That one about the troll, the hag, and the leprechaun…

Dear Professor Dumbledore,

Could you please finish the joke you started in Harry’s fourth year, where a troll, a hag, and a leprechaun walk into a bar? I know a plethora of fans (including myself!) really want to hear the end of this joke.


Dear Ashrita,

I’m so glad that you asked this question. Here is the (abridged) joke:

A leprechaun, a troll, and a hag all went into a bar.

“Benny!” said the bartender to the leprechaun, “I warned you three not to come back here after the last time. Took me weeks to clean up after all the mischief you caused.”

“Oh but it’s Floss’s birthday,” said Benny pointing to the hag. (She smiled and showed off her one good tooth.) “Give us a quick pint and let Troll and me sing to her. Then we’ll be on our way. Cross me heart an’ hope ta die.”

The bartender was a soft-hearted (and rather soft-headed) man, and so he did as Benny asked.

No sooner had they finished their drinks when a fight broke out over who should be allowed to give Floss a birthday kiss.

The troll and the leprechaun wrestled like they were caught in Devil’s Snare and broke a remarkable amount of glassware. The bartender tried every spell he knew to stop them, but nothing worked. (Truth to tell, he was not a very good wizard.)

Meanwhile Floss the Hag stood by, grinning and looking quite pleased with the celebration in her honor.

After a lengthy brawl, the troll had the advantage. He towered over the quaking leprechaun, ready to smash an enormous beer barrel over the poor fellow’s head.

“Oh for pity’s sake,” said Floss who was also an accomplished witch. “Alohomora!”

With a wave her wand, Floss opened the sealed barrel, dumping a lovely, golden brew over the troll, and quite possibly saving the leprechaun’s life.

“Floss!” cried the leprechaun. “Let me thank ye with a wee kiss.” But the hag shook her tangled tresses of hair and refused him.

“Yeh see! I’m the one she likes!” shouted Troll. He somersaulted to his lady love and tried to gather her in his great arms. But in a blink of a Cyclops’ eye, the hag disapparated and her companions fled.

Once again, the bartender was left with a dreadful mess to clean up. His wife, who had witnessed the whole affair, heaved a sighed and began to mop up the ale.

“Well, my dear,” she said. “At least we’ve learned two important lessons.”

“What’s that?” said her grumpy husband. (He was in no mood for philosophical musing.)

“Obviously,” the wise and alarmingly cheerful woman continued, “A Benny saved is a Benny spurned. And a rolling troll gathers no Floss.”

And now you see why Professor McGonagall stopped me from telling this joke.

In fact, she has heard me tell it twice and has threatened me with several Unforgivable Curses if I ever attempt to tell it again in her presence.

I believe this type of joke — one that can go on for a very long time with an annoyingly small payoff– is called “a shaggy dog story” in Muggle terms. I consider it excellent fun. Especially when I allow myself to sing every verse of the troll and the leprechaun’s birthday songs!

I once knew a very fine leprechaun who excelled at this sort of tale. His record length of time before delivering a faintly amusing punch line was somewhere in the neighborhood of seven years. Unfortunately, he was driven out of Ireland immediately afterward.

I encourage you to tell this joke to your friends and add as many ridiculous and unimportant details as possible.

But do not blame me if they are not your friends when you finish.

Yours in mischief and mirth,
Professor A. Dumbledore