Dominus et Domina Dursley, qui vivebant in aedibus Gestationis Ligustrorum numero quattuor signatis, non sine superbia dicebant se ratione ordinaria vivendi uti neque se paenitere illius rationis. in toto orbe terrarum vix credas quemquam esse minus deditum rebus novis et arcanis, quod ineptias tales omnino spernebant.

Vocabulary Grammar
aedis, -is, f.: house (plural)
gestare, -o: carry, bear
superbia, -ae, f.: pride, arrogance
paenitere, -eo: displease, cause to repent
arcanus, -a, -um: secret
ineptia, ae, f.: silliness, folly
omnino: altogether
Lingustrorum: Latin name for the Privet flower
gestanionis…signatis: what is the dominant noun here?
vivendi: is it the gerund or gerundive of vivere?
uti: what kind of word is this? verb? pronoun?
esse…deditum: what form of the verb is this? why?
quod: indicates what kind of clause?

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.

Ubi Dominus et Domina Dursley experrecti sunt illo die Martis obscuro et tenebroso quo incipit narratio nostra, caelum nubilum externum haudquaquam ominabatur res novas et arcanas mox ubique eventuras esse. Dominus Dursley bombiebat dum fasciam hebetissimi coloris eligebat idoneam ad negotia gerenda et Domina Dursley anima contenta garriebat dum Dudleum ululantem cogebat in sellam altam ascendere quasi cum eo luctaretur. Nemo eorum animadvertit strigem magnam fulvi coloris praeter fenestram volitantem. Octava hora et dimidia, Dominus Dursley chartarum thecam sumpsit, basium brevissimum in genam Dominae Dursley impegit et conatus osculo valedicere Dudleo rem male gessit, quod Dudley nunc tumultuabatur et cerealia sua in parietes iaciebat. ‘furcifer parvulus,’ cachinnavit Dominus Dursley domo egressus.

Vocabulary Grammar
expergiscor: to wake up
tenebrosus, -a, -um: dark
ominor: to forbode, predict
evenire, -io: to come forth
bombire, -io: to buzz
garrire, -io: chatter, gossip
luctor: to wrestle
theca, -ae, f: case
gena, -ae, f: cheek
impingere, -o: to thrust, throw upon
furcifer, -eri, m: rascal
cachinnare, -o: to laugh out loud
haudquaquam = haud
hebetissimi: which degree is this? From the participle of hebeo (to be dull)
quasi+luctaretur: what kind of clause does quasi with a subjunctive indicate?
cerealia: which English word do you recognize?
domo egressus: the word are in which case?

 When Mr and Mrs Dursley woke up on the dull, grey Tuesday our story starts, there was nothing about the cloudy sky outside to suggest that strange and mysterious things would soon be happening all over the country. Mr Dursley hummed as he picked out his most boring tie for work and Mrs Dursley gossiped away happily as she wrestled a screaming Dudley into his high chair. None of them noticed a large tawny owl flutter past the window. At half past eight, Mr Dursley picked up his briefcase, pecked Mrs. Dursley on the cheek and tried to kiss Dudley goodbye but missed, because Dudley was now having a tantrum and throwing his cereal at the walls. ‘Little tyke,’ chortled Mr Dursley as he left the house.

in angulo viae primum animadvertit signum rei novae – felem chartam geographicam legentem. per secundum, Dominus Dursley non intellexit quid vidisset – tum subito motu caput convertit ut rem rursus inspiceret. feles maculosa stabat in angulo Gestationis Ligustrorum, sed nusquam erat charta geographica. Quidnam anima conceperat? Scilicet lux oculos suos fefellerat. Dominus Dursley punctum temporis connivuit et tum felem contemplavit. invicem feles contemplavit eum. Dominus Dursley, dum circum angulum et adversa via vehebatur, in speculo felem intuebatur, quae nunc legebat signum inscriptum verbis Gestatio Ligustrorum – immo signum inspiciebat – feles enim poterant legere nec chartas nec signa. Dominus Dursley se paulum concussit et felem ex anima summovit.

It was on the corner of the street that he noticed the first sign of something peculiar – a cat reading a map. For a second, Mr Dursley didn’t realise what he had seen – then he jerked his head around to look again. There was a tabby cat standing on the corner of Privet Drive, but there wasn’t a map in sight. What could he have been thinking of? It must have been a trick of the light. Mr Dursley blinked and stared at the cat. It stared back. As Mr Dursley drove around the corner and up the road, he watched the cat in his mirror. It was now reading the sign that said Privet Drive – no, looking at the sign; cats couldn’t read maps or signs. Mr Dursley gave himself a little shake and put the cat out of his mind.

in sede officii in nono tabulato sita Dominus Dursley semper sedebat tergo fenestrae adverso. quodnisi fecisset, forsan mane illius diei difficilius ei fuisset animum in terebras intendere. ipse striges clara luce praetervolantes non vidit, quamquam homines inferiores in via versati eas viderunt; ordinem longum strigum super capita festinantium digitis demonstrabant et oribus hiantibus intuebantur. plerique eorum ne noctu quidem strigem viderant.

Mr Dursley always sat with his back to the window in his office on the ninth floor. If he hadn’t, he might have found it harder to concentrate on drills that morning. He didn’t see the owls swooping past in broad daylight, though people down in the street did; they pointed and gazed open-mouthed as owl after owl sped overhead. Most of them had never seen an owl even at night.


palliatorum illorum omnino oblitus erat dum globum eorum iuxta pistrinum praeteriit. praeteriens eos animo irato contemplavit. causam nesciebat, sed aliquo modo eum vexabant. hi quoque commoti susurrabant, neque unum poterat videre vas nummarium. iam praeter eos pedem referebat, cum magna liba transatlantica in sacculo involuta, cum pauca verba sermonis eorum auribus cepit. ‘Potteri, ita est, id est quod audivi -‘ ‘- ita vero, filius eorum, Harrius -‘ Dominus Dursley in vestigio constitit, timore oppressus. susurrantes respexit quasi aliquid eis dicere vellet, sed consilium mutavit.

He’d forgotten all about the people in cloaks until he passed a group of them next to the baker’s. He eyed them angrily as he passed. He didn’t know why, but they made him uneasy. This lot were whispering excitedly, too, and he couldn’t see a single collecting tin. It was on his way back past them, clutching a large doughnut in a bag, that he caught a few words of what they were saying. ‘The Potters, that’s right, that’s what I heard –’ ‘– yes, their son, Harry –’ Mr Dursley stopped dead. Fear flooded him. He looked back at the whisperers as if he wanted to say something to them, but thought better of it.

ubi primum intravit in gestationem numeri quattuor, vidit felem illam maculosam quam mane conspexerat – quod animum non in melius mutavit. nunc in mura horti sedebat. non dubitabat quin eadem esset; nam notas easdem circum oculos habebat. ‘abi!’ inquit Dominus Dursley voce magna. feles immota manebat. modo oculis torvis eum contemplavit. Dominus Dursley nesciebat an sic semper essent mores felium. conatus se colligere, in aedes se admisit. in anima adhuc habebat nihil uxori dicere.

As he pulled into the driveway of number four, the first thing he saw – and it didn’t improve his mood – was the tabby cat he’d spotted that morning. It was now sitting on his garden wall. He was sure it was the same one; it had the same markings around its eyes. ‘Shoo!’ said Mr Dursley loudly. The cat didn’t move. It just gave him a stern look. Was this nor- mal cat behaviour, Mr Dursley wondered. Trying to pull himself together, he let himself into the house. He was still determined not to mention anything to his wife.

‘quod reliquum est, spectatores avium ubique nuntiaverunt mores strigum nationis nostrae hodie miro modo mutatos esse. quamquam striges plerumque noctu venantur et vix unquam interdiu videntur, ex ortu solis centenae multae harum avium conspectae sunt in omnes partes volantes. homines periti non possunt explicare cur striges subito rationem dormiendi mutaverint.’ lector nuntiorum sibi permisit subridere. res maxime arcana. nunc vos trado meteorologo Jim McGuffin. an plures erunt imbres strigum hac nocte, Jim?’ ‘id nescio, Ted,’ inquit meteorologus, ‘sed non striges solum hodie se insolenter gesserunt. spectatores qui vivunt alii procul ab aliis in Cantio, in comitatu Eboraci, in oppido Dundee, per telephonium mihi dixerunt pro pluvia quam heri promisi se habuisse imbrem siderum cadentium! forsan homines maturius Noctem Ignium Festorum celebraverunt – haec proxima fiet hebdomade, mi amici! sed nunc possum vobis promittere noctem umidam.’ Dominus Dursley sedebat immobilis in sella reclinatoria. sidera cadentia per totam Britanniam? striges interdiu volantes? ubique miri homines palliati? et susurrus, susurrus de Potteris…

‘And finally, bird-watchers everywhere have reported that the nation’s owls have been behaving very unusually today. Although owls normally hunt at night and are hardly ever seen in daylight, there have been hundreds of sightings of these birds flying in every direction since sunrise. Experts are unable to explain why the owls have suddenly changed their sleeping pattern.’ The news reader allowed himself a grin. ‘Most mysterious. And now, over to Jim McGuffin with the weather. Going to be any more showers of owls tonight, Jim?’ ‘Well, Ted,’ said the weatherman, ‘I don’t know about that, but it’s not only the owls that have been acting oddly today. Viewers as far apart as Kent, Yorkshire and Dundee have been phoning in to tell me that instead of the rain I promised yesterday, they’ve had a downpour of shooting stars! Perhaps people have been celebrating Bonfire Night early – it’s not until next week, folks! But I can promise a wet night tonight.’ Mr Dursley sat frozen in his armchair. Shooting stars all over Britain? Owls flying by daylight? Mysterious people in cloaks all over the place? And a whisper, a whisper about the Potters …

Vir quidam apparuit in angulo quem feles spectaverat, tam subito et tacite autem ut putares eum modo e terra exsiluisse. felis cauda motu subito agitata est er oculi coartati sunt. nihil huic viro simile unquam visum erat in Gestatione Ligustorum. altus erat, macer grandaevusque, aetatem quidem satis longa erat ut in balteum eius implicaretur. indutus est veste talari, pallio purpureo quod humum verrebat et cothurnis calcibus altis et fibulis aptis. oculi caerulei erant candidi, spendidi, scintillantes post perspicilla semicirculata, nasus autem longissimus et distortus quasi bis saltem fractus esset. huius viri nomen erat Albus Dombledore. Albus Dumbledore non visus est intellegere se modo in viam advenisse ubi omnia a nomine sua ad cothurnos suos ingrata essent. occupatus erat ni pallio perscrutando aliquid quaerens. sed visus est intellegere se spectari, quod subito felem suspexit, quae eum ab altera parte viae adhuc intuebatur. nescio quo modo aspectus felis eum visus est delectare, ridens mussavit, ‘id debui scire.’

A man appeared on the corner the cat had been watching, appeared so suddenly and silently you’d have thought he’d just popped out of the ground. The cat’s tail twitched and its eyes narrowed. Nothing like this man had ever been seen in Privet Drive. He was tall, thin and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes, a purple cloak which swept the ground and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice. This man’s name was Albus Dumbledore. Albus Dumbledore didn’t seem to realise that he had just arrived in a street where everything from his name to his boots was unwelcome. He was busy rummaging in his cloak, looking for something. But he did seem to realise he was being watched, because he looked up suddenly at the cat, which was still staring at him from the other end of the street. For some reason, the sight of the cat seemed to amuse him. He chuckled and muttered, ‘I should have known.’

‘mirum est quod te hic video, Professor McGonagall.’ conversus est ut feli maculosae subrideret, sed illa abierat. in loco eius feminae severiori subridebat quae perspicilla quadrata gerebat quorum figura erat simillima notis quae feles circa oculos habuerat. ea quoque vestita est pallio, smaragdini coloris. crines eius nigri in nodum artum contracti sunt. visa est sane perturbata. ‘quomodo me agnovisit?’ rogavit. ‘mea cara Professor, nunquam vidi felem tam rigide sedentem.’ ‘tu esses rigidus,’ inquit Professor McGonagall, ‘si per totum diem sedisses in muro latericio.’ ‘per totum diem? ubi potuisti festum celebrare? sine dubio huc veniens duodecim epulas et convivia praeterii.’ Professor McGonagall irata auras naribus captavit.’ita vero, omnes festum celebrant,’ inquit impatienter. ‘putares eos paulo cautiores esse, sed nolebant – etiam Muggles animadverterunt aliquid fieri. relatum est in nuntiis eorum.’

‘Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall.’ He turned to smile at the tabby, but it had gone. Instead he was smiling at a rather severe-looking woman who was wearing square glasses exactly the shape of the markings the cat had had around its eyes. She, too, was wearing a cloak, an emerald one. Her black hair was drawn into a tight bun. She looked distinctly ruffled. ‘How did you know it was me?’ she asked. ‘My dear Professor, I’ve never seen a cat sit so stiffly.’ ‘You’d be stiff if you’d been sitting on a brick wall all day,’ said Professor McGonagall. ‘All day? When you could have been celebrating? I must have passed a dozen feasts and parties on my way here.’ Professor McGonagall sniffed angrily. ‘Oh yes, everyone’s celebrating, all right,’ she said impatiently. ‘You’d think they’d be a bit more careful, but no – even the Muggles have noticed something’s going on. It was on their news.’

‘dicunt’ pluribus verbis usa est, ‘proxima nocte Voldemortem advenisse ad Godrici Cavernam. Potteros repertum iit. fama est Lily et James Potteros esse – esse – mortuos.’ Dumbledore caput inclinavit. Professor McGonagall anhelavit. ‘Lily et James… id non possum credere… id credere nolebam.. oh, Albe…’ Dumbledore manum porrexit et umerum eius leviter pulsavit. ‘aeque… aeque doleo…’ inquit graviter. vox Professoris McGonagall tremebat plura loquentis. ‘nec totam tibi fabulam dixi. dicunt enim eum conatum esse interficere filium Potterorum, Harrium. sed – non potuit. parvulum puerum illum interficere non potuit. nemo scit cur, aut quomodo id factum sit, sed dicunt cum Harrium Potterum non posset interficere, potestatem Voldemortis nescio quo modo fractam esse – illamque esse causam cur abierit.’

‘What they’re saying,’ she pressed on, ‘is that last night Voldemort turned up in Godric’s Hollow. He went to find the Potters. The rumour is that Lily and James Potter are – are – that they’re – dead.’ Dumbledore bowed his head. Professor McGonagall gasped. ‘Lily and James … I can’t believe it … I didn’t want to believe it … Oh, Albus …’ Dumbledore reached out and patted her on the shoulder. ‘I know … I know …’ he said heavily. Professor McGonagall’s voice trembled as she went on. ‘That’s not all. They’re saying he tried to kill the Potters’ son, Harry. But – he couldn’t. He couldn’t kill that little boy. No one knows why, or how, but they’re saying that when he couldn’t kill Harry Potter, Voldemort’s power somehow broke – and that’s why he’s gone.’

‘epistulamne?’ iteravit Professor McGonagall voce parva, in muro residens. ‘num, Dumbledore, putas te posse rem totam in epistula explicare? hi homines nunquam eum intellegent! clarissimus fiet – legendus – non ego admirer si apud posteros hodie apellentur Dies Harrii Potteri – libri scribentur de Harrio – nomen eius noverint liberi omnes in nostro orbe terrarum!’
‘recte iudiscas,’ inquit Dumbledore, aspectu gravissimo super perspicilla semicirculata prospiciens. ‘sufficiat inflare animum cuiusvis pueri. clarissimum fieri priusquam pedibus et voce uti potest! clarrisimum fieri ob aliquid quood ne meminisse quidem poterit! nonne vides quanto melius futurum sit si adolescat procul ab omnibus illis rebus dum paratus sit ad negotium capessendum?’ Professor McGonagall os aperuit, mentem mutavit, gluttum fecit et tum dixit, ‘ita… ita est ut dicis. sed quomodo puer huc, adveniet, Dumbledore?’ pallium eius subito aspexit quasi suspicaretur eum sub eo Harrium celare. ‘Hagrid eum adducit.’ 

‘A letter?’ repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on the wall. ‘Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? These people will never understand him! He’ll be famous – a legend – I wouldn’t be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter Day in future – there will be books written about Harry – every child in our world will know his name!’ ‘Exactly,’ said Dumbledore, looking very seriously over the top of his half-moon glasses. ‘It would be enough to turn any boy’s head. Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous for something he won’t even remember! Can’t you see how much better off he’ll be, growing up away from all that until he’s ready to take it?’ Professor McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind, swallowed and then said, ‘Yes – yes, you’re right, of course. But how is the boy getting here, Dumbledore?’ She eyed his cloak suddenly as though she thought he might be hiding Harry underneath it. ‘Hagrid’s bringing him.’

Aura agitabat saepes ordinatas Gestationis Lingustorum, quae silens et nitida sub caelo nigerrimo iacebat, in illa regione qua minime expectes res miras futuras esse. Harrius Potter in mediis lodicibus revolutus est nec tamen solutus est somno. una parva manu epistulam quae iuxta eum iacebat amplexa, dormiebat, nescius se esse egregrium, nescius se esse praeclarum, nescius fore ut paucis horis excitaretur somno clamoribus Dominae Dursley ostium aperientis ut lagoenas lactis exponeret; nesciebat autem fore ut per proximas hebdomades consobrinum Dudleum pateretur se fodicantem et vellicantem… nec scire poterat hoc ipso tempore homines in secretis conventibus unique habitis pocula tollere et dicere vocibus parvis: ‘floreat Harrius Potter – puer qui vixit!’

A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen. Harry Potter rolled over inside his blankets without waking up. One small hand closed on the letter beside him and he slept on, not knowing he was special, not knowing he was famous, not knowing he would be woken in a few hours’ time by Mrs Dursley’s scream as she opened the front door to put out the milk bottles, nor that he would spend the next few weeks being prodded and pinched by his cousin Dudley … He couldn’t know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: ‘To Harry Potter – the boy who lived.