The Past Revealed.
I suppose it was all my sister’s fault. Muriel wasn’t
exactly a model of obedience, and any chance she got to cause trouble, she
took. Of course our parents had warned her, that in a family of nine children
she couldn’t afford to be so naughty. Somebody would get hurt. Plenty of us
did, of course. Whenever she had thought up a new trick or joke, ultimately one
of us would pay for it. Mum became an expert at mending bones, cleaning up
blood and healing gaping wounds. Muriel never learnt though, at least not until
it was too late. I suppose it’s where Fred and George get their joking streak
from. It definitely wasn’t from me. I do worry
about them; I don’t want to see the same thing happening to them as happened to
Muriel. Perhaps it’s why I was always overcareful with them, not letting them
work on their joke shop. Like Muriel though, they found a way, and these
similarities scared me more than ever.
She was in her thirties when it happened. Like I said, she
never got tired of practical jokes and pranks. All her life she had been
thinking up new and better pranks to play on us and that Christmas was by far
You-Know-Who was nearing the height of his power, it was a
time of great fear, with everyone who had a connection in the Ministry
constantly living on edge, lest they shouldn’t return home one day. Arthur
assured me that he wouldn’t be targeted. Who would want a lowly Misuse of
Muggle Artefacts worker? Well I obviously told him what I thought of that
statement, although I was temporarily silenced when he pointed out that, as
pure-bloods, we would be near the bottom of the ‘hit-list’ as he so eloquently
put it. It was all so casual, too, the way he’d come home every night, later
and later, and comment matter-of-factly ‘so-and-so disappeared yesterday.’ It
made me scared of what was to come. How much worse would it get?
And then, at Christmas time, it got a lot worse.
We were having our usual family gathering. All nine
children, plus spouses and their children, even
Great-Auntie Muriel, for whom my sister was named, was
present. Fred and George were only just walking, and everything they could
reach went either into their mouths or into somewhere that it shouldn’t go,
like into the cat’s mouth. It was a
full-time job trying to keep them under control. Bill, Charlie and Percy had
never caused that much trouble between them, never made everyday tasks such
hard work. I suppose that’s why I never noticed Muriel acting oddly. No. I’m just
making excuses for my own lack of perception.
I suppose it was a good thing that the twins were behaving
so badly, I shudder to think what might have…although it was horrific…
Eventually Arthur and I decided that we had to take the
twins home, we just couldn’t keep track of them. They’d already locked the cat
in the kitchen cupboard, with the result that a lot of the food mother had
prepared for the next few days had been spoiled. There were three other small
children there; my nieces and nephews, and Fred and George had managed to
terrify them. I don’t know how, but one moment they were all playing nicely
together, then the next second all three had fled, screaming, leaving Fred and George with those mischievous glints in
We left shortly after that, flooing back to The Burrow. That
was the first time we’d flooed with the twins, I had Fred and Arthur took
George. They weren’t impressed about being separated, even for such a short
We’d barely returned home and put them to bed when I knew
something was wrong. Next thing I knew, Muriel
had Apparated outside the front door, looking
incredibly panicked. Panicked is probably an understatement; I’ve never seen her look so
utterly terrified. It was then that I discovered what had happened. My two
She had sold them out to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Told Him
about Dumbledore’s secret society, the existence of which Arthur and I had
suspected for some time, but had never had confirmed. Two
more pure-blooded, hugely talented wizards, the talents of whom the world would
never fully appreciate.
After that day, it all changed. My once so tightly-knit
family moved to all ends of the world and there were no more
jolly holiday gatherings.
From then on I realised how important family was. I
desperately missed the big family parties, the shouted conversations, not being
able to count the number of guests on both hands. I always wanted more
children, and then, when I finally got my baby girl, we realised it had to
stop. We wouldn’t be able to afford any more.
Muriel was a changed
person. She never
joked, barely smiled- she had avoided Azkaban when it was realised she was
under the Imperius Curse. Even though it wasn’t her fault, she blamed herself.
Whenever she sees us, she hugs us all so tight, like she’s afraid to let go.
Perhaps she is.
Every year, I miss it more than ever. When Ron started
Hogwarts and I realised that he would want to stay there for Christmas, I
dreaded it even more. Then Ron wrote to say that he had made friends with Harry
Potter. A boy who has never
known family. This made me realise how selfish I was being. I had experienced
the love of a big family for so long, and he never had.
Most holidays now, Harry and Ron’s other best friend,
Hermione, come to us when they’re not at Hogwarts or with their own families, along with as many of our children that can make it
back from wherever life has taken them. And, just for those short weeks, it feels
like home again.