Dumblebee or The Headmaster’s Day
Dumbledore laid down the ballpoint quill that
he was so fond of, and set aside the thick ream of parchment he had been
attending to. The role of a headmaster was full of thankless administrative
tasks, he thought. The thing that made it all bearable was watching over his
castle full of students and teachers.
Albus Dumbledore was a lover of people, with
all their quirks and idiosyncrasies. He found that almost everything important
to know in life could be learned by watching people. So, as he did every day at
this time, (unless pressed by other matters) Albus Dumbledore pushed back his
chair, crossed the room, locked his door to his office, and then transfigured
himself into a bumblebee.
The Ministry of Magic had carefully recorded
and logged all known Animagi for the past one hundred
years. There were precious few wizards able to make a transformation into
another species. The Ministry was hampered in its registration efforts because
some of those who were able to transform, were also reluctant to report it.
What good, after all, was such a disguise if everyone would know and recognize
you? ‘Bureaucratic drivel,’ thought Dumbledore. He himself was unregistered,
because he had discovered this talent at age fifteen, more than One hundred thirty-five years ago. ‘Ah well,’ he thought, ‘let’s see
what’s happening today at Hogwarts’.
Flying was a great joy, and Dumbledore had
become quite good at it over the many years since his first transformation. He
had learned to stay completely out of the reach of humans to avoid becoming a
nasty splat on the bottom of someone’s shoe. He found that his hearing was very
acute while in his Animagus form. It helped him keep
his distance from would be attackers. He turned several great, buzzing loops in
midair to loosen up his wings and then, zoomed off through a convenient crack
in the wall, to check up on his charges.
Flying down the hall, over the heads of the
students who were passing between classes, was always a good way to find out if
mischief was afoot. Although Dumbledore
was quite a fan of a good practical joke, and even very silly pranks, still
there were limits.
Rounding a corner, he spotted two small
Ravenclaw boys, first years, obviously laying in wait for someone. Dumbledore spotted
Uriah Nott, a third year Slytherin, and a know bully,
coming down the hall. The firsties had their wands
out, and an open spell book lay behind them on the floor. Dumbledore dipped low
enough to see the potential spell. ‘Yes, the Jelly Legs Jinx, always a
favorite,’ he mused. He had seen many such dramas play out in his years as
headmaster. It was his experience that letting the students try, whether they
succeeded or failed, was often more instructive for them than if he intervened
and stopped the prank. Madam Pomfrey was quite adept at sorting out these
rudimentary spells and charms.
Uriah Nott passed by, but
the firsties had lost their nerve. They looked
dismally at each other.
“You didn’t curse him,” said the first.
“Well…. neither did you,” said the second.
“We’ll have to try again later, ok? I mean, he shouldn’t be able to just ruin
my books on purpose, like he did.”
Last year, Dumbledore had let the Weasley
twins get away with an extraordinary number of pranks designed to infuriate
Delores Umbridge. Dumbledore had to snigger each time he thought of the third
floor swamp and the Filibuster fireworks. He certainly could have prevented all
that, but Umbridge had to be removed, and those distractions hastened the
process. It had also kept Dumbledore from having to reveal all of his talents
to the Ministry. ‘The Weasley twins, now they were amazing,’ he thought.
Dumbledore flew off, away from the first
years, and their difficulties. He buzzed into Professor Flitwick's
classroom. Flitwick was a marvel. He was easily one of the best teachers at
Hogwarts. The students universally liked him. Dumbledore thought it was because
Flitwick really cared that they succeed, and looked past everything else. He
was also fair. Right now he was struggling with a large box of padlocks. Susan
Bones had just entered the classroom and immediately went to Flitwick’s aid with a ‘can I help you, Professor?’ As other
students filed in, Susan passed out the locks, while Flitwick levitated the
keys at the front of the room.
“Welcome class,” said Flitwick. “Today we will
be working locks, that is to say, locking and unlocking them with magic…”
Flitwick did not need any help from
Dumbledore, and he again zoomed off. Down the corridor and around the corner,
there was the sound of sobbing coming from the girls’ bathroom. Dumbledore
slipped in around the doorframe and sat there so as to avoid seeing anything he
should not. He observed Elsa Bell, a Hufflepuff, crying in the corner. He had
observed this same girl crying in the bathroom yesterday. Time for some action,
he thought. Out through the doorframe, and into Professor McGonagall’s
classroom next door, he zoomed. He flew across the ceiling and dived down near
Minerva’s ear. He could still use his Legilimens skill in his transfigured
form, and he was capable to putting a small thought into someone’s head if he
Minerva looked up suddenly and walked toward
the door. “I’ll be back in a moment class, please continue with your reading,”
said McGonagall. “No funny business while I’m gone,” she said sharply.
‘Very efficient woman,’ thought Dumbledore as
he watched her go out the door and into the bathroom. Soon she emerged with her
arm around Elsa and was patting her in a comforting way. ‘Situation under
control,’ he thought, and he was off again.
Now Dumbledore whizzed down the stairs toward
the dungeon, taking a brief turn through the kitchen. The elves were happily
rushing about, preparing the dinner. Winky was still
obviously depressed. He didn’t know what to do to cheer her up. He would have
to give it some thought.
Then he zipped down to Professor Snape's
classroom. When Snape’s door was shut, he could not gain entry, so he flew
along the hall and around a corner to the rear entrance of Snape's office.
There was a crack in the door, near the lock that would let him through.
Snape’s office always smelled of some noxious potion or other. Dumbledore
circled the desk. An owl message about a shipment of wormwood lay open on top.
Underneath was the start of a letter to Mr. Borgin,
who ran a small curiosity shop in Knockturn Alley. Dumbledore could not make
out much of the text, as the other letter covered it. ‘Best check into this
some more… later,’ he thought.
He flew up the sill of the door to the
classroom, and squeezed through. He crawled to the corner of the door frame and
watched. Severus was such a talented potions maker. Too bad he was in his
normal, caustic mood. Clearly the students were afraid of him, but he turned
out consistently high marks in his NEWT level students. He was in the process
of berating Dean Thomas at this moment. Dean’s potion did not look nearly as
bad as Snape was making out. At that moment, however, Pansy Parkinson’s
cauldron erupted, sending a messy sludge into the air, which hit Snape in the
back of the head. During the yelling and cleanup that followed, Snape forgot
Dumbledore crept back out, looped through
Snape’s office, and out the door. As he flew back toward the stairs, he caught
site of two sixth years snogging in a dark corner. He
zoomed around their heads causing them to break apart and swat at the air. He
continued to tease them until they finally left off, and started walking back
toward the main hallway. Dumbledore shook his bee head, “young love,” he
All seemed to be well around the castle. He
decided to whiz over to Herbology and then back to his office. Out the front
door and across the grassy lawn he flitted. A hole in the green house roof was
his entry point. Harry Potter was in this class along with Ron Weasley. The
class was nosily trimming some leggy chamomile plants. Dumbledore landed upside
down on the ceiling above Harry and Ron.
“…so I tried that flip turn thing on my
Firebolt, but I can’t see how it would help me during a match,” Harry was saying.
“I saw it in Quidditch weekly…,” began
Dumbledore dropped from the ceiling and buzzed
over to a scrawny rosebush by the door. He pollinated several of the buds and
then rose up through the hole of the roof and into the crisp fall air. Up he floated
on an air current until he was near his office window. He wiggled in through a
small opening and transformed back into himself. He unlocked the door and took
Twenty minutes later, there was a knock. “Come
in,” said Dumbledore.
Professor McGonagall stepped in holding the
two first years Dumbledore had seen in the hallway. She had each one by the
scruff of their collars. “These two idiots tried to jinx Uriah
Nott in the hallway between classes,” stated McGonagall with her usual
He gave them a hard searching look. They were
quite frightened. “I think, Professor, you will find that Uriah
Nott was equally at fault as these two fellows here. One night of detention for
our young Ravenclaws will be sufficient punishment, don’t you think?” he
smiled. “Then, please bring Mr. Nott to me as I think a sterner punishment will
be required for him.”
McGonagall got that quizzical look that said,
‘how do you know these things?’ But, she said nothing, as she steered the
relieved firsties from the office. As she reached the
door, Dumbledore called her back. He leaned across his desk and in a lowered
voice said, “By the way, I think Miss Elsa Bell, is a tad homesick. I think we
might send her to her parents, by floo network for a weekend visit. I’m sure
that will set her right.” Minerva McGonagall just smiled and nodded. Albus was