THE MIRROR OF ERISED 3 ñòðàíèöà
“Yeah—yer not still on abou’ that, are yeh? Look, Snape helped
the Stone, he’s not about ter steal it.”
Harry knew Ron and Hermione were thinking the same as he was. If Snape had been in on protecting the Stone, it must have been easy to find out how the other teachers had guarded it. He probably knew everything—except, it seemed, Quirrell’s spell and how to get past Fluffy.
“You’re the only one who knows how to get past Fluffy, aren’t you, Hagrid?” said Harry anxiously. “And you wouldn’t tell anyone, would you? Not even one of the teachers?”
“Not a soul knows except me an’ Dumbledore,” said Hagrid proudly.
“Well, that’s something,” Harry muttered to the others. “Hagrid, can we have a window open? I’m boiling.”
“Can’t, Harry, sorry,” said Hagrid. Harry noticed him glance at the fire. Harry looked at it, too.
But he already knew what it was. In the very heart of the fire, underneath the kettle, was a huge, black egg.
“Ah,” said Hagrid, fiddling nervously with his beard, “That’s er…”
“Where did you get it, Hagrid?” said Ron, crouching over the fire to get a closer look at the egg. “It must’ve cost you a fortune.”
“Won it,” said Hagrid. “Las’ night. I was down in the village havin’ a few drinks an’ got into a game o’ cards with a stranger. Think he was quite glad ter get rid of it, ter be honest.”
“But what are you going to do with it when it’s hatched?” said Hermione.
“Well, I’ve bin doin’ some readin’,” said Hagrid, pulling a large book from under his pillow. “Got this outta the library—
Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit
—it’s a bit outta date, o’ course, but it’s all in here. Keep the egg in the fire, ’cause their mothers breathe on I em, see, an’ when it hatches, feed it on a bucket o’ brandy mixed with chicken blood every half hour. An’ see here—how ter recognize diff’rent eggs—what I got there’s a Norwegian Ridgeback. They’re rare, them.”
He looked very pleased with himself, but Hermione didn’t.
“Hagrid, you live in a
But Hagrid wasn’t listening. He was humming merrily as he stoked the fire.
So now they had something else to worry about: what might happen to Hagrid if anyone found out he was hiding an illegal dragon in his hut.
“Wonder what it’s like to have a peaceful life,” Ron sighed, as evening after evening they struggled through all the extra homework they were getting. Hermione had now started making study schedules for Harry and Ron, too. It was driving them nuts.
Then, one breakfast time, Hedwig brought Harry another note from Hagrid. He had written only two words:
Ron wanted to skip Herbology and go straight down to the hut. Hermione wouldn’t hear of it.
“Hermione, how many times in our lives are we going to see a dragon hatching?”
“We’ve got lessons, we’ll get into trouble, and that’s nothing to what Hagrid’s going to be in when someone finds out what he’s doing—”
“Shut up!” Harry whispered.
Malfoy was only a few feet away and he had stopped dead to listen. How much had he heard? Harry didn’t like the look on Malfoy’s face at all.
Ron and Hermione argued all the way to Herbology and in the end, Hermione agreed to run down to Hagrid’s with the other two during morning break. When the bell sounded from the castle at the end of their lesson, the three of them dropped their trowels at once and hurried through the grounds to the edge of the forest. Hagrid greeted them, looking flushed and excited.
“It’s nearly out.” He ushered them inside.
The egg was lying on the table. There were deep cracks in it. Something was moving inside; a funny clicking noise was coming from it.
They all drew their chairs up to the table and watched with bated breath.
All at once there was a scraping noise and the egg split open. The baby dragon flopped onto the table. It wasn’t exactly pretty; Harry thought it looked like a crumpled, black umbrella. Its spiny wings were huge compared to its skinny jet body, it had a long snout with wide nostrils, the stubs of horns and bulging, orange eyes.
It sneezed. A couple of sparks flew out of its snout.
Hagrid murmured. He reached out a hand to stroke the dragon’s head. It snapped at his fingers, showing pointed fangs.
“Bless him, look, he knows his mommy!” said Hagrid.
“Hagrid,” said Hermione, “how fast do Norwegian Ridgebacks grow, exactly?”
Hagrid was about to answer when the color suddenly drained from his face—he leapt to his feet and ran to the window.
“What’s the matter?”
“Someone was lookin’ through the gap in the curtains—it’s a kid—he’s runnin’ back up ter the school.”
Harry bolted to the door and looked out. Even at a distance there was no mistaking him.
Malfoy had seen the dragon.
Something about the smile lurking on Malfoy’s face during the next week made Harry, Ron, and Hermione very nervous. They spent most of their free time in Hagrid’s darkened hut, trying to reason with him.
“Just let him go,” Harry urged. “Set him free.”
“I can’t,” said Hagrid. “He’s too little. He’d die.”
They looked at the dragon. It had grown three times in length in just a week. Smoke kept furling out of its nostrils. Hagrid hadn’t been doing his gamekeeping duties because the dragon was keeping him so busy. There were empty brandy bottles and chicken feathers all over the floor.
“I’ve decided to call him Norbert,” said Hagrid, looking at the dragon with misty eyes. “He really knows me now, watch. Norbert! Norbert! Where’s Mommy?”
“He’s lost his marbles,” Ron muttered in Harry’s ear.
“Hagrid,” said Harry loudly, “give it two weeks and Norbert’s going to be as long as your house. Malfoy could go to Dumbledore at any moment.”
Hagrid bit his lip.
“I—I know I can’t keep him forever, but I can’t jus’ dump him, I can’t.”
Harry suddenly turned to Ron. “Charlie,” he said.
“You’re losing it, too,” said Ron. “I’m Ron, remember?”
“No—Charlie—your brother, Charlie. In Romania. Studying dragons. We could send Norbert to him. Charlie can take care of him and then put him back in the wild!”
“Brilliant!” said Ron. “How about it, Hagrid?”
And in the end, Hagrid agreed that they could send an owl to Charlie to ask him.
The following week dragged by. Wednesday night found Hermione and Harry sitting alone in the common room, long after everyone else had gone to bed. The clock on the wall had just chimed midnight when the portrait hole burst open. Ron appeared out of nowhere as he pulled off Harry’s Invisibility Cloak. He had been down at Hagrid’s hut, helping him feed Norbert, who was now eating dead rats by the crate.
“It bit me!” he said, showing them his hand, which was wrapped in a bloody handkerchief. “I’m not going to be able to hold a quill for a week. I tell you, that dragon’s the most horrible animal I’ve ever met, but the way Hagrid goes on about it, you’d think it was a fluffy little bunny rabbit. When it bit me he told me off for frightening it. And when I left, he was singing it a lullaby.”
There was a tap on the dark window.
“It’s Hedwig!” said Harry, hurrying to let her in. “She’ll have Charlie’s answer!”
The three of them put their heads together to read the note.
How are you? Thanks for the letter—I’d be glad to take the Norwegian Ridgeback, but it won’t be easy getting him here. I think the best thing will be to send him over with some friends of mine who are coming to visit me next week. Trouble is, they mustn’t be seen carrying an illegal dragon.
Could you get the Ridgeback up the tallest tower at midnight on Saturday? They can meet you there and take him away while it’s still dark.
Send me an answer as soon as possible.
They looked at one another.
“We’ve got the Invisibility Cloak,” said Harry. “It shouldn’t be too difficult—I think the cloaks big enough to cover two of us and Norbert.”
It was a mark of how bad the last week had been that the other two agreed with him. Anything to get rid of Norbert—and Malfoy.
There was a hitch. By the next morning, Ron’s bitten hand had swollen to twice its usual size. He didn’t know whether it was safe to go to Madam Pomfrey—would she recognize a dragon bite? By the afternoon, though, he had no choice. The cut had turned a nasty shade of green. It looked as if Norbert’s fangs were poisonous.
Harry and Hermione rushed up to the hospital wing at the end of the day to find Ron in a terrible state in bed.
“It’s not just my hand,” he whispered, “although that feels like it’s about to fall off. Malfoy told Madam Pomfrey he wanted to borrow one of my books so he could come and have a good laugh at me. He kept threatening to tell her what really bit me—I’ve told her it was a dog, but I don’t think she believes me. I shouldn’t have hit him at the Quidditch match, that’s why he’s doing this.”
Harry and Hermione tried to calm Ron down.
“It’ll all be over at midnight on Saturday,” said Hermione, but this didn’t soothe Ron at all. On the contrary, he sat bolt upright and broke into a sweat.
“Midnight on Saturday!” he said in a hoarse voice. “Oh no—oh no—I’ve just remembered—Charlie’s letter was in that book Malfoy took, he’s going to know we’re getting rid of Norbert.”
Harry and Hermione didn’t get a chance to answer. Madam Pomfrey came over at that moment and made them leave, saying Ron needed sleep.
“It’s too late to change the plan now,” Harry told Hermione. “We haven’t got time to send Charlie another owl, and this could be our only chance to get rid of Norbert. We’ll have to risk it. And we
got the Invisibility Cloak, Malfoy doesn’t know about that.”
They found Fang, the boarhound, sitting outside with a bandaged tail when they went to tell Hagrid, who opened a window to talk to them.
“I won’t let you in,” he puffed. “Norbert’s at a tricky stage—nothin’ I can’t handle.”
When they told him about Charlie’s letter, his eyes filled with tears, although that might have been because Norbert had just bitten him on the leg.
“Aargh! It’s all right, he only got my boot—jus’ playin’—he’s only a baby, after all.”
The baby banged its tail on the wall, making the windows rattle. Harry and Hermione walked back to the castle feeling Saturday couldn’t come quickly enough.
They would have felt sorry for Hagrid when the time came for him to say good bye to Norbert if they hadn’t been so worried about what they had to do. It was a very dark, cloudy night, and they were a bit late arriving at Hagrid’s hut because they’d had to wait for Peeves to get out of their way in the entrance hall, where he’d been playing tennis against the wall. Hagrid had Norbert packed and ready in a large crate.
“He’s got lots o’ rats an’ some brandy fer the journey,” said Hagrid in a muffled voice. “An’ I’ve packed his teddy bear in case he gets lonely.”
From inside the crate came ripping noises that sounded to Harry as though the teddy was having his head torn off.
“Bye bye, Norbert!” Hagrid sobbed, as Harry and Hermione covered the crate with the Invisibility Cloak and stepped underneath it themselves. “Mommy will never forget you!”
How they managed to get the crate back up to the castle, they never knew. Midnight ticked nearer as they heaved Norbert up the marble staircase in the entrance hall and along the dark corridors. Up another staircase, then another—even one of Harry’s shortcuts didn’t make the work much easier.
“Nearly there!” Harry panted as they reached the corridor beneath the tallest tower.
Then a sudden movement ahead of them made them almost drop the crate. Forgetting that they were already invisible, they shrank into the shadows, staring at the dark outlines of two people grappling with each other ten feet away. A lamp flared.
Professor McGonagall, in a tartan bathrobe and a hair net, had Malfoy by the ear.
“Detention!” she shouted. “And twenty points from Slytherin! Wandering around in the middle of the night, how
“You don’t understand, Professor. Harry Potter’s coming—he’s got a dragon!”
“What utter rubbish! How dare you tell such lies! Come on—I shall see Professor Snape about you, Malfoy!”
The steep spiral staircase up to the top of the tower seemed the easiest thing in the world after that. Not until they’d stepped out into the cold night air did they throw off the cloak, glad to be able to breathe properly again. Hermione did a sort of jig.
“Malfoy’s got detention! I could sing!”
“Don’t,” Harry advised her.
Chuckling about Malfoy, they waited, Norbert thrashing about in his crate. About ten minutes later, four broomsticks came swooping down out of the darkness.
Charlie’s friends were a cheery lot. They showed Harry and Hermione the harness they’d rigged up, so they could suspend Norbert between them. They all helped buckle Norbert safely into it and then Harry and Hermione shook hands with the others and thanked them very much.
At last, Norbert was going… going…
They slipped back down the spiral staircase, their hearts as light as their hands, now that Norbert was off them. No more dragon—Malfoy in detention—what could spoil their happiness?
The answer to that was waiting at the foot of the stairs. As they stepped into the corridor, Filch’s face loomed suddenly out of the darkness.
“Well, well, well,” he whispered, “we
They’d left the Invisibility Cloak on top of the tower.
15. THE FORBIDDEN FOREST
Things couldn’t have been worse.
Filch took them down to Professor McGonagall’s study on the first floor, where they sat and waited without saying a word to each other. Hermione was trembling. Excuses, alibis, and wild cover-up stories chased each other around Harry’s brain, each more feeble than the last. He couldn’t see how they were going to get out of trouble this time. They were cornered. How could they have been so stupid as to forget the cloak? There was no reason on earth that Professor McGonagall would accept for their being out of bed and creeping around the school in the dead of night, let alone being up the tallest astronomy tower, which was out-of-bounds except for classes. Add Norbert and the Invisibility Cloak, and they might as well be packing their bags already.
Had Harry thought that things couldn’t have been worse? He was wrong. When Professor McGonagall appeared, she was leading Neville.
“Harry!” Neville burst out, the moment he saw the other two. “I was trying to find you to warn you, I heard Malfoy saying he was going to catch you, he said you had a drag—”
Harry shook his head violently to shut Neville up, but Professor McGonagall had seen. She looked more likely to breathe fire than Norbert as she towered over the three of them.
“I would never have believed it of any of you. Mr. Filch says you were up in the astronomy tower. It’s one o’clock in the morning.
It was the first time Hermione had ever failed to answer a teacher’s question. She was staring at her slippers, as still as a statue.
“I think I’ve got a good idea of what’s been going on,” said Professor McGonagall. “It doesn’t take a genius to work it out. You fed Draco Malfoy some cock and bull story about a dragon, trying to get him out of bed and into trouble. I’ve already caught him. I suppose you think it’s funny that Longbottom here heard the story and believed it, too?”
Harry caught Neville’s eye and tried to tell him without words that this wasn’t true, because Neville was looking stunned and hurt. Poor, blundering Neville—Harry knew what it must have cost him to try and find them in the dark, to warn them.
“I’m disgusted,” said Professor McGonagall. “Four students out of bed in one night! I’ve never heard of such a thing before! You, Miss Granger, I thought you had more sense. As for you, Mr. Potter, I thought Gryffindor meant more to you than this. All three of you will receive detentions—yes, you too, Mr. Longbottom,
gives you the right to walk around school at night, especially these days, it’s very dangerous—and fifty points will be taken from Gryffindor.”
Harry gasped—they would lose the lead, the lead he’d won in the last Quidditch match.
said Professor McGonagall, breathing heavily through her long, pointed nose.
“Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do, Potter. Now get back to bed, all of you. I’ve never been more ashamed of Gryffindor students.”
A hundred and fifty points lost. That put Gryffindor in last place. In one night, they’d ruined any chance Gryffindor had had for the house cup. Harry felt as though the bottom had dropped out of his stomach. How could they ever make up for this?
Harry didn’t sleep all night. He could hear Neville sobbing into his pillow for what seemed like hours. Harry couldn’t think of anything to say to comfort him. He knew Neville, like himself, was dreading the dawn. What would happen when the rest of Gryffindor found out what they’d done?
At first, Gryffindors passing the giant hourglasses that recorded the house points the next day thought there’d been a mistake. How could they suddenly have a hundred and fifty points fewer than yesterday? And then the story started to spread: Harry Potter, the famous Harry Potter, their hero of two Quidditch matches, had lost them all those points, him and a couple of other stupid first years.
From being one of the most popular and admired people at the school, Harry was suddenly the most hated. Even Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs turned on him, because everyone had been longing to see Slytherin lose the house cup. Everywhere Harry went, people pointed and didn’t trouble to lower their voices as they insulted him. Slytherins, on the other hand, clapped as he walked past them, whistling and cheering, “Thanks, Potter, we owe you one!”
Only Ron stood by him.
“They’ll all forget this in a few weeks. Fred and George have lost loads of points in all the time they’ve been here, and people still like them.”
“They’ve never lost a hundred and fifty points in one go, though, have they?” said Harry miserably.
“Well—no,” Ron admitted.
It was a bit late to repair the damage, but Harry swore to himself not to meddle in things that weren’t his business from now on. He’d had it with sneaking around and spying. He felt so ashamed of himself that he went to Wood and offered to resign from the Quidditch team.
Wood thundered. “What good’ll that do? How are we going to get any points back if we can’t win at Quidditch?”
But even Quidditch had lost its fun. The rest of the team wouldn’t speak to Harry during practice, and if they had to speak about him, they called him “the Seeker.”
Hermione and Neville were suffering, too. They didn’t have as bad a time as Harry, because they weren’t as well known, but nobody would speak to them, either. Hermione had stopped drawing attention to herself in class, keeping her head down and working in silence.
Harry was almost glad that the exams weren’t far away. All the studying he had to do kept his mind off his misery. He, Ron, and Hermione kept to themselves, working late into the night, trying to remember the ingredients in complicated potions, learn charms and spells by heart, memorize the dates of magical discoveries and goblin rebellions…
Then, about a week before the exams were due to start, Harry’s new resolution not to interfere in anything that didn’t concern him was put to an unexpected test. Walking back from the library on his own one afternoon, he heard somebody whimpering from a classroom up ahead. As he drew closer, he heard Quirrell’s voice.
“No—no—not again, please—”
It sounded as though someone was threatening him. Harry moved closer.
“All right—all right—” he heard Quirrell sob.
Next second, Quirrell came hurrying out of the classroom straightening his turban. He was pale and looked as though he was about to cry. He strode out of sight; Harry didn’t think Quirrell had even noticed him. He waited until Quirrell’s footsteps had disappeared, then peered into the classroom. It was empty, but a door stood ajar at the other end. Harry was halfway toward it before he remembered what he’d promised himself about not meddling.
All the same, he’d have gambled twelve Sorcerer’s Stones that Snape had just left the room, and from what Harry had just heard, Snape would be walking with a new spring in his step—Quirrell seemed to have given in at last.
Harry went back to the library, where Hermione was testing Ron on Astronomy. Harry told them what he’d heard.
“Snape’s done it, then!” said Ron. “If Quirrell’s told him how to break his Anti Dark Force spell—”
“There’s still Fluffy, though,” said Hermione.
“Maybe Snape’s found out how to get past him without asking Hagrid,” said Ron, looking up at the thousands of books surrounding them. “I bet there’s a book somewhere in here telling you how to get past a giant three headed dog. So what do we do, Harry?”
The light of adventure was kindling again in Ron’s eyes, but Hermione answered before Harry could.
“Go to Dumbledore. That’s what we should have done ages ago. If we try anything ourselves we’ll be thrown out for sure.”
“But we’ve got no
said Harry. “Quirrell’s too scared to back us up. Snape’s only got to say he doesn’t know how the troll got in at Halloween and that he was nowhere near the third floor—who do you think they’ll believe, him or us? It’s not exactly a secret we hate him, Dumbledore’ll think we made it up to get him sacked. Filch wouldn’t help us if his life depended on it, he’s too friendly with Snape, and the more students get thrown out, the better, he’ll think. And don’t forget, we’re not supposed to know about the Stone or Fluffy. That’ll take a lot of explaining.”
Hermione looked convinced, but Ron didn’t.
“If we just do a bit of poking around—”
“No,” said Harry flatly, “we’ve done enough poking around.”
He pulled a map of Jupiter toward him and started to learn the names of its moons.
The following morning, notes were delivered to Harry, Hermione, and Neville at the breakfast table. They were all the same:
Your detention will take place at eleven o’clock tonight.
Meet Mr. Filch in the entrance hall.
Harry had forgotten they still had detentions to do in the furor over the points they’d lost. He half expected Hermione to complain that this was a whole night of studying lost, but she didn’t say a word. Like Harry, she felt they deserved what they’d got.
At eleven o’clock that night, they said good bye to Ron in the common room and went down to the entrance hall with Neville. Filch was already there—and so was Malfoy. Harry had also forgotten that Malfoy had gotten a detention, too.
“Follow me,” said Filch, lighting a lamp and leading them outside.
“I bet you’ll think twice about breaking a school rule again, won’t you, eh?” he said, leering at them. “Oh yes… hard work and pain are the best teachers if you ask me… It’s just a pity they let the old punishments die out… hang you by your wrists from the ceiling for a few days, I’ve got the chains still in my office, keep ’em well oiled in case they’re ever needed… Right, off we go, and don’t think of running off, now, it’ll be worse for you if you do.”
They marched off across the dark grounds. Neville kept sniffing. Harry wondered what their punishment was going to be. It must be something really horrible, or Filch wouldn’t be sounding so delighted.
The moon was bright, but clouds scudding across it kept throwing them into darkness. Ahead, Harry could see the lighted windows of Hagrid’s hut. Then they heard a distant shout.
“Is that you, Filch? Hurry up, I want ter get started.”
Harry’s heart rose; if they were going to be working with Hagrid it wouldn’t be so bad. His relief must have showed in his face, because Filch said, “I suppose you think you’ll be enjoying yourself with that oaf? Well, think again, boy—it’s into the forest you’re going and I’m much mistaken if you’ll all come out in one piece.”
At this, Neville let out a little moan, and Malfoy stopped dead in his tracks.
“The forest?” he repeated, and he didn’t sound quite as cool as usual. “We can’t go in there at night—there’s all sorts of things in there—werewolves, I heard.”
Neville clutched the sleeve of Harry’s robe and made a choking noise.
“That’s your problem, isn’t it?” said Filch, his voice cracking with glee. “Should’ve thought of them werewolves before you got in trouble, shouldn’t you?”
Hagrid came striding toward them out of the dark, Fang at his heel. He was carrying his large crossbow, and a quiver of arrows hung over his shoulder.
“Abou’ time,” he said. “I bin waitin’ fer half an hour already. All right, Harry, Hermione?”
“I shouldn’t be too friendly to them, Hagrid,” said Filch coldly, “they’re here to be punished, after all.”
“That’s why yer late, is it?” said Hagrid, frowning at Filch. “Bin lecturin’ them, eh? ’Snot your place ter do that. Yeh’ve done yer bit, I’ll take over from here.”
“I’ll be back at dawn,” said Filch, “for what’s left of them,” he added nastily, and he turned and started back toward the castle, his lamp bobbing away in the darkness.
Malfoy now turned to Hagrid.
“I’m not going in that forest,” he said, and Harry was pleased to hear the note of panic in his voice.
“Yeh are if yeh want ter stay at Hogwarts,” said Hagrid fiercely. “Yeh’ve done wrong an’ now yeh’ve got ter pay fer it.”
“But this is servant stuff, it’s not for students to do. I thought we’d be copying lines or something, if my father knew I was doing this, he’d—”
“—tell yer that’s how it is at Hogwarts,” Hagrid growled. “Copyin’ lines! What good’s that ter anyone? Yeh’ll do summat useful or yeh’ll get out. If yeh think yer father’d rather you were expelled, then get back off ter the castle an’ pack. Go on.”
Malfoy didn’t move. He looked at Hagrid furiously, but then dropped his gaze.
“Right then,” said Hagrid, “now, listen carefully, ’cause it’s dangerous what we’re gonna do tonight, an’ I don’ want no one takin’ risks. Follow me over here a moment.”
He led them to the very edge of the forest. Holding his lamp up high, he pointed down a narrow, winding earth track that disappeared into the thick black trees. A light breeze lifted their hair as they looked into the forest.
“Look there,” said Hagrid, “see that stuff shinin’ on the ground? Silvery stuff? That’s unicorn blood. There’s a unicorn in there bin hurt badly by summat. This is the second time in a week. I found one dead last Wednesday. We’re gonna try an’ find the poor thing. We might have ter put it out of its misery.”
“And what if whatever hurt the unicorn finds us first?” said Malfoy, unable to keep the fear out of his voice.
“There’s nothin’ that lives in the forest that’ll hurt yeh if yer with me or Fang,” said Hagrid. “An’ keep ter the path. Right, now, we’re gonna split inter two parties an’ follow the trail in diff’rent directions. There’s blood all over the place, it must’ve bin staggerin’ around since last night at least.”
“I want Fang,” said Malfoy quickly, looking at Fang’s long teeth.
“All right, but I warn yeh, he’s a coward,” said Hagrid. “So me, Harry, an’ Hermione’ll go one way an’ Draco, Neville, an’ Fang’ll go the other. Now, if any of us finds the unicorn, we’ll send up green sparks, right? Get yer wands out an’ practice now—that’s it—an’ if anyone gets in trouble, send up red sparks, an’ we’ll all come an’ find yeh—so, be careful—let’s go.”