As Harry opens the [locket], its voice hisses at Ron and shows him his worst fears, temporarily freezing him and making him unable to wield the sword in his hand. Finally, with a flash of red in his eyes, Ron swings [Gryffindor's sword] and destroys the locket.
With [Slytherin's locket] destroyed and Ron's eyes running with tears, Harry embraces him, welcoming him home and confirming his importance both to Harry and Hermione. Finally, they walk off together, back to Hermione and the tent.
Back at the tent Harry awakens Hermione, who promptly all but attacks Ron, forcing Harry to use a [Shield Charm] to separate them. She then sits as Ron explains his futile attempts to return to them, being captured by [Snatchers] and unable to find them until they spoke his name and the [Deluminator] pointed his way. Harry and Ron then together explain the appearance of the [sword of Gryffindor], and finally Hermione stoops off to bed, clearly still angry at Ron.
While Hermione remains angry at Ron, Ron and Harry discuss the things Ron learned while he was away, including the [Taboo], [Potterwatch], and [Dumbledore]'s biography. Harry also tries the new [wand] that Ron grabbed from the [Snatchers].
Hermione decides she wants to visit [Xeno Lovegood], to ask about the symbol he was wearing at Bill and Fleur's wedding. Though Harry is against it, Ron sides with Hermione (with ulterior motives, Harry suspects) and Harry is outvoted. The trio then heads to bed, preparing to visit Ottery St. Catchpole the next day.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione [Apparate] to Ottery St. Catchpole, where they can't see the [Burrow] but learn that Ron spent Christmas not home, but at [Shell Cottage]. Finally, after a couple more attempts, they find the house, complete with eccentric signs, and march up to knock on the door.
Despite a less-than-warm welcome, Harry, Ron, and Hermione walk inside [Xenophilius Lovegood]'s house, where Hermione immediately raises a stink about an [Erumpet] horn and an obviously hesitant Xeno agrees to talk to them. He walks out to send word to Luna to come home, and the trio marvels at the man's crazy inventions and lack of guts.
[Xeno Lovegood] returns and offers an infusion of [Gurdyroots] to Harry, Ron, and Hermione, as Hermione asks him about the necklace he wore at Bill and Fleur's wedding - with the symbol of the [Deathly Hallows].
Though incredulous, Harry, Ron, and Hermione listen as [Xenophilius Lovegood] begins to explain the legend of the [Deathly Hallows]. Soon, though, he asks whether they've heard '[The Tale of the Three Brothers],' and Hermione takes out [The Tales of Beedle the Bard] and begins to read it aloud.
Hermione reads aloud '[The Tale of the Three Brothers],' wherein [Death] grants the wishes of three brothers and creates a [wand], a [Resurrection Stone], and an [Invisibility Cloak] that are the most powerful in the world. The first two lead to their owners' destruction, while the third brother survives to an old age.