The Tales of Beedle the Bard
‘Translated from the original runes by J. K. Rowling’
Hand-written and illustrated by Rowling and sold at auction 13 December 2007
Rowling created seven copies of this book. Six copies were given to people who had been especially close to the Harry Potter series over the seventeen years while she was writing it. The seventh was auctioned and raised close to $4 million for charity.
Stories included: “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” “The Fountain of Fair Fortune,” “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” “Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump,” and “The Tale of the Three Brothers.”
Subsequently, the book was published by Bloomsbury and Scholastic on 4 December 2008 with the assent of the party who purchased the original copy at auction. This version included commentary and notes from Dumbledore himself.
Interesting facts and notes
Jo's comments about the book:
'I loved writing them. I really really loved writing them. But I have to say, that before I had the idea of producing the books to say "thank you" to these key people, I imagined there would be like, about thirty Tales of Beedle the Bard. And after I had the idea of writing them out by hand seven times, turns out, there were just the five.' ' (PC1)
Tales of Beedle the Bard - 157 hand-written pages, word count unknown
Bloomsbury/Scholastic edition - 111 pages
Notes from the introduction
Beedle the Bard lived in the 1400s , born in Yorkshire. He is a contemporary, then, of Elfrida Clagg, Bowman Wright, Ignatia Wildsmith (inventor of Floo Powder), Nicholas Flamel, and Zacharias Mumps, who wrote a detailed description of the game of Quidditch.
It's interesting that Beedle wrote the stories in runes. Historically, runic alphabets were in use from 150-1000 AD, after which they were replaced by Latin alphabets. There has never been a 'runic' version of the English written language. In fact, already before Beedle's time, written English was becoming standardised and the vocabulary more rich, in the Wizarding as well as the Muggle world. We see evidence of this in other Harry Potter canon sources. For example, the famous Wizards' Council Decree from that time period banning Quidditch anywhere near a Muggle town or village was written in very colloquial English. Mumps' description of Quiddtich was also written in English. The stories Beedle collected would certainly have been handed down orally in English. Yet Beedle clearly wrote the stories in runes, which suggests that he was trying to hide them, possibly to make them inaccessable to Muggles.
Beedle had a long beard.
Dumbledore left his papers to the Hogwarts Archives.
McGonagall became Headmistress after the chaotic 1997-1998 school year, so the Heads in order are:
- Dippet (until c. 1956)
- Dumbledore (1956-1996)
- Umbridge (1996 for a few months)
- Dumbledore (1996-1997)
- Snape (1997-1998)
- McGonagall (1998 -?)
Dumbledore's notes were written 18 months before his death, which would be circa December 1995. This was about the same time as the attack on Arthur Weasley. Dumbledore mentions later to Harry that he started to suspect that Voldemort's connection to Nagini was unusually strong, and that this contributed to Dumbledore's suspicions about Horcruxes. It is reasonable to guess that Dumbledore was trying to determine the source of Voldemort's power at that time and in the course of his research turned to the Tales of Beedle the Bard and their connection to the Deathly Hallows, some of the most power magical artifacts known to wizardkind.