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(The Four Founders) Have Got a Dream!

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At the crossroads there was a pub. The pub had a long and storied history: it dated back to when pubs were first introduced to the European scene. The pub stood on land owned by Clan Huffle, a vaguely Teutonic tribe, and it was Huffles who operated the pub and welcomed any travelers.

Clan Huffle’s folk were fair-haired and blunt in their speech, sometimes gruff and sometimes proud, but to win one’s friendship was to win an eternal ally. The name of the pub (this was after they started naming pubs, but only just after—some elders of Clan Huffle still maintained that any true pub didn’t need one of those fancy newfangled names the city slickers were so fond of) was the Bristly Badger.

It was a rainy day when our story starts. You might say it was a Rain of Destiny. At least it was a Rain of Density, thick enough and mean enough to drive even the bravest, even the cleverest, even the wiliest to the Bristly Badger for a little warm and a nibble.

The only member of Clan Huffle tending bar at the moment was one of the young fry: a plump maiden with a halo of fluffy blonde curls. Her dress was black and yellow stripes, and were it not for her tasteful black bodice, she might have looked garish. But as it was, she looked sweet and jolly, which was her intention.

Her name was Helga, Helga Huffle. She served drinks with a smile, and the drinks were these:

A tankard of stout, dark as pine forest at midnight, to the tall, burly guy with a flaming beard and a still-healing broken nose. He returned her smile and wished her cheers as he sat at the bar’s farthest seat, closest to the roaring fireplace. His tip was quadruple the original value of the drink.

A pot of starlily tea, piping hot, with honey but no cream, to the tall woman in patched blue robes. She stared at the bartender with a somewhat abstracted air, then recollected herself, said “Thank you” kindly enough, and, in addition to a nice tip, left a lively sketch of the barmaid herself, scribbled on a piece of foolscap paper:

A fluted glass of fairy-brew wine for the austere, fine-boned gentleman who was dressed simply but for the silver locket gleaming over his heart. He said “Thank you” in a quiet voice, and tipped well, then he added another silver coin and told the bartender that if she could keep an eye on things and keep him posted as to any interesting characters, he’d be most grateful, please and thank you.

The bartender took the coin and nodded to him in a most demure fashion. This gentlemen then took himself to a booth in the corner, dark and shadowy, perfect for lurking. You’d think it had been made to lurk in (in point of fact it had, and you can thank Herbertine Huffle, great-grandma of Helga, for that), and this gentleman was born to lurk.

 

How did the altercation begin? No one was quite sure. In later years, everyone attributed a different source.

Godric Gryffindor, he of the red hair and gallant air, swore in later years that he was merely moved by the spirit of the moment to express his heart, and the result led to him making great new friends, so all’s well that ends well, right?

The woman in the patched blue robes—Rowena—was heard to admit that she had in a flask a prototype of a potion which would, in later years, be termed the Minuet Mimosa. A dose would prompt a full grown adult to express themselves in song for about three to five solid minutes. And she had dosed herself and her fellows in the bar, “Just to see what would happen.”

A side note: this is why we do not leave Ravenclaws alone with the switch labeled “End of the World: Do Not Touch.”

Salazar Slytherin, Mr. Silver Locket, always maintained that he did in fact start the fight. Gryffindor had tried to draw him into conversation, but Slytherin’s sarcasm and Gryffindor’s bragging did not mesh well. Talking turned into snipping, snipping turned into insults. The moment when Slytherin took a look at Gryffindor’s sword, all agleam with rubies, and said, “Oh, I see, you’re compensating for something,” was the moment that blows really flew. Before you know it they were brawling over the entire Bristly Badger floor. Rowena Ravenclaw gasped in horror, and then began to solicit bets from the other patrons. (Odds favored the Big Red Fella.)

Helga Huffle, meanwhile, was proudest that she had kept peace. She’d been behind the bar, watching the entire affair with growing horror. But she was a witch, and a trained barkeeper at that. She took out her wand and, with a swish and bop, unleashed firecrackers and sparks in the rafters of the pub. Another swish, and Gryffindor and Slytherin were dragged apart as invisible hands grabbed their collars. In the sudden silence, Helga yelled.

“For Circe’s sake!” She scolded, “Find your humanity! Don’t either of you have families back home, mothers? Would you like your mother to see you all fighting like this? Haven’t you decency? Humility? What noble, good honest traits do you even have?”

Silence fell. It was Godric Gryffindor who answered first. He lowered his fist and spoke in a choked voice. “I have… I have a dream.”

He drew a dagger from his belt and threw it, without looking, across the room. The tip of it rammed into a wall, where it awoke a snoozing accordionist (Helga’s second cousin once removed, Hildebert Huffle). The accordionist began a little tune, playing promptly and in great terror.

Godric Gryffindor sang, in a handsome basso moderato:

I’m a burly, boisterous bruiser,

Who hates to be a loser,

My total lack of sense is my best feature,

But despite my broken nose,

And my temper’s highs and lows,

He paused, took a deep breath, and dove in:

I’d love to be a well-beloved teacher!

He grabbed some apples from a basket and began to juggle them.

I can see me now inspirin’ little wizards,

Teaching ‘em the magic ABC’s!

Yes, I’m scary as they come,

But I can make learning fun!

‘Cuz way down deep inside

I’ve got a dream!

I’ve got a dream—

And the bystanders chimed in, He’s got a dream!

He went on,

Yes, I’m really not as scary as I seem!

Learning might seem like a chore,

But sure as my name’s Gryffindor,

I can make learning everybody’s dream!

And just like that, fearsome enemies had become jolly good friends.  La la la la lalalala…  sang the bystanders, arms around each other’s shoulders.

Now Rowena Ravenclaw stood up. She was determined that Gryffindor shouldn’t have all the fun: after all, it was her Minuet Mimosa that had set off this musical interlude. She set her hands akimbo in a most anachronistic gesture, and sang with clear enunciation:

All my life people have laughed,

Called me dotty, called me daft,

Said girls should not receive an education,

And yet just to show them all

I could summon up the gall

To found a high class learning institution!

She hitched her skirts calf-high and danced a prim little hornpipe.

Where young witches are instructed and inspired

And the teachers are the best that I can deem,

Godric and Salazar both lent a hand to help her step onto a table to finish her verse with aplomb.

And no one will ever doubt

My girls know what they’re about!

Yes, deep inside my heart I’ve got a dream!

I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream,

And I know one day the mind will reign supreme

Let everyone stand in awe

At the name of Ravenclaw!

The teacher who can bring to life her dreams!

 

Helga, still behind the bar, took up a lively percussive beat on whatever vessels were handy: barrels, tankards, flagons with dragons and vessels with pestles, you name it.

Godric sized up the shorter guy with the silver necklace. “What about you, Skinny?” he asked. “What’s your dream?” He clapped a hand on the guy’s shoulder.

“First of all, the name is Salazar Slytherin,” he replied, delicately removing Godric’s hand from his shoulder. “And second of all…” he shrugged, smirked: “I don’t sing.”

One second with Godric Gryffindor’s sword at his throat caused Salazar to immediately and profoundly change his rule.

Well, my dream is rather humble, he sang,

I don’t want to die a mumble

I’d rather be remembered as a founder

Of a safe enchanted space

Where a wizard makes his fate—

He was aware that he had scores of disbelieving glares sent his way. He finished up quickly,

Protected by a giant scaly monster!

At this point, Helga of Clan Huffle intervened. She clambered up onto the bar as enchanted copper pots and pans danced behind her. She sang loud and clear:

I’ve got a dream! And it’s to see!

Children nurtured and all treated equally!

Where I do my best to imbue

Each and every one with virtue—

And help them all to realize their dreams!

Now the song reached its crescendo. Helga gave Rowena a hand to join her aloft. Salazar and Godric shook hands and they all joined in the chorus:

We’ve got a dream, we’ve got a dream!

So we’re not at all as different as we seem!

(Not really…)

Though we come from all about,

Maybe fate has picked us out?

Together we can all realize our dreams!

You’ve got a dream! Salazar told Godric.

Rowena reminded Helga, You’ve got a dream!

Yes, all of us can realize our dreams!

YAY!

 

After this temporary insanity passed, the four of them were fast friends. It wasn’t long before Helga joined the three of them on the road, headed for Merrye Olde Englande. As she no longer resided with Clan Huffle, she designated herself a ‘puff of the clan, blowing where the wind would take her. Somehow the term “Hufflepuff” stuck.

And Godric Gryffindor became hellbent on the certainty that the best way to make a whole bunch of strangers become friends was via an impromptu musical number. And, just so, that is how the Sorting Hat came to be.