In 1992, in around his five-hundreth Deathday, the ghost of Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington authored a ballad titled "The Ballad of Nearly Headless Nick" explaining why he was sentenced to beheading and how his head had (nearly) come off in a botched execution:
- It was a mistake any wizard could make,
- Who was tired and caught on the hop,
- One piffling error, and then, to my terror,
- I found myself facing the chop.
- Alas for the eve when I met Lady Grieve,
- A-strolling the park in the dusk!
- She was of the belief I could straighten her teeth,
- Next moment she'd sprouted a tusk.
- I cried through the night that I'd soon put her right,
- But the process of justice was lax;
- They'd brought out the block, though they'd mislaid the rock,
- Where they usually sharpened the axe.
- Next morning at dawn, with a face most forlorn,
- The priest said to try not to cry,
- "You can come just like that, no, you won't need a hat,"
- And I knew that my end must be nigh.
- The man in the mask who would have the sad task,
- Of cleaving my head from my neck,
- Said "Nick, if you please, will you get to your knees,"
- And I turned to a gibbering wreck.
- "This may sting a bit" said the cack-handed twit,
- As he swung the axe up in the air,
- But oh the blunt blade! No difference it made,
- My head was still definitely there.''
- The axeman he hacked and he whacked and he thwacked,
- "Won't be too long", he assured me,
- But quick it was not, and the bone-headed clot,
- Took forty-five goes 'til he floored me.
- And so I was dead, but my faithful old head,
- It never saw fit to desert me,
- It still lingers on, that's the end of my song,
- And now, please applaud, or you'll hurt me.
Behind the scenes
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Early drafts)