Babbitty Rabbitty is the main protagonist of the children's tale, Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump in The Tales of Beedle the Bard, by Beedle the Bard. Babbitty was known to be a very wise old witch, who had worked as a washerwoman for a terribly foolish Muggle King.
An Instructor of Magic
When a charlatan attempted to teach the king magic, her cackling made the king suspect the charlatan. The charlatan enlisted Babbitty's help in continuing his ruse through a demonstration by the king. The king cast spells, which were actually done by Babbitty who was hiding in a bush. When someone asked the king to resurrect a dog, neither the king nor Babbitty could oblige. This made the subjects ridicule the king. The king sentenced the charlatan to death, who turned around and accused Babbitty 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
- "You will erect a statue of Babbitty upon me, in memory of your poor washerwoman, and to remind you for ever of your foolishness!"
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. 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 cannot be cut in half, and that they should cut the charlatan in half to prove it. The charlatan confessed he was a fraud, and the witch told them that the King is cursed, and he'll wish for death every time a witch or wizard was harmed. Babbitty demanded a statue be built of herself, to remind them of what they've done. The King promised. Soon after, an old rabbit appeared out of a hole in the stump, with a wand in its mouth, revealing that she was an Animagus, and left the kingdom. Forever after, the statue of Babbitty remained on top of the stump.
- "Very good, but you have not yet made amends to Babbitty"
Babbitty was the king's washerwoman, and while he was her employer, she knew that he was terribly foolish. Much more intelligent than the king, Babbitty turned into a rabbit and hid inside a tree. When the King had the tree chopped down, she 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. Fooled into believing this, the naive King promised that he would issue a proclamation at once, protecting wizards and witches of the kingdom and to erect a staue of Babbitty on the stump.
She thought that the charlatan and King's "lessons" were ridiculous and laughed at the King, causing the charlatan to become in danger. Babbity was blackmailed by to perform the King's spells for him without his knowledge, or else he denounce her as a witch to the Brigade of Witch-Hunters. Babbity disliked the charlatan, and the charlatan was willing to have her killed to save his own skin, as he suggested that the king chop down the tree that Babbitty had "turned into". Babbitty told the crowd that real wizards and witches cannot be cut in half, and that they should cut the charlatan in half to prove it. Terrified, the charlatan then confessed he is a fraud.
Personality and traits
- "...was watching the King and the charlatan from the window of her tiny cottage, and was laughing so hard she she soon sank out of sight, too weak to stand"
- —Babbity's humour[src]
Babbitty was a wise witch. She had a strong sense of humour as she cackles uncontrollably when the King and charlatan practice their "magic". She is also quite the quick-thinker, shown when she swiftly conjures an intelligent plan even though, at the time, she was fleeing from the Brigade of Witch-Hunters. She is a folk hero to young wizards and witches across the world, displaying ingenuity and cleverness.
Magical abilities and skills
- Charms: Babbitty was apparently good with charms. She could levitate a horse, vanish a hat and do her wash duties with magic.
- Transfiguration: Babbitty was presumably quite powerful as she mastered a difficult branch of Transfiguration and became an Animagus. She could transform into a white rabbit at will.
- Dark Arts: (possibly) Babbitty threatened the King that each time he hurt a Wizard or Witch, it would hurt himself. Albus Dumbledore speculated that she could have inflicted this pain using the Cruciatus Curse, which was legal at the time.
Babbitty might be the revised name for Babette, a French diminutive of Elizabeth. This seems to bolster Dumbledore's argument that Babbity was based on Lisette de Lapin; Lisette is also a diminutive of Elizabeth.
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.
- Magical historians have suggested that Lisette de Lapin may have been the inspiration behind Babbitty.
- Babitty in her Animagus form is shown in several cover illustrations of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. The German version makes a mistake, as it depicts a brown rabbit instead of a white one.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Mentioned only)
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Notes and references