By Argenteus Draco

When Petunia Dursley had been younger, when she'd admitted to having a sister and her name was still Petunia Evans, she and her sister had both loved their dolls more than anything else in the world. Even when she was almost twelve, and most girls her age had given their dolls away, Petunia still loved hers.

Of course, Petunia and Lily Evans did not own the kind of dolls you just outgrew at a certain age. They had porcelain faces, hand-painted cheeks and lips, and glass eyes that closed when you lay them down. The dresses, too, were made specially for those dolls, and each had its own wardrobe full of outfits.

If someone saw the girls walking around with those dolls, they'd think they'd stolen them from their mothers collection. But those dolls were more than just collectors items. They went everywhere with Lily and Petunia: family outings in the country, preparatory school, shopping in London. They were the girls best friends; they were loved to the point of being real people

In later years, Petunia would envy Lily. Envy her for being able to make her doll real if she wanted. She always thought Lily would. It wouldn't be until she was grown, with her doll packed away in the attic, that she would learn Lily had loved the doll just as it was, and felt no need to change it.

Petunia envied a lot of things about her little sister, but she never voiced it. Lily, on the other hand, told everyone how she felt all the time. Perhaps it was because of the almost four year age gap, but Petunia was really very different from her sister. The only thing they shared in common was their dolls.

And, ever there, though they both loved their dolls dearly, they would ask for different things. They received doll tea sets for Christmas one year; while Petunia's was made of pure white china printed with flowers, buds and vines, Lily's was devoid of designs, and baby blue in color. When they were presented with miniature wooden wardrobes for the doll cloths, Petunia's was hand made to match hers in design, and painted a soft, baby pink color; Lily's was simple, made of stained oak. Even the names they choose were different. Petunia's doll was called Adelaide, which meant beautiful princess; it was an elaborate name to fit an elaborate doll. Lily's was named simply Sarah, in honor of her favorite story character who she was so much like, Sarah Crewe from A Little Princess.

Lily had always wanted everything to be simple, though she never told anyone why she wanted it that way. This had puzzled Petunia, whose things were all grand and expensive. She would sometimes taunt Lily for her simplicity. Once, when they'd been in the yard playing, she'd given Sarah the role of a Cinderella-like character in their world of pretend, while Adelaide was the Princess about to go to the ball.

"Sarah can only go to the ball if her dress is good enough for the Queen," Petunia had said that day, while she dressed Adelaide in a beautiful blue silk gown embroidered in gold. "All the girls must go in their finest dress, but you don't have a fine dress for Sarah, so she can't go."

Lily looked first at Sarah, dressed in a rose-colored frock with a white color, then to the handful of dresses like it she'd taken from the wardrobe, to all the beautiful dresses Petunia had to choose from, and then back at Sarah. She didn't say anything for a long moment.

"I guess," she said, her voice strangely mature for a girl of eight, "I chose that when I chose all the simple dresses." Her green eyes lit then, and she smiled. "Sarah will not go to the ball, she will go down to the village to have tea with her friends, and when she comes back she will hear all about the ball from her sister, Princess Adelaide, and it will just like she had been there."

That night, Lily had come into Petunia's bedroom, carrying Sarah gently in her arms, and curled up next to her older sister on the blankets. And she'd asked to hear all about the ball before she went to bed.

The words of her little sister had stayed with her for quite some time. However, almost forty years later, Petunia did not remember that day at all, let alone what Lily had said.

With her son and nephew away at school, and her husband out on business, Petunia had set to work cleaning the entire house. She'd managed to find a great deal of junk, which had all been taken to the end of the driveway with the garbage. She'd also dug up a good number of Dudley's old baby things, which had been given to a local church for a cloths drive, and hundreds of things that she'd thought were long gone buried in boxes in the back of the attic.

It was in one such box that she came across something she'd never expected to see again: Adelaide and Sarah. The dolls were each housed in a glass case to protect them, and underneath them were the wardrobes, tea sets, and various other things they'd received over the years. Carefully, so as not to hurt them, Petunia lifted first Adelaide and then Sarah out of their case and placed them on the window sill.

Unlike the girls who had spent so much time playing with them, the dolls showed no signs of how old they were. Everything was exactly as it had been all those years ago; Adelaide was just as beautifully elaborate, Sarah just as eloquently simple. Petunia turned her attention back to the box in which she'd found them, and discovered a note written on yellowing paper.


Mother sent these to me some time ago, thinking that you, as you said when you were fifteen, were too old for dolls. I know you and I haven't spoken in years, but if something should happen to me, I though you might like at least Adelaide back.

Also, should I never have a daughter to tell the story and give the doll to, I want you at least to know that Sarah is ready for the ball. When that occasion should come around again, she is dressed and ready.

Much love,


Petunia puzzled over the words for no more than a moment, before turning back to the dolls on the window sill. Now that she looked again, the dress Sarah wore was not one she recognized immediately, but the style was the same. It was embroidered with large, gold and ruby colored flowers, with green vines accenting everything and lace at the cuffs and collar.

She studied it carefully, and noticed something - the stitches were imperfect.

Slowly, the realization of what she was seeing began to sink in. Lily had embroidered the dresses herself. And she'd planned to from the beginning. She'd always asked for simple things so she could make them elaborate with her own hands when she was able. Petunia went back to the box, and looked through everything. The wardrobe that had once held Sarah's dresses had been freshly stained and carved, the tea set painted, all the dresses embroidered.

Petunia packed up the box carefully, but took the dolls and their cases back downstairs with her, where she placed on them on the mantle in the sitting room. And, when she looked them over a last time before leaving the room, she noticed something else.

Under all the beautiful red and gold embroidery was the same rose colored frock that Sarah had worn the day of the pretend ball. And, even with it's imperfections, Petunia suddenly felt it would have suited the Queen.