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Chapter no 4 – The Key Holder

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

BOOM ! They banged again. Dudley woke with a start. “Where are the cannons?” he asked stupidly.

There was a crash behind them and Uncle Vernon came stumbling into the room. He held a rifle in his hand—now they knew what was in the long, thin package he had been carrying.

“Who’s that?” he shouted. “I’m warning you… I’m armed!” Silence for a moment. Then…

GUBRAAK!

The door was hit so hard that it flew off its hinges, and with a deafening crash it crashed to the floor.

A giant figure stood in front of the door. His face was almost hidden behind his long, messy hair and wild, messy beard. But you could see his eyes, gleaming like two black beetles beneath that messy hair.

The giant forced himself in, lowering his head so that his head just touched the ceiling. He bent down, picked up the door, and easily put it back on its hinges. The roar of the storm outside was muffled slightly. He turned to look at them all.

“You can make tea, right? It’s not easy coming here…”

He stepped over to the sofa. Dudley sat frozen in fear. “Move, big sack,” said the stranger.

Dudley squeaked and hid behind his mother’s back. Aunt Petunia herself crouched in fear behind Uncle Vernon.

“Well, here comes Harry!” said the giant.

Harry looked up at the wild, fierce face, and saw the corners of its beetle eyes crinkle with a smile.

“The last time I saw you, you were just a baby,” said the giant. “You look a lot like your father, but your eyes are your mother’s.”

Uncle Vernon made a strange raspy sound.

“I ask you to leave immediately, sir!” he said. “You broke the door and entered without permission.”

“Ah, shut up, Dursley, don’t act,” said the giant. His hand reached behind the sofa, snatched the rifle from Uncle Vernon’s hands, bent it as if it were made of rubber, then threw it into the corner of the room.

Uncle Vernon made another strange sound, like the squeak of a mouse being stepped on.

“What is clear, Harry,” said the giant, turning his back on the Dursleys, “happy birthday to you, happy long life. Bring something for yourself—I might have sat on it, but it’ll still taste good.”

From the inside pocket of his black coat he took out a slightly dented box. Harry opened it with shaking hands. Inside the box was a large chocolate cake with Happy Birthday Harry written in green sugar.

Harry looked up at the giant. He meant to say thank you, but the words disappeared on their way to his mouth, and instead he said, “Who are you?”

The giant laughed.

“That’s right, I haven’t introduced myself yet. Rubeus Hagrid, key holder and gamekeeper at Hogwarts.”

He reached out a huge hand and shook Harry’s entire arm.

“How was the tea, eh?” he said, rubbing his hands together. “I also wouldn’t say no to stronger drinks, if they were available.”

His gaze went to the fireplace with a crumpled packet of crisps and he snorted. He bent over the fireplace. They couldn’t see what he was doing, but when he stood up a second later, the fire was already burning. The fire filled the damp hut with its shifting light and Harry felt a warmth wash over him, as if he had stepped into a hot tub.

The giant sat back down on the sofa, who immediately gave up his objections and began to take out various objects from his pockets: a copper kettle, a pack of delicious sausages, a long skewer, a teapot, several broken cups, and a bottle of yellow-brown liquid which he drank before he could. prepare food. Soon the cottage was filled with the sound and smell of delicious grilling sausages. Nobody spoke while the giant worked, but when he removed six fat, slightly burnt, oily sausages from his prick, Dudley began to get nervous. Uncle Vernon said sharply: “Don’t touch anything he gives you, Dudley.”

The giant laughed eerily.

“Your ball-shaped child doesn’t need to be fattened any more, Dursley, don’t worry.”

He handed the sausages to Harry. Harry, who was already very hungry, had never eaten anything so delicious, but he still couldn’t take his eyes off the giant. Finally, when no one seemed willing to explain, he said, “I’m sorry, but I still don’t know who you are.”

The giant sipped his tea in large gulps, and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

“Call me Hagrid,” he said. “Everyone calls me that. And as I said, I hold the key to Hogwarts—you already know about Hogwarts.”

“Uh… not yet,” said Harry.

Hagrid looked flabbergasted. “Sorry,” said Harry quickly.

“Excuse me ?” Hagrid replied, turning to look at the Dursleys shrunk in the shadows of darkness. ”They are the ones who should apologize! I knew you didn’t receive your letter, but I never thought you didn’t know

about Hogwarts. Good grief! Have you never wanted to know where your parents learned all that?”

“All what?” Harry asked.

“ALL WHAT?” boomed Hagrid. “Wait a minute!”

He jumped to his feet. In his anger he seemed to fill the whole hut. The Dursleys huddled against the wall in fear.

“Does this mean,” he growled at the Dursleys, “that this child… this child!… doesn’t know about… doesn’t know ANYTHING?”

Harry felt this was going too far. He’s in school, and his numbers aren’t bad either.

“I know a few things,” he said. “I can do Mathematics and other subjects.”

But Hagrid just waved his hand and said: “About our world , I mean. Your world , my world. Your parents’ world .”

”What world?”

Hagrid looked ready to explode. “DURSLEY!” his screams were thunderous.

Uncle Vernon, who had gone deathly pale, muttered something that sounded like ” Mimbelwimbel !” Hagrid stared wildly at Harry.

“But you must know about your father and mother,” he said. “I mean, they’re famous. You’re famous.”

“What? S-so, my father and mother are famous?”

“You don’t know… you don’t know…” Hagrid ran his fingers through his hair, looking at Harry in astonishment.

“You don’t know what you are ?” he said finally. Uncle Vernon suddenly found his voice.

“Stop!” his command. “Stop here, Sir. I forbid you to tell this child anything!”

A braver man than Vernon Dursley would have shuddered at Hagrid’s angry glare. When Hagrid spoke, every syllable shook with how angry he was.

“You never told him? Never tell him what was in the letter Dumbledore left him? I was there! I saw that Dumbledore left that letter, Dursley! And you hid it from him all these years?”

“Hide what from me?” Harry asked impatiently.

”STOP! I’LL BAN YOU!” shouted Uncle Vernon in panic. Aunt Petunia choked in surprise.

“Ah, that’s very caring of you two,” said Hagrid. “Harry—you’re a wizard.”

It was quiet in the hut. Only the crashing of the waves and the roar of the wind could be heard.

“Me what ?” Harry asked in surprise.

“A wizard, of course,” said Hagrid, sitting back down on the sofa, making it creak and sink even more. “And a great wizard, if trained a little. With such a great father and mother, how could it be anything else? And I think it’s time you read your letter.”

Harry reached out, finally, to take a yellowish envelope with an address written in green ink addressed to Mr

H. Potter, Floor, Cottage-on-the-Rock, Sea . Harry pulled out the letter and read it.

HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WIZARDS

Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore

(Order of Merlin, First Class, Great Wizard, Chief Wizard, International Confederation of Magic)

Dear Mr Potter ,

We are pleased to say that we have a place for you at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Attached is a list of all the books and equipment needed.

The new school year starts September 1. We are waiting for your owl by July 31st.

Sincerely, Minerva McGonagall Deputy Headmistress

Questions exploded in Harry’s head like fireworks and he couldn’t decide which one to ask first. After a few minutes, he stammered, “What do you mean by waiting for my owl?”

“Gorgon fool, that reminds me,” said Hagrid, slapping his hand against his forehead with enough force to overturn a horse-drawn carriage. And from another pocket under his coat, he pulled out an owl—a live owl really, with rather messy feathers—a long quill, and a roll of paper. Biting his tongue he wrote a message that Harry could read upside down:

Dear Mr Dumbledore ,

I have delivered Harry’s letter. Will take him to buy equipment tomorrow. Very bad weather. Hope you are well.

Hagrid

Hagrid rolled up his message, handed it to the owl, who bit it in the beak, then stepped to the door and threw the owl into the storm. Then he came back and sat down again as if what he did earlier was normal for someone talking on the phone.

Harry realized his mouth was agape. He quickly closed it.

“Where was I?” said Hagrid. But at that moment Uncle Vernon, his face still pale but looking very angry, came forward to the fireplace.

“He can’t go,” he said. Hagrid grumbled.

“I’d like to see a great Muggle like you stop him from leaving,” he said. “What?” Harry asked interested.

“Muggles,” said Hagrid. “That’s what we call humans who are not magicians. And it’s really bad luck for you to be raised in the most pretentious Muggle family I’ve ever seen.”

“When we took it we swore we’d stop all this nonsense,” said Uncle Vernon. ”Swear to defend him! Witch? No such thing!”

“Uncle and Aunt know ?” Harry asked. “Uncle and Aunt know I’m a witch?”

“Know!” cried Aunt Petunia suddenly. ” Know! Of course we do! How could it not be, if my bastard brother is like that too? Oh, he also received a letter like that and disappeared to… to that school… and

coming home every holiday with a bag full of frog eggs and turning cups into mice. I’m the only one who knows what he’s like—he’s weird! But my mom and dad… uh, nothing Lily… Lily this and Lily that. They are proud to have a wizard child!”

He paused to take a deep breath, and then continued again. It seemed like he had been wanting to get this out for years.

“Then he met that Potter at school, and then they got married and had your child, and of course I knew you had to be just as strange, just as… abnormal , and then that Lily had an explosion and we were forced to burden you!”

Harry had turned pale. As soon as he could speak he said: “Explosion? You said they died in a car accident!”

“CAR ACCIDENT!” roared Hagrid, jumping to his feet so furiously that Mr and Mrs Dursley hurried back to their corner. “How could a car accident kill Lily and James Potter? What a huge insult. Scandal! Harry Potter doesn’t know his own life story, while every child in our world knows his name!”

“But why? What happened?” Harry demanded.

The anger faded from Hagrid’s face. Suddenly he looked worried.

“I never thought it would be like this,” he said worriedly in a low voice. “When Dumbledore said there might be trouble taking you, I didn’t expect you to be so clueless. Ah, Harry, I don’t know if I’m the right person to tell you – but someone has to – there’s no way you’re going to Hogwarts without knowing this.”

Hagrid looked annoyed at the Dursleys.

“Well, it’s good for you to know as much as I can tell you—I can’t tell you everything, because some of it is a big mystery….”

He sat down, stared at the fire for a few seconds, then said, “All this, I think, was started by a man named—it’s too bad you don’t know his name, everyone in our world knows…”

“Who?”

“Well—I won’t say his name, if that’s possible. No one dares to speak his name.”

“Why not?”

“Damn it, Harry, people are still scared. Wow, it’s hard. Here, there is a witch who is… so evil. Very bad. Even more than evil. Much more evil than just more evil. His name is…”

Hagrid swallowed hard, but no sound came out. “How about just writing it down?” Harry suggested.

“No—I can’t spell. Well— Voldemort .” Hagrid shuddered. “Don’t make me say it again. In short, this wizard about twenty years ago started looking for followers. And he could, again—partly because he was afraid, partly because he wanted a splash of power, because he did have power. What gloomy days, Harry. We don’t know who to trust, don’t dare to be friendly to foreign wizards…. Horrible things happen. He began to take power. Of course some tried to fight him—and they were killed. Horribly. One place that is still safe is Hogwarts. I guess Dumbledore is the only one You-Know-Who is afraid of. Don’t dare take over the school, at least not yet.

“Your mother and father are great wizards. Both were Head Students during their school days! I guess the mystery is why You-Know-Who didn’t try to get your mother and father over to his side before… maybe he knew they were too close to Dumbledore to be interested in Dark Magic.

“Maybe he thought he could persuade them… maybe he just wanted them out of the way. All anyone knows is that he appeared in the village where you lived on Hallowe’en night ten years ago. You’re only one year old. He came to your house and… and…”

Hagrid suddenly pulled out a very dirty handkerchief and blew his nose with a trumpet-like sound.

“Sorry,” he said. “But I’m so sad—I know your mother and father—there’s no one else as good as them—in short…

“You-Know-Who killed them. And then—and this is the real mystery—he tried to kill you too. Wants to finish you off completely, I think, or maybe he just enjoys killing. But he can’t kill you. Have you ever wondered how you got the scar on your forehead? It was no ordinary wound. That’s what you get if evil magical powers touch you—succeed in killing your mother and father, even destroying your house—but it doesn’t work on you. That’s

that’s why you’re famous, Harry. No one could live after he decided to kill him. Nobody but you, and he managed to kill the best wizards of our time—the McKinnons, the Bones, the Prewetts—while you were still a baby, and you lived.”

Something painful swirled in Harry’s mind. As Hagrid’s story drew to a close, he saw the blinding green light again, clearer than he had ever remembered. And he also remembered something else, for the first time in his life—loud, cold, cruel laughter.

Hagrid looked at him sadly.

“I took you from your ruined house myself, on Dumbledore’s orders. I’ll take you to this family…”

“Big nonsense,” said Uncle Vernon. Harry jumped. He almost forgot the Dursleys were there. Uncle Vernon seemed to have regained his courage. He glared at Hagrid and his hands clenched into fists.

“Listen to me, Harry,” he growled. “I admit you’re a bit strange, but that might be fixed by getting beat up. As for your parents, they’re strange, there’s no denying that, and I think the world is better off without them—it’s their own fault what happened, hanging out with witches. What else can I do, I already thought they would end up like that…”

But at that moment Hagrid jumped up from the sofa and pulled a battered pink umbrella from his pocket. Pointing the umbrella at Uncle Vernon like a sword, he said: “I’m warning you, Dursley—I’m warning you—just one more word…”

Facing the danger of being speared with the tip of an umbrella, Uncle Vernon’s courage sagged again. He pressed himself against the wall and remained silent.

“That’s better,” said Hagrid, breathing heavily and sitting down again on the sofa, which this time sunk to the floor.

Harry, meanwhile, was still curious, still wanting to ask a hundred questions.

“But what happened to Vol—sorry—I mean, You-Know-Who?” “Good question, Harry. Is lost. Vanish. That same night he tried to kill you. Make you even more famous. That’s the biggest mystery.

The thing is… lately he’s gotten stronger and stronger—so why does he have to leave?

“Some say he died. Nonsense, I think. Don’t know if there is still enough human in his body to die. Others say he’s still hiding, waiting for the right time, but I don’t believe him. People who were his followers have returned to us. Some of them are like being possessed. How could they come back to us if he comes again?

“Most of us thought he was still there somewhere, but had lost his powers. Too weak to continue running rampant. Because something about you finished him off, Harry. Something happened that night that was beyond his calculations—I don’t know what it was, no one knows—but something about you made him wince.”

Hagrid looked at Harry with warmth and respect. But Harry, instead of feeling happy and proud, was convinced there had been a huge mistake. Witch? He? How could she be a witch? He had spent his life being abused by Dudley and bullied by Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon. If she was a witch, why didn’t they turn into frogs every time they tried to lock her in the cupboard? If he had ever defeated the greatest wizard in the world, how was it possible that Dudley could always kick him around like a ball?

“Hagrid,” he said worriedly. “I think you must be mistaken. There’s no way I’m a witch.”

To his surprise, Hagrid laughed.

”Can’t be a witch, eh? Aren’t there events that happen every time you get scared or angry?”

Harry looked at the fireplace. Come to think of it… all the strange events that made his aunt and uncle angry at him happened when he, Harry, was angry or sad. When chased by Dudley’s gang, somehow he always managed to escape… when he was worried about having to go to school with a ridiculous haircut, his hair suddenly grew by itself… and when Dudley had last hit him, hadn’t he managed to hit him back, without realizing it? ? Wasn’t he the one who released the boa constrictor that scared Dudley?

Harry looked back at Hagrid, smiling, and saw Hagrid grinning happily at him.

”See for yourself, right?” said Hagrid. “Harry Potter, it can’t be a wizard

—just wait, you’ll be famous at Hogwarts.”

But Uncle Vernon wouldn’t give up without a fight.

“Didn’t I tell you he couldn’t go?” he hissed. ”He’s going to Stonewall High and he’s going to be thankful for it. I’ve read the letters and they say he needs all sorts of junk—spell books and wands and…”

“If he wants to go, a great Muggle like you won’t be able to stop him,” growled Hagrid. ”Ban Lily and James Potter’s children from Hogwarts! You are crazy. His name has been registered there since he was born. He will enter the most famous magic school in the world. Seven years there, he would no longer know himself. He’ll be hanging out with kids like him, this time, and under the guidance of the greatest headmaster Hogwarts has ever had, Albus Dumbled…”

“I DON’T WANT TO PAY CRAZY OLD MEN

TO TEACH HIM MAGIC Tricks!” shouted Uncle Vernon.

But he was too late. Hagrid grabbed his umbrella and twirled it over his head. ”DON’T YOU DARE…,” he roared, “…INSULT…ALBUS…DUMBLEDORE…IN…FRONT OF ME!”

He swung his umbrella down to point at Dudley. There was a flash of purple light, a sound like firecrackers, a loud scream, and the next second Dudley was dancing on the spot with his hands clutching his fat bottom, screaming in pain. When he turned his back to them, Harry saw a curled pig’s tail sticking out of a hole in his trousers.

Uncle Vernon growled. Pulling Aunt Petunia and Dudley into the other room, he threw one last frightened look at Hagrid, then slammed the door shut behind them.

Hagrid looked down at his umbrella and stroked his beard.

“You shouldn’t be angry,” he said regretfully, “but it’s not working. I mean I wanted to turn him into a pig, but I guess he already looks so much like a pig, there’s not much else that can be done.”

He glanced at Harry from under his bushy eyebrows.

“I would be grateful if you didn’t mention this incident to anyone at Hogwarts,” he said. “I… um… actually can’t do magic. Just a little bit to follow you and deliver your letters and do the shopping—one of the reasons I wanted to get this job so badly….”

“Why can’t you do magic?” asked Harry.

“Oh, yeah… I went to Hogwarts too, but… um… I got expelled, to be honest. Third grade time. They broke my stick in half and other things. But Dumbledore let me stay as gamekeeper. Great man, Dumbledore.”

“Why were you expelled?”

“It’s late and we have a lot to do tomorrow,” said Hagrid loudly. “You have to go to town and buy your books and equipment.”

Hagrid took off his thick black coat and threw it at Harry.

“You can make it into a blanket,” he said. “Don’t mind if it struggles a little. I think there’s still a couple of mice in one of his pockets.”

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