to come in? Someone left a basket of lemons on my front steps, so I made lemonade. Unfortunately, they didn’t leave sugar, so it’s a little sour.”
“No, I have to go visit the twins down the street. I received an urgent call that said that they’d fallen down and broken their crowns.” The doctor paused.
“Did my neighbors make the call?” Humpty asked, guessing his thoughts.
“Yes. They said Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water and then fell.”
“But there isn’t a hill anywhere near here,” Humpty said.
The doctor sighed. “I was afraid you’d say that. Still, I need to go check to be sure.”
“Tell them hi for me. Oh, and invite them over for lemonade. A basket of lemons makes rather a lot of lemonade. Maybe I should invite the neighbors. I’m sure they’d love it.”
“If they don’t, I’m sure they’re too polite to say so,” the doctor said. Humpty laughed.
The doctor drove to check on Jack and Jill. They were fine. He went back to his car, ready to visit Jack Sprat and his wife. They’d mixed up their meal plans and were suffering from a touch of indigestion.
Before he could drive away, his phone rang. He answered it. “Hello, this is the fairy tale village doctor. Do you have an emergency?”
“You have to help me, doctor,” a young voice said. “I was watching the sheep when a wolf came and…”
“Ate the sheep?” the doctor asked.
“No, it knocked me over and broke my arm. Then it ate my sheep. Can you help me?”
The doctor was tempted to ignore the call after the two false calls that had wasted his morning. But, as a doctor, he couldn’t ignore someone in need. “I’ll be right there,” he promised.
Maybe it was time to help tutor the king’s horses and the king’s men when he had some time off. The village really did need a few more doctors. Fairy tale people seemed to have lots of emergencies.