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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: (Page 3)

Craig, I'm not sure about "friendly" with each other, but my understanding was that for a long time Muggles were far more aware of witches and wizards living amongst them. Then with all the witch hunts and burnings of the middle ages and later in the 17th century, which actually happened in real life, not just in Harry Potter, the wizards withdrew completely. This is referred to in several places. Dumbledore refers to it in Beedle, and there are references in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Of course there are also references in the HP books, too. Interestingly the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy came into being in 1689 - during the following century Muggles made more and more scientific discoveries, the 18th century coming to be known as the Enlightenment. Not sure if Rowling was intending to suggest this as a result of the Wizarding world's complete withdrawal! Anyway, I point it out as a possibility that the withdrawal of witches and wizards into their own communities forced Muggles to find scientific solutions to problems such as how to fly without the aid of a broomstick.

My main point is that for wizards and witches to withdraw completely, there must once have been some level of interaction. Take the sad demise of Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington in 1492 for example. His captors knew enough about wizards to deprive Nearly Headless Nick of his wand so that he couldn't escape. Even if they didn't know enough to have the axe sharp.
Several of the Tales show fairly matter-of-fact interactions between Muggles and witches and/or wizards. So while there was probably a certain amount of suspicion on both sides, clearly at that time each side knew the other existed.

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on March 30, 2009 06:38 AM

um, it seems that on some level, the mysterious, (i.e. magic) exists, and people were very aware of its abilities and uses. You don't have to have a muggle/wizard relationship to want someoneelse to do your work, a person just needs to be lazy. I n our so-called dark ages, any mysterious bounty or good fortune was ascribed to magicks and wizardry, rightly or wrongly. In the absence of coinage, the barter system kind of had you being "nosy".

Posted by Nat D. Aiken from the Bronx , NY (near a real castle) on April 15, 2009 07:35 AM

I think this tale is not so good. Worse I think the moral could be misunderstood by children. The son eventually helps the muggles with their problems, did he truly change his mind and began to feel compassion for muggles? That point remains uncertain. Let's not forget it was only under the threat of the hopping pot going rampant again he hasn't actually chosen to do so. What kind of moral it that? Use threats and you'll get everything you want? Generosity must be sincere and not forced!
Dumbledore might've thought that in his youth and especially when he met Grindelwald.
We also know that the good old wizard wrote a note to his son "I hope you won't need it" meaning the father made the same mistake.
One can only be a better man by helping others but the greatest harm can result from the best intentions. Dumbledore paid the price for that lesson.
My other point is that a child with half a brain and a fair bit of imagination would have realised it was in fact very easy to get rid of the hopping pot. I mean, come on what kind of idiot wouldn't try at least to bury the pot, or to destroy it with magic? And even so he could always leave that place he seemed to loath or even ask help to a fellow wizard, many of them would have been happy to get rid of the damn thing for him when they learnt he was against helping muggles.
I know this is supposed to bed a bedtime story for children...But still.

Posted by Geoffrey from Paris, France on April 21, 2009 2:44 PM

Good point Geoffrey but the true moral, as you say can sometimes be misunderstood by children because they are children. They don't look deeply into books and try to work out what it is telling them. We were all less intelligent than that when you and I were kids.

Of course Dumbledore thought that in his youth because he was in his youth. He became secluded from people his own age for a long time and I think Grindlewald showing up must have influenced him to share his ideas with him.

The moral here si that with magic comes responsibility and letting this magic sort out other peoples problems greatly helps you as well as the people you are helping

Posted by Craig Edwards from Telford on April 25, 2009 08:43 AM

When beedle wrote these stories, muggles were not as advanced as they are today...i'm sure modern scientific methods and medicines could have got rid of the warts and the child's illness, as for the donkey...just too bad. wizards are best left alone as many greedy people may take advantage of them and as hagrid said everyone would be wanting magical solutions to their problems.and anyway we are facing problems everyday and handling the...without wizard help!

Posted by Apoorva from India on September 5, 2009 09:54 AM

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