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"A long time ago, in a far-off land, there lived a foolish king who decided that he alone should have the power of magic."
— Opening lines[src]

Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump was a wizarding fairy tale that was featured in The Tales of Beedle the Bard. The story gave us one of the earliest literary mentions of Animagi (when Babbitty turned herself into a small rabbit at will), as it was first published hundreds of years ago.[1]

Plot summary[]

A long time ago, in a land far far away, a king decided to keep all the magic in the world for himself. In order to get all the magic, he needed to gather all the witches and wizards in the world, so he formed the Brigade of Witch-Hunters, armed with packs of wild dogs. But first, he needed to learn how to use magic, so he called for someone with magical abilities to teach him. No real wizards or witches responded, but a Muggle pretended to be a wizard, and offered to teach him, despite not knowing any magic himself.[1]


Soon, the Muggle teacher demanded money and treasures for his services, and he hid all these objects in his small house. Babbitty, the king's washer woman, hid and watched the Muggle as he pulled two twigs from a tree and later pretended these were wands.[1]

While the king and the Muggle were practising, they heard Babbitty laughing hysterically from her cottage. This enraged the king, who demanded that the Muggle help him perform in front of his subjects to show off his new abilities. The Muggle tried to back out by saying he had to go out of town, and could not help him, but the king threatened to send the Brigade of Witch-Hunters after him, and if anyone laughed while the king was performing, the Muggle would be beheaded. The Muggle headed to Babbitty's house, where he spied on her, and found out that she was a real witch. He asked her to help him, or he would expose her.[1]

Amused, Babbitty agreed to help out the poor Muggle. He told Babbitty that she would hide in the bush tomorrow, and make it seem as if the king himself could do magic. While they performed, the crowd was astonished by the disappearance of a hat and a levitating horse; then, one of the members of the brigade asked if the king could make his dead dog return to life. The king tried, but Babbitty did nothing, because she knew no magic could raise the dead. The crowd laughed at the king, and the king wanted to know why the spell wasn't working. The Muggle pointed to the bush, and said a wicked witch was blocking them. Babbitty ran from the bush, and when the hounds chased after her she "disappeared", leaving the dogs barking at a tree.[1]

Babbitty, a Coeha e o Toco Gargalhante

Babbitty Rabbitty

The Muggle told the crowd that Babbitty had turned into the tree, and that the tree must be cut down, because she was an "evil" witch. The crowd was wild, and the tree was cut down. As the crowd started to leave, they heard a cackling coming from the stump. Babbitty told the crowd that real wizards and witches couldn't be cut in half, and that they should cut the Muggle in half to prove it. The Muggle confessed he was a fraud, and Babbitty told them that the king was cursed, and he would feel an axe stroke every time a witch or wizard was harmed.[1]

So the king made a proclamation declaring that witches and wizards were protected and that they must not be harmed. Babbitty demanded a statue be built of herself, to remind everyone what had been decreed. The king promised it would be done, and erected a statue of her made of gold. Soon after, an old rabbit appeared out of a hole in the stump with a wand in its mouth, revealing that Babbitty had been hiding in her Animagus form, and she left the kingdom. Forever after, the statue of Babbitty remained on top of the stump, and no witch or wizard was ever hurt in that kingdom ever again.[1]

Behind the scenes[]

"Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump is the stupidest title ever written by man or beast and of course when I wrote it, I never- I had not, at the point, when I gave Ron that title, I didn't imagine for a second that I was actually going to write the story. [...] But I did get there and it's a story about revenge. One witch's sort of cunning way of revenging herself for persecution, for Muggle persecution."
J. K. Rowling[src]
  • Albus Dumbledore wrote an essay on the story.[1]
  • In the Polish translation of the books, the fairy tale is named "Czara Mara i jej Gdaczący Pieniek". The name Czara Mara comes from Polish word "Czary Mary" which is a generic spell incantation used in Polish, most notably in media aimed at children, in a similar way to "Abracadabra".


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 The Tales of Beedle the Bard, "Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 7 (The Will of Albus Dumbledore)
The Tales of Beedle the Bard
By Beedle the Bard
Tales of Beedle the Bard

Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump · The Fountain of Fair Fortune · The Warlock's Hairy Heart · The Tale of the Three Brothers · The Wizard and the Hopping Pot


Altheda · Amata · Amata's lover · Antioch Peverell · Antioch Peverell's enemy · Antioch Peverell's killer · Asha · Babbitty · Brigade of Witch-Hunters · Cadmus Peverell · Cadmus Peverell's fiancée · Captain of the Brigade of Witch-Hunters · Charlatan · Death · Evil sorcerer · Gigantic white worm · Ignotus Peverell · Ignotus Peverell's son · King · Maiden · Maiden's kinsfolk · Old man · Old man's donkey · Old man's family · Peasant woman · Peasant woman's granddaughter · Sabre · Sir Luckless · Warlock · Warlock's family · Warlock's friends · Wizard · Wizard's father · Young woman · Young woman's child


Altheda's potion · Altheda's wand · Cloak of Invisibility · Creepers · Crystal casket · Elder Wand · Fountain · Gold statue of Babbitty · Hairy Heart · The Hopping Pot · Poisonous toadstool · Poultice for warts · Resurrection Stone · Silver chalice


Altheda's home · Cadmus Peverell's house · Enchanted garden · Lonely, winding road · Never-ending hill · River