The Sugar Quill
Author: noodles (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Sweet Surprise  Chapter: default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Note:  The world of Harry Potter is J.K. Rowling’s, not mine.  Apologies should be offered to Monty Python, as well, for borrowing some of their words.

***

It was a brisk Saturday morning in September, and Harry Potter and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger decided to take advantage of their relatively light start-of-term workloads to pay a visit to Hagrid.  They walked from the castle doors to the small wooden hut that was home to the Care of Magical Creatures teacher and Keeper of the Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Harry knocked on the door, which opened moments later to reveal the large, hairy face of Hagrid.

“Harry!  Ron!  Hermione!” he exclaimed, gesturing them inside, “Yer jest in time!  Come an’ see what I found in the Forest this mornin’!”

Having had first-hand experience with the kind of creatures that lived in the Forbidden Forest (a nearly-fatal encounter with a family of giant spiders sprang immediately to Harry’s mind), and knowing that Hagrid tended to be excited by things that would frighten any right-thinking person out of his wits, the three young people hesitated at the threshold.  However, a quick glance around the door assured Harry that there were no Acromantulas, Quintapeds, or Chimaeras waiting just inside the room to attack, and he ventured cautiously in.  Ron and Hermione followed, looking all around the interior of the hut, clearly on guard in case of sudden attack.

Hagrid was beaming down at what seemed to be a rock sitting on his table.  However, as Harry drew closer (carefully, keeping in mind that small things still had the potential to be unpleasant- Baby Norbert and the first encounter with the Blast-Ended Skrewts were excellent examples), he could see that it was not actually a rock at all; it was a bird, huddled in on itself, apparently in pain.  Nearly transparent, the bird seemed to be made entirely out of delicately carved crystal.  Although each feather was individually defined, the overall impression was of an angular and crystalline sculpture.  The only detractions from this impression were the facts that the small creature kept letting out quiet, wheezing coughs, and that one of its wings had a large smooth spot that looked as if it was eroding away.

“It’s beautiful,” whispered Hermione.

“Certainly better than most of the things you take in, Hagrid,” said Ron, “What is it?”

Hagrid grinned at them, “It’s a young Pen Goon.  Probably wandered away from its mother and got lost.  I found it at the edge of the Forest; some creature had been licking away the feathers on its wing, so it couldn’t fly away.  But I gave it a mug of treacle, and it ate it right up, so I think it’s about ready to grow its adult feathers, anyway.”

“Wait a second,” interjected Harry, terribly confused, “A penguin?  This doesn’t look anything like a penguin!”

“No, Harry, a Pen Goon.” Hagrid corrected, “Ye probably don’t recognize it, still looking like it’s made of sugar, an’ all, but you just wait till it’s molted and grown its adult feathers.  Maybe it’ll stick around instead of flyin’ away, and we can collect the tail feathers it drops.  I bet you’d like to have some home-grown Sugar Quills!”

Now it was Ron’s turn to interject.  “Now just hold on,” he said.  “Are you telling me that Sugar Quills come off the backside of an actual bird!?”  He looked simultaneously disgusted and scandalized.

“That’s fascinating!” said Hermione, obviously pleased with this new information.  “A bird with edible quills . . . and it lives on a diet of treacle?”  She continued in this vein for some time, asking questions that Hagrid was more than happy to answer.

Harry was more inclined to agree with Ron.  But while he didn’t find the idea very appealing, he wasn’t quite as vocal about it as the other boy.  “Honestly, is nothing safe?!” Ron was saying, “I’m going to start closely examining every wrapper before I eat anything!  I mean, Bertie Botts’ Every Flavor Beans are bad enough, but then I find out about Fizzing Whizzbees . . . and now Sugar Quills are ruined for me!  What’s next?  Am I going to walk into Honeydukes and find out that Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum has a sticker on it that says ‘Warning, Lark’s Vomit’?  Or that Chocolate Frogs really do contain actual frogs?”

Harry couldn’t help but laugh at this outburst.  “I don’t think you need to worry about the Chocolate Frogs, at the very least,” he said.

Ron looked at him with doubt in his eyes.  “What makes you so sure?”

“No bones.  If they were real frogs, they’d be a great deal crunchier.”

Harry grinned cheekily.  Hermione suppressed a laugh.  Hagrid laughed aloud.  Ron shook his head in mock despair. 

And the sun shone brightly on the grounds, wherein, for the time being, the greatest worry of its occupants was the origin of their sweets.

//
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