Christmas was coming. One morning in mid-December, Hogwartswoke to find itself covered in several feet of snow. The lake frozesolid and the Weasley twins were punished for bewitching severalsnowballs so that they followed Quirrell around, bouncing off theback of his turban. The few owls that managed to battle their waythrough the stormy sky to deliver mail had to be nursed back tohealth by Hagrid before they could fly off again. No one could wait for the holidays to start. While the Gryffindorcommon room and the Great Hall had roaring fires, the draftycorridors had become icy and a bitter wind rattled the windows inthe classrooms. Worst of all were Professor Snape's classes downin the dungeons, where their breath rose in a mist before them andthey kept as close as possible to their hot cauldrons. "I do feel so sorry," said Draco Malfoy, one Potions class,"for all those people who have to stay at Hogwarts for Christmasbecause they're not wanted at home." He was looking over at Harry as he spoke. Crabbe and Goylechuckled. Harry, who was measuring out powdered spine of lionfish,ignored them. Malfoy had been even more unpleasant than usual sincethe Quidditch match. Disgusted that the Slytherins had lost, hehad tried to get everyone laughing at how a wide-mouthed tree frogwould be replacing Harry as Seeker next. Then he'd realized thatnobody found this funny, because they were all so impressed at theway Harry had managed to stay on his bucking broomstick. So Malfoy,jealous and angry, had gone back to taunting Harry about having noproper family. It was true that Harry wasn't going back to Privet Drive forChristmas. Professor McGonagall had come around the week before,making a list of students who would be staying for the holidays,and Harry had signed up at once. He didn't feel sorry for himself atall; this would probably be the best Christmas he'd ever had. Ronand his brothers were staying, too, because Mr. and Mrs. Weasleywere going to Romania to visit Charlie. When they left the dungeons at the end of Potions, they founda large fir tree blocking the corridor ahead. Two enormous feetsticking out at the bottom and a loud puffing sound told them thatHagrid was behind it. "Hi, Hagrid, want any help?" Ron asked, sticking his headthrough the branches. "Nah, I'm all right, thanks, Ron." "Would you mind moving out of the way?" came Malfoys colddrawl from behind them. "Are you trying to earn some extra money,Weasley? Hoping to be gamekeeper yourself when you leave Hogwarts,I suppose -- that hut of Hagrid's must seem like a palace comparedto what your family's used to." Ron dived at Malfoy just as Snape came up the stairs. "WEASLEY!" Ron let go of the front of Malfoy's robes. "He was provoked, Professor Snape," said Hagrid, sticking hishuge hairy face out from behind the tree. "Malfoy was insultin'his family." "Be that as it may, fighting is against Hogwarts rules, Hagrid,"said Snape silkily. "Five points from Gryffindor, Weasley, and begrateful it isn't more. Move along, all of you." Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle pushed roughly past the tree,scattering needles everywhere and smirking. "I'll get him," said Ron, grinding his teeth at Malfoy's back,"one of these days, I'll get him --" "I hate them both," said Harry, "Malfoy and Snape." "Come on, cheer up, it's nearly Christmas," said Hagrid. "Tellyeh what, come with me an' see the Great Hall, looks a treat." So the three of them followed Hagrid and his tree off to -theGreat Hall, where Professor McGonagall and Professor Flitwick werebusy with the Christmas decorations. "Ah, Hagrid, the last tree -- put it in the far corner,would you?" The hall looked spectacular. Festoons of holly and mistletoe hungall around the walls, and no less than twelve towering Christmastrees stood around the room, some sparkling with tiny icicles,some glittering with hundreds of candles. "How many days you got left until yer holidays?" Hagrid asked. "Just one," said Hermione. "And that reminds me -Harry, Ron,we've got half an hour before lunch, we should be in the library." "Oh yeah, you're right," said Ron, tearing his eyes away fromProfessor Flitwick, who had golden bubbles blossoming out of hiswand and was trailing them over the branches of the new tree. "The library?" said Hagrid, following them out of the hall. "Justbefore the holidays? Bit keen, aren't yeh?" "Oh, we're not working," Harry told him brightly. "Ever since youmentioned Nicolas Flamel we've been trying to find out who he is." "You what?" Hagrid looked shocked. "Listen here -- I've toldyeh -- drop it. It's nothin' to you what that dog's guardin'." "We just want to know who Nicolas Flamel is, that's all,"said Hermione. "Unless you'd like to tell us and save us the trouble?" Harryadded. "We must've been through hundreds of books already and wecan't find him anywhere -- just give us a hint -- I know I've readhis name somewhere." "I'm sayin' nothin, said Hagrid flatly. "Just have to find out for ourselves, then," said Ron, and theyleft Hagrid looking disgruntled and hurried off to the library. They had indeed been searching books for Flamel's name eversince Hagrid had let it slip, because how else were they going tofind out what Snape was trying to steal? The trouble was, it wasvery hard to know where to begin, not knowing what Flamel mighthave done to get himself into a book. He wasn't in Great Wizardsof the Twentieth Century, or Notable Magical Names of Our Time;he was missing, too, from Important Modern Magical Discoveries,and A Study of Recent Developments in Wizardry. And then, of course,there was the sheer size of the library; tens of thousands of books;thousands of shelves; hundreds of narrow rows. Hermione took out a list of subjects and titles she haddecided to search while Ron strode off down a row of books andstarted pulling them off the shelves at random. Harry wanderedover to the Restricted Section. He had been wondering for a whileif Flamel wasn't somewhere in there. Unfortunately, you needed aspecially signed note from one of the teachers to look in any ofthe restricted books, and he knew he'd never get one. These werethe books containing powerful Dark Magic never taught at Hogwarts,and only read by older students studying advanced Defense Againstthe Dark Arts. "What are you looking for, boy?" "Nothing," said Harry. Madam Pince the librarian brandished a feather duster at him. "You'd better get out, then. Go on -- out!" Wishing he'd been a bit quicker at thinking up some story,Harry left the library. He, Ron, and Hermione had already agreedthey'd better not ask Madam Pince where they could find Flamel. Theywere sure she'd be able to tell them, but they couldn't risk Snapehearing what they were up to. Harry waited outside in the corridor to see if the other two hadfound anything, but he wasn't very hopeful. They had been lookingfor two weeks, after A, but as they only had odd moments betweenlessons it wasn't surprising they'd found nothing. What they reallyneeded was a nice long search without Madam Pince breathing downtheir necks. Five minutes later, Ron and Hermione joined him, shaking theirheads. They went off to lunch. "You will keep looking while I'm away, won't you?" saidHermione. "And send me an owl if you find anything." "And you could ask your parents if they know who Flamel is,"said Ron. "It'd be safe to ask them." "Very safe, as they're both dentists," said Hermione. Once the holidays had started, Ron and Harry were having toogood a time to think much about Flamel. They had the dormitory tothemselves and the common room was far emptier than usual, so theywere able to get the good armchairs by the fire. They sat by thehour eating anything they could spear on a toasting fork -- bread,English muffins, marshmallows -- and plotting ways of getting Malfoyexpelled, which were fun to talk about even if they wouldn't work. Ron also started teaching Harry wizard chess. This was exactlylike Muggle chess except that the figures were alive, which madeit a lot like directing troops in battle. Ron's set was very oldand battered. Like everything else he owned, it had once belonged tosomeone else in his family -- in this case, his grandfather. However,old chessmen weren't a drawback at all. Ron knew them so well henever had trouble getting them to do what he wanted. Harry played with chessmen Seamus Finnigan had lent him, andthey didn't trust him at all. He wasn't a very good player yetand they kept shouting different bits of advice at him, which wasconfusing. "Don't send me there, can't you see his knight? Send him,we can afford to lose him." On Christmas Eve, Harry went to bedlooking forward to the next day for the food and the fun, but notexpecting any presents at all. When he woke early in the morning,however, the first thing he saw was a small pile of packages atthe foot of his bed. "Merry Christmas," said Ron sleepily as Harry scrambled out ofbed and pulled on his bathrobe. "You, too," said Harry. "Will you look at this? I've got somepresents!" "What did you expect, turnips?" said Ron, turning to his ownpile, which was a lot bigger than Harry's. Harry picked up the top parcel. It was wrapped in thick brownpaper and scrawled across it was To Harry, from Hagrid. Insidewas a roughly cut wooden flute. Hagrid had obviously whittled ithimself. Harry blew it -- it sounded a bit like an owl. A second, very small parcel contained a note. We received your message and enclose your Christmas present. FromUncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia. Taped to the note was a fifty-pencepiece. "That's friendly," said Harry. Ron was fascinated by the fifty pence. "Weird!" he said, 'NMat a shape! This is money?" "You can keep it," said Harry, laughing at how pleased Ronwas. "Hagrid and my aunt and uncle -- so who sent these?" "I think I know who that one's from," said Ron, turning a bitpink and pointing to a very lumpy parcel. "My mom. I told her youdidn't expect any presents and -- oh, no," he groaned, "she's madeyou a Weasley sweater." Harry had torn open the parcel to find a thick, hand-knittedsweater in emerald green and a large box of homemade fudge. "Every year she makes us a sweater," said Ron, unwrapping hisown, "and mine's always maroon." "That's really nice of her," said Harry, trying the fudge,which was very tasty. His next present also contained candy -- a large box of ChocolateFrogs from Hermione. This only left one parcel. Harry picked it up and felt it. Itwas very light. He unwrapped it. Something fluid and silvery gray went slithering to the floorwhere it lay in gleaming folds. Ron gasped. "I've heard of those," he said in a hushed voice, dropping thebox of Every Flavor Beans he'd gotten from Hermione. "If that'swhat I think it is -- they're really rare, and really valuable." "What is it?" Harry picked the shining, silvery cloth off the floor. It wasstrange to the touch, like water woven into material. "It's an invisibility cloak," said Ron, a look of awe on hisface. "I'm sure it is -- try it on." Harry threw the cloak around his shoulders and Ron gave a yell. "It is! Look down!" Harry looked down at his feet, but they were gone. He dashed tothe mirror. Sure enough, his reflection looked back at him, just hishead suspended in midair, his body completely invisible. He pulledthe cloak over his head and his reflection vanished completely. "There's a note!" said Ron suddenly. "A note fell out of it!" Harry pulled off the cloak and seized the letter. Written innarrow, loopy writing he had never seen before were the followingwords: Your father left this in my possession before he died. Itis time it was returned to you. Use it well. A Very Merry Christmas to you. There was no signature. Harry stared at the note. Ron wasadmiring the cloak. "I'd give anything for one of these," he said. "Anything. What'sthe matter?" "Nothing," said Harry. He felt very strange. Who had sent thecloak? Had it really once belonged to his father? Before he could say or think anything else, the dormitory doorwas flung open and Fred and George Weasley bounded in. Harry stuffedthe cloak quickly out of sight. He didn't feel like sharing it withanyone else yet. "Merry Christmas!" "Hey, look -- Harry's got a Weasley sweater, too!" Fred and George were wearing blue sweaters, one with a largeyellow F on it, the other a G. "Harry's is better than ours, though," said Fred, holding upHarry's sweater. "She obviously makes more of an effort if you'renot family." "Why aren't you wearing yours, Ron?" George demanded. "Come on,get it on, they're lovely and warm." "I hate maroon," Ron moaned halfheartedly as he pulled it overhis head. "You haven't got a letter on yours," George observed. "I supposeshe thinks you don't forget your name. But we're not stupid --we know we're called Gred and Forge." "What's all th is noise. Percy Weasley stuck his head through the door, lookingdisapproving. He had clearly gotten halfway through unwrapping hispresents as he, too, carried a lumpy sweater over his arm, which Fred seized. "P for prefect! Get it on, Percy, come on, we're all wearingours, even Harry got one." "I -- don't -- want said Percy thickly, as the twins forcedthe sweater over his head, knocking his glasses askew. "And you're not sitting with the prefects today, either," said George. "Christmas is a time for family." They frog-marched Percy from the room, his arms pinned to hisside by his sweater. Harry had never in all his life had such a Christmas dinner. Ahundred fat, roast turkeys; mountains of roast and boiled potatoes;platters of chipolatas; tureens of buttered peas, silver boatsof thick, rich gravy and cranberry sauce -- and stacks of wizardcrackers every few feet along the table. These fantastic partyfavors were nothing like the feeble Muggle ones the Dursleys usuallybought, with their little plastic toys and their flimsy paper hatsinside. Harry pulled a wizard cracker with Fred and it didn't justbang, it went off with a blast like a cannon and engulfed them allin a cloud of blue smoke, while from the inside exploded a rearadmiral's hat and several live, white mice. Up at the High Table,Dumbledore had swapped his pointed wizard's hat for a floweredbonnet, and was chuckling merrily at a joke Professor Flitwick hadjust read him. Flaming Christmas puddings followed the turkey. Percy nearlybroke his teeth on a silver sickle embedded in his slice. Harrywatched Hagrid getting redder and redder in the face as he calledfor more wine, finally kissing Professor McGonagall on the cheek,who, to Harry's amazement, giggled and blushed, her top hat lopsided. When Harry finally left the table, he was laden down with a stackof things out of the crackers, including a pack of nonexplodable,luminous balloons, a Grow-Your-Own-Warts kit, and his own new wizardchess set. The white mice had disappeared and Harry had a nastyfeeling they were going to end up as Mrs. Norris's Christmas dinner. Harry and the Weasleys spent a happy afternoon having a furioussnowball fight on the grounds. Then, cold, wet, and gasping forbreath, they returned to the fire in the Gryffindor common room,where Harry broke in his new chess set by losing spectacularly toRon. He suspected he wouldn't have lost so badly if Percy hadn'ttried to help him so much. After a meal of turkey sandwiches, crumpets, trifle, andChristmas cake, everyone felt too full and sleepy to do muchbefore bed except sit and watch Percy chase Fred and George allover Gryffindor tower because they'd stolen his prefect badge. It had been Harry's best Christmas day ever. Yet something hadbeen nagging at the back of his mind all day. Not until he climbedinto bed was he free to think about it: the invisibility cloak andwhoever had sent it. Ron, full of turkey and cake and with nothing mysterious tobother him, fell asleep almost as soon as he'd drawn the curtainsof his four-poster. Harry leaned over the side of his own bed andpulled the cloak out from under it. His father's... this had been his father's. He let the materialflow over his hands, smoother than silk, light as air. Use it well,the note had said. He had to try it, now. He slipped out of bed and wrapped thecloak around himself. Looking down at his legs, he saw only moonlightand shadows. It was a very funny feeling. Use it well. Suddenly, Harry felt wide-awake. The whole of Hogwarts wasopen to him in this cloak. Excitement flooded through him as hestood there in the dark and silence. He could go anywhere in this,anywhere, and Filch would never know. Ron grunted in his sleep. Should Harry wake him? Somethingheld him back -- his father's cloak -- he felt that this time --the first time -- he wanted to use it alone. He crept out of the dormitory, down the stairs, across thecommon room, and climbed through the portrait hole. "Who's there?" squawked the Fat Lady. Harry said nothing. Hewalked quickly down the corridor. Where should he go? He stopped, his heart racing, andthought. And then it came to him. The Restricted Section in thelibrary. He'd be able to read as long as he liked, as long as ittook to find out who Flamel was. He set off, drawing the invisibilitycloak tight around him as he walked. The library was pitch-black and very eerie. Harry lit a lampto see his way along the rows of books. The lamp looked as if itwas floating along in midair, and even though Harry could feel hisarm supporting it, the sight gave him the creeps. The Restricted Section was right at the back of the library. Stepping carefully over the rope that separated these books from therest of the library, he held up his lamp to read the titles. They didn't tell him much. Their peeling, faded gold lettersspelled words in languages Harry couldn't understand. Some had notitle at all. One book had a dark stain on it that looked horriblylike blood. The hairs on the back of Harry's neck prickled. Maybehe was imagining it, maybe not, but he thought a faint whisperingwas coming from the books, as though they knew someone was therewho shouldn't be. He had to start somewhere. Setting the lamp down carefully on thefloor, he looked along the bottom shelf for an interestinglookingbook. A large black and silver volume caught his eye. He pulled itout with difficulty, because it was very heavy, and, balancing iton his knee, let it fall open. A piercing, bloodcurdling shriek split the silence -- the bookwas screaming! Harry snapped it shut, but the shriek went on andon, one high, unbroken, earsplitting note. He stumbled backwardand knocked over his lamp, which went out at once. Panicking, heheard footsteps coming down the corridor outside -- stuffing theshrieking book back on the shelf, he ran for it. He passed Filch inthe doorway; Filch's pale, wild eyes looked straight through him,and Harry slipped under Filch's outstretched arm and streaked offup the corridor, the book's shrieks still ringing in his ears. He came to a sudden halt in front of a tall suit of armor. Hehad been so busy getting away from the library, he hadn't paidattention to where he was going. Perhaps because it was dark, hedidn't recognize where he was at all. There was a suit of armornear the kitchens, he knew, but he must be five floors above there. "You asked me to come directly to you, Professor, if anyonewas wandering around at night, and somebody's been in the libraryRestricted Section." Harry felt the blood drain out of his face. Wherever he was,Filch must know a shortcut, because his soft, greasy voice wasgetting nearer, and to his horror, it was Snape who replied,"The Restricted Section? Well, they can't be far, we'll catch them." Harry stood rooted to the spot as Filch and Snape came aroundthe corner ahead. They couldn't see him, of course, but it was anarrow corridor and if they came much nearer they'd knock rightinto him -- the cloak didn't stop him from being solid. He backed away as quietly as he could. A door stood ajar tohis left. It was his only hope. He squeezed through it, holdinghis breath, trying not to move it, and to his relief he managed toget inside the room without their noticing anything. They walkedstraight past, and Harry leaned against the wall, breathing deeply,listening to their footsteps dying away. That had been close, veryclose. It was a few seconds before he noticed anything about theroom he had hidden in. It looked like an unused classroom. The dark shapes of desksand chairs were piled against the walls, and there was an upturnedwastepaper basket -- but propped against the wall facing him wassomething that didn't look as if it belonged there, something thatlooked as if someone had just put it there to keep it out of the way. It was a magnificent mirror, as high as the ceiling, withan ornate gold frame, standing on two clawed feet. There was aninscription carved around the top: Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafruoyt on wohsi. His panic fading now that there was no sound of Filchand Snape, Harry moved nearer to the mirror, wanting to look athimself but see no reflection again. He stepped in front of it. He had to clap his hands to his mouth to stop himself fromscreaming. He whirled around. His heart was pounding far morefuriously than when the book had screamed -- for he had seen notonly himself in the mirror, but a whole crowd of people standingright behind him. But the room was empty. Breathing very fast, he turned slowlyback to the mirror. There he was, reflected in it, white and scared-looking, andthere, reflected behind him, were at least ten others. Harry lookedover his shoulder -- but still, no one was there. Or were they allinvisible, too? Was he in fact in a room full of invisible peopleand this mirror's trick was that it reflected them, invisible or not? He looked in the mirror again. A woman standing right behind hisreflection was smiling at him and waving. He reached out a hand andfelt the air behind him. If she was really there, he'd touch her,their reflections were so close together, but he felt only air --she and the others existed only in the mirror. She was a very pretty woman. She had dark red hair and her eyes-- her eyes are just like mine, Harry thought, edging a littlecloser to the glass. Bright green -- exactly the same shape,but then he noticed that she was crying; smiling, but crying atthe same time. The tall, thin, black-haired man standing next toher put his arm around her. He wore glasses, and his hair was veryuntidy. It stuck up at the back, just as Harry's did. Harry was so close to the mirror now that his nose was nearlytouching that of his reflection. "Mom?" he whispered. "Dad?" They just looked at him, smiling. And slowly, Harry lookedinto the faces of the other people in the mirror, and saw otherpairs of green eyes like his, other noses like his, even a littleold man who looked as though he had Harry's knobbly knees -- Harrywas looking at his family, for the first time in his life. The Potters smiled and waved at Harry and he stared hungrilyback at them, his hands pressed flat against the glass as thoughhe was hoping to fall right through it and reach them. He had apowerful kind of ache inside him, half joy, half terrible sadness. How long he stood there, he didn't know. The reflections did notfade and he looked and looked until a distant noise brought him backto his senses. He couldn't stay here, he had to find his way backto bed. He tore his eyes away from his mother's face, whispered,"I'll come back," and hurried from the room. "You could have woken me up," said Ron, crossly. "You can come tonight, I'm going back, I want to show youthe mirror. "I'd like to see your mom and dad," Ron said eagerly. "And I want to see all your family, all the Weasleys, you'llbe able to show me your other brothers and everyone." "You can see them any old time," said Ron. "Just come round myhouse this summer. Anyway, maybe it only shows dead people. Shameabout not finding Flamel, though. Have some bacon or something,why aren't you eating anything?" Harry couldn't eat. He had seen his parents and would be seeingthem again tonight. He had almost forgotten about Flamel. It didn'tseem very important anymore. Who cared what the three headed dogwas guarding? What did it matter if Snape stole it, really? "Are you all right?" said Ron. "You look odd." What Harry feared most was that he might not be able to find themirror room again. With Ron covered in the cloak, too, they had towalk much more slowly the next night. They tried retracing Harry'sroute from the library, wandering around the dark passageways fornearly an hour. "I'm freezing," said Ron. "Let's forget it and go back." "No!" Harry hissed. I know it's here somewhere." They passed the ghost of a tall witch gliding in the oppositedirection, but saw no one else. just as Ron started moaning thathis feet were dead with cold, Harry spotted the suit of armor. "It's here -- just here -- yes!" They pushed the door open. Harry dropped the cloak from aroundhis shoulders and ran to the mirror. There they were. His mother and father beamed at the sightof him. "See?" Harry whispered. "I can't see anything." "Look! Look at them all... there are loads of them...." "I can only see you." "Look in it properly, go on, stand where I am." Harry stepped aside, but with Ron in front of the mirror,he couldn't see his family anymore, just Ron in his paisley pajamas. Ron, though, was staring transfixed at his image. "Look at me!" he said. "Can you see all your family standing around you?" "No -- I'm alone -- but I'm different -- I look older -- andI'm head boy!" "What?" "I am -- I'm wearing the badge like Bill used to -- and I'mholding the house cup and the Quidditch cup -- I'm Quidditchcaptain, too. Ron tore his eyes away from this splendid sight to look excitedlyat Harry. "Do you think this mirror shows the future?" "How can it? All my family are dead -- let me have anotherlook --" "You had it to yourself all last night, give me a bit more time." "You're only holding the Quidditch cup, what's interestingabout that? I want to see my parents." "Don't push me --" A sudden noise outside in the corridor put an end to theirdiscussion. They hadn't realized how loudly they had been talking. "Quick!" Ron threw the cloak back over them as the luminous eyes ofMrs. Norris came round the door. Ron and Harry stood quite still,both thinking the same thing -- did the cloak work on cats? Afterwhat seemed an age, she turned and left. "This isn't safe -- she might have gone for Filch, I bet sheheard us. Come on." And Ron pulled Harry out of the room. The snow still hadn't melted the next morning. "Want to play chess, Harry?" said Ron. "No." "Why don't we go down and visit Hagrid?" "No... you go..." "I know what you're thinking about, Harry, that mirror. Don'tgo back tonight." "Why not?" "I dunno, I've just got a bad feeling about it -- andanyway, you've had too many close shaves already. Filch, Snape,and Mrs. Norris are wandering around. So what if they can't seeyou? What if they walk into you? What if you knock something over?" "You sound like Hermione." "I'm serious, Harry, don't go." But Harry only had one thought in his head, which was to getback in front of the mirror, and Ron wasn't going to stop him. That third night he found his way more quickly than before. Hewas walking so fast he knew he was making more noise than was wise,but he didn't meet anyone. And there were his mother and father smiling at him again,and one of his grandfathers nodding happily. Harry sank down to siton the floor in front of the mirror. There was nothing to stop himfrom staying here all night with his family. Nothing at all. Except -- "So -- back again, Harry?" Harry felt as though his insides had turned to ice. He lookedbehind him. Sitting on one of the desks by the wall was none otherthan Albus Dumbledore. Harry must have walked straight past him,so desperate to get to the mirror he hadn't noticed him. " -- I didn't see you, sir." "Strange how nearsighted being invisible can make you," saidDumbledore, and Harry was relieved to see that he was smiling. "So," said Dumbledore, slipping off the desk to sit on thefloor with Harry, "you, like hundreds before you, have discoveredthe delights of the Mirror of Erised." "I didn't know it was called that, Sir." "But I expect you've realized by now what it does?" "It -- well -- it shows me my family --" "And it showed your friend Ron himself as head boy." "How did you know --?" "I don't need a cloak to become invisible," said Dumbledoregently. "Now, can you think what the Mirror of Erised shows us all?" Harry shook his head. "Let me explain. The happiest man on earth would be able touse the Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror, that is, he wouldlook into it and see himself exactly as he is. Does that help?" Harry thought. Then he said slowly, "It shows us what wewant... whatever we want..." "Yes and no," said Dumbledore quietly. "It shows us nothingmore or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of ourhearts. You, who have never known your family, see them standingaround you. Ronald Weasley, who has always been overshadowedby his brothers, sees himself standing alone, the best of allof them. However, this mirror will give us neither knowledge ortruth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they haveseen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real oreven possible. "The Mirror will be moved to a new home tomorrow, Harry, and Iask you not to go looking for it again. If you ever do run acrossit, you will now be prepared. It does not do to dwell on dreamsand forget to live, remember that. Now, why don't you put thatadmirable cloak back on and get off to bed?" Harry stood up. "Sir -- Professor Dumbledore? Can I ask you something?" "Obviously, you've just done so," Dumbledore smiled. "You mayask me one more thing, however." "What do you see when you look in the mirror?" "I? I see myself holding a pair of thick, woolen socks." Harry stared. "One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "AnotherChristmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. Peoplewill insist on giving me books." It was only when he was back in bed that it struck Harry thatDumbledore might not have been quite truthful. But then, he thought,as he shoved Scabbers off his pillow, it had been quite a personalquestion.