Tales of Beedle the Bard
Chapter Summary and Analysis - Part Two
As JKR seemed to promise, although she was finished with "Harry," per se, we would see more of the wizarding world through some explanatory works that would capitalized on all the "back story" material she had developed for the books but never made it into print. Tales of Beedle the Bard played a significant role in the concluding book of the series and was ripe for expanding into such a work. Although it STILL doesn't reveal how Dumbledore obtained a scar in the shape of the London underground (a fact which fans have been dying to find out for years) it is, none-the-less, a breath of fresh wizarding air for readers who have suffered withdrawal pains since the series concluded.
And what a wonderful way to do it "discovered" notes from Dumbledore and a "translation" by Hermione. The original "Rowling" manuscripts were wonderfully thoughtful handwritten gifts of love to several persons in her life. And an "extra" that she made garnered over 2 MILLION dollars at auction which was given to charity. Now, her efforts can make a lot more money for one of her favorite charities: Children's High Level Group.
Another revelation, and just as maddening, from this book's publication is that it seems Rowling has absolutely no intention of "tying up all the loose ends" any time soon. These fables are great and stand alone; but, she just couldn't resist informing us that: there is a "surviving wood cut" of Beedle the Bard which none of us have seen yet, a man named Brutus Malfoy may be related to Draco, another collection of children's stories (Beatrix Bloxam's Toadstool Tales) exists, we only know one of Adalbert Waffling's "Fundamental Laws of Magic," etc., etc..
- Literary Annotations These annotations are those of a literary nature which explain or add depth to the story in a literary sense.Parents Guide These annotations may be used by parents or other care-givers of children, to explain (or expand upon) moral aspects or 'life lessons' which can be learned.
Items displayed such as this are sample questions parents can ask while they read in order to assess the childs understanding.by JK Rowling These annotations are those written by JKR about aspects of the book she feels need clarifying for Muggles.
- The Fountain of Fair Fortune
- (Beedle as translated by Hermione Granger, 2008)
Three witches waited on the edge of a crowd before dawn on the day of an annual event where one lucky person would be granted "Fair Fortune" for evermore. Only once a year, on the longest day, one lucky person would be allowed to fight their way to a magical "Fountain of Fair Fortune" to bathe in it and receive the gift. Asha, the first witch, was ill with an incurable illness. The second, Altheda, had been robbed of everything she owned (including her wand) and was poverty stricken. Amata, the last, was love-sick from the desertion of her life's love. All having pity for the other agreed to unite and reach the fountain in a tie.
A crack opened magically in the wall when it was hit by the day's first beam of light, and the crowd of petitioners rushed forward, anxious to win the Fountain's benison. Instead however, tendrils of vine wound out of the crack and seemed to search through the crowd until they latched onto Asha. She grabbed hold of Altheda who then seized Amata as they were pulled toward the hole. Unfortunately, Amata's robes snagged the armor of a hapless knight and they all four became 'selected' back through the crack. Asha and Altheda were angry because only one could bathe in the fountain. Sir Luckless, a muggle, saw who they were and offered to withdraw, but Amata challenged him to assist them, which he did.
A white worm stood guarding the hill of the fountain and demanded "Pay me the proof of your pain" while blocking their way. Swords and spells were completely ineffective until Asha, exhausted, began to weep. Her tears provided drink for the worm which slithered aside. Further on they found they were unable to cross a magical piece of ground labeled: "Pay me the fruit of your labors." The knights last coin merely rolled away and although they continued to walk it was without advancement. At much length, Altheda needed to call encouragement to her friends as they faltered. Climbing harder she began to perspire and a few drops of sweat fell to the ground. That immediately unblocked the path so they could proceed to a stream surrounding the fountain that they sought. An inscription on a stone charged: "Pay me the treasure of your past." They found that they couldn't float or jump across the stream. Eventually Amata believed she understood and, with her wand, drew silver threads of happy memories with her vanished lover from her head and placed them in the waters. Stepping stones magically appeared and they walked easily to their goal.
Surrounded by plants of all kinds, the fountain shimmered and beckoned but they needed to decide who should claim the reward. The critically ill Asha fell to the ground exhausted from her struggles up the mountain, so ill she refused to be moved. Altheda hurried to make a potion of the rare garden herbs available, using the knights gourd of water, then gave it to her friend. It immediately seemed to heal Asha completely and, standing, she plead to let Altheda be the one to bathe. However Altheda was enthusiastically collecting more herbs, excited to go back and make a good living curing others with her new found ability. Let Amata bathe, she offered, and Sir Luckless bowed deferringly. Like the others, Amata had changed during her journey's experiences. The stream had washed away all her regret over her lover and she now saw him as heartless, so was glad to be rid of him. She respectfully explained to Sir Luckless that his Chivalry had made him worthy of the goal. He did bathe in the "Fountain of Fair Fortune," incredibly amazed at his "luck"; then, bowing deeply before the lovely Amata, asked for her hand in marriage. She accepted, and the four friends began their journey back home and into their lengthy, happy lives, completely unaware that it wasn't the fountain or its water's which had been enchanted.
- : Favorite Story: '"Fountain of Fair Fortune" is my favorite one, and that's really about the qualities you need to achieve your heart's desire, and the moral being that magic ultimately is not the best weapon" JKR
- Fountain - Commentary
- (by Albus P.W.B. Dumbledore, c. 1994)
This tale is of such popularity that its presentation (and failure) marked the beginning and end of the Christmas Pantomime tradition at Hogwarts. Herbert Berry, Herbology professor and amature dramatist, attempted the production when Dumbledore was the transfiguation teacher at the school. The "special effects" which Dumbledore created the fountain and a grassy hill which sunk into the stage as the characters climbed went well; but, the worm, knight and Amata destroyed the production not to mention the Great Hall. Professor Silvanus Kettleburn, care of magical creatures teacher, "engorged" a dangerous Ashwinder which layed its eggs and set fire to the stage. Unfortunately, the conflaguration was barely noticed above the duel which had started between Amata and Asha over a "love-triangle" with Sir Luckless, who had dropped one girlfriend for the other an hour before the production. Berry's head was caught in the cross fire, an inferno engulfed the great hall which was evacuated, the hospital wing was packed and Kettleburn was put on probation. Headmaster Dippet decreed a blanket ban on all future pantomimes and Dumbledore is proud to follow the tradition.
Despite its popularity some misguided souls still protest the telling or reading of the story, Lucuis Malfoy (a descendant of Brutus) is among them. Malfoy sent a letter to the school demanding the book's removal because it "depicts interbreeding between wizards and Muggles." "I do not want my son to be influenced," he said, "into sullying the purity of his blood-line by reading stories that promote wizard-Muggle marriage." With the backing of the majority of the Board of Governors, Dumbledore refused and wrote: "So-called pure-blood families maintain their alleged purity by disowning, banishing or lying about Muggles or Muggle-borns on their family trees. They then attempte to foist their hypocrisy upon the rest of us by asking us to ban works dealing with the truths they deny." Dumbledore's refusal marked the beginning of Malfoy's campaign to remove the headmaster; "and of mine" Dumbledore said, "to have him removed from his position as Lord Voldemort's Favorite Death Eater." Malfoy's followup tirade included several more vitriolic letters containing opprobrious remarks about Dumbledore's sanity, parentage and hygiene, none of which were relevant to the discussion.
- Herbert Beery: Beery left Hogwarts to teach at W.A.D.A. (Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts), where he still has an aversion to performing this particular story.Ashwinder: A thin grey serpent with glowing red eyes which comes out of magical fires and lives long enough to lay fiery hot eggs. The eggs are valued as potion ingredients, but are very dangerous. If they are not found and frozen in time, they will set buildings on fire.Kettleburn: This professor had at least 62 periods of probation which strained his relationship with Headmaster Dippet. Because he mellowed with age (or the fact that he only had 1 1/2 limbs left) he had a better relationship with DumbledorePantomime: It is a British tradition to present little plays at Christmastime often based upon fairy tales and including music, comedy and audience participation JKR.
[Similar, in part, to the American dramatic form of melodrama if it were Christmas, if it were about a fairytale, and if it was for children ed]
- The Warlock's Hairy Heart
- (Beedle as translated by Hermione Granger, 2008)
- Dark Story: The '"Warlock's Hairy Heart" is really...quite gothic. It's quite dark, that one. And Voldemort would've done well to know the story before he set out on his campaign of terror" JKR