Chapter 8 : Eight Knarls for Milking
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On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Eight Knarls for milking,
Seven Plimpies swimming,
Six Skrewts a-blasting,
Three French Parps,
And a Fwooper in a Star Tree.
Hagrid was constantly admiring Olympe’s extensive grounds during his stay there. He kept commenting that it was shame to have so much room for Olympe all by herself. Olympe agreed that it was shame letting so much room go to waste. So while Olympe attended Beauxbatons for the last day of term, Hagrid returned to Valensort to find a creature that would not only make use of some of Olympe’s grounds, but that would also be useful.
Hagrid arrived at Valensort admidst the hustle and bustle of the early morning trading. Witches and wizards filled the streets, hurrying this way and that, trying to finish off their Christmas shopping. And though they spoke to each other in French, Hagrid could imagine what they were saying.
“There’s only five days left until Christmas, and I still haven’t bought a gift for my Aunty June!”
“I thought I had bought enough food for everyone, but now Carol said she’s coming with her husband and kids!”
“I’ve bought something for Molly and Michael and Jill and Henry and Rueben and Daisy and Gwen… I can’t help thinking that I’m forgetting someone…”
It was the same everywhere at Christmas time; the country may have been different and the language different, but the last minute shoppers at Christmas time were always the same.
Hagrid zig-zagged between the shoppers carrying piles of parcels. Luckily his massive figure made it easier to get through the crowd; people seemed to step out of his way when they saw him coming.
Hagrid came to a stall in a side street that was selling an assortment of creatures. Hagrid looked in each cage at the stall trying to determine which creature would be most suited to life at Olympe’s home. He looked at the large green-feathered birds with the long orange beaks called Poppinaries. Hagrid knew that Poppinaries were flightless birds famed for their beautiful songs, but he really wanted to get Olympe something that would be useful. Besides, Hagrid thought, he had already got Olympe so many birds already and he didn’t want to overdo it.
Hagrid considered the small rodent-like creatures known as Driggers. The fur of a Drigger was very soft and when they shed their hair it could be collected and sewn into garments to enhance mental agility. However, Driggers were extremely active creatures and could be quite hard to manage. Besides, Hagrid thought, Olympe was already extremely clever and really did not need anything to enhance mental agility.
Finally Hagrid found exactly what he was looking for, a cage full of Knarls. Knarls were creatures that resembled hedgehogs, and Hagrid knew that the milk of a Knarl was especially rich and wholesome, not to mention extremely delicious.
The sandy-haired witch at the stall did not seem to speak English, but somehow Hagrid managed to convey to her that he wanted eight female Knarls for milking. It involved a lot of acting on Hagrid’s part. He pointed to the cage of Knarls, then held up eight of his sausage-like fingers, he then tried to act out milking, which had the witch completely confused at first. Eventually, though, she worked out what Hagrid wanted and handed him a cage containing eight female Knarls for milking.
Hagrid took the Knarls back to Olympe’s house and began work constructing yet another new enclosure in her yard. Hagrid had to make sure that there was no way the Knarls would escape their enclosure, as they were well known for wreaking havoc in gardens.
Olympe didn’t know what to say when she first saw the Knarls.
“’Agrid, you must stop spoiling me wis gifts!” she exclaimed, “Or soon my home will be turned into a menagerie!”
“Don’ worry,” Hagrid said, “A home without pets is not a home at all.”
“I must admit,” said Olympe, “Zat eet does get quite lonely ‘ere all by myself een zis big house.”
“And now yeh can ‘ave fresh Knarl milk whenever yeh feel like it,” Hagrid said jovially.
“I do love Knarl milk,” Olympe said smiling at Hagrid, “But I am afraid I do not know ‘ow to milk a Knarl.”
“Let me show yeh,” said ‘Agrid leading her inside the enclosure, “It’s real easy. Yeh jus’ tickle it until it rolls over onto its back.”
“Then yeh jus’ gently encourage the milk out of its teats into this jug,” Hagrid explained, using a jug he had brought with him.
“May I try?” Olympe asked.
Hagrid switched positions with Olympe as she began tickling one of the other Knarls.
“Who would ‘ave sought zat one day I would be milking a Knarls,” Olympe laughed as the rich yellow milk flowed into the jug.
“Well yeh are one amazin’ woman, Olympe,” Hagrid replied.
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