Released on December 4, 2008, to the general public, The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a book of wizarding children’s stories by J.K. Rowling and is a companion book to the Harry Potter series. The book is an essential plot device in the Deathly Hallows book, with the title of that novel coming from “The Tale of The Three Brothers” in Beedle the Bard. Hermione Granger inherits the book from Albus Dumbledore in his will, and wizarding families like the Weasleys grew up on these tales in the same way Muggle children grow up on tales from the Brothers Grimm, for example.
Rowling started writing the book soon after finishing Deathly Hallows, drawing on other books as sources of inspiration. “The Tale of the Three Brothers,” which is included in its entirety in Deathly Hallows, was inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Pardoner’s Tale” from The Canterbury Tales. Similarly to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages, the book features commentary and footnotes from Dumbledore.
- Waterstones Offers Fans the Chance to Own Original Chris Riddell Art - To celebrate the release of the illustrated version of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard", Waterstones is offering fans the chance to get something very special with their preorders - an original illustration of Dumbledore by Chris Riddell himself.
- “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” Illustrator Chris Riddell to Appear Across the UK - Chris Riddell, artist of Bloomsbury's illustrated edition of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard", will appear at various events across the United Kingdom in October.
The seventh handwritten copy, the moonstone edition, was offered for auction in late 2007 and was expected to sell for £50,000 (US$103,000, €80,000). Ultimately it was bought for £1.95 million ($3.98 million, €2.28 million) by Amazon.com, making the selling price the highest achieved at auction for a modern literary manuscript. The money earned at the auction of the book was donated to The Children’s Voice charity campaign.
The standard edition includes illustrations reproduced from the original handwritten edition. The limited collector’s edition features ten illustrations by Rowling not included in the standard or handcrafted edition, as well as an exclusive reproduction of Rowling’s handwritten introduction. Its outer case is disguised as a wizarding textbook from the Hogwarts library and includes a velvet bag embroidered with Rowling’s signature, replica gemstones and silver garnishes, and an emerald ribbon. The limited edition retailed for £50 ($100, €100), and around 100,000 copies have been printed.
After his father's death, the son finds in the cooking pot a small package bearing his name which contains, not gold as he was hoping for, but a soft, thick slipper with no pair. A note written on a piece of parchment in the slipper reads, "In the fond hope, my son, that you will never need it." The son, disgusted with his father, throws the slipper back into the cauldron, vowing to only use it as a rubbish bin. That same night a peasant woman knocks on the son's door, stating that her daughter has been afflicted by warts and that the son's father used to mix a special poultice to treat them. The son turns down the request for help and slams the door in the woman's face. Suddenly he hears loud noises coming from the kitchen. He goes to investigate the noises and sees that his father's cauldron has sprouted a single foot made of brass and is hopping on the floor, contributing to the loud noises he had been hearing. He notices that the surface of the cauldron is covered in warts. Disgusted, the son tries to use magic to get rid of his father's cauldron. However, none of his spells work. When he goes up to bed the hopping pot follows him upstairs, leading to a sleepless night for the son due to the loud banging of the pop hopping up and down on the floor all night long.
The next morning while having breakfast the son hears another knock on the door. An old man on the front doorstep lets the son know that his donkey is missing and that, without the donkey, he cannot bring his items to sell at the market and that his family will go hungry as a result. The son yells in the old man's face and slams the door on him. The father's cauldron continues to hop on its brass foot, but in addition to the clanging noises are added the braying of a donkey and human groans of hunger coming from within the pot. The son again tries using magic to rid himself of the pot or to quiet the noises coming from it. Again, he is unsuccessful. That evening there is a third knock on the door. A young woman, sobbing on the front step, says that her baby is seriously ill and says that the son's father told her to come if she was troubled. The son slams the door in the young woman's face. After that, the father's pot filled up with salt water and spilled tears all over the floor as it continued to hop, bray and groan all around the house.
Even though no more villagers came by the house to seek help from the son, the pot continued to take on the symptoms of all of their ills such as choking and retching, crying like a baby, whining like a dog, and spewing out bad cheese and sour milk as well as a plague of hungry slugs. The son continued to be unable to sleep or eat because of all the noises emanating from the pot and magic continued to be ineffective in trying to silence the pot. Finally, the son had had enough. He ran out of the house with the pot hopping behind him, calling out to all of his neighbors to bring their troubles to him so that he could help them. As he runs through the streets he uses his magic to heal the sickness and sorrow of the villagers, and as he does so the symptoms emanating from the pot begin to disappear one by one. When the son turns to the pot after curing the ills of the village, the pot burps out the single slipper that his father had left him and allows the son to put it on the brass foot. The pot's brass foot being muffled at last, the son and the hopping pot head back to the wizard's house. The story ends by saying that from that day forward the son helped out his fellow villagers as his father had done before him, lest the pot cast off the slipper and begin to hop once more.
On their path to the fountain, they face three challenges. The first involves a giant worm that demands "proof of [their] pain". The second, a steep slope where they have to bring the "fruit of their labours". The third challenge, crossing a river, requires them to pay with "the treasure of [their] past." Amata passes the challenge by using magic to withdraw the memories of her ex-lover and drop them into the water.
At the fountain, Asha collapses from exhaustion. To save her, Altheda brews an invigorating potion that also cures Asha of her disease and need of the fountain. Altheda realises that her skills are a means to earn money, so she also no longer needs the fountain. Amata realises that washing away her regret for her lover removed her need as well. The knight bathes in the water, after which he flings himself at Amata's feet and asks for "her hand and her heart" which she happily gives. Everyone gets an answer to his or her problem, unaware that the fountain held no magical power at all.
He meets that girl the next day. Though the girl is both "fascinated and repelled," the warlock persuades her to come to a dinner feast at his castle. During the feast, she tells him that she needs to know he has a heart. The warlock shows her his beating hairy heart inside a crystal casket in his dungeon. The witch begs him to put it back inside himself. After the warlock does so, she embraces him. However, being disconnected from its body for so long, his heart has developed savage tastes as it has degenerated into an animalistic state. And so he is driven to take by force a truly human heart. He tears out the witch's heart to replace his own, but finding that he cannot magic the hairy heart back out of his chest, he cuts it out with a dagger. Thus he and the maiden both die, with him holding both hearts in his hands.
During the performance, the brigade captain asks the king to bring his dead hound back to life. Because Babbitty's magic is unable to raise the dead, the crowd thinks the previous acts were tricks. The charlatan exposes Babbitty, accusing her of blocking the spells. Babbitty flees into a forest and disappears at the base of an old tree. In desperation, the charlatan states that she has turned "into a crab apple" and has the tree cut down.
As the crowd departs, the stump starts cackling and makes the charlatan confess. The stump cackles again, demanding the king never hurt a wizard again, and build a statue of Babbitty on the stump to remind him of his foolishness. The king agrees and heads back to the palace. Afterwards, a "stout old rabbit" with a wand in its teeth hops out from a hole beneath the stump and leaves the kingdom.
The eldest brother, bragging about his powerful wand, is robbed of it and murdered while he is asleep. The middle brother uses his ability to bring back the woman he loved, who died before he could marry her. However, she is not fully alive and is full of sorrow. He kills himself to join her. As for the youngest brother, Death never manages to find him, as he stays hidden under his Cloak. Many years later, the brother removes his cloak and gives it to his son. Pleased with his achievements, he greets Death as an old friend and chooses to leave with him as equals.