Humpty Dumpty didn't fall off the wall. He was pushed.
Over the weekend, vandals toppled the jolly 8-foot figure of nursery rhyme fame from his perch at Storybrook Land, a Woodbridge amusement park, and released Little Bo Peep's sheep from their pen.
Neither all the king's horses nor all the king's men could put this Humpty Dumpty together again. "He's completely shot," said the theme park's manager, Henry F. Burda.
As he carted away the 300-pound heap of papier mache, plywood and chicken wire yesterday, preschoolers looked on, apparently believing it to be part of the display, the conclusion to the rhyme, Burda said.
"Maybe we ought to try this again, keep him falling off the wall again and again, but at 2,500 bucks a shot I don't think we can afford it," he said wryly.
It may be spring before Burda can replace the egg-shaped favorite, which has waved to the children from atop his wall for 20 years.
In the meantime, Burda has some story-telling of his own to do as groups of kiddies ask where "Humpty" is.
"We tell them he's down for repairs or that he's finally fallen off the wall," said Burda.
He said he could not tell the visitors what really happened that vandals wrenched "Humpty's" head off with a rope, pulled off the legs, then shoved the torso to the ground.
The vandals also lifted a miniature barn housing Little Bo Peep's sheep (and two of her goats) and allowed the animals to escape and wander freely about the yard.
But true to the nursery rhyme - "leave them alone and they'll come home" - Burda said they returned to their tiny barn, still padlocked from the night before.
Prince William County police have no suspects in the crime.