Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proudto say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. Theywere the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strangeor mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense. Mr. Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, whichmade drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, althoughhe did have a very large mustache. Mrs. Dursley was thin and blondeand had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in veryuseful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences,spying on the neighbors. The Dursleys had a small son called Dudleyand in their opinion there was no finer boy anywhere. The Dursleys had everything they wanted, but they also had asecret, and their greatest fear was that somebody would discoverit. They didn't think they could bear it if anyone found out aboutthe Potters. Mrs. Potter was Mrs. Dursley's sister, but they hadn'tmet for several years; in fact, Mrs. Dursley pretended she didn'thave a sister, because her sister and her good-for-nothing husbandwere as unDursleyish as it was possible to be. The Dursleys shudderedto think what the neighbors would say if the Potters arrived in thestreet. The Dursleys knew that the Potters had a small son, too,but they had never even seen him. This boy was another good reasonfor keeping the Potters away; they didn't want Dudley mixing witha child like that. When Mr. and Mrs. Dursley woke up on the dull, gray Tuesdayour story starts, there was nothing about the cloudy sky outside tosuggest that strange and mysterious things would soon be happeningall over the country. Mr. Dursley hummed as he picked out his mostboring tie for work, and Mrs. Dursley gossiped away happily as shewrestled a screaming Dudley into his high chair. None of them noticed a large, tawny owl flutter past the window. At half past eight, Mr. Dursley picked up his briefcase, peckedMrs. Dursley on the cheek, and tried to kiss Dudley good-bye butmissed, because Dudley was now having a tantrum and throwing hiscereal at the walls. "Little tyke," chortled Mr. Dursley as he leftthe house. He got into his car and backed out of number four's drive. It was on the corner of the street that he noticed the firstsign of something peculiar -- a cat reading a map. For a second,Mr. Dursley didn't realize what he had seen -- then he jerked hishead around to look again. There was a tabby cat standing on thecorner of Privet Drive, but there wasn't a map in sight. Whatcould he have been thinking of? It must have been a trick ofthe light. Mr. Dursley blinked and stared at the cat. It staredback. As Mr. Dursley drove around the corner and up the road, hewatched the cat in his mirror. It was now reading the sign thatsaid Privet Drive -- no, looking at the sign; cats couldn't readmaps or signs. Mr. Dursley gave himself a little shake and put thecat out of his mind. As he drove toward town he thought of nothingexcept a large order of drills he was hoping to get that day. But on the edge of town, drills were driven out of his mindby something else. As he sat in the usual morning traffic jam, hecouldn't help noticing that there seemed to be a lot of strangelydressed people about. People in cloaks. Mr. Dursley couldn't bearpeople who dressed in funny clothes -- the getups you saw on youngpeople! He supposed this was some stupid new fashion. He drummed hisfingers on the steering wheel and his eyes fell on a huddle of theseweirdos standing quite close by. They were whispering excitedlytogether. Mr. Dursley was enraged to see that a couple of themweren't young at all; why, that man had to be older than he was,and wearing an emerald-green cloak! The nerve of him! But then itstruck Mr. Dursley that this was probably some silly stunt -- thesepeople were obviously collecting for something... yes, that wouldbe it. The traffic moved on and a few minutes later, Mr. Dursleyarrived in the Grunnings parking lot, his mind back on drills. Mr. Dursley always sat with his back to the window in his officeon the ninth floor. If he hadn't, he might have found it harder toconcentrate on drills that morning. He didn't see the owls swoop ingpast in broad daylight, though people down in the street did; theypointed and gazed open- mouthed as owl after owl sped overhead. Mostof them had never seen an owl even at nighttime. Mr. Dursley,however, had a perfectly normal, owl-free morning. He yelled atfive different people. He made several important telephone callsand shouted a bit more. He was in a very good mood until lunchtime,when he thought he'd stretch his legs and walk across the road tobuy himself a bun from the bakery. He'd forgotten all about the people in cloaks until he passeda group of them next to the baker's. He eyed them angrily as hepassed. He didn't know why, but they made him uneasy. This bunch werewhispering excitedly, too, and he couldn't see a single collectingtin. It was on his way back past them, clutching a large doughnutin a bag, that he caught a few words of what they were saying. "The Potters, that's right, that's what I heard yes, theirson, Harry" Mr. Dursley stopped dead. Fear flooded him. He looked backat the whisperers as if he wanted to say something to them, butthought better of it. He dashed back across the road, hurried up to his office,snapped at his secretary not to disturb him, seized his telephone,and had almost finished dialing his home number when he changedhis mind. He put the receiver back down and stroked his mustache,thinking... no, he was being stupid. Potter wasn't such an unusualname. He was sure there were lots of people called Potter who had ason called Harry. Come to think of it, he wasn't even sure his nephewwas called Harry. He'd never even seen the boy. It might have beenHarvey. Or Harold. There was no point in worrying Mrs. Dursley;she always got so upset at any mention of her sister. He didn'tblame her -- if he'd had a sister like that... but all the same,those people in cloaks... He found it a lot harder to concentrate on drills that afternoonand when he left the building at five o'clock, he was still soworried that he walked straight into someone just outside the door. "Sorry," he grunted, as the tiny old man stumbled and almostfell. It was a few seconds before Mr. Dursley realized that the manwas wearing a violet cloak. He didn't seem at all upset at beingalmost knocked to the ground. On the contrary, his face split intoa wide smile and he said in a squeaky voice that made passersbystare, "Don't be sorry, my dear sir, for nothing could upset metoday! Rejoice, for You-Know-Who has gone at last! Even Muggleslike yourself should be celebrating, this happy, happy day!" And the old man hugged Mr. Dursley around the middle andwalked off. Mr. Dursley stood rooted to the spot. He had been hugged bya complete stranger. He also thought he had been called a Muggle,whatever that was. He was rattled. He hurried to his car and setoff for home, hoping he was imagining things, which he had neverhoped before, because he didn't approve of imagination. As he pulled into the driveway of number four, the first thinghe saw -- and it didn't improve his mood -- was the tabby cat he'dspotted that morning. It was now sitting on his garden wall. He wassure it was the same one; it had the same markings around its eyes. "Shoo!" said Mr. Dursley loudly. The cat didn't move. It justgave him a stern look. Was this normal cat behavior? Mr. Dursleywondered. Trying to pull himself together, he let himself into thehouse. He was still determined not to mention anything to his wife. Mrs. Dursley had had a nice, normal day. She told him overdinner all about Mrs. Next Door's problems with her daughter andhow Dudley had learned a new word ("Won't!"). Mr. Dursley triedto act normally. When Dudley had been put to bed, he went into theliving room in time to catch the last report on the evening news: "And finally, bird-watchers everywhere have reported that thenation's owls have been behaving very unusually today. Althoughowls normally hunt at night and are hardly ever seen in daylight,there have been hundreds of sightings of these birds flying in everydirection since sunrise. Experts are unable to explain why the owlshave suddenly changed their sleeping pattern." The newscaster allowedhimself a grin. "Most mysterious. And now, over to Jim McGuffinwith the weather. Going to be any more showers of owls tonight, Jim?" "Well, Ted," said the weatherman, "I don't know about that, butit's not only the owls that have been acting oddly today. Viewersas far apart as Kent, Yorkshire, and Dundee have been phoning in totell me that instead of the rain I promised yesterday, they've hada downpour of shooting stars! Perhaps people have been celebratingBonfire Night early -- it's not until next week, folks! But I canpromise a wet night tonight." Mr. Dursley sat frozen in his armchair. Shooting stars all overBritain? Owls flying by daylight? Mysterious people in cloaks allover the place? And a whisper, a whisper about the Potters... Mrs. Dursley came into the living room carrying two cups oftea. It was no good. He'd have to say something to her. He clearedhis throat nervously. "Er -- Petunia, dear -- you haven't heardfrom your sister lately, have you?" As he had expected, Mrs. Dursley looked shocked and angry. Afterall, they normally pretended she didn't have a sister. "No," she said sharply. "Why?" "Funny stuff on the news," Mr. Dursley mumbled. "Owls... shootingstars... and there were a lot of funny-looking people in towntoday..." "So?" snapped Mrs. Dursley. "Well, I just thought... maybe... it was something to dowith... you know... her crowd." Mrs. Dursley sipped her tea through pursed lips. Mr. Dursleywondered whether he dared tell her he'd heard the name "Potter." Hedecided he didn't dare. Instead he said, as casually as he could,"Their son -- he'd be about Dudley's age now, wouldn't he?" "I suppose so," said Mrs. Dursley stiffly. "What's his name again? Howard, isn't it?" "Harry. Nasty, common name, if you ask me." "Oh, yes," said Mr. Dursley, his heart sinking horribly. "Yes,I quite agree." He didn't say another word on the subject as they went upstairsto bed. While Mrs. Dursley was in the bathroom, Mr. Dursley creptto the bedroom window and peered down into the front garden. Thecat was still there. It was staring down Privet Drive as though itwere waiting for something. Was he imagining things? Could all this have anything to do withthe Potters? If it did... if it got out that they were related toa pair of -- well, he didn't think he could bear it. The Dursleys got into bed. Mrs. Dursley fell asleep quicklybut Mr. Dursley lay awake, turning it all over in his mind. Hislast, comforting thought before he fell asleep was that even if thePotters were involved, there was no reason for them to come near himand Mrs. Dursley. The Potters knew very well what he and Petuniathought about them and their kind.... He couldn't see how he andPetunia could get mixed up in anything that might be going on --he yawned and turned over -- it couldn't affect them.... How very wrong he was. Mr. Dursley might have been drifting into an uneasy sleep, butthe cat on the wall outside was showing no sign of sleepiness. It wassitting as still as a statue, its eyes fixed unblinkingly on the farcorner of Privet Drive. It didn't so much as quiver when a car doorslammed on the next street, nor when two owls swooped overhead. Infact, it was nearly midnight before the cat moved at all. A man appeared on the corner the cat had been watching, appearedso suddenly and silently you'd have thought he'd just popped outof the ground. The cat's tail twitched and its eyes narrowed. Nothing like this man had ever been seen on Privet Drive. Hewas tall, thin, and very old, judging by the silver of his hairand beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. Hewas wearing long robes, a purple cloak that swept the ground,and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright,and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was verylong and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice. Thisman's name was Albus Dumbledore. Albus Dumbledore didn't seem to realize that he had justarrived in a street where everything from his name to his bootswas unwelcome. He was busy rummaging in his cloak, looking forsomething. But he did seem to realize he was being watched, becausehe looked up suddenly at the cat, which was still staring at him fromthe other end of the street. For some reason, the sight of the catseemed to amuse him. He chuckled and muttered, "I should have known." He found what he was looking for in his inside pocket. It seemedto be a silver cigarette lighter. He flicked it open, held it upin the air, and clicked it. The nearest street lamp went out witha little pop. He clicked it again -- the next lamp flickered intodarkness. Twelve times he clicked the Put-Outer, until the onlylights left on the whole street were two tiny pinpricks in thedistance, which were the eyes of the cat watching him. If anyonelooked out of their window now, even beady-eyed Mrs. Dursley,they wouldn't be able to see anything that was happening down onthe pavement. Dumbledore slipped the Put-Outer back inside hiscloak and set off down the street toward number four, where he satdown on the wall next to the cat. He didn't look at it, but aftera moment he spoke to it. "Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall." He turned to smile at the tabby, but it had gone. Instead hewas smiling at a rather severe-looking woman who was wearing squareglasses exactly the shape of the markings the cat had had aroundits eyes. She, too, was wearing a cloak, an emerald one. Her blackhair was drawn into a tight bun. She looked distinctly ruffled. "How did you know it was me?" she asked. "My dear Professor, I 've never seen a cat sit so stiffly." "You'd be stiff if you'd been sitting on a brick wall all day,"said Professor McGonagall. "All day? When you could have been celebrating? I must havepassed a dozen feasts and parties on my way here." Professor McGonagall sniffed angrily. "Oh yes, everyone's celebrating, all right," she saidimpatiently. "You'd think they'd be a bit more careful, butno -- even the Muggles have noticed something's going on. Itwas on their news." She jerked her head back at the Dursleys'dark living-room window. "I heard it. Flocks of owls... shootingstars.... Well, they're not completely stupid. They were bound tonotice something. Shooting stars down in Kent -- I'll bet that wasDedalus Diggle. He never had much sense." "You can't blame them," said Dumbledore gently. "We've hadprecious little to celebrate for eleven years." "I know that," said Professor McGonagall irritably. "But that'sno reason to lose our heads. People are being downright careless,out on the streets in broad daylight, not even dressed in Muggleclothes, swapping rumors." She threw a sharp, sideways glance at Dumbledore here, as thoughhoping he was going to tell her something, but he didn't, so shewent on. "A fine thing it would be if, on the very day YouKnow-Whoseems to have disappeared at last, the Muggles found out about usall. I suppose he really has gone, Dumbledore?" "It certainly seems so," said Dumbledore. "We have much to bethankful for. Would you care for a lemon drop?" "A what?" "A lemon drop. They're a kind of Muggle sweet I'm rather fond of" "No, thank you," said Professor McGonagall coldly, as thoughshe didn't think this was the moment for lemon drops. "As I say,even if You-Know-Who has gone -" "My dear Professor, surely a sensible person like yourself cancall him by his name? All this 'You- Know-Who' nonsense -- for elevenyears I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his propername: Voldemort." Professor McGonagall flinched, but Dumbledore,who was unsticking two lemon drops, seemed not to notice. "It allgets so confusing if we keep saying 'You-Know-Who.' I have neverseen any reason to be frightened of saying Voldemort's name. "I know you haven 't, said Professor McGonagall, soundinghalf exasperated, half admiring. "But you're different. Everyoneknows you're the only one You-Know- oh, all right, Voldemort,was frightened of." "You flatter me," said Dumbledore calmly. "Voldemort had powersI will never have." "Only because you're too -- well -- noble to use them." "It's lucky it's dark. I haven't blushed so much since MadamPomfrey told me she liked my new earmuffs." Professor McGonagall shot a sharp look at Dumbledore and said,"The owls are nothing next to the rumors that are flying around. Youknow what everyone's saying? About why he's disappeared? About whatfinally stopped him?" It seemed that Professor McGonagall had reached the point shewas most anxious to discuss, the real reason she had been waiting ona cold, hard wall all day, for neither as a cat nor as a woman hadshe fixed Dumbledore with such a piercing stare as she did now. Itwas plain that whatever "everyone" was saying, she was not goingto believe it until Dumbledore told her it was true. Dumbledore,however, was choosing another lemon drop and did not answer. "What they're saying," she pressed on, "is that last nightVoldemort turned up in Godric's Hollow. He went to find thePotters. The rumor is that Lily and James Potter are -- are --that they're -- dead. " Dumbledore bowed his head. Professor McGonagall gasped. "Lily and James... I can't believe it... I didn't want tobelieve it... Oh, Albus..." Dumbledore reached out and patted her on the shoulder. "Iknow... I know..." he said heavily. Professor McGonagall's voice trembled as she went on. "That'snot all. They're saying he tried to kill the Potter's son, Harry. But-- he couldn't. He couldn't kill that little boy. No one knows why,or how, but they're saying that when he couldn't kill Harry Potter,Voldemort's power somehow broke -- and that's why he's gone. Dumbledore nodded glumly. "It's -- it's true?" faltered Professor McGonagall. "After allhe's done... all the people he's killed... he couldn't kill a littleboy? It's just astounding... of all the things to stop him... buthow in the name of heaven did Harry survive?" "We can only guess," said Dumbledore. "We may never know." Professor McGonagall pulled out a lace handkerchief and dabbedat her eyes beneath her spectacles. Dumbledore gave a great sniffas he took a golden watch from his pocket and examined it. It was avery odd watch. It had twelve hands but no numbers; instead, littleplanets were moving around the edge. It must have made sense toDumbledore, though, because he put it back in his pocket and said,"Hagrid's late. I suppose it was he who told you I'd be here,by the way?" "Yes," said Professor McGonagall. "And I don't suppose you'regoing to tell me why you're here, of all places?" "I've come to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle. They're theonly family he has left now." "You don't mean -- you can't mean the people who livehere?" cried Professor McGonagall, jumping to her feet and pointingat number four. "Dumbledore -- you can't. I've been watching themall day. You couldn't find two people who are less like us. Andthey've got this son -- I saw him kicking his mother all the way upthe street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here!" "It's the best place for him," said Dumbledore firmly. "Hisaunt and uncle will be able to explain everything to him when he'solder. I've written them a letter." "A letter?" repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting backdown on the wall. "Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain allthis in a letter? These people will never understand him! He'll befamous -- a legend -- I wouldn't be surprised if today was knownas Harry Potter day in the future -- there will be books writtenabout Harry -- every child in our world will know his name!" "Exactly," said Dumbledore, looking very seriously over thetop of his half-moon glasses. "It would be enough to turn any boy'shead. Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous for something hewon't even remember! CarA you see how much better off he'll be,growing up away from all that until he's ready to take it?" Professor McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind,swallowed, and then said, "Yes -- yes, you're right, of course. Buthow is the boy getting here, Dumbledore?" She eyed his cloak suddenlyas though she thought he might be hiding Harry underneath it. "Hagrid's bringing him." "You think it -- wise -- to trust Hagrid with something asimportant as this?" I would trust Hagrid with my life," said Dumbledore. "I'm not saying his heart isn't in the right place," saidProfessor McGonagall grudgingly, "but you can't pretend he's notcareless. He does tend to -- what was that?" A low rumbling sound had broken the silence around them. It grewsteadily louder as they looked up and down the street for some signof a headlight; it swelled to a roar as they both looked up at thesky -- and a huge motorcycle fell out of the air and landed on theroad in front of them. If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing to the man sittingastride it. He was almost twice as tall as a normal man and atleast five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed,and so wild - long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most ofhis face, he had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet intheir leather boots were like baby dolphins. In his vast, musculararms he was holding a bundle of blankets. "Hagrid," said Dumbledore, sounding relieved. "At last. Andwhere did you get that motorcycle?" "Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sit," said the giant,climbing carefully off the motorcycle as he spoke. "Young SiriusBlack lent it to me. I've got him, sir." "No problems, were there?" "No, sir -- house was almost destroyed, but I got him out allright before the Muggles started swarmin' around. He fell asleepas we was flyin' over Bristol." Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundleof blankets. Inside, just visible, was a baby boy, fast asleep. Undera tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see a curiouslyshaped cut, like a bolt of lightning. "Is that where -?" whispered Professor McGonagall. "Yes," said Dumbledore. "He'll have that scar forever." "Couldn't you do something about it, Dumbledore?" "Even if I could, I wouldn't. Scars can come in handy. I haveone myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the LondonUnderground. Well -- give him here, Hagrid -- we'd better get thisover with." Dumbledore took Harry in his arms and turned toward the Dursleys'house. "Could I -- could I say good-bye to him, sir?" asked Hagrid. Hebent his great, shaggy head over Harry and gave him what must havebeen a very scratchy, whiskery kiss. Then, suddenly, Hagrid letout a howl like a wounded dog. "Shhh!" hissed Professor McGonagall, "you'll wake the Muggles!" "S-s-sorry," sobbed Hagrid, taking out a large, spottedhandkerchief and burying his face in it. "But I c-c-can't stand it-- Lily an' James dead -- an' poor little Harry off ter live withMuggles -" "Yes, yes, it's all very sad, but get a grip on yourself, Hagrid,or we'll be found," Professor McGonagall whispered, patting Hagridgingerly on the arm as Dumbledore stepped over the low garden walland walked to the front door. He laid Harry gently on the doorstep,took a letter out of his cloak, tucked it inside Harry's blankets,and then came back to the other two. For a full minute the three ofthem stood and looked at the little bundle; Hagrid's shoulders shook,Professor McGonagall blinked furiously, and the twinkling lightthat usually shone from Dumbledore's eyes seemed to have gone out. "Well," said Dumbledore finally, "that's that. We've no businessstaying here. We may as well go and join the celebrations." "Yeah," said Hagrid in a very muffled voice, "I'll be takin'Sirius his bike back. G'night, Professor McGonagall -- ProfessorDumbledore, sir." Wiping his streaming eyes on his jacket sleeve, Hagrid swunghimself onto the motorcycle and kicked the engine into life; witha roar it rose into the air and off into the night. "I shall see you soon, I expect, Professor McGonagall," saidDumbledore, nodding to her. Professor McGonagall blew her nosein reply. Dumbledore turned and walked back down the street. On the cornerhe stopped and took out the silver Put-Outer. He clicked it once,and twelve balls of light sped back to their street lamps so thatPrivet Drive glowed suddenly orange and he could make out a tabbycat slinking around the corner at the other end of the street. Hecould just see the bundle of blankets on the step of number four. "Good luck, Harry," he murmured. He turned on his heel and witha swish of his cloak, he was gone. A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which laysilent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you wouldexpect astonishing things to happen. Harry Potter rolled overinside his blankets without waking up. One small hand closed onthe letter beside him and he slept on, not knowing he was special,not knowing he was famous, not knowing he would be woken in a fewhours' time by Mrs. Dursley's scream as she opened the front doorto put out the milk bottles, nor that he would spend the next fewweeks being prodded and pinched by his cousin Dudley... He couldn'tknow that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over thecountry were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices:"To Harry Potter -- the boy who lived!"