Sotheby’s Adds Catalog Note From Jo on “Beedle the Bard” Book

Nov 18, 2007

Posted by: SueTLC


As TLC reported yesterday, Sotheby’s has updated more items from author J.K. Rowling to be auctioned off on December 13, and as noted previously, there is a catalog previewing this action that is available to the public, with proceeds to benefit The Children’s Voice charity. While there was a excerpt from the note from Jo released the day of the announcement of this book, the auction house has now added more text to their “Beedle the Bard” page, and you can now read some additional background from Jo regarding the origin of this tale as follows:

NOTESpoiler Caution for those who have not yet read “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”






“The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a collection of Wizarding fairy-tales of special significance within Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In chapter seven of the final Harry Potter book we learn that in his will, Albus Dumbledore leaves his copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard to Hermione Granger “in the hope that she will find it entertaining and instructive”. The stories comprise ‘The Wizard and the Hopping Pot’, ‘The Fountain of Fair Fortune’, ‘The Warlock’s Hairy Heart’, ‘Babbity Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump’ and ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’. The final tale is published within Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; the others have been hitherto entirely unknown.

One of seven specially-made copies. All other copies are to be given by the author to those most intimately involved with the phenomenally successful series. A limitation note explains “Six of these books have been given to those most closely connected to the Harry Potter books during the past 17 years. This seventh copy will be auctioned, the proceeds to help institutionalised children who are in desperate need of a voice. So, to whoever now owns this book, THANK YOU – and fair fortune be yours! J.K. Rowling”

Each of the seven copies to be uniquely bound with hand-chased silver ornaments and mounted semi-precious stones by Hamilton and Inches. The company was founded in 1866, by James Hamilton and Robert Inches who were uncle and nephew respectively. The firm holds a royal warrant by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen as Silversmiths and Clock Specialists. The binding and embellishments were inspired by an ancient Italian prayer book. The sterling silver cornerpiece ornaments each bear a single motif from one of the stories, comprising a leaf, heart, fountain and a human foot. The central sterling silver panel includes a skull motif. Moonstones are also mounted. Within magical mythology moonstones promote selflessness and unconditional love. These qualities foster nurturing and mothering qualities. Each sterling silver ornament is hand-chased and hallmarked.

“When I conceived the idea of writing The Tales of Beedle the Bard in full, I was intrigued to discover how wizarding fairy-tales would differ from those told to muggle children. In the latter, witches and wizards are relegated to walk-on, if pivotal, roles; within The Tales of Beedle the Bard, they themselves are the heroes and heroines.

You might think that magic would solve any fairy-tale dilemma, but it transpires that there is always somebody who can cast a more powerful curse, or a creature who will not yield to one’s best enchantments. Then, the intractable and eternal human predicaments of love, death and the pursuit of happiness are not necessarily resolved any more easily by the possessors of wands.

So these wizarding fairy-tales have much in common with their muggle counterparts: they exist to express human hopes and fears, and to teach a lesson or two. There are, however, a few important differences: witches tend to save themselves, rather than waiting around for a man to do it, and young wizards are warned, not against the dangers and temptations of the outside world, but of their own magical powers.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is really a distillation of the themes found in the Harry Potter books, and writing it has been the most wonderful way to say goodbye to a world I loved and lived in for seventeen years.”

J.K. Rowling

If you would like to order this catalog, click here. Reminder again the book that will be auctioned off for charity goes on display December 9, with the actual auction taking place at 10 am December 13. If you missed it previously, you can also see a video interview with Jo regarding this book, here in our galleries.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.