Chapter no 14 – Norbert the Norwegian Fin-backed Dragon

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

UIRRELL, it turned out, was braver than they had expected. In the following weeks he looked paler and thinner, but he didn’t seem to give up.

Every time they passed the third floor corridor, Harry, Ron and Hermione pressed their ears to the door to check if Fluffy was still growling inside. Snape was wandering around, grumpy as usual, which meant the Philosopher’s Stone was still safe. Every time he passed Quirrell, Harry smiled to encourage him, and Ron began to reprimand the children who laughed at Quirrell’s stuttering.

But Hermione had a lot on her mind besides the Philosopher’s Stone. He has begun revising his study schedule and color-coding his notes. Harry and Ron didn’t really mind, but Hermione relentlessly urged them to do the same.

“Hermione, the exam is still a long time away.”

“Two and a half months to go,” said Hermione. “That’s not long, for Nicolas Flamel it’s just a moment.”

“But we’re not six hundred years old yet,” Ron pointed out. “Besides, why are you studying any more, you’ve already memorized everything.”

“Why should I study anymore? Are you crazy? You do realize that we have to pass in order to move up to second grade, right? Studying is very important, I should

started a month ago. I don’t know what happened to me…”

Unfortunately, the teachers thought the same as Hermione. They burden the kids with so much homework, that the Easter holidays are not as fun as the Christmas holidays. It was hard to relax when Hermione was next to them, busy repeating the twelve uses of dragon’s blood or practicing wand movements. Sighing and yawning, Harry and Ron spent most of their free time in the library with Hermione, trying to complete their extra assignments.

“I’ll never remember this,” said Ron one afternoon, throwing down his quill and looking longingly out the library window. It was the first truly sunny day after months of snow. The sky is bright blue, and the atmosphere suggests summer is coming soon.

Harry, who was reading “Dittany” in A Thousand Magical Plants and Fungi , didn’t look up until Ron called out: “Hagrid, what are you doing here?”

Hagrid appeared, hiding something behind his back. He looked awkward in the library wearing his rat skin cloak.

“Just looking for something,” he said in such a suspicious voice that they immediately became interested. “And what are you doing?” Suddenly he looked suspicious. “You guys aren’t looking for Nicolas Flamel, are you?”

“Oh, we’ve known who he is for a long time,” said Ron impressively. ” And we know what the dog is guarding, Batu Ber…”

”Sshhh!” Hagrid looked around quickly, to see if anyone had heard. “Don’t shout about it. Why are you here?”

“There’s something we wanted to ask you, actually,” said Harry. “That is, anything guarding the rock besides Fluffy…”

”SSHHH!” said Hagrid again. “Listen—come see me later, I won’t promise to tell you anything, but don’t give away any secrets here. Students must not know. They’ll think I told you.”

“See you later, then,” said Harry. Hagrid exited the library.

“What is he hiding behind his back?” asked Hermione thoughtfully.

“Could it have something to do with that stone?”

“I want to know what book section he was in,” said Ron, who was bored with studying. A minute later he appeared again carrying a stack of books which he threw on the table.

“Dragon!” he whispered. ”Hagrid is looking for information about dragons! Check this out: Dragon Species in Great Britain and Ireland; From Egg to Hell, A Dragon Keeper’s Guide .”

“Hagrid had wanted to have a dragon for a long time. “He said that to me the first time I met him,” said Harry.

“But that’s against the law,” said Ron. “Dragon breeding was outlawed by the Magical Convention of 1709, everyone knows that. It’s hard to keep Muggles from knowing where we are if we keep dragons in the backyard—after all, you can’t tame dragons, they’re dangerous. If you could see Charlie’s burns from a wild dragon in Romania.”

“So, there are no wild dragons in Britain ?” Harry asked.

“Of course there is,” said Ron. ”The common Welsh Green dragon and the Hebridean Black dragon. The Ministry of Magic took quite a lot of trouble hiding them. Our people have to constantly bewitch the Muggles who have seen it, to make them forget it.”

“Then what is Hagrid doing?”

When they knocked on the door of the gamekeeper’s cottage an hour later, they were surprised to see all the curtains drawn. Hagrid called out: “Who is that?” before inviting them in and quickly closing the door again.

It’s very hot inside. Despite the warm air, a fire was burning in the fireplace. Hagrid makes tea and offers them badger sandwiches , which they refuse.

“Well… do you want to ask something?”

“Yes,” answered Harry. There’s no point in beating around the bush. “We were wondering if you could tell us anything guarding the Philosopher’s Stone besides Fluffy.”

Hagrid frowned at Harry.

“Of course you can’t,” he said. “Firstly, I don’t know myself. Second, you already know too much, so I won’t tell you even if

I can. The rock is here for good reason. The stone was almost stolen from Gringotts—I think you’ve put this together? I don’t understand how you guys know about Fluffy.”

“Oh, come on, Hagrid, you may not want to tell us, but you actually know everything that goes on here,” said Hermione in a warm voice of praise. Hagrid’s beard twitched and they could tell he was smiling. “We just want to know who’s guarding it, that’s all.” Hermione continued, “We were wondering who Dumbledore trusted enough to help him, besides you.”

Hagrid’s chest swelled at Hermione’s last sentence. Harry and Ron smiled at Hermione.

“Well, I don’t think there’s any harm in telling you that… you see… he borrowed Fluffy from me… then some of the teachers did some magic… Professor Sprout—Professor Flitwick—Professor McGonagall…,” he flexed his fingers one by one, “Professor Quirrell—and Dumbledore himself did something , Of course. Wait a minute, I forgot one person. Oh yeah, Professor Snape.”


“Yeah—you guys don’t suspect him anymore, do you? Snape help guard, he won’t steal the stone.”

Harry knew Ron and Hermione thought the same as him. If Snape was the one guarding the stone, it would have been easy for him to find out how the other teachers guarded it. He probably knows everything—except, apparently, Quirrell’s spells and how to get past Fluffy.

“You’re the only one who knows how to get past Fluffy, aren’t you, Hagrid?” Harry asked worriedly. “And you won’t tell anyone, right? Even one of the teachers?”

“No one knows except me and Dumbledore,” said Hagrid proudly.

“Good luck,” Harry muttered to the others. “Hagrid, can you open one of the windows? I’m hot.”

“No way, Harry, sorry,” said Hagrid. Harry noticed Hagrid glancing at the fireplace. Harry looked there too.

“Hagrid—what is that?”

But he already knew what it was. Right in the middle of the fire, under the kettle, there was a huge black egg.

“Ah,” said Hagrid, nervously twirling his beard. ”That… er…”

“Where did you get that, Hagrid?” said Ron, crouching in front of the fire to get a closer look at the egg. “It must be very expensive.”

“Won the game,” said Hagrid. “Overnight. I went to the village to drink, then played cards with strangers. I think he’s happy to be free from that egg, you know.”

“But what will you do when the egg hatches?” asked Hermione.

“Well, I’ve been reading,” said Hagrid, pulling a long book from under his pillow. “This loan from the library— Keeping and Breeding Dragons for Fun and Profit —is a little out of date, but it’s all there. Put the eggs in the fire, because their mother blows fire on the eggs, watch, and when they hatch, feed them a bucket of brandy mixed with chicken blood every half hour. And look at this—how to recognize the type of eggs—mine are Norwegian finned backs. A rare breed.”

Hagrid looked perfectly satisfied, but Hermione did not. “Hagrid, you live in a log cabin ,” he said.

But Hagrid didn’t listen. He hummed happily as he stirred the fire to make it burn brighter.

So now they had something else to worry about: what would happen to Hagrid if it was discovered he was hiding an illegal dragon in his hut.

“How does it feel to live a quiet life,” complained Ron, as night after night they struggled to do the extra homework assigned to them. Hermione had now started to rearrange Harry and Ron’s study schedule. Making them both annoyed.

Then, one morning at breakfast, Hedwig brought Harry another letter from Hagrid. Hagrid wrote only two words: It’s hatching .

Ron wanted to skip Herbology class and go straight to the cabin.

Hermione was vehemently opposed.

“Hermione, how many times in our lives do we get to see a dragon hatching?”

“There’s a lesson. Then we’ll get angry, and that’s nothing compared to what would happen to Hagrid if someone found out what he was doing…”

”Shut up!” Harry hissed.

Malfoy was only a meter away from them and he immediately stopped to listen. How much did he manage to hear? Harry didn’t like the look on Malfoy’s face at all.

Ron and Hermione argued all the way to Herbology class, and in the end, Hermione agreed to run away to Hagrid’s hut with her two friends during the morning break. When the bell in the castle rang at the end of their lesson, the three immediately dropped their shovels and rushed across the field to the edge of the Forest. Hagrid greeted them, his face bright red.

“It’s almost out.” He invited them in.

The egg was lying on the table. There were deep cracks in his skin. Something moved inside it, making a strange clicking sound.

They all pulled their chairs close to the table and watched with bated breath.

Suddenly there was a scraping sound and the egg split. Baby dragon lying on the table. The baby is not beautiful. Harry thought it looked like a crumpled black umbrella. Its wings appear very large compared to its still thin body, and its snout is long, with two large nostrils, two small horns, and prominent orange eyes.

He sneezes. Several sparks spurted from the muzzle.

“Beautiful, huh?” Hagrid muttered. He reached out his hand to stroke the dragon’s head. The dragon seized Hagrid’s fingers, its sharp fangs showing.

“No joke, he knows which mother he is!” said Hagrid.

“Hagrid,” said Hermione, “how fast exactly do Norwegian Ridgebacks grow?”

Hagrid was about to answer when his face suddenly paled—he jumped to his feet and ran for the window.

“What is it?”

“Someone peeked through the curtains—a boy—he ran back to school.”

Harry darted to the door and looked out. Even from a distance it cannot be mistaken.

Malfoy had seen the dragon.

The smile that spread across Malfoy’s lips for the next week made Harry, Ron and Hermione very worried. They spent most of their free time in Hagrid’s darkened hut, trying to persuade him.

“Just let him go,” Harry insisted. “Let him live in the wild.” “No way,” said Hagrid. “He’s still too small. He will die.”

They looked at the dragon. The baby was already three times as long, within a week. Smoke incessantly wafted in circles from his nostrils. Hagrid had not been doing his duties as gamekeeper at school lately because the little dragon had kept him very busy. Empty brandy bottles and chicken feathers littered the floor.

“I’ve decided to name him Norbert,” said Hagrid, looking at the dragon with wet eyes. “He knows me now. Look. Norbert! Norbert! Where’s Mama?”

“He’s crazy,” Ron muttered in Harry’s ear.

“Hagrid,” said Harry loudly, “in two weeks Norbert will be at your house. Malfoy can report to Dumbledore at any time.”

Hagrid bit his lip.

“I—I know. I can’t keep him forever, but I can’t just send him away. I can not.”

Suddenly Harry turned to Ron. “Charlie,” said Harry.

“You’re crazy too,” said Ron. “My name is Ron. Remember?”

“No—Charlie—your brother Charlie. In Romania. Is learning about dragons. We can send Norbert to him. Charlie can raise it and then release it into the wild!”

”Brilliant!” Ron said. “How’s it going, Hagrid?”

In the end Hagrid agrees they send an owl to Charlie to question him.

The next week passed slowly. Wednesday night Hermione and Harry were still sitting together in the common room, long after everyone else had gone to bed. The clock on the wall had just struck midnight when the hole in the painting suddenly opened. Ron suddenly appeared as he took off Harry’s Invisibility Cloak. He had just returned from Hagrid’s hut, helping him feed Norbert, who had now eaten crates of dead rats.

”He bit me!” he said, showing his hand wrapped in a bloody handkerchief. “I won’t be able to hold a pen for a week. Believe me, the dragon was the most terrifying animal I’ve ever met, but if you saw the way Hagrid adored him, you’d think he was a cute fluffy bunny. When he bit me, Hagrid told me to get out of the way because it scared Norbert. And when I left, Hagrid was putting him to sleep.”

There was a knock on the dark window.

“It’s Hedwig!” said Harry, rushing to open the window so Hedwig could enter. “He’s got Charlie’s reply!”

The three of them put their heads together to read Charlie’s letter.

Hey, Ron ,

How are you? Thank you for the letter. I was happy to receive the Norwegian Ridgeback, but it wasn’t easy to bring him here. I think it’s best to leave it with my friends who will be visiting me next week. The problem is, they can’t be caught carrying illegal dragons.

Can you take the Finback to the highest tower at midnight on Saturday? They can meet you there and take the dragon while it’s still dark.

Send me an answer as soon as possible. Warm regards ,


They looked at each other.

“We have the Invisibility Cloak,” said Harry. “It shouldn’t be too difficult—I think the cloak is big enough to cover both of us and Norbert.”

That his two friends immediately agreed, shows that in the last week the situation has been very serious. They were willing to do anything to get rid of Norbert—and Malfoy.

There are obstacles. The next morning Ron’s hand which was bitten by Norbert had swollen to twice its normal size. He didn’t know whether it was safe or not to go to Madam Pomfrey—would he recognize a dragon bite? However, that afternoon, Ron had no other choice. The wound was already a scary green color. Apparently Norbert’s fangs are poisonous.

Harry and Hermione rushed to the hospital at the end of the day and found Ron lying badly in bed.

“Not just my hands,” whispered Ron, “although they almost felt like they were falling off. Malfoy told Madam Pomfrey he wanted to borrow one of my books so he could come and laugh at me. He keeps threatening me to tell Madam Pomfrey what really bit me – I told Madam Pomfrey I was bitten by a dog but I don’t think she believed me – I shouldn’t have hit Malfoy at that Quidditch match, now he’s going to get back at me.”

Harry and Hermione tried to calm Ron down. But instead, Ron immediately sat up and broke into a sweat.

“Saturday midnight!” he said hoarsely. “Oh no—oh no

—I just remembered—Charlie’s letter was in the book Malfoy took. He will know when we get rid of Norbert.”

Harry and Hermione didn’t have a chance to answer. Madam Pomfrey appeared then and told them to leave, because Ron needed to sleep, he said.

“It’s too late to change plans now,” Harry said to Hermione. “We don’t have time to send owls to Charlie, and this might be our only chance to get rid of Norbert. We have to take risks. And we have the Invisibility Cloak. Malfoy doesn’t know this.”

They found Fang, Hagrid’s dog, sitting in front of the hut with his tail bandaged when they came to tell Hagrid, who opened the window to talk to them.

“You can’t come in,” he said breathlessly. “Norbert is being cranky—I can handle that.”

When they told him about Charlie’s letter, Hagrid’s eyes immediately filled with tears. Either because he was sad, or because Norbert had just bitten his leg.

”Argh! It’s okay, he just bit my boot—just playing—he’s still a baby.”

The baby swiped its tail against the wall, making all the windows of the cottage shake. Harry and Hermione returned to the castle, hoping that Saturday would come soon.

They would have felt sorry for Hagrid when it came time for the gamekeeper to say goodbye to Norbert, if they hadn’t been so worried about what they had to do. It was a very dark and cloudy night, and they were a little late arriving at Hagrid’s hut because they had to wait for Peeves to leave the Entrance Hall first. Peeves was playing tennis there, against the wall.

Hagrid had Norbert ready in a large box.

“I’ve got plenty of mice and brandy ready to eat on the road,” said Hagrid in a choked voice. “And I’ve put his teddy bear in too, in case he gets lonely.”

From inside the box there was a ripping which to Harry sounded like the teddy bear was having its head ripped off.

“Bye-bye, Norbert!” Hagrid sobbed as Harry and Hermione covered the box with the Invisibility Cloak and stepped behind it themselves. “Mommy won’t forget you!”

How they managed to get the box to the castle, they would never know. It was nearing midnight when they struggled to carry Norbert’s box up the marble steps of the Entrance Hall and through the dark corridors. Climbing another flight of stairs, then another flight of stairs, even via one of the shortcuts that Harry knew, did not make their task any easier.

“Almost there!” Harry exclaimed breathlessly as they arrived in the corridor beneath the tallest tower.

The sudden movement in front of them almost made them drop the box. Forgetting that they were actually invisible, they moved closer to the shadows, looking at two dark figures who were wrestling about three meters from them. Suddenly the lights came on.

Professor McGonagall, wearing a plaid nightgown and harnet, tugged at Malfoy’s ear.

”Detention!” shouted Professor McGonagall, “and deduct twenty points from Slytherin! Wandering around in the middle of the night, how dare you…”

“You don’t understand, Professor, Harry Potter is coming—he’s bringing dragons!”

”What nonsense! How dare you lie like that!

Come on—I’ll talk to Professor Snape about you, Malfoy!”

After that incident, the steep spiral staircase to the top of the tower seemed easy to climb. Only after stepping into the cool night air did they dare to disrobe, relieved to be able to breathe freely again. Hermione danced.

“Malfoy is imprisoned! I feel like singing!” “Don’t,” Harry advised him.

Laughing at Malfoy, they waited. Norbert rummaged in his box. About ten minutes later, four brooms slid down from the darkness.

Charlie’s friends are cheerful kids. They showed Harry and Hermione the net they had made, so they could work together to lift Norbert. They all helped lift Norbert to the top of the net. Then Harry and Hermione shook hands with the four and thanked them very much. Finally. Norbert is gone… gone… gone. They slipped down the spiral staircase, their hearts as light as their hands, now that Norbert was no longer a burden. No more dragons—Malfoy got detention—what

that could ruin their joy?

The answer was waiting at the foot of the stairs. As they stepped into the corridor, Filch’s face suddenly appeared from the darkness.

“Well, well, well,” he whispered, “ we’re in trouble .”

The Invisibility Cloak was left on top of the tower.

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