Twins’ Tall Tales: Watch Out for Mrs. Norris!
It was Christmas day at the Burrow, and this year, the whole family had come home. They’d spent the hours of the morning opening presents as Bill – home from his new job in Egypt – regaled them all with heart-stopping tales of his adventures in cursed tombs. Now, Bill and Charlie – in his final semester at Hogwarts – washed a mountain of dishes by hand; they’d begun to do so by magic but had incurred the wrath of Mrs. Weasley after a casserole dish had flown through the window.
Fred and George, meanwhile, were recounting the exploits of their first semester at Hogwarts to their younger siblings. Ginny especially wanted to know every detail.
“Is the castle as huge as Charlie says?” Ginny’s eyes were wide; she was perched on the edge of the kitchen table.
“Very,” Fred replied. “It’s got seven floors and four towers and dungeons and winding corridors and massive moving staircases.”
“Wow! And does the Fat Lady really guard Gryffindor tower?”
George sighed. “You ask this every year, Gin. Yes, she still does. And before you ask, she still can’t sing.”
“And does Filch really give everyone detention all the time? Even for muddying the floors?”
“Yes, he’s a nasty one… but really it’s Mrs. Norris you want to watch out for.” Fred shuddered.
“Why? Isn’t she Filch’s cat? I love cats!”
“You may love cats, Ginny,” Fred cautioned, “but trust us. This cat is the worst of the lot.” George nodded in agreement.
“Oh, come on,” Ron huffed. He leaned back in his chair, arms crossed in disbelief. “It’s just a cat! How bad can she be?”
“Oh, you’ll want to listen, Ron.” Fred nodded gravely. “You don’t want to get on Mrs. Norris’s bad side.”
“In fact…” – George leaned in close – “… she may not be a cat at all. Some say she’s actually a powerful sorceress, of legendary magical ability.”
“They say she was trapped long ago in a cat’s body by Salazar Slytherin himself,” Fred continued. “As a sorceress, she terrified the whole school with her powers. As a cat, those powers were diminished, but they never fully went away.”
“What kinds of powers does she have?” Ginny’s voice was hushed; even Ron was paying more attention.
“She knows when students misbehave around the castle,” George said. “She can sense immediately when someone’s done something wrong. Break a rule and beware; she’ll appear instantaneously before you.
“We’ve felt her effects before, haven’t we, Fred?”
Fred shuddered. “And all for a simple Dungbomb… in a suit of armor in the Charms corridor…”
“It went off right in Flitwick’s face…” George sighed fondly. “But that’s beside the point.
“She can paralyze any student with a single glance. She can summon Filch to her side with a single call.”
“Filch doesn’t know anything, of course,” Fred added. “He thinks he’s in control. But he’s completely captivated by her power.”
“Most of the time, she can hold the student there until Filch arrives to dish out the appropriate punishment.”
“But sometimes, in very special cases, she’ll… well, she’ll decide Filch can’t do enough, and she’ll take charge herself…” George lapsed into silence.
Ron’s eyes were huge. “What does she do?”
Fred and George look at each other. “Well…” Fred began.
“Let’s just say after Kenneth Towler was caught dripping mud all over the entrance hall for the tenth time… well, we never saw him again, did we, Fred?” George asked.
“Not a trace, poor lad.” Fred shook his head sadly. He leaned in close. “No one knows how he disappeared…”
George continued. “… but some say Mrs. Norris grew very, very large -”
“And opened her jaws wide as the Great Hall -“
“And swallowed him up -“
“In one -“
AAAARGH! Ginny and Ron both screamed as Fred and George fell out of their chairs, laughing.
Bill and Charlie had snuck up behind them. Bill had lifted Ginny off the table in one swift motion and was now holding her in the air while Charlie had clapped his freezing cold hands to Ron’s face. The four of them had a big laugh at their siblings’ expense, but their merriment didn’t last very long. That very evening, Ginny and Ron teamed up with Percy and their mother and absolutely thrashed them in a ferocious snowball fight.
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