"How did you know it was me?" she asked.
"My dear Professor, I 've never seen a cat sit so stiffly."
"You'd be stiff if you'd been sitting on a brick wall all day," said Professor
"All day? When you could have been celebrating? I must have passed a dozen feasts
and parties on my way here."
Professor McGonagall sniffed angrily.
"Oh yes, everyone's celebrating, all right," she said impatiently. "You'd think
they'd be a bit more careful, but no — even the Muggles have noticed something's
going on. It was on their news." She jerked her head back at the Dursleys' dark
living-room window. "I heard it. Flocks of owls... shooting stars.... Well, they're
not completely stupid. They were bound to notice something. Shooting stars down
in Kent — I'll bet that was Dedalus Diggle. He never had much sense."
"You can't blame them," said Dumbledore gently. "We've had precious little to
celebrate for eleven years."
"I know that," said Professor McGonagall irritably. "But that's no reason to
lose our heads. People are being downright careless, out on the streets in broad
daylight, not even dressed in Muggle clothes, swapping rumors."
She threw a sharp, sideways glance at Dumbledore here, as though hoping he was
going to tell her something, but he didn't, so she went on. "A fine thing it would
be if, on the very day YouKnow-Who seems to have disappeared at last, the Muggles
found out about us all. I suppose he really has gone, Dumbledore?"
"It certainly seems so," said Dumbledore. "We have much to be thankful for. Would
you care for a lemon drop?"
"A lemon drop. They're a kind of Muggle sweet I'm rather fond of"
"No, thank you," said Professor McGonagall coldly, as though she didn't think
this was the moment for lemon drops. "As I say, even if You-Know-Who has gone —
"My dear Professor, surely a sensible person like yourself can call him by his
name? All this 'You-Know-Who' nonsense — for eleven years I have been trying to
persuade people to call him by his proper name: Voldemort." Professor McGonagall
flinched, but Dumbledore, who was unsticking two lemon drops, seemed not to notice.
"It all gets so confusing if we keep saying 'You-Know-Who.' I have never seen any
reason to be frightened of saying Voldemort's name.
"I know you haven 't, said Professor McGonagall, sounding half exasperated, half
admiring. "But you're different. Everyone knows you're the only one You-Know-oh,
all right, Voldemort, was frightened of."
"You flatter me," said Dumbledore calmly. "Voldemort had powers I will never
"Only because you're too — well — noble to use them."
"It's lucky it's dark. I haven't blushed so much since Madam Pomfrey told me
she liked my new earmuffs."
Professor McGonagall shot a sharp look at Dumbledore and said, "The owls are
nothing next to the rumors that are flying around. You know what everyone's saying?
About why he's disappeared? About what finally stopped him?"
It seemed that Professor McGonagall had reached the point she was most anxious
to discuss, the real reason she had been waiting on a cold, hard wall all day, for
neither as a cat nor as a woman had she fixed Dumbledore with such a piercing stare
as she did now. It was plain that whatever "everyone" was saying, she was not going
to believe it until Dumbledore told her it was true. Dumbledore, however, was choosing
another lemon drop and did not answer.
"What they're saying," she pressed on, "is that last night Voldemort turned up
in Godric's Hollow. He went to find the Potters. The rumor is that Lily and James
Potter are — are — that they're — dead. "
Dumbledore bowed his head. Professor McGonagall gasped.
"Lily and James... I can't believe it... I didn't want to believe it... Oh, Albus..."
Dumbledore reached out and patted her on the shoulder. "I know... I know..."
he said heavily.
Professor McGonagall's voice trembled as she went on. "That's not all. They're
saying he tried to kill the Potter's son, Harry. But — he couldn't. He couldn't
kill that little boy. No one knows why, or how, but they're saying that when he
couldn't kill Harry Potter, Voldemort's power somehow broke — and that's why he's
Dumbledore nodded glumly.
"It's — it's true?" faltered Professor McGonagall. "After all he's done... all
the people he's killed... he couldn't kill a little boy? It's just astounding...
of all the things to stop him... but how in the name of heaven did Harry survive?"
"We can only guess," said Dumbledore. "We may never know."
Professor McGonagall pulled out a lace handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes beneath
her spectacles. Dumbledore gave a great sniff as he took a golden watch from his
pocket and examined it. It was a very odd watch. It had twelve hands but no numbers;
instead, little planets were moving around the edge. It must have made sense to
Dumbledore, though, because he put it back in his pocket and said, "Hagrid's late.
I suppose it was he who told you I'd be here, by the way?"
"Yes," said Professor McGonagall. "And I don't suppose you're going to tell me
why you're here, of all places?"
"I've come to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle. They're the only family he has
"You don't mean — you can't mean the people who live here?" cried Professor McGonagall,
jumping to her feet and pointing at number four. "Dumbledore — you can't. I've been
watching them all day. You couldn't find two people who are less like us. And they've
got this son — I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming
for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here!"
"It's the best place for him," said Dumbledore firmly. "His aunt and uncle will
be able to explain everything to him when he's older. I've written them a letter."
"A letter?" repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on the wall.
"Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? These people
will never understand him! He'll be famous — a legend — I wouldn't be surprised
if today was known as Harry Potter day in the future — there will be books written
about Harry — every child in our world will know his name!"
"Exactly," said Dumbledore, looking very seriously over the top of his half-moon
glasses. "It would be enough to turn any boy's head. Famous before he can walk and
talk! Famous for something he won't even remember! CarA you see how much better
off he'll be, growing up away from all that until he's ready to take it?"
Professor McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind, swallowed, and then
said, "Yes — yes, you're right, of course. But how is the boy getting here, Dumbledore?"
She eyed his cloak suddenly as though she thought he might be hiding Harry underneath
"Hagrid's bringing him."
"You think it — wise — to trust Hagrid with something as important as this?"
I would trust Hagrid with my life," said Dumbledore.
"I'm not saying his heart isn't in the right place," said Professor McGonagall
grudgingly, "but you can't pretend he's not careless. He does tend to — what was
A low rumbling sound had broken the silence around them. It grew steadily louder
as they looked up and down the street for some sign of a headlight; it swelled to
a roar as they both looked up at the sky — and a huge motorcycle fell out of the
air and landed on the road in front of them.
If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it. He
was almost twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. He looked
simply too big to be allowed, and so wild — long tangles of bushy black hair and
beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet
in their leather boots were like baby dolphins. In his vast, muscular arms he was
holding a bundle of blankets.
"Hagrid," said Dumbledore, sounding relieved. "At last. And where did you get
"Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sit," said the giant, climbing carefully
off the motorcycle as he spoke. "Young Sirius Black lent it to me. I've got him,
"No problems, were there?"
"No, sir — house was almost destroyed, but I got him out all right before the
Muggles started swarmin' around. He fell asleep as we was flyin' over Bristol."
Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of blankets.
Inside, just visible, was a baby boy, fast asleep. Under a tuft of jet-black hair
over his forehead they could see a curiously shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning.
"Is that where -?" whispered Professor McGonagall.
"Yes," said Dumbledore. "He'll have that scar forever."
"Couldn't you do something about it, Dumbledore?"
"Even if I could, I wouldn't. Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above
my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground. Well -- give him here,
Hagrid — we'd better get this over with."
Dumbledore took Harry in his arms and turned toward the Dursleys' house.
"Could I — could I say good-bye to him, sir?" asked Hagrid. He bent his great,
shaggy head over Harry and gave him what must have been a very scratchy, whiskery
kiss. Then, suddenly, Hagrid let out a howl like a wounded dog.
"Shhh!" hissed Professor McGonagall, "you'll wake the Muggles!"
"S-s-sorry," sobbed Hagrid, taking out a large, spotted handkerchief and burying
his face in it. "But I c-c-can't stand it — Lily an' James dead -- an' poor little
Harry off ter live with Muggles — "
"Yes, yes, it's all very sad, but get a grip on yourself, Hagrid, or we'll be
found," Professor McGonagall whispered, patting Hagrid gingerly on the arm as Dumbledore
stepped over the low garden wall and walked to the front door. He laid Harry gently
on the doorstep, took a letter out of his cloak, tucked it inside Harry's blankets,
and then came back to the other two. For a full minute the three of them stood and
looked at the little bundle; Hagrid's shoulders shook, Professor McGonagall blinked
furiously, and the twinkling light that usually shone from Dumbledore's eyes seemed
to have gone out.
"Well," said Dumbledore finally, "that's that. We've no business staying here.
We may as well go and join the celebrations."
"Yeah," said Hagrid in a very muffled voice, "I'll be takin' Sirius his bike
back. G'night, Professor McGonagall — Professor Dumbledore, sir."
Wiping his streaming eyes on his jacket sleeve, Hagrid swung himself onto the
motorcycle and kicked the engine into life; with a roar it rose into the air and
off into the night.
"I shall see you soon, I expect, Professor McGonagall," said Dumbledore, nodding
to her. Professor McGonagall blew her nose in reply.
Dumbledore turned and walked back down the street. On the corner he stopped and
took out the silver Put-Outer. He clicked it once, and twelve balls of light sped
back to their street lamps so that Privet Drive glowed suddenly orange and he could
make out a tabby cat slinking around the corner at the other end of the street.
He could just see the bundle of blankets on the step of number four.
"Good luck, Harry," he murmured. He turned on his heel and with a swish of his
cloak, he was gone.
A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under
the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen.
Harry Potter rolled over inside his blankets without waking up. One small hand closed
on the letter beside him and he slept on, not knowing he was special, not knowing
he was famous, not knowing he would be woken in a few hours' time by Mrs. Dursley's
scream as she opened the front door to put out the milk bottles, nor that he would
spend the next few weeks being prodded and pinched by his cousin Dudley... He couldn't
know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were
holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: "To Harry Potter — the boy
THE VANISHING GLASS
Nearly ten years had passed since the Dursleys had woken up to find their nephew
on the front step, but Privet Drive had hardly changed at all. The sun rose on the
same tidy front gardens and lit up the brass number four on the Dursleys' front
door; it crept into their living room, which was almost exactly the same as it had
been on the night when Mr. Dursley had seen that fateful news report about the owls.
Only the photographs on the mantelpiece really showed how much time had passed.
Ten years ago, there had been lots of pictures of what looked like a large pink
beach ball wearing different-colored bonnets — but Dudley Dursley was no longer
a baby, and now the photographs showed a large blond boy riding his first bicycle,
on a carousel at the fair, playing a computer game with his father, being hugged
and kissed by his mother. The room held no sign at all that another boy lived in
the house, too.
Yet Harry Potter was still there, asleep at the moment, but not for long. His
Aunt Petunia was awake and it was her shrill voice that made the first noise of
"Up! Get up! Now!"
Harry woke with a start. His aunt rapped on the door again.
"Up!" she screeched. Harry heard her walking toward the kitchen and then the
sound of the frying pan being put on the stove. He rolled onto his back and tried
to remember the dream he had been having. It had been a good one. There had been
a flying motorcycle in it. He had a funny feeling he'd had the same dream before.