Ginny’s Bedtime Story

“Tell me a bedtime story!” Ginny huffed, her little head just peeking out from under the well-worn bed covers.

“Not now, Ginny. It is far past your bedtime,” Percy admonished, tucking his little sister into bed.

“Come off it, Perce!” Fred exclaimed, walking past the open door on the way to his own room.

“You can at least tell her a story,” his twin added, right behind him.

Percy threw up his hands in frustration. “You can tell her a story, then, if you are so adamant. I will not be the one responsible when Mom and Dad come home and she’s still up.” And with that, the third oldest Weasley brother stormed out to check on Ron, muttering under his breath about how when their parents were out, he was supposed to be in charge.

Amused, the twins took a seat at the foot of Ginny’s bed, both reaching for the family’s worn copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. “Which one?” Fred asked, flipping through the thin pages.

“Not from there,” Ginny said, shaking her head. “Something new.”

“All right,” George said, pondering the possibilities. “There once was a girl-”

“A princess,” his twin added. “With two very handsome older prince brothers.” Fred puffed out his chest and mimed balancing a crown on his head.

George continued, “But this was not an ordinary princess. No, she came from a long line of dragon tamers! So when the kingdom was attacked by those fierce Ukrainian Ironbellies, who did they call?”

“The princess!” Ginny squealed as a warm summer breeze drifted through the open window, ruffling the pale curtains.

“Right you are, little sister! And so she went out to the far reaches of the kingdom, armed only with her elm and dragon heartstring wand and her gift. It was a long and arduous walk, through muddy swamps and dark alleyways, but soon enough, she came face to face with those fearsome monsters.” George’s voice dropped to a whisper. “They had long, needle-like talons and shining silver scales that glowed in the sunlight-”

“And they breathed 12-foot-long pillars of flames that turned the evening sky the color of your hair,” Fred cut in, flicking strands of his sister’s long scarlet hair in her face, making her giggle. “Soon, the princess looked out across the field, where many princes and warrior knights had failed and since Disapparated in terror. Undeterred, the princess rushed into battle until she was face to snout with the largest, most ferocious beast there.”

“What did she do?” Ginny asked, her eyelids beginning to flutter with the onset of sleep.

“She told it a joke,” George replied, making Ginny smile slightly. “It was the joke to end all jokes. It appealed to their nature-“

“Because what you may not know,” Fred interjected, “is that dragons are naturally very humorous creatures. They consider a well-timed joke or prank a matter of utmost diplomacy. As do we,” Fred pointed to his brother and himself with a grin.

“And the princess, with her dragon-taming gift, knew this, so she came prepared. In a loud, clear voice she said, ‘What does a wizard order from a hotel? Broom service!’ In response, the dragon breathed a long, hot breath that sent shivers down the princess’s spine.” So caught up in his tale, George stomped around the small room, blowing hot air and growling.

“Charlie would be appalled by that impersonation,” Fred laughed.

Sitting back down, George finished his tale. Gaining her confidence, the princess continued until she had all of the dragons rolling on the floor, laughing, with sparkly tears streaming from their gargantuan eyes.” 

“After she had recited every joke in her arsenal, the princess sat down with the eldest dragon and they came to an agreement that benefitted both sides and-” George nudged his brother and pointed to the other end of the bed where Ginny lay curled up and fast asleep. “And they all lived happily ever after,” he finished at a whisper. The twins blew out the candle, plunging the room into darkness, and shut the door with a click.