This book is an extension of the same book title mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It contains five different short stories for children from wizarding families:
1. The Wizard and the Hopping Pot
2. The Fountain of Fair Fortune
3. The Warlock’s Hairy Heart
4. Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump
5. The Tale of the Three Brothers
The end of each story is accompanied by Professor Dumbledore’s notes and other information of Hogwarts and the wizarding world which are not mentioned in the Harry Potter series.
You can read more about the stories here.
As a fan of the Harry Potter series, it was much to my delight that I managed to find this book in SP library! I have since read it twice. I especially enjoyed reading Dumbledore’s take on the stories
because I have a crush on him (LOL! Kidding!) because I really liked his character in the HP series – wise, humble, patient, etc. Well, here’s my take on the stories:
The Wizard and the Hopping Pot
In this story, it was being said that the selfish son only started helping the muggles after he was unable to stop the pot from being a nuisance and could no longer tolerate the din it was making. This made me think, what if the supposedly ‘generous’ father used to be mean like his son? If that was the case, then the old wizard was only being generous with his help because of the magical pot (he had no choice) and not because he genuinely wanted to. So does that still make the old wizard a truly generous man?
The Fountain of Fair Fortune
This story was somehow rather predictable. The fountain never had any magic, all problems can be solved as long as you are willing and determined to put in hard work. The fountain is only there to ‘trick you into believing’. An example from the HP series would be Ron excelling at being a Keeper in Half-blood Prince just because he thought that Harry had given him a dose of Felix Felicis, when in actual fact, he hadn’t. This goes to show that most of the time, we choose to believe in luck rather than in ourselves.
In addition, I’ve realized that we tend to put off things that we deem ourselves not good enough or capable of accomplishing. However, what we don’t realize is that we might actually succeed, if only we gave those things and ourselves a chance. This might be just like the relationship I have with maths and fast-thinking skills. Throughout my life (which is not very long since I am only 18 this year), I’ve been and still am convinced that I’m no good at numbers and that I have a reaction as fast as the speed of a snail. The only times when I’m able to answer math questions correctly are the times when I’m doing them happily or when I get the correct answers for previous questions. Maybe this is the ‘Felix Felicis’ to my problem. My brain will have to first convince myself that I am good at it so that I would be.
The Warlock’s Hairy Heart
Out of all the five stories, this was the only one not mentioned by Ron in Deathly Hallows. This is also the story that I like most. The warlock was so afraid of being hurt by love that he sealed his heart away. What he does not know is that this action had made him weaker than any one else because by doing so proved that he did not have the courage to face any potential threat to his power.
“To hurt is as human as to breathe.” – Professor Dumbledore
The warlock was so fearful that he might become weak if he ever let himself fall in love and get his heart broken, that he never gave love a chance. As a result, the locked-away heart grew hairs to signify its beastly conversion, fueled by the absence of humanity. This even costed the warlock his life when he tried to piece himself back together. Without the bitter, the sweet wouldn’t taste. Sometimes, we have to get hurt or endure hardships so as to know what it is like to have a good life. Such is life.
Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump
I have no idea what to make of this story. It somehow reminded me of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ and ‘滥竽充数’ and maybe even ‘鹬蚌相争，渔翁得利’. In this case, the ignorant king would be the emperor and/or the crane, the charlatan would be either the trickster and/or 南郭先生 (the guy who pretended he was good at an instrument until he was called to give a solo performance) and/or the oyster and Babbitty would be the little boy (pointing out the ignorance of the emperor) and/or the fisherman (benefiting from the bickering of the crane and the oyster).
The Tale of the Three Brothers
The whole of this story can be found in Deathly Hallows, when Hermione reads it at Mr. Lovegood’s house, after which he starts explaining about the hallows. The first brother was killed because he was not humble and bragged about his almighty wand. The second brother committed suicide because he was not being humble by wanting to humiliate Death. Only the last brother was able to greet Death as an old friend as he was being humble by asking for the gift of anonymity (invisibility cloak). All in all, this story simply tells us to be humble.
Three seems to be the magic number in fairy tales.
Examples: The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks (Papa, Mama & Baby), Cinderella (2 step sisters & 1 cinderella), Sleeping Beauty (Flora, Fauna & Merryweather), etc.
To sum it up, this book is a good book to read even if you are a muggle.