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The Wizard and the Hopping Pot

The first of Beedle the Bard's tales, The Wizard and the Hopping Pot deals with a topic often touched upon in the Harry Potter stories, and one that Hagrid addressed with Harry in the very first book. Should Wizards use their magical abilities to help Muggles? Or should Wizards hide themselves from the Muggle world, and more importantly, should they hide all magic from Muggles?

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Reader Comments:

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry and Hagrid are in the row boat returning from the Hut on the Rock. Harry asks Hagrid, what does the Ministry of Magic do? Hagrid replies,

"Well, their main job is to keep it from Muggles that there's still witches and wizards up an' down the country."

When Harry asks why, Hagrid says,

"Why? Blimey, Harry, everyone'd be wantin' magical solutions to their problems. No, we're best left alone."

A sentiment the kindly old wizard in The Wizard and the Hopping Pot didn't share, but his son did. But the father showed him the error of his ways, and that dismissing the muggles leads to feeling superior to them.

This story is about prejudice of wizards against muggles, something Dumbledore fought against most of his life. He saw in his own experience how feeling superior to muggles could get out of hand.

Dumbledore tells us in the notes of the book that his mother read him these tales as a child. Why do you think he originally missed the lesson in this one?

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on December 5, 2008 7:14 PM

I think that these small stories play a big part in the future...

Posted by Ali Akbar from Lucknow,India on December 5, 2008 7:34 PM

This is exactly what we were talking about in my class (though not about HP). Kids just enjoy stories, and most of the time, they don't get the lesson behind the story until told.

Posted by Mrs. Prongs from Richmond, Virginia on December 7, 2008 09:03 AM

Maybe the story was just read and never explained to him. Dumbledore learned the lesson through experience.

Posted by Ashley from Riyadh on December 7, 2008 1:50 PM

The world through the eyes of an child is much different from the viewpont of an adult. I believe Dumbledore would have said... Wisdom comes with age.

Posted by Pamela Sue from Ark on December 7, 2008 5:54 PM

Could the story of The Wizard and the Hopping Pot have taken place long before such things as the persecution of witches in the Middle Ages? Beedle's tales are supposed to be very old; the wizarding equivalent of Aesop's Fables I think. The Statute of Secrecy only came into force in the 18th century, if I recall correctly. At that time witch hunting and burning was at its height. Think of the Salem Witch Trials. Anyway, wizards withdrew because THEY were being persecuted. In fact, if you think about it, wizards were relatively safe even when they were being persecuted. Unless caught without a wand they would have been able to escape most muggle traps. It would be muggles mistakenly identified as witches or wizards who would suffer the most. Perhaps the wizards withdrew into hiding to protect these innocents.

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on December 13, 2008 03:20 AM

I feel that what Hagrid said stands. Wizards and Muggles wouldnt mix for obvious reasons such as the muggles being afraid of them and wanting the Wizards to do all of their jobs.

Posted by Alex B. from London on December 15, 2008 12:50 PM

As Pamela said, the story through a child's eyes would've been different. Adults would understand it better, but a child wouldn't have seen the lesson. In the seventh book, we find out that Dumbledore was a little prejudice toward muggles, but we know that he wasn't later on. It could've been that Dumbledore must have read the stories later on in his life and realized the true lesson in the story (this is just a suggestion).

Posted by hpl0ver101 on December 16, 2008 5:32 PM

We also know nothing about Kendra Dumbledore's family, except that they were Muggles. What if she was treated to Durley-like abuse for being a witch? The resulting person would (possibly) be fiercely proud of her talent/gift, and prejudiced towards Muggles -- particularly after Ariana's unfortunate situation.

Thinking about these unknowns could lead us to conclusions about HOW Dumbledore once found common ground with Grindelwald.

Posted by Maggie from Philadelphia on December 17, 2008 07:51 AM

I think like Ron said in Harry Potter and the ly Hallows that these were just to scare off young children. its basically just that you should keep your magic to yourself, or else it'll cause trouble and that once you start something, you can't let others down who depended on you. ill try to look at it from another point of view but for now, thats all i got.

Posted by miss cissy from malfoy manor on December 18, 2008 2:08 PM

The tales of Beedle the bard reminds me of the stories an ancient Greek writer, Aesop. In every Aesop's tale there was always a moral to make. I think the tales Beedle wrote are what parents in the wizarding world read to their children in order to let them know what's wrong and what is right. Of course as with everything in the wizarding world there might be something else behind the stories.

Posted by Prongs from Athens,Greece on December 22, 2008 1:32 PM

i agree with most of the comments. children, most of them anyway, dont really realize life lessons until its too late or they are old enough to recall them. although i quite agree with Hagrid that wizards living in secret is a wise decision. us muggles would pester them with quick solutions to every problem.

Posted by diana from Akron Ohio on December 22, 2008 11:24 PM

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