The Tales of Beedle the Bard
A Wizarding Classic from the World of Harry Potter
By J. K. Rowling
Royal National Institute of Blind People (2008)
A Daisy Audio CD Edition
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - July 12, 2010
This book contains five J. K. Rowling tales, ostensibly composed by the fifteenth century wizard Beedle, "written for young wizards and witches," which Rowling assures us are very popular in Hogwarts, the land of Harry Potter. Each tale is followed by a commentary by Professor Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Dumbledore speaks his mind, offers his explanation of the tale, and occasionally reacts with anger over what he considers a stupid story or a foolish reaction to it.
For example, in The Wizard and the Hopping Pot, the Beedle theme is that wizards need to help humans who are in need of help. Dumbledore angrily reminds his readers how humans mistreated wizards and witches, and contends that they deserve no help at all.
Another example is The Fountain of Fair Fortune, which ends with a human marrying a witch. Dumbledore and others liked it, but some wizards in authority demanded that it be removed from schools because it depicts interbreeding. Dumbledore points out that: "There is not a witch or wizard in existence whose blood has not mingled with that of Muggles (humans), and I should therefore consider it both illogical and immoral to remove works dealing with the subject from our students' store of knowledge."
Needless to say, despite Beedle's reason for writing the tales, Muggles will acquire many good lessons from these parables.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org.