In the small vegetable patch behind Hagrid’s house were a dozen of the largest pumpkins Harry had ever seen. Each was the size of a large boulder.

“Gettin’ on well, aren’t they?” said Hagrid happily. “Fer the Halloween feast… should be big enough by then.”

“What’ve you been feeding them?” said Harry.

Hagrid looked over his shoulder to check that they were alone.

“Well, I’ve bin givin’ them—you know—a bit o’ help—”

Harry noticed Hagrid’s flowery pink umbrella leaning against the back wall of the cabin. Harry had had reason to believe before now that this umbrella was not all it looked; in fact, he had the strong impression that Hagrid’s old school wand was concealed inside it. Hagrid wasn’t supposed to use magic. He had been expelled from Hogwarts in his third year, but Harry had never found out why—any mention of the matter and Hagrid would clear his throat loudly and become mysteriously deaf until the subject was changed.

“An Engorgement Charm, I suppose?” said Hermione, halfway between disapproval and amusement. “Well, you’ve done a good job on them.”

“That’s what yer little sister said,” said Hagrid, nodding at Ron. “Met her jus’ yesterday.” Hagrid looked sideways at Harry, his beard twitching. “Said she was jus’ lookin’ round the grounds, but I reckon she was hopin’ she might run inter someone else at my house.” He winked at Harry. “If yeh ask me, she wouldn’ say no ter a signed—”

“Oh, shut up,” said Harry. Ron snorted with laughter and the ground was sprayed with slugs.

“Watch it!” Hagrid roared, pulling Ron away from his precious pumpkins.

It was nearly lunchtime and as Harry had only had one bit of treacle fudge since dawn, he was keen to go back to school to eat. They said good bye to Hagrid and walked back up to the castle, Ron hiccoughing occasionally, but only bringing up two very small slugs.

They had barely set foot in the cool entrance hall when a voice rang out, “There you are, Potter—Weasley.” Professor McGonagall was walking toward them, looking stern. “You will both do your detentions this evening.”

“What’re we doing, Professor?” said Ron, nervously suppressing a burp.

“You will be polishing the silver in the trophy room with Mr. Filch,” said Professor McGonagall. “And no magic, Weasley—elbow grease.”

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