THE BOY WHO LIVED
He found what he was looking for in his inside pocket. It seemed to be asilver cigarette lighter. He flicked it open, held it up in the air, andclicked it. The nearest street lamp went out with a little pop. Heclicked it again — the next lamp flickered into darkness. Twelve timeshe clicked the Put-Outer, until the only lights left on the whole streetwere two tiny pinpricks in the distance, which were the eyes of the catwatching him. If anyone looked out of their window now, even beady-eyed
Mrs. Dursley, they wouldn’t be able to see anything that was happeningdown on the pavement. Dumbledore slipped the Put-Outer back inside hiscloak and set off down the street toward number four, where he sat downon the wall next to the cat. He didn’t look at it, but after a moment hespoke to it.
“Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall.”
He turned to smile at the tabby, but it had gone. Instead he was smilingat a rather severe-looking woman who was wearing square glasses exactlythe shape of the markings the cat had had around its eyes. She, too, waswearing a cloak, an emerald one. Her black hair was drawn into a tightbun. She looked distinctly ruffled.
“How did you know it was me?” she asked.
“My dear Professor, I ‘ve never seen a cat sit so stiffly.”
“You’d be stiff if you’d been sitting on a brick wall all day,” saidProfessor McGonagall.
“All day? When you could have been celebrating? I must have passed adozen feasts and parties on my way here.”
Professor McGonagall sniffed angrily.
“Oh yes, everyone’s celebrating, all right,” she said impatiently.
“You’d think they’d be a bit more careful, but no — even the Muggleshave noticed something’s going on. It was on their news.” She jerked herhead back at the Dursleys’ dark living-room window. “I heard it. Flocksof owls… shooting stars…. Well, they’re not completely stupid. Theywere bound to notice something. Shooting stars down in Kent — I’ll betthat was Dedalus Diggle. He never had much sense.”
“You can’t blame them,” said Dumbledore gently. “We’ve had preciouslittle to celebrate for eleven years.”
“I know that,” said Professor McGonagall irritably. “But that’s noreason to lose our heads. People are being downright careless, out onthe streets in broad daylight, not even dressed in Muggle clothes,swapping rumors.”
She threw a sharp, sideways glance at Dumbledore here, as though hopinghe was going to tell her something, but he didn’t, so she went on. “Afine thing it would be if, on the very day YouKnow-Who seems to havedisappeared at last, the Muggles found out about us all. I suppose hereally has gone, Dumbledore?”
“It certainly seems so,” said Dumbledore.
THE JOURNEY FROM PLATFORM NINE AND THREE-QUARTERS
The toadless boy was back, but this time he had a girl with him. She wasalready wearing her new Hogwarts robes.
“Has anyone seen a toad? Neville’s lost one,” she said. She had a bossysort of voice, lots of bushy brown hair, and rather large front teeth.
“We’ve already told him we haven’t seen it,” said Ron, but the girlwasn’t listening, she was looking at the wand in his hand.
“Oh, are you doing magic? Let’s see it, then.”
She sat down. Ron looked taken aback.
“Er — all right.”
He cleared his throat.
“Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow, Turn this stupid, fat rat yellow.”
He waved his wand, but nothing happened. Scabbers stayed gray and fastasleep.
“Are you sure that’s a real spell?” said the girl. “Well, it’s not verygood, is it? I’ve tried a few simple spells just for practice and it’sall worked for me. Nobody in my family’s magic at all, it was ever sucha surprise when I got my letter, but I was ever so pleased, of course, Imean, it’s the very best school of witchcraft there is, I’ve heard –I’ve learned all our course books by heart, of course, I just hope it
will be enough — I’m Hermione Granger, by the way, who are you.
She said all this very fast.
Harry looked at Ron, and was relieved to see by his stunned face that hehadn’t learned all the course books by heart either.
“I’m Ron Weasley,” Ron muttered.
“Harry Potter,” said Harry.
“Are you really?” said Hermione. “I know all about you, of course – Igot a few extra books. for background reading, and you’re in ModernMagical History and The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and GreatWizarding Events of the Twentieth Century.
“Am I?” said Harry, feeling dazed.
“Goodness, didn’t you know, I’d have found out everything I could if itwas me,” said Hermione. “Do either of you know what house you’ll be in?I’ve been asking around, and I hope I’m in Gryffindor, it sounds by farthe best; I hear Dumbledore himself was in it, but I suppose Ravenclawwouldn’t be too bad…. Anyway, we’d better go and look for Neville’stoad. You two had better change, you know, I expect we’ll be theresoon.”
And she left, taking the toadless boy with her.
“Whatever house I’m in, I hope she’s not in it,” said Ron. He threw hiswand back into his trunk. “Stupid spell — George gave it to me, bet heknew it was a dud.”
“What house are your brothers in?” asked Harry.
“Gryffindor,” said Ron. Gloom seemed to be settling on him again. “Momand Dad were in it, too. I don’t know what they’ll say if I’m not. Idon’t suppose Ravenclaw would be too bad, but imagine if they put me inSlytherin.”
THE MIRROR OF ERISED
“Merry Christmas,” said Ron sleepily as Harry scrambled out of bed andpulled on his bathrobe.
“You, too,” said Harry. “Will you look at this? I’ve got some presents!”
“What did you expect, turnips?” said Ron, turning to his own pile, whichwas a lot bigger than Harry’s.
Harry picked up the top parcel. It was wrapped in thick brown paper andscrawled across it was To Harry, from Hagrid. Inside was a roughly cutwooden flute. Hagrid had obviously whittled it himself. Harry blew it –it sounded a bit like an owl.
A second, very small parcel contained a note.
We received your message and enclose your Christmas present. From UncleVernon and Aunt Petunia. Taped to the note was a fifty-pence piece.
“That’s friendly,” said Harry.
Ron was fascinated by the fifty pence.
“Weird!” he said, ‘What a shape! This is money?”
“You can keep it,” said Harry, laughing at how pleased Ron was. “Hagridand my aunt and uncle — so who sent these?”
“I think I know who that one’s from,” said Ron, turning a bit pink andpointing to a very lumpy parcel. “My mom. I told her you didn’t expectany presents and — oh, no,” he groaned, “she’s made you a Weasleysweater.”
Harry had torn open the parcel to find a thick, hand-knitted sweater inemerald green and a large box of homemade fudge.
“Every year she makes us a sweater,” said Ron, unwrapping his own, “andmine’s always maroon.”
“That’s really nice of her,” said Harry, trying the fudge, which wasvery tasty.
His next present also contained candy — a large box of Chocolate Frogsfrom Hermione.
This only left one parcel. Harry picked it up and felt it. It was verylight. He unwrapped it.
Something fluid and silvery gray went slithering to the floor where itlay in gleaming folds. Ron gasped.
“I’ve heard of those,” he said in a hushed voice, dropping the box ofEvery Flavor Beans he’d gotten from Hermione. “If that’s what I think itis — they’re really rare, and really valuable.”
“What is it?”
Harry picked the shining, silvery cloth off the floor. It was strange tothe touch, like water woven into material.
“It’s an invisibility cloak,” said Ron, a look of awe on his face. “I’msure it is — try it on.”
Harry threw the cloak around his shoulders and Ron gave a yell.
“It is! Look down!”
Harry looked down at his feet, but they were gone.
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