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Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump

The fourth Beedle the Bard tale, Babbity Rabitty and her Cackling Stump, while couched in a story of how Wizards can triumph over foolish or opportunistic Muggles, is really story that teaches young Wizards important information about the limitations of magic, specifically, that magic cannot bring back the dead.

Reader Comments:

Unlike the other tales, in which the magic is legendary and not real, as a magical hopping pot or fountain of fortune, the Babbity Rabbitty tale contains real magic. Babbity makesa hat disappear and levitates a horse. In the story, Babbitty is also an almost true representation of an animagi, although she can talk as a rabbit, as normal animagi can't. But Dumbledore thinks that either this poetic license on Beedle's part, or that possibly he, himself, had never seen an animagi, as they are rare.

And again, like the last story, magic and life and play a big role. Dumbledore tells us in the notes that it's surprising for young witches and wizards to learn their moms and dads can't bring their pets back to life. It's a major limitation of magic that Wizards have to learn to accept, but that some never do.

Could the sure knowledge that one can never be brought back from the have driven Tom Riddle to try to figure out how to never in the first place?

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on February 22, 2009 3:26 PM

There are definitely some big links from these stories to the beginning of the series and the end. for example isn't it weird when the Slytherin house is known to hate muggles, mudbloods and blood traitors but all the same the good witches and wizards still show the same attitude as to feeling above the muggles in every single way? also there is the fact that muggles always want quick solutions to their problems as shown in Babbity Rabbity and her cackling stump. This could relate to when Harry sets too much store on the prophecy assuming that it is going to happen anyway without him trying which Dumbledore shows is wrong, and when Babbity mentions that "henceforth, every stroke of harm that you inflict upon my fellow witches and wizards feel like an axe stroke in your own side, until you wish you could of it!" this relates to the making of the horcrux when you split your soul as soon as you anyone and the fact that showing remorse about it to put your soul back together be a very painful experience

Posted by Anonymous from los angeles on February 22, 2009 3:30 PM

Dumbeldore was wrong with his comment on babbity rabbity that an animagi cant talk. malfoy talks to rita skeeter at hogwarts like a walkie talkie.

Posted by matthew from monterey on February 22, 2009 3:31 PM

is it possible for a muggle to do magic as long as he had a wand?

Posted by Anonymous on February 22, 2009 3:32 PM

I don't think so. I think a wand is only a tool, it doesn't have the magic itself, the wizard has that.

It's like the difference between a chisel in the hands of a normal person and the same chisel in the hands of Michelangelo.

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on February 22, 2009 3:33 PM

Matthew, I don't think Dumbledore was wrong. Malfoy talks to Rita Skeeter, but it never says she talks back to him. I think anamagi can still understand human speech, but they can't speak themselves.

Posted by Anonymous from Arizona on February 22, 2009 3:34 PM


anamagi can't talk because they're animals:) but they can hear others.

if you give a muggle a wand, it'll just look like a stick to them. though to us wands are a symbol of magic and power, the muggles in the books are very close-minded. the magic has to come from within. remember how in HBP the students had to learn non verbal spells? well they don't always need a wand for that do they? remember harry trying to reach his wand by just thinking of the spell? well he could have but didn't but the poing is that the wand is, like david said, merely a tool to help produce the magic. it come from inside you too

Posted by miss cissy from malfoy manor on February 22, 2009 3:35 PM

Dave Haber:
In the tales of beedle the bard dumbledored notes on this section clearly state that wands can grow acustomed to certain magic, and evan have some still left inside it. This is the reason why second hand wands are not prefered as the previous owner may have been some dark wizzard

Posted by Rafael from England on February 22, 2009 3:36 PM

You know how Dumbldore thought Beedle was taking poetic licence making the rabbit speak? Anyway, Maybe Babbity vanished a small alcove,just big enough for her, under the tree she had conjured, and just Animagoused to get away.

Posted by aranel on June 7, 2009 5:02 PM

how would a witch hunter recognize a witch? the're not always doing magic!

Posted by Apoorva from India on September 5, 2009 10:36 AM


In those times people feared magic and were not very good at recognising it anyway. Because of this fear, they made accusations here and there and, occasionally got one right, but they didn't . They put a freezing charm on which stopped them from being burnt alive.

Posted by Craig Edwards from Telford on September 26, 2009 05:55 AM

just to remind u all..this story is based on a real one

Posted by mark evans from cairo on January 30, 2010 12:42 AM

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