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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 13 страница. everyone laughing at how a wide-mouthed tree frog would be replacing



everyone laughing at how a wide-mouthed tree frog would be replacing

Harry as Seeker next. Then he'd realized that nobody found this funny,

because they were all so impressed at the way Harry had managed to stay

on his bucking broomstick. So Malfoy, jealous and angry, had gone back

to taunting Harry about having no proper family.

 

It was true that Harry wasn't going back to Privet Drive for Christmas.

Professor McGonagall had come around the week before, making a list of

students who would be staying for the holidays, and Harry had signed up

at once. He didn't feel sorry for himself at all; this would probably be

the best Christmas he'd ever had. Ron and his brothers were staying,

too, because Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were going to Romania to visit

Charlie.

 

When they left the dungeons at the end of Potions, they found a large

fir tree blocking the corridor ahead. Two enormous feet sticking out at

the bottom and a loud puffing sound told them that Hagrid was behind it.

 

"Hi, Hagrid, want any help?" Ron asked, sticking his head through the

branches.

 

"Nah, I'm all right, thanks, Ron."

 

"Would you mind moving out of the way?" came Malfoys cold drawl from

behind them. "Are you trying to earn some extra money, Weasley? Hoping

to be gamekeeper yourself when you leave Hogwarts, I suppose -- that hut

of Hagrid's must seem like a palace compared to what your family's used

to."

 

Ron dived at Malfoy just as Snape came up the stairs.

 

"WEASLEY!"

 

Ron let go of the front of Malfoy's robes.

 

"He was provoked, Professor Snape," said Hagrid, sticking his huge hairy

face out from behind the tree. "Malfoy was insultin' his family."

 

"Be that as it may, fighting is against Hogwarts rules, Hagrid," said

Snape silkily. "Five points from Gryffindor, Weasley, and be grateful it

isn't more. Move along, all of you."

 

Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle pushed roughly past the tree, scattering

needles everywhere and smirking.

 

"I'll get him," said Ron, grinding his teeth at Malfoy's back, "one of

these days, I'll get him --"

 

"I hate them both," said Harry, "Malfoy and Snape."

 

"Come on, cheer up, it's nearly Christmas," said Hagrid. "Tell yeh what,

come with me an' see the Great Hall, looks a treat."

 

So the three of them followed Hagrid and his tree off to -the Great



Hall, where Professor McGonagall and Professor Flitwick were busy with

the Christmas decorations.

 

"Ah, Hagrid, the last tree -- put it in the far corner, would you?"

 

The hall looked spectacular. Festoons of holly and mistletoe hung all

around the walls, and no less than twelve towering Christmas trees stood

around the room, some sparkling with tiny icicles, some glittering with

hundreds of candles.

 

"How many days you got left until yer holidays?" Hagrid asked.

 

"Just one," said Hermione. "And that reminds me -Harry, Ron, we've got

half an hour before lunch, we should be in the library."

 

"Oh yeah, you're right," said Ron, tearing his eyes away from Professor

Flitwick, who had golden bubbles blossoming out of his wand and was

trailing them over the branches of the new tree.

 

"The library?" said Hagrid, following them out of the hall. "Just before

the holidays? Bit keen, aren't yeh?"

 

"Oh, we're not working," Harry told him brightly. "Ever since you

mentioned Nicolas Flamel we've been trying to find out who he is."

 

"You what?" Hagrid looked shocked. "Listen here -- I've told yeh -- drop

it. It's nothin' to you what that dog's guardin'."

 

"We just want to know who Nicolas Flamel is, that's all," said Hermione.

 

"Unless you'd like to tell us and save us the trouble?" Harry added. "We

must've been through hundreds of books already and we can't find him

anywhere -- just give us a hint -- I know I've read his name somewhere."

 

"I'm sayin' nothin, said Hagrid flatly.

 

"Just have to find out for ourselves, then," said Ron, and they left

Hagrid looking disgruntled and hurried off to the library.

 

They had indeed been searching books for Flamel's name ever since Hagrid

had let it slip, because how else were they going to find out what Snape

was trying to steal? The trouble was, it was very hard to know where to

begin, not knowing what Flamel might have done to get himself into a

book. He wasn't in Great Wizards of the Twentieth Century, or Notable

Magical Names of Our Time; he was missing, too, from Important Modern

Magical Discoveries, and A Study of Recent Developments in Wizardry. And

then, of course, there was the sheer size of the library; tens of

thousands of books; thousands of shelves; hundreds of narrow rows.

 

Hermione took out a list of subjects and titles she had decided to

search while Ron strode off down a row of books and started pulling them

off the shelves at random. Harry wandered over to the Restricted

Section. He had been wondering for a while if Flamel wasn't somewhere in

there. Unfortunately, you needed a specially signed note from one of the

teachers to look in any of the restricted books, and he knew he'd never

get one. These were the books containing powerful Dark Magic never

taught at Hogwarts, and only read by older students studying advanced

Defense Against the Dark Arts.

 

"What are you looking for, boy?"

 

"Nothing," said Harry.

 

Madam Pince the librarian brandished a feather duster at him.

 

"You'd better get out, then. Go on -- out!"

 

Wishing he'd been a bit quicker at thinking up some story, Harry left

the library. He, Ron, and Hermione had already agreed they'd better not

ask Madam Pince where they could find Flamel. They were sure she'd be

able to tell them, but they couldn't risk Snape hearing what they were

up to.

 

Harry waited outside in the corridor to see if the other two had found

anything, but he wasn't very hopeful. They had been looking for two

weeks, after A, but as they only had odd moments between lessons it

wasn't surprising they'd found nothing. What they really needed was a

nice long search without Madam Pince breathing down their necks.

 

Five minutes later, Ron and Hermione joined him, shaking their heads.

They went off to lunch.

 

"You will keep looking while I'm away, won't you?" said Hermione. "And

send me an owl if you find anything."

 

"And you could ask your parents if they know who Flamel is," said Ron.

"It'd be safe to ask them."

 

"Very safe, as they're both dentists," said Hermione.

 

Once the holidays had started, Ron and Harry were having too good a time

to think much about Flamel. They had the dormitory to themselves and the

common room was far emptier than usual, so they were able to get the

good armchairs by the fire. They sat by the hour eating anything they

could spear on a toasting fork -- bread, English muffins, marshmallows

-- and plotting ways of getting Malfoy expelled, which were fun to talk

about even if they wouldn't work.

 

Ron also started teaching Harry wizard chess. This was exactly like

Muggle chess except that the figures were alive, which made it a lot

like directing troops in battle. Ron's set was very old and battered.

Like everything else he owned, it had once belonged to someone else in

his family -- in this case, his grandfather. However, old chessmen

weren't a drawback at all. Ron knew them so well he never had trouble

getting them to do what he wanted.

 

Harry played with chessmen Seamus Finnigan had lent him, and they didn't

trust him at all. He wasn't a very good player yet and they kept

shouting different bits of advice at him, which was confusing. "Don't

send me there, can't you see his knight? Send him, we can afford to lose

him." On Christmas Eve, Harry went to bed looking forward to the next

day for the food and the fun, but not expecting any presents at all.

When he woke early in the morning, however, the first thing he saw was a

small pile of packages at the foot of his bed.

 

"Merry Christmas," said Ron sleepily as Harry scrambled out of bed and

pulled 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, which

was a lot bigger than Harry's.

 

Harry picked up the top parcel. It was wrapped in thick brown paper and

scrawled across it was To Harry, from Hagrid. Inside was a roughly cut

wooden 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 Uncle

Vernon 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, 'NMat a shape! This is money?"

 

"You can keep it," said Harry, laughing at how pleased Ron was. "Hagrid

and my aunt and uncle -- so who sent these?"

 

"I think I know who that one's from," said Ron, turning a bit pink and

pointing to a very lumpy parcel. "My mom. I told her you didn't expect

any presents and -- oh, no," he groaned, "she's made you a Weasley

sweater."

 

Harry had torn open the parcel to find a thick, hand-knitted sweater in

emerald green and a large box of homemade fudge.

 

"Every year she makes us a sweater," said Ron, unwrapping his own, "and

mine's always maroon."

 

"That's really nice of her," said Harry, trying the fudge, which was

very tasty.

 

His next present also contained candy -- a large box of Chocolate Frogs

from Hermione.

 

This only left one parcel. Harry picked it up and felt it. It was very

light. He unwrapped it.

 

Something fluid and silvery gray went slithering to the floor where it

lay in gleaming folds. Ron gasped.

 

"I've heard of those," he said in a hushed voice, dropping the box of

Every Flavor Beans he'd gotten from Hermione. "If that's what I think it

is -- they're really rare, and really valuable."

 

"What is it?"

 

Harry picked the shining, silvery cloth off the floor. It was strange to

the touch, like water woven into material.

 

"It's an invisibility cloak," said Ron, a look of awe on his face. "I'm

sure 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. He dashed to the

mirror. Sure enough, his reflection looked back at him, just his head

suspended in midair, his body completely invisible. He pulled the cloak

over his head and his reflection vanished completely.

 

"There's a note!" said Ron suddenly. "A note fell out of it!"

 

Harry pulled off the cloak and seized the letter. Written in narrow,

loopy writing he had never seen before were the following words: Your

father left this in my possession before he died. It is time it was

returned to you. Use it well.

 

A Very Merry Christmas to you.

 

 

There was no signature. Harry stared at the note. Ron was admiring the

cloak.

 

"I'd give anything for one of these," he said. "Anything. What's the

matter?"

 

"Nothing," said Harry. He felt very strange. Who had sent the cloak? Had

it really once belonged to his father?

 

Before he could say or think anything else, the dormitory door was flung

open and Fred and George Weasley bounded in. Harry stuffed the cloak

quickly out of sight. He didn't feel like sharing it with anyone else

yet.

 

"Merry Christmas!"

 

"Hey, look -- Harry's got a Weasley sweater, too!"

 

Fred and George were wearing blue sweaters, one with a large yellow F on

it, the other a G.

 

"Harry's is better than ours, though," said Fred, holding up Harry's

sweater. "She obviously makes more of an effort if you're not family."

 

"Why aren't you wearing yours, Ron?" George demanded. "Come on, get it

on, they're lovely and warm."

 

"I hate maroon," Ron moaned halfheartedly as he pulled it over his head.

 

"You haven't got a letter on yours," George observed. "I suppose she

thinks you don't forget your name. But we're not stupid -- we know we're

called Gred and Forge."

 

"What's all th is noise.

 

Percy Weasley stuck his head through the door, looking disapproving. He

had clearly gotten halfway through unwrapping his presents as he, too,

carried a lumpy sweater over his arm, which

 

Fred seized.

 

"P for prefect! Get it on, Percy, come on, we're all wearing ours, even

Harry got one."

 

"I -- don't -- want said Percy thickly, as the twins forced the sweater

over his head, knocking his glasses askew.

 

"And you're not sitting with the prefects today, either," said

 

George. "Christmas is a time for family."

 

They frog-marched Percy from the room, his arms pinned to his side by

his sweater.

 

Harry had never in all his life had such a Christmas dinner. A hundred

fat, roast turkeys; mountains of roast and boiled potatoes; platters of

chipolatas; tureens of buttered peas, silver boats of thick, rich gravy

and cranberry sauce -- and stacks of wizard crackers every few feet

along the table. These fantastic party favors were nothing like the

feeble Muggle ones the Dursleys usually bought, with their little

plastic toys and their flimsy paper hats inside. Harry pulled a wizard

cracker with Fred and it didn't just bang, it went off with a blast like

a cannon and engulfed them all in a cloud of blue smoke, while from the

inside exploded a rear admiral's hat and several live, white mice. Up at

the High Table, Dumbledore had swapped his pointed wizard's hat for a

flowered bonnet, and was chuckling merrily at a joke Professor Flitwick

had just read him.

 

Flaming Christmas puddings followed the turkey. Percy nearly broke his

teeth on a silver sickle embedded in his slice. Harry watched Hagrid

getting redder and redder in the face as he called for more wine,

finally kissing Professor McGonagall on the cheek, who, to Harry's

amazement, giggled and blushed, her top hat lopsided.

 

When Harry finally left the table, he was laden down with a stack of

things out of the crackers, including a pack of nonexplodable, luminous

balloons, a Grow-Your-Own-Warts kit, and his own new wizard chess set.

The white mice had disappeared and Harry had a nasty feeling they were

going to end up as Mrs. Norris's Christmas dinner.

 

Harry and the Weasleys spent a happy afternoon having a furious snowball

fight on the grounds. Then, cold, wet, and gasping for breath, they

returned to the fire in the Gryffindor common room, where Harry broke in

his new chess set by losing spectacularly to Ron. He suspected he

wouldn't have lost so badly if Percy hadn't tried to help him so much.

 

After a meal of turkey sandwiches, crumpets, trifle, and Christmas cake,

everyone felt too full and sleepy to do much before bed except sit and

watch Percy chase Fred and George all over Gryffindor tower because

they'd stolen his prefect badge.

 

It had been Harry's best Christmas day ever. Yet something had been

nagging at the back of his mind all day. Not until he climbed into bed

was he free to think about it: the invisibility cloak and whoever had

sent it.

 

Ron, full of turkey and cake and with nothing mysterious to bother him,

fell asleep almost as soon as he'd drawn the curtains of his

four-poster. Harry leaned over the side of his own bed and pulled the

cloak out from under it.

 

His father's... this had been his father's. He let the material flow

over his hands, smoother than silk, light as air. Use it well, the note

had said.

 

He had to try it, now. He slipped out of bed and wrapped the cloak

around himself. Looking down at his legs, he saw only moonlight and

shadows. It was a very funny feeling.

 

Use it well.

 

Suddenly, Harry felt wide-awake. The whole of Hogwarts was open to him

in this cloak. Excitement flooded through him as he stood there in the

dark and silence. He could go anywhere in this, anywhere, and Filch

would never know.

 

Ron grunted in his sleep. Should Harry wake him? Something held him back

-- his father's cloak -- he felt that this time -- the first time -- he

wanted to use it alone.

 

He crept out of the dormitory, down the stairs, across the common room,

and climbed through the portrait hole.

 

"Who's there?" squawked the Fat Lady. Harry said nothing. He walked

quickly down the corridor.

 

Where should he go? He stopped, his heart racing, and thought. And then

it came to him. The Restricted Section in the library. He'd be able to

read as long as he liked, as long as it took to find out who Flamel was.

He set off, drawing the invisibility cloak tight around him as he

walked.

 

The library was pitch-black and very eerie. Harry lit a lamp to see his

way along the rows of books. The lamp looked as if it was floating along

in midair, and even though Harry could feel his arm supporting it, the

sight gave him the creeps.

 

The Restricted Section was right at the back of the library. Step ping

carefully over the rope that separated these books from the rest of the

library, he held up his lamp to read the titles.

 

They didn't tell him much. Their peeling, faded gold letters spelled

words in languages Harry couldn't understand. Some had no title at all.

One book had a dark stain on it that looked horribly like blood. The

hairs on the back of Harry's neck prickled. Maybe he was imagining it,

maybe not, but he thought a faint whispering was coming from the books,

as though they knew someone was there who shouldn't be.

 

He had to start somewhere. Setting the lamp down carefully on the floor,

he looked along the bottom shelf for an interestinglooking book. A large

black and silver volume caught his eye. He pulled it out with

difficulty, because it was very heavy, and, balancing it on his knee,

let it fall open.

 

A piercing, bloodcurdling shriek split the silence -- the book was

screaming! Harry snapped it shut, but the shriek went on and on, one

high, unbroken, earsplitting note. He stumbled backward and knocked over

his lamp, which went out at once. Panicking, he heard footsteps coming

down the corridor outside -- stuffing the shrieking book back on the

shelf, he ran for it. He passed Filch in the doorway; Filch's pale, wild

eyes looked straight through him, and Harry slipped under Filch's

outstretched arm and streaked off up the corridor, the book's shrieks

still ringing in his ears.

 

He came to a sudden halt in front of a tall suit of armor. He had been

so busy getting away from the library, he hadn't paid attention to where

he was going. Perhaps because it was dark, he didn't recognize where he

was at all. There was a suit of armor near the kitchens, he knew, but he

must be five floors above there.

 

"You asked me to come directly to you, Professor, if anyone was

wandering around at night, and somebody's been in the library Restricted

Section."

 

Harry felt the blood drain out of his face. Wherever he was, Filch must

know a shortcut, because his soft, greasy voice was getting nearer, and

to his horror, it was Snape who replied, "The Restricted Section? Well,

they can't be far, we'll catch them."

 

Harry stood rooted to the spot as Filch and Snape came around the corner

ahead. They couldn't see him, of course, but it was a narrow corridor

and if they came much nearer they'd knock right into him -- the cloak

didn't stop him from being solid.

 

He backed away as quietly as he could. A door stood ajar to his left. It

was his only hope. He squeezed through it, holding his breath, trying

not to move it, and to his relief he managed to get inside the room

without their noticing anything. They walked straight past, and Harry

leaned against the wall, breathing deeply, listening to their footsteps

dying away. That had been close, very close. It was a few seconds before

he noticed anything about the room he had hidden in.

 

It looked like an unused classroom. The dark shapes of desks and chairs

were piled against the walls, and there was an upturned wastepaper

basket -- but propped against the wall facing him was something that

didn't look as if it belonged there, something that looked as if someone

had just put it there to keep it out of the way.

 

It was a magnificent mirror, as high as the ceiling, with an ornate gold

frame, standing on two clawed feet. There was an inscription carved

around the top: Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi. His panic

fading now that there was no sound of Filch and Snape, Harry moved

nearer to the mirror, wanting to look at himself but see no reflection

again. He stepped in front of it.

 

He had to clap his hands to his mouth to stop himself from screaming. He

whirled around. His heart was pounding far more furiously than when the

book had screamed -- for he had seen not only himself in the mirror, but

a whole crowd of people standing right behind him.

 

But the room was empty. Breathing very fast, he turned slowly back to

the mirror.

 

There he was, reflected in it, white and scared-looking, and there,

reflected behind him, were at least ten others. Harry looked over his

shoulder -- but still, no one was there. Or were they all invisible,

too? Was he in fact in a room full of invisible people and this mirror's

trick was that it reflected them, invisible or not?

 

He looked in the mirror again. A woman standing right behind his

reflection was smiling at him and waving. He reached out a hand and felt

the air behind him. If she was really there, he'd touch her, their

reflections were so close together, but he felt only air -- she and the

others existed only in the mirror.

 

She was a very pretty woman. She had dark red hair and her eyes -- her

eyes are just like mine, Harry thought, edging a little closer to the

glass. Bright green -- exactly the same shape, but then he noticed that

she was crying; smiling, but crying at the same time. The tall, thin,

black-haired man standing next to her put his arm around her. He wore

glasses, and his hair was very untidy. It stuck up at the back, just as

Harry's did.

 

Harry was so close to the mirror now that his nose was nearly touching

that of his reflection.

 

"Mom?" he whispered. "Dad?"

 

They just looked at him, smiling. And slowly, Harry looked into the

faces of the other people in the mirror, and saw other pairs of green

eyes like his, other noses like his, even a little old man who looked as

though he had Harry's knobbly knees -- Harry was looking at his family,

for the first time in his life.

 

The Potters smiled and waved at Harry and he stared hungrily back at

them, his hands pressed flat against the glass as though he was hoping

to fall right through it and reach them. He had a powerful kind of ache

inside him, half joy, half terrible sadness.

 

How long he stood there, he didn't know. The reflections did not fade

and he looked and looked until a distant noise brought him back to his

senses. He couldn't stay here, he had to find his way back to bed. He

tore his eyes away from his mother's face, whispered, "I'll come back,"

and hurried from the room.

 

"You could have woken me up," said Ron, crossly.

 

"You can come tonight, I'm going back, I want to show you the mirror.

 

"I'd like to see your mom and dad," Ron said eagerly.

 

"And I want to see all your family, all the Weasleys, you'll be able to

show me your other brothers and everyone."

 

"You can see them any old time," said Ron. "Just come round my house

this summer. Anyway, maybe it only shows dead people. Shame about not

finding Flamel, though. Have some bacon or something, why aren't you

eating anything?"

 

Harry couldn't eat. He had seen his parents and would be seeing them

again tonight. He had almost forgotten about Flamel. It didn't seem very

important anymore. Who cared what the three headed dog was guarding?

What did it matter if Snape stole it, really?

 

"Are you all right?" said Ron. "You look odd."

 

What Harry feared most was that he might not be able to find the mirror

room again. With Ron covered in the cloak, too, they had to walk much

more slowly the next night. They tried retracing Harry's route from the





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