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"High on a hill in an enchanted garden, enclosed by tall walls and protected by strong magic, flowed the Fountain of Fair Fortune."
— Opening lines[src]

The Fountain of Fair Fortune was one of the stories in the wizarding fairy tales collection, The Tales of Beedle the Bard.[1]

History

Lucius Malfoy, one of the Hogwarts school governors as well as a pure-blood supremacist, once attempted to have the story censored because it depicted a marriage between the witch Amata and the Muggle Sir Luckless, which was utterly disagreeable to those wizards who were strongly prejudiced against Muggles. However, the Headmaster Albus Dumbledore adamantly refused. Dumbledore admitted that this was the beginning of the ongoing feud through which Lucius arduously campaigned to have Dumbledore removed as Headmaster, and Dumbledore, no less arduously, campaigned to have Lucius removed from the Board of Governors.[1]

The Fountain of Fair Fortune was one of the most popular tales in the collection, and was the subject of the first and only attempt at putting on a Hogwarts school play, which was ruined due to several factors, including the stage and some of the hall being engulfed in flames from an Ashwinder's eggs and a duel breaking out between two of the cast.[1]

Summary

The Fountain of Fair Fortune

There was an enchanted and enclosed garden that was protected by "strong magic". Once a year, an "unfortunate" was allowed the opportunity to find their way to the fountain, to bathe in the water, and to win "fair fortune forever more".[1]

Knowing that this might be the only chance to truly turn their lives around, people (with magical powers and without) travelled from the far reaches of the kingdom to try and gain entrance to the garden. It was here that three witches met and shared their tales of woe. First was Asha, "sick of a malady no Healer... could cure", who hoped the fountain could restore her health. The second was Altheda, who was robbed and humiliated by a sorcerer. She hoped the fountain would relieve her feelings of helplessness and her poverty. The third witch, Amata, had been deserted by her beloved, and hoped the fountain would help cure her "grief and longing".[1]

The witches decided that three heads were better than one, and they pooled their efforts to reach the fountain together. At first light, a crack in the wall appeared and "Creepers" from the garden reached through and wrapped themselves around Asha, the first witch. She grabbed Altheda, who took hold of Amata. But Amata got tangled in the armour of a Muggle knight, and as the vines pulled Asha in, all three witches along with the knight got pulled through the wall and into the beautiful garden.[1]

Pay me the treasure of your past

Since only one of them would be permitted to bathe in the fountain, the first two witches were upset that Amata inadvertently invited another competitor. Because he had no magical power, recognised the women as witches, and was well-suited to his name, "Sir Luckless", the knight announced his intention to abandon the quest. Amata promptly chided him for giving up and asked him to join their group.[1]

On their journey to the fountain, the motley band faced three challenges. First, they faced a "monstrous white worm, bloated and blind" who demanded "proof of your pain". After several fruitless attempts to attack it with magic and other means, Asha's tears of frustration finally satisfied the worm, and the four were allowed to pass. Next, they faced a steep slope and were asked to pay the "fruit of their labours". They tried and tried to make it up the hill but spent hours climbing to no avail. Finally, the hard-won effort of Altheda as she cheered her friends on (specifically the sweat from her brow) got them past the challenge. At last, they faced a stream in their path and were asked to pay "the treasure of your past". They attempted to float across or leap across, but all their attempts failed until Amata thought to use her wand to withdraw the memories of the lover who had abandoned her. She dropped them into the water and stepping stones appeared in the water, letting the group cross to the fountain, where they must decide who got to bathe.[1]

Sketch of The Fountain of Fair Fortune

Asha collapsed from exhaustion and was near death. She was in such pain that she could not make it to the fountain, and she begged her three friends not to move her. Altheda quickly mixed a powerful potion in an attempt to revive her, and the concoction actually cured her malady, so she no longer needed the fountain's waters. By curing Asha, Altheda realised that she had the power to cure others and a means to earn money. She no longer needed the waters of the fountain to cure her "powerlessness and poverty".[1]

The third witch, Amata, realised that once she washed away her regret for her lover, she was able to see him for what he really was ("cruel and faithless"), and she no longer needed the fountain's waters. She turned to Sir Luckless and offered him his turn at the fountain as a reward for his bravery. The knight, amazed at his luck, bathed in the fountain and flung himself "in his rusted armour" at the feet of Amata and begged for her "hand and her heart". Each witch achieved their dreams for a cure, a hapless knight won knowledge of his bravery, and Amata, the one witch who had faith in him, realised that she had found a "man worthy of her". The four set off "arm-in-arm", and the four friends lived long, happy lives, never realising that the fountain's waters "carried no enchantment at all".[1]

Behind the scenes

"Then, Fountain of Fair Fortune is my favourite one, and that's really about the qualities you need to achieve your heart's desire, and the moral being that magic, ultimately, is not the best weapon."
J. K. Rowling[src]
  • Albus Dumbledore wrote an essay on the story.[1]
  • One sketch of the Fountain of Fair Fortune displays certain symbols on its fountain bases. The sign of the Deathly Hallows appears on the lowest, an eye on the second from bottom, an omega symbol on the second from top and a combination of the astrological sun symbol and a crescent on the top, which happens to be the alchemical symbol for platinum. Around the rim of the bases are runes, but the runes immediately above the symbols on the bases are each astrological symbols of, from top down, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury and Saturn. What any of these symbols have to bear on the fountain is unknown.
  • A smaller image of 'The Fountain of Fair Fortune' is also pictured on the front cover of the special edition of 'The Tales of Beedle the Bard'. It is pictured in the bottom right hand corner.
  • The story bears resemblance to 'The Fountain Allegory', an alchemical allegory written by Italian alchemist Bernard Trevisan during the fifteenth century. 'The Fountain of Fair Fortune' seems to be loosely based on an allegory (or allegories) of similar nature to that of Trevisan's aforementioned work.
  • A puppet show of the story is featured as a show at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley. Additionally, there is a bar in Horizont Alley named for the fairy tale.
  • An audiobook version was released on 31 March, 2020, narrated by Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood).
  • In Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, it is said after the disaster of the Hogwarts play, a wizarding superstition began, claiming that saying the tale's name is bad luck, and the characters refer to it as "words of ill-fortune". This bears a resemblance to "The Scottish Play", a real-life euphemism for "Macbeth". William Shakespeare's play said to be cursed as it contains references to black magic and witches, therefore it is considered bad luck to say the name in a theatre, unless directly performing the play.

Appearances

Notes and references

The Tales of Beedle the Bard
By Beedle the Bard
Tales of Beedle the Bard.png
Stories

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

Characters

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 · Kinsfolk · Maiden · Old man · Old man's donkey · Old man's family · Peasant woman · Peasant woman's granddaughter · Sabre · Sir Luckless · Warlock · Warlock's family · The Warlock's friends · Wizard · Wizard's father · Young woman · Young woman's child

Objects

Altheda's potion · Altheda's wand · Cloak of Invisibility · Creepers · Crystal casket · Elder Wand · Enchanted garden · Fountain · Gold statue of Babbitty · Hairy Heart · The Hopping Pot · Never-ending hill · Poisonous toadstool · Poultice for warts · Resurrection Stone · Silver chalice

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