Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Jimmy Murphy and the Difficult Problem

It was a bright winter's afternoon at Fogwards Academy of Political Campaigning.  Jimmy Murphy and his friends stood outside the classroom, waiting for Professor Snip to arrive.  They had double Defence against the Dark Party this afternoon, and no-one was looking forward to it.

The professor arrived and opened the door.  They all streamed into the classroom and began to take their seats.  Professor Snip put down the two boxes he was carrying and turned to face the class.

'Mr Murphy,' he said, 'Why are you still not seated?'

'Sorry sir, I can't decide which seat would be best', said Jimmy.

'Well, you have the choice of that large chair over there, or the small one at the front.  If you can't make up your mind in the next three seconds you will be standing outside for the rest of the lesson.'

Jimmy quickly chose one of the seats and sat down.

'Today we will be looking at how to defend against two creatures from the far north of the country,' said Professor Snip. 'I have two specimens here.  Let us begin.'

He opened the smaller of the two boxes and produced a small creature with something of the terrier about it.  It had well-groomed blond fur and lots of sharp teeth.  He placed it on a plinth.

'This is the nicolasturgeon', said Professor Snip.  'It looks like a fluffy creature, but don't be fooled.  It has quite a bite.  Now, does anyone know anything more about it?'

Kezia's hand shot into the air.  Professor Snip looked all around the room before finally looking at her.

'Yes, Miss Dugdale?'

'Please Professor Snip, it comes from the west coast of the region, and is well-armed with facts and figures.  You really shouldn't try to fight one unless you're equally knowledgeable.  Also it can be found forming packs with leannewoods and nataliebennets'

'Very good, Miss Dugdale.  No doubt you think you are suitably prepared.  Please demonstrate how to defeat it.'

Kezia raised her wand and said 'Enaitchessimus!'  The nicolasturgeon leapt from the plinth and began to run in circles around Kezia's desk, barking out facts and figures as it went.  She tried again, pronouncing it slightly differently this time.


The nicolasturgeon continued circling her desk.  It appeared to know all about her house's record and was barking out statistics about it.

'Not much success there Miss Dugdale,' said Professor Snip.  'Miss Davidson, perhaps you might try?'

Ruth stood up and pointed her wand at the nicolasturgeon and said 'Andymurraywinnerus!'

'Nice try, Miss Davidson.  Attempting to distract it.  You'll find, however, that these creatures aren't easily distracted.  Who else would like to try?'

He pointed to a small boy at the back of the classroom.

'You, what's your name again?'

'Willie Rennie sir,' said the boy in a small voice.

'Very well, Mr Rennie.  Do your worst.'

Willie stood up and pointed his wand at the nicolasturgeon, which showed no signs of tiring, and mumbled something.

'You'll have to do better than that Mr, er, Rennie was it?.  Try again.'

Willie tried again, speaking very slightly louder.  The nicolasturgeon glanced up, barked a few facts in his direction, then went back to circling Kezia's desk.

'Not covering ourselves in glory here, are we?  None of you seem to have done your homework.  10 points from each of your houses.'

Professor Snip picked up the nicolasturgeon and put it back in its box.

'Now,' he said, turning to the other box, 'Let's have a look at a much more wily creature'

(To be continued...)


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