A great, fast read for fans of J.K. Rowling’s famed Harry Potter series, The Tales of Beedle the Bard features five folklore vignettes: “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.” The final story is, of course, instrumental in the seventh and final chapter of Harry’s life, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Each has a moral for wizards and Muggles alike, which are reflected upon after the tale by Albus Dumbledore from his private notes on the stories. Hermione Granger, we’re told, translated the tales from the ancient runes.
Easily readable in an hour or two, I made my way quickly through the book and found it enjoyable. As these are basically childrens’ tales with commentary by J.K. Rowling and Dumbledore, powerful wizard and Harry’s mentor, you’re not going to find anything earth-shattering in these pages. But that’s not the point of them. They’re mostly light, fun stories that read like a Mother Goose tale — except for young witches and wizards instead of Muggles (non-magical humans, for the non-Harry-initiated). They reminded me a bit of my favorite Bernstein Bears books as a child, each with its own message to share. While “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart” was surprisingly gruesome for a children’s story, it wasn’t really anything too traumatic.
Any fan of Potter will be delighted to relive one hundred pages with Dumbledore’s running dialogue, and there’s some insight to be gained about the Wizarding world from Beedle, who lived in the fifteenth century. If you’re not into Harry, there probably won’t be much here for you. But all Rowling fans will be delighted to spend another evening reliving the magic that originally brought us all to Potter in the first place.
4 out of 5!