|"Are you a wizard or not?"
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- "… a foolish king who decided that he alone should have the power of magic."
- —The King's description[src]
The King was one of the antagonists in a story from Beedle the Bard's stories Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump. He was a foolish and gullible ruler who condemned magic, which led to his founding of the Brigade of Witch-Hunters. He is later revealed to have been jealous of wizards and witches and their ability to use magic.
The Muggle king in the story wanted to keep all the magic in the world for himself. In order to do so, he decided to gather all the wizards and witches in the world, which led to him forming the Brigade of Witch-Hunters and giving them wild hounds.
An Instructor of Magic
- "Wanted by King, an Instructor of Magic"
- —The King's Proclamations[src]
Soon after the foundation of the Brigade, the King wanted to learn how to use magic. He issued proclamations throughout his kingdom that he required a teacher with magical ability. Because they were hiding from the Brigade, no real witches or wizards responded. However, a cunning Charlatan came to the palace claiming to be a wizard with enormous skill. The charlantan performed a few simple tricks, which convinced the King of his magical powers. The charlantan agreed to teach the king, despite having no magical knowledge himself, in exchange for money, rubies, a silver chalice and fame.
While the King and the Charlatan were practising waving their twigs, hopping in circles, and chanting meaningless rhymes, they heard Babbitty laughing hysterically from her cottage. This enraged the King, who demanded that the charlatan help him perform in front of his subjects to show off his new abilities. The charlatan attempted 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 after the charlantan. He added that should anyone laugh at the performance, the Charlatan's head would also be cut off.
The next day, with help of Babbitty, the King and the Charlatan performed "their magic". They astonished the crowd by making a hat disappear, levitating a horse, but when the Captain of the Brigade asked if the King can make Sabre, his dead hound, return to life, the King attempted in vain. Babbitty does nothing, because she knows no magic can raise the dead. The crowd laughed at the King, and the King wanted to know why the spell wasn't working. The charlatan pointed to the bush, and said that 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.
The King's promise
The charlatan told the king and the crowd that Babbitty had turned into an apple tree, and that the tree must be cut down, because she is an "evil" witch. The king was wild, and the tree was cut down. As the crowd and the king started to leave, they heard a cackling coming from the stump. Babbitty told the king that real wizards and witches could not be cut in half, and that they should cut the charlatan in half to prove it. The charlatan confessed to being a fraud. The witch told them that the King was cursed, and that everytime a witch or wizard was harmed, the King himself would feel physical pain as though he himself were being cut in half. Babbitty then demanded a statue be built of herself, to remind them of the harm they had done to wizards and witches. The King agreed to the promise and later disbanded the Brigade. Soon after, an old rabbit, who is assumed to be Babbitty, appears out of a hole in the stump, with a wand in its mouth, implying that Babbitty is an Animagus. She then leaves the kingdom. Forever after, the statue of Babbitty remained on top of the stump.
Witches and Wizards
Wizards and witches in general loathed the King for creating the Brigade of Witch-Hunters, an organisation that hunted wizards and witches. When the King wanted to learn how to use magic, he called for someone with magical ability to teach him. No real wizards or witches dared to respond for they were hiding from the Brigade of Witch-Hunters. Ultimately, the King was jealous of wizards and witches.
- "The charlatan gave one of the twigs to the King and assured him that it was a wand with tremendous power"
- —The Charlatan[src]
When the King called for any wizards or witches to teach him magic, a charlatan came to the palace claiming to be a wizard with enormous skill. The charlatan performed a few simple tricks, which convinced the King of his magical powers and he taught the King, despite not knowing any magic himself. He accepted a post as the King's magic instructor purely to benefit his own wealth and social standing.
When ordered by the King to perform magic in front of the people, the Charlatan went to Babbitty, knowing that she was a witch. The charlatan blackmailed her into concealing herself inside a bush while the King gave his magical display and to perform the spells for him, without the King's knowledge. Babbitty agreed. The next day, the charlatan and the King, with help from Babbitty, performed magic. However, the King does not succeed in bringing a dead dog back to life, so the charlatan accuses Babbitty of blocking his spells, causing Babbitty to flee. When Babbitty turned into her Animagus form and hid under a tree, it got chopped in half. But when she told the king that no witch or wizard could be chopped in half, and they should prove this by chopping the charlatan in half, the charlatan confessed that he was a fraud and was sent to the dungeon by order of the King.
Babbitty was the king's washer woman. She thought that the charlatan and King's "lessons" were ridiculous and laughed at the king, causing the charlatan to become endangered. When the Charlatan came to see her, he blackmailed Babbitty to perform the King's spells for him without his knowledge, or else he would denounce her as a witch to the Brigade of Witch-Hunters. Babbitty smiled and agreed to do "anything in her power" to help the charlatan (leaving herself a very large loophole in the process). Despite Babbity's voiced concerns about what would happen if the king attempted an impossible spell, the charlatan merely shrugged it off. The next day, with the help of Babbitty, the King and charlatan performed "their magic". But when one of the brigade asked if the King could make his dead hound return to life, the King tries in vain. Babbitty does nothing, because she knew that no magic could raise the dead. The charlatan told the King and the crowd that Babbitty had turned into a tree, and that the tree must be cut down, because she is an "evil" witch. After they cut the tree down, they heard the sound of loud cackling coming from the stump. Babbitty told the petrified King that by cutting a witch in half, he had unleashed a terrible curse upon his kingdom and every stroke of harm that he inflicted upon fellow wizards and witches would feel like an axe stroke in his side. The King promised that he would issue a proclamation at once, protecting wizards and witches of the kingdom and to erect a statue of Babbitty on the stump.
Personality and traits
- "At that, the King fell to his knees too, and told that he would issue a proclamation at once, protecting all the witches and wizards of the kingdom, and allowing to practise their magic in peace"
- —The Foolish King[src]
The King is a foolish Muggle who both covets and fears magic. He is ignorant of the true nature of magic and wizards and witches. It is for this reason that he thinks that he could become a wizard by waving a wand and saying a few simple incantations. Being gullible is also a trait that the King expresses, that is why, in the story, he swallows the preposterous suggestions of both the Charlatan and Babbitty. He is quite selfish as this demonstrated in the story by his ability to not care about how many wizards and witches he has to kill to get want he wants.
Behind the scenes
- In 1998, Ron Weasley mentioned being told the story of Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump by his mother when he was a child.
Notes and references