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The Fountain of Fair Fortune

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Fountain
The Fountain of Fair Fortune
Publication information
Author

Beedle the Bard

Subject

Tales

"Then, Fountain of Fair Fortune is my favourite one, and that's really about the qualities you need to achieve your heart's desire, and the moral being that magic, ultimately, is not the best weapon."
J. K. Rowling[src]

The Fountain of Fair Fortune is one of the stories in the wizarding fairy tales collection, The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

Lucius Malfoy, one of the Hogwarts school governors as well as a pure-blood supremacist, once attempted to have the story censored because it depicted a marriage between the witch Amata and the Muggle Sir Luckless, which was utterly disagreeable to those wizards who were strongly prejudiced against Muggles. However, the Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, adamantly refused, which then resulted in Lucius sending him several more letters and earning him Lucius' lasting enmity.

The Fountain of Fair Fortune is one of the most popular tales in the collection, and was the subject of the first and only attempt at putting on a Hogwarts school play, which was ruined due to several factors, including the stage and some of the hall being engulfed in flames from an Ashwinder's eggs and a duel breaking out between two of the cast.

Summary

There is an enchanted and enclosed garden that is protected by "strong magic." Once a year, an "unfortunate" is allowed the opportunity to find their way to the Fountain, to bathe in the water, and win "fair fortune forever more."

Knowing that this may be the only chance to truly turn their lives around, people (with magical powers and without) travel from the far reaches of the kingdom to try and gain entrance to the garden. It is here that three witches meet and share their tales of woe. First is Asha, "sick of a malady no Healer... could cure," who hopes the Fountain can restore her health. The second is Altheda, who was robbed and humiliated by a sorcerer. She hopes the Fountain will relieve her feelings of helplessness and her poverty. The third witch, Amata, was deserted by her beloved, and hopes the Fountain will help cure her "grief and longing." The witches decide that three heads are better than one, and they pool their efforts to reach the Fountain together. At first light, a crack in the wall appears and "Creepers" from the garden reach through and wrap themselves around Asha, the first witch. She grabs Altheda, who takes hold of Amata. But Amata gets tangled in the armour of a Muggle knight, and as the vines pull Asha in, all three witches along with the knight get pulled through the wall and into the beautiful garden.

Since only one of them will be permitted to bathe in the Fountain, the first two witches are upset that Amata inadvertently invited another competitor. Because he has no magical power, recognizes the women as witches, and is well-suited to his name, "Sir Luckless," the knight announces his intention to abandon the quest. Amata promptly chides him for giving up and asks him to join their group.

Treasure-of-past

Pay me the treasure of your past

On their journey to the Fountain, the motley band faces three challenges. First, they face a "monstrous white worm, bloated and blind" who demands "proof of your pain." After several fruitless attempts to attack it with magic and other means, Asha's tears of frustration finally satisfies the worm, and the four are allowed to pass. Next, they faced a steep slope and are asked to pay the "fruit of their labours." They try and try to make it up the hill but spend hours climbing to no avail. Finally, the hard-won effort of Altheda as she cheers her friends on (specifically the sweat from her brow) gets them past the challenge. At last, they face a stream in their path and are asked to pay "the treasure of your past." They attempt to float or leap across but they failed, until Amata thinks to use her wand to withdraw the memories of the lover who abandoned her, and dropped them into the water. At once, stepping stones appear in the water, and the four are able to cross to the Fountain, where they must decide who gets to bathe.

Fountain of fair fourtune

Sketch of The Fountain of Fair Fortune

Asha collapses from exhaustion and is near death. She is in such pain that she cannot make it to the Fountain, and she begs her three friends not to move her. Altheda quickly mixes a powerful potion in an attempt to revive her, and the concoction actually cures her malady, so she no longer needs the Fountain's waters. By curing Asha, Altheda realises that she has the power to cure others and a means to earn money. She no longer needs the waters of the Fountain to cure her "powerlessness and poverty." The third witch, Amata, realizes that once she washed away her regret for her lover, she was able to see him for what he really was ("cruel and faithless"), and she no longer needs the Fountain's waters. She turns to Sir Luckless and offers him his turn at the Fountain as a reward for his bravery. The knight, amazed at his luck, bathes in the Fountain and flings himself "in his rusted armour" at the feet of Amata and begs for her "hand and her heart." Each witch achieves their dreams for a cure, a hapless knight wins knowledge of his bravery, and Amata, the one witch who had faith in him, realizes that she has found a "man worthy of her." The four set off "arm-in-arm," and we then learn that the four friends live long, happy lives, never realising that the Fountain's waters "carried no enchantment at all."

Notes

  • One sketch of the Fountain of Fair Fortune displays certain symbols on its fountain bases. The symbol of the Deathly Hallows appears on the lowest, an eye on the second from bottom, an omega symbol on the second from top and a combination of the astrological sun symbol and a crescent on the top. Around the rim of the bases are runes, but the runes immediately above the symbols on the bases are each astrological symbols of, from top down, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury and Saturn. What any of these symbols have to bear on the fountain is unknown.
  • A smaller image of 'The Fountain of Fair Fortune' is also pictured on the front cover of the special edition of 'The Tales of Beedle the Bard'. It is pictured in the bottom right hand corner.
  • The story bears resemblance to 'The Fountain Allegory', an alchemical allegory written by Italian alchemist Bernard Trevisan during the fifteenth century. 'The Fountain of Fair Fortune' seems to be loosely based on an allegory (or allegories) of similar nature to that of Trevisan's aforementioned work.

Appearances


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