“Oh, cheer up, Harry!” said Hermione sadly.
“I'm okay,” said Harry quickly. “Just thinking about the holidays.”
“Yeah, I've been thinking about them too,” said Ron. “Harry, you've got to
come and stay with us. I'll fix it up with Mum and Dad, then I'll call you.
I know how to use a fellytone now —”
“A telephone, Ron,” said Hermione. “Honestly, you should take Muggle Studies
“It's the Quidditch World Cup this summer! How about it, Harry? Come and
stay, and we'll go and see it! Dad can usually get tickets from work.”
This proposal had the effect of cheering Harry up a great deal.
“Yeah... I bet the Dursleys'd be pleased to let me come... especially after
what I did to Aunt Marge...”
Feeling considerably more cheerful, Harry joined Ron and Hermione in several
games of Exploding Snap, and when the witch with the tea cart arrived, he bought
himself a very large lunch, though nothing with chocolate in it.
But it was late in the afternoon before the thing that made him truly happy
“Harry,” said Hermione suddenly, peering over his shoulder. “What's that
thing outside your window?”
Harry turned to look outside. Something very small and gray was bobbing in
and out of sight beyond the glass. He stood up for a better look and saw that
it was a tiny owl, carrying a letter that was much too big for it. The owl was
so small, in fact, that it kept tumbling over in the air, buffeted this way
and that in the train's slipstream. Harry quickly pulled down the window, stretched
out his arm, and caught it. It felt like a very fluffy Snitch. He brought it
carefully inside. The owl dropped its letter onto Harry's seat and began zooming
around their compartment, apparently very pleased with itself for accomplishing
its task. Hedwig clicked her beak with a sort of dignified disapproval. Crookshanks
sat up in his seat, following the owl with his great yellow eyes. Ron, noticing
this, snatched the owl safely out of harm's way.
Harry picked up the letter. It was addressed to him. He ripped open the letter,
and shouted, “It's from Sirius!”
“What?” said Ron and Hermione excitedly. “Read it aloud!”
I hope this finds you before you reach your aunt and uncle. I don't know
whether they're used to owl post.
Buckbeak and I are in hiding. I won't tell you where, in case this owl falls
into the wrong hands. I have some doubt about his reliability, but he is the
best I could find, and he did seem eager for the job.
I believe the dementors are still searching for me, but they haven't a hope
of finding me here. I am planning to allow some Muggles to glimpse me soon,
a long way from Hogwarts, so that the security on the castle will be lifted.
There is something I never got around to telling you during our brief meeting.
It was I who sent you the Firebolt —
“Ha!” said Hermione triumphantly. “See! I told you it was from him!”
“Yes, but he hadn't jinxed it, had he?” said Ron. “Ouch!” The tiny owl, now
hooting happily in his hand, had nibbled one of his fingers in what it seemed
to think was an affectionate way.
Crookshanks took the order to the Owl Office for me. I used your name but
told them to take the gold from my own Gringotts vault. Please consider it as
thirteen birthdays' worth of presents from your godfather.
I would also like to apologize for the fright I think I gave you that night
last year when you left your uncle's house. I had only hoped to get a glimpse
of you before starting my journey north, but I think the sight of me alarmed
I am enclosing something else for you, which I think will make your next
year at Hogwarts more enjoyable.
If ever you need me, send word. Your owl will find me.
I'll write again soon.
Harry looked eagerly inside the envelope. There was another piece of parchment
in there. He read it through quickly and felt suddenly as warm and contented
as though he'd swallowed a bottle of hot butterbeer in one gulp.
I, Sirius Black, Harry Potter's godfather, hereby give him permission to
visit Hogsmeade on weekends.
“That'll be good enough for Dumbledore!” said Harry happily. He looked back
at Sirius's letter. “Hang on, there's a RS...”
I thought your ftiend Ron might like to keep this owl, as it's my fault he
no longer has a rat.
Ron's eyes widened. The minute owl was still hooting excitedly. “Keep him?”
he said uncertainly. He looked closely at the owl for a moment; then, to Harry's
and Hermione's great surprise, he held him out for Crookshanks to sniff.
“What do you reckon?” Ron asked the cat. “Definitely an owl?”
“That's good enough for me,” said Ron happily. “He's mine.”
Harry read and reread the letter from Sirius all the way back into King's
Cross station. It was still clutched tightly in his hand as he, Ron, and Hermione
stepped back through the barrier of platform nine an(' three-quarters. Harry
spotted Uncle Vernon at once. He was standing a good distance from Mr. and Mrs.
Weasley, eyeing them suspiciously, and when Mrs. Weasley hugged Harry in greeting,
his worst suspicions about them seemed confirmed.
“I'll call about the World Cup!” Ron yelled after Harry as Harry bid him
and Hermione good-bye, then wheeled the trolley bearing his trunk and Hedwig's
cage toward Uncle Vernon, who greeted him in his usual fashion.
“What's that?” he snarled, staring at the envelope Harry was still clutching
in his hand. “If it's another form for me to sign, you've got another —”
“It's not,” said Harry cheerfully. “It's a letter from my godfather.”
“Godfather?” sputtered Uncle Vernon. “You haven't got a godfather!”
“Yes, I have,” said Harry brightly. “He was my mum and dad's best friend.
He's a convicted murderer, but he's broken out of wizard prison and he's on
the run. He likes to keep in touch with me, though... keep up with my news...
check if I'm happy...”
And, grinning broadly at the look of horror on Uncle Vernon's face, Harry
set off toward the station exit, Hedwig rattling along in front of him, for
what looked like a much better summer than the last.