Humpty Dumpty almost certainly wasn't an egg at conception
Humpty Dumpty is over 200 years old, originating in the 1700s.
Our first clue lies in the original phrasing of the poem; the eponymous Humpty Dumpty is not "put back together again" but rather
Four-score Men and Four-score more, Could not make Humpty Dumpty where
he was before.
This opens ...
Back when the rhyme was first created wife also commonly meant woman.
A woman considered without reference to marital status, and related senses.
— "wife, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2017. Web. 8 April 2017. [link]
The OED says that that meaning is still in use in Scotland. This meaning survives in "standard" English in words like ...
Because the poem was never intended to be realistic.
It's a simple nursery rhyme, designed to amuse children and to have an unexpected answer. It's not a complex piece of literature with much thought put into worldbuilding, consistency, and realism.
OK, so why do "wives" appear in the poem at all? Wouldn't it have worked equally well with, say, a man ...
It is likely that at root the reference goes back to the plays of Aristophanes where it is said of Simonedes that
he's grown so old and sordid, he'd put to sea upon a sieve for money.
Where the suggestion is that the love of profit has overtaken sense.
A much fuller answer can be found on the English Language and Usage Stack in the question
It means his head.
See definition 2.1 of "crown" at Oxford Dictionaries:
The top part of a person's head or a hat:
‘his hair was swept straight back over his crown’
This is confirmed when you look at later verses of the same poem which have been included in some editions:
Up Jack got, and home did trot
As fast as he could caper;
To old Dame Dob,...
The most likely answer, courtesy of Merriam-Webster:
: the highest part: such as
a : the topmost part of the skull or head
Other possible interpretations according to Albert Jack's Pop Goes the Weasel: The Secret Meaning of Nursery Rhymes:
One popular suggestion for its origin is that Louis XVI of France and his queen, the infamous Marie ...
I found several different possibilities. Here are the four I found most helpful.
It is nonsense and should not be taken so seriously
The rhyme has traditionally been seen as a nonsense verse, particularly as the couple go up a hill to find water, which is often thought to be found at the bottom of hills. Vinegar and brown paper were a home cure used as a ...
Rand al'Thor makes the valid comment that as with many nursery rhymes it doesn't have an author.
The earliest known published version of it comes from a manuscript dated to around 1730 , though as it was a nursery rhyme it was probably in use orally beforehand. The modern form was first printed around 1825.
You ask about earlier versions being clearer in ...
TL;DR: There is no hidden meaning in ‘Oranges and Lemons’.
Tommy Thumb’s Song Book
The problem with all the theories about a hidden meaning in ‘Oranges and Lemons’ is that the earliest printed versions do not contain the “chopper” lines. The verse first appeared in print in Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book (1744); I can’t find a facsimile of the original, ...
In addition to "crown=head" as noted, in Chris Roberts's excellent book Heavy Words Lightly Thrown, he posits:
One saucy explanation of this rhyme is that "up the hill to fetch a pail of water" is actually a euphemism for having sex, and that "losing your crown" means "losing your virginity" (in much the same way that people might "go to see a man about a ...