Day of the Spoons

On a rather scratchy piece of parchment, written in blotchy, uneven writing, was a letter.

Dear Ms Hermione Granger,
This letter is to make you aware of certain actions that have been taken against you as a result of inappropriate attitudes you have expressed publicly.

Although in the past we have applauded and supported your unusual understanding and sympathy regarding the house elves of Hogwarts, we have noted that you have completely failed to extend this same consideration to other oppressed magical races.

We were willing to overlook such hypocrisy as, at the time, we and our associate organisations believed you were yet to be enlightened as to our own existence. In light of your recent comments however, we have decided to bring to your attention the complete lack of empathy, or understanding, that you have displayed.

Until such a time as you publicly renounce your statements and make a formal apology to our members, all services to you from our organisation, and affiliated associates, will cease.

Yours truly,
Stan Shaperly
Head Knife,
Cutlery Association of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Harry sat down next to Ron and was about to start eating his lunch, when he noticed Hermione was eating rather messily with her hands. She looked at him with a fierce gaze that immediately stopped dead the question that had leapt to his lips.

Ron was busy watching his plate, obviously trying not to laugh. His only reply to Harry's questioning look was an expression that clearly said "Don't ask!"

Harry decided to follow Ron's example and try to ignore the fact that Hermione had apparently forgotten how to use a knife, fork, or spoon. After a few minutes however, he was on the verge of risking a question, when Fred and George sat down next to Hermione. She stopped eating and looked at them with what can only be described as hope in her eyes.

"Sorry Hermione," began George apologetically. "We checked with everyone, and nobody knows anything about this."

Harry thought he could see the hope in Hermione's eyes fade away to be replaced with despair.

"Look, if anybody here is playing a joke on you, we would be able to find out," added Fred.

Hermione looked like she was going to cry when the twins got up and left. Harry couldn't contain himself any longer. Sometimes you just had to stick your neck out, even if it meant making yourself a target.

"What's going on?" he blurted out, ignoring Ron's warning looks.

Hermione visibly tried to regained control of herself. Tears welled in her eyes, but her expression was one of fury. Obviously not trusting herself to answer, she passed a folded letter to him.

Dear Ms Hermione Granger…, it began.

As Harry read the letter he felt his confusion growing.

"I don't understand," he said, passing the letter back to Hermione. "Who did you insult?"

"The teaspoons!" blurted Ron, finally giving up on what had been, ultimately, the impossible task of holding in his laughter.

Harry smiled at Ron's infectious laughter and confusing answer. He still wasn't sure what was going on. Ron couldn't speak anymore because of the gales of laughter he was desperately trying to suppress.

"What does he mean, the teaspoons?" he asked Hermione, who was not smiling, and now had a sullen look of anger on her face as she stared at Ron.

"I said Ron had the emotional range of a teaspoon," she answered tersely, "and now knives won't cut for me, food falls off my fork and the spoons all appear to have holes in them when I try to use them."

Harry, already smiling, found himself involuntarily joining in with Ron, who was now laughing so hard that he was doubled over.

"This has to be a joke!" Harry said, once he had gained a bit of breath back.

Hermione was silently fuming, obviously embarrassed at Harry and Ron's laughter.

"That's what I thought, at first," she said. "So I tried all the spells I could think of, and came up with nothing. I even asked Fred and George to snoop around for me, but they came up blank. I am reduced to eating with my hands like, like an animal!"

"So what are you going to do?" asked Ron, who had managed to recover sufficiently to sit up and talk. "Eat with your hands for the rest of the year?"

"No, Ronald," answered Hermione testily, "I am going to find out by whom and how this was done, and then put a stop to it."

"You could just apologise," suggested Harry, looking serious.

This set both Ron and himself off into howling laughter again that was only interrupted by the morning mail delivery. Owls of all shapes and sizes flew circles around their heads dropping packages and parcels to the students below. A single small white envelope landed in front of Hermione.

Surprise replaced the disgusted look on Hermione's face as, patently ignoring them both, she reached for the letter and opened it. Harry stopped laughing as soon as he saw the surprise on her face replaced with horrified alarm.

"What is it now?" he asked, but Hermione just sat staring at the letter.

Harry began to get worried and tried to get Hermione to answer him.

"Hermione! What's the matter?" he asked again.

Hermione looked up into Harry's eyes. After all of the trials and challenges they had faced together, Harry thought he knew her as well as any two people could know each other, but the look on her face was one that he had never witnessed before. It was a rolling cascade of fear, horror and embarrassment.

"What is it Hermione?" he repeated, truly worried for his friend now.

Suddenly, Hermione dropped the letter, and jumped up onto the table.

"Excuse me everybody, excuse me!" she called, trying to get people's attention.
"I wish to make an apology," she said.

Harry sat dumbfounded, and Ron was shocked enough to stop his laughing. All around them people stopped what they were doing and watched her.

"Some time ago, I gravely insulted some of the workers here at Hogwarts," she began.

Immediately there were groans and mumblings about S.P.E.W. and "ruddy house elves". A few people turned back to what they had been doing before the interruption.

"No, not the house elves," Hermione continued in a loud voice, "but the spoons."

Harry noted a lot of other people looking confused, and he didn't blame them.

"Yes, the spoons that you may, even at this very moment, be using to eat with. I wrongly indicated that teaspoons had a very limited emotional range, and I now wish to formally retract that sentiment and furthermore, to apologise profoundly to the hard working spoons, knives, forks, cutlery and other, um, appliances that we use and take for granted everyday at Hogwarts."

Many people were waiting to see what this was all about, but Harry thought he finally understood. For the first time that he could remember, Hermione was giving in.

"Please think about how difficult life would be without them," concluded Hermione.

Then she sat down, very red faced and embarrassed, as the muttering around her grew. Several people were commenting loudly and words like "nutter" and "Potter syndrome" could be made out.

Ron and Harry sat very quietly, not daring to move or say a word. Eventually Hermione relented and looked at them.

"What?" she demanded, holding up a piece of pork with a fork that did not immediately drop it.

"Er, um, grumph" said Ron, at a loss for words.

"What changed your mind about apologising?" asked Harry in a rush.

Defiantly Hermione passed over the letter she had opened just before her announcement. Ron leaned over as Harry opened it and they both read it at the same time.

In handwriting that appeared to have been done with a very wet quill were the words:

We wif da forks.

Danny Dunny
Latrine assoc.

Just outside the entrance to the hall, Fred and George stood watching Harry and Ron laugh so hard that tears ran down their faces and they could not sit up straight.

"Another triumph for equality good brother?" asked George, turning to offer his hand.

"Definitely," answered Fred, taking the hand and shaking it firmly. "Do we tell her it was us?"

"Not till next year I think," replied his brother.

Then the two turned and walked away with the peals of Ron's laughter echoing around them.

The End