The Tales of Beedle the Bard, by J.K. Rowling

Eight stars

To come full circle in my J.K. Rowling/Harry Potter reading adventure, I sought to look back at some of the tales that young witches and wizards might have heard in their childhood. Many of these pieces are referred to throughout the Harry Potter stories, at least in passing, though I chose to take some time to explore them a little further. With the help of Hermione Granger—who translated them from runes—and Albus Dumbledore—whose commentary provided a mere Muggle like myself with some context—I was able to make my way through these short pieces with relative ease. I can only hope others are as successful.

Beedle the Bard is a master storyteller, whose pieces serve to offer entertainment to the young reader. While some stories are delightfully fun, such as The Wizard and the Hopping Pot, others are much darker and full of spooky narrative twists. One might refer to The Tale of the Three Brothers to see something that might not be as inviting for bedtime reading. The five tales found in this collection offer not only highly imaginative stories that beg the reader/listener to conjure up images of what is being recounted, but also provide strong morals needed to shape the mind of the young. These are tales whose impact deepens the more they are read and one can hope Beedle knew this when putting quill to parchment.

As is noted in the introduction, this collection parallels what Muggles might call favoured fairy tales. Much like the tales that are told to young humans, there is a sanitised version for the younger reader, as well as the true version Beedle authored for full impact. Think of the Brothers Grimm and their gruesome depictions that are known to Muggles only when they grow up, if ever. The impact of the morals are significant to the open minded reader, as is the curiosity of those who paid close attention in all the Harry Potter stories and seek some context. Before undertaking the translation efforts, Hermione was as clueless as Harry about these pieces, having surpassed the knee height of a grasshopper outside the wizarding world. While Neo has yet to read these five tales, I will encourage him to do so and hope that he will draw from them something long-lasting. The Dumbledore commentary is essential for Muggles to better comprehend the piece and serves as a great contextual guide to obtain the full meaning. Brilliantly authored!

Kudos, Madam Rowling and Bard Beedle, for providing a lowly Muggle with some better understanding of a world I have only seen through eight Potter stories that span twenty-six glorious years!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: