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  • A Hogwarts Adventure

    Paul Bland


  • About this Story: This is a companion piece to the story that follows it, The Mystery of the Siwa School. It was written for Emily’s eighth birthday – at a time when the girls really loved the Harry Potter stories and that seemed a good place to locate an adventure where Emily is the brave soul and Katie stays safely at home.

    I was very happy with “Egg and Lettuce” as characters – and with Dino, the runty dinosaur. There are some lovely touches there including the magic objects the children carry and the various prophecies which appear on the walls. There are some adult jokes about the outcomes of the lost gold but the girls didn’t seem to mind the way this finished.

    Like the story that follows, this is a transition story. It’s long [at 33 000 words] but still uses naff illustrations and naive captions.

    It was that lovely time of evening after bath and before bed when the girls could have their Old Grandad all to themselves to listen to a story. Grandad was getting very old: he was slow and forgetful and sometimes he smelt funny but he still told good stories. Emily was very pleased tonight because her birthday was coming soon and Grandad always had a special story for her birthday. The girls and Old Grandad gathered on the big bed in his room; the air conditioning was on and so they had a blanket to snuggle up with against the cool. Outside, the sun was going down on a winter’s day which was still warm. The nights would be cold, however. It could be very cold in the desert at night.

    “Grandad,” said Emily, “can you tell us a scary story?”


  • “Goodness me,” said Grandad. “A scary story? I think I know a few scary stories.”

    “Not the one about the ferocious koala bear!” said Katie.

    “Or the one about the ferocious wombat!” said Emily.

    “Do you mean a really scary story then?” said Grandad. “But my dears- you are only little girls! What would you want with a really scary story?”

    Katie groaned. How could Old Grandad be so silly? “Grandad,” she said, “I’m nine years old now.”

    “Yes,” said Emily. “We go on the Jumeirah Screamer at Wild Wadi.”

    “And when I had a loose tooth,” said Katie, “I pulled it out myself. Emily helped me.”

    “And we have sleepovers and eat pizza!” said Emily. That settled it: the girls were afraid of nothing and even the scariest story wouldn’t frighten them.

    “Very well then,” said Old Grandad sadly. “I suppose that you are all grown up now. Once you were my little girls; now I suppose you are my big girls.”

    “You’ve got it, Grandad!” said Emily – and I think she was right.

    And this is the story that Old Grandad told.


  • Chapter 1: On the Hogwarts Express

    Once upon a time there were two little witches who lived with their parents in Dubai. The witches were called Katie and Emily. They were big girls and afraid of nothing. Once Katie had had a loose tooth and Emily had torn it out with a pair of pliers: Katie just grinned a gappy grin after that terrible moment. She wasn’t frightened of the blood and the pain. When they went to Wild Wadi or Sega World, those two little witches would rush for the scariest rides and push timid teenage boys with tattoos out of the way in the queue. At sleepovers, those girls would stay awake and eat pizza pies all night, giggling and telling ghost stories until their poor Daddy came in and threatened to give them a tranquilizing injection. Those little witches were the bravest and best girls in the whole of Dubai.

    But even the bravest witches have moments of concern and Katie’s came when she went off to school. Ordinary boys and girls go to ordinary schools; Katie, being a witch, received an invitation to attend the famous Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It was the happiest moment of Katie’s long and eventful life when a beautiful brown barn owl brought her the parchment letter inviting her to report to Kings Cross Station in London at 9 am on the first Monday of September to catch the Hogwarts Express to her new school.


  • The famous Hogwarts Express taking Katie to Hogwarts

    Katie went with Mummy and Daddy and a very envious Emily to Diagon Alley to buy her robes, her spell books and cauldron and finally her magic wand. They saw her off on the platform at the station and there were plenty of tears from them all [everyone except Katie, that is!] as the beautiful red steam train pulled out of the station on its way to the school. I could tell you all about the great adventures Katie had in those first two years of school but this is Emily’s story and so I won’t – except to say that Katie had a splendid time at Hogwarts. The Sorting Hat put Katie straight into Gryffindor House where all the bravest students went. [Remember that the Sorting Hat seemed to put the smartest students into Ravenclaw House, the nicest students went into Hufflepuff House and the most cunning students went into Slytherin House.] Katie made very good friends in Gryffindor, particularly with Ginny Wesley and her brothers George, Fred and Ronald and their friends, Harry Potter and Hermione Grainger. One holiday, Harry and Ron, Hermione and Ginny all came to visit Katie in Dubai. They had fantastic fun – although there were some problems with a magic lamp that Ron had bought in the souk. The Jinn who came out of the lamp made things very uncomfortable for everyone for an afternoon before Hermione could coax it back into the lamp. The poor gardeners who work at Uptown Villas had a lot of cleaning up to do around the pool that afternoon. Emily always dreamed that when her turn came to go to Hogwarts that she would be in Gryffindor House too.

    Harry Potter and the Weasley twins in their Gryffindor Quiddich Robes.


  • Finally, the two terrible years of waiting were over and Emily’s invitation arrived in the beak of a snowy field owl. With everything packed into a trunk bearing her name in gold letters, Emily was standing with her sister on the platform at Kings Cross Station looking at the giant red steam train engine with the words Hogwarts Express flourished on the side. She waved to Mummy and Daddy as the train pulled out in a magnificent burst of steam and then she was on her way. Katie wanted to sit with Ginny and made it clear to Emily that from this moment, she was on her own. Third year girls didn’t sit with first year girls: Emily would have to remember that too when it came to dinner in the Great Hall. There would be lots of first year Gryffindor girls with whom Emily could sit. She had to make her own friends now and not just count on Katie. Well, that was just what Emily wanted too. She liked Ron and Harry and Ginny very much but she wanted to make her life at Hogwarts different from Katie’s.

    All the same, it was a bit scary trying to find a spare seat in the train. Most of the boys and girls knew one another well and were busily sharing summer holiday stories. Finally, Emily found a compartment with just two students in it - a boy and girl about her own age whom Emily realised must be twins. They had the same shy smile, the same curly brown hair and both were wearing glasses. When Emily asked if the seats in the compartment were free, they waved her in.

    “Hi!” said the girl, holding out her hand, “My name’s Lettice, but you can call me Letty. And this is my twin brother, Egbert. Most people call us Egg and Lettuce. Get it? It’s a kind of joke – it makes other people laugh anyway. My parents are super bright – they’re professors at a muggle university so you’d think that they would be clever enough not to give their children daft names, but there you are. What’s your name?”

    “I’m Emily,” said Emily, “just Emily. My Mum and Dad are bright but they gave my sister and me simple names. Katie’s in third year. I’m a first year. What about you?

    “First year- and happy to be on this train going to Hogwarts,” said Egbert. “And will you call me Bert? I’m leaving Egbert at my last awful school. They had the most horrible bullies in that school. I’ve been bashed up, picked on and teased by upper class bullies at a posh school. Let me tell you that you get a superior


  • kind of bullying at a posh school, Emily. Those boys were champion bullies; they made me miserable and I hated it. That’s how I came to be so tough.”

    “You don’t look tough,” said Emily shyly. She really liked Egg and Lettuce very much; if she hadn’t been feeling so friendly with them, I don’t think that she would have said anything so personal.

    “If you don’t think I’m tough then you need glasses!” said Bert recklessly. Bert was liking Emily too.

    “I’ve already got glasses!” cried Emily.

    “We all have!” said Letty. “Glasses are cool. Being Egg and Lettuce isn’t cool but being Bert and Letty is. And you’re cool, Emmy. We’re going to be good friends, I can see that. Let’s have some lunch.” It wasn’t lunch time at all – barely time for morning tea - but Emily was suddenly hungry and so she opened her sandwiches and the three friends shared everything out.

    And that was the start of Emily’s greatest adventure ever. By the time the Hogwarts Express was nearing its destination, the three children had eaten their way through an enormous lunch: sandwiches, cakes, fruit, a packet of ginger