"She came home every summer with her pockets full of frog spawn, turning teacups into rats. I was the only one who saw her for what she was – a freak! But with our parents, oh no, it was Lily this and Lily that, they were proud of having a witch in the family!"
An owl flew in through Dumbledore's open window. It was a warm August day and the headmaster sat in his office, preparing some things for the new school year.
The owl presented Dumbledore with a letter which was addressed:
Professor Albus P. W. B. Dumbledore
c/o Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
There wasn't any more, except for the return address in the top left corner. The lower part of the envelope had a purple stamp on it which marked it "Muggle Correspondence."
Dumbledore picked up a letter opener and slit the envelope. A piece of pale lavender stationery was inside, covered in a child's writing, which obviously been done very carefully with a ballpoint pen.
The letter said:
Dear Prof. Dumbledore:
My name is Petunia Evans and my little sister is going to Hogwarts this fall. I want to go too but I didnt get a letter like hers or a witsh coming to visit my parents to talk about me. The witsch wouldn't talk to me, only to Mum and Dad and Lily.
I always have good marks in school and I want to learn magic just like my sister. I dont know how she does it but I could learn. Please, please, let me come to Hogwarts too.
Dumbledore set the letter down and contemplated it with his chin on his hand. Obviously an undercover Ministry wizard working in the Muggle post had found this letter and forwarded it.
There was only one thing to tell young Petunia, but Dumbledore wanted to break the news as gently as possible: This little girl would never be a witch no matter how hard she tried. She just wasn't born that way. She would simply have to content herself with life as a Muggle. But it would be all the harder for seeing what she was missing, watching her sister come home every holiday with more and more magical skills ... skills that Petunia herself would never have.
No one really knew what made one person a wizard and another not: clearly family played a role, but the rules, if there were any, were complicated. Even a whole tribe of pureblooded wizards could have a Squib somewhere, and even a family of nothing but Muggles could be surprised by a wizard child suddenly cropping up. There were always hurt feelings in either case, it seemed. Squibs were usually shunned by their magically talented brethren, and in the past...
Historic problems of war and enslavement had led to the whole International Statue of Secrecy in the first place. Yet even with the Statute, the problem had only been reduced: it had never gone away. Dumbledore found himself thinking of another little girl who got caught in the conflict between Muggles and wizards. He put those memories from his mind quickly. Muggles weren't always the ones at fault.
But this child had taken the trouble to write a letter, so she at least deserved the honor of a personal reply.
The headmaster picked up a quill and began to write:
My dear Miss Petunia,
I was delighted to receive a letter from such an intelligent and well-spoken young lady as yourself. However, with deepest regret, I must refuse your request for entry into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
I hope that your sister will enjoy her studies here, but she is different from you and has different needs and abilities. You, Miss Petunia, would most certainly not be happy at Hogwarts.
I advise you to continue your studies at whatever other school you choose, and I would be happy to provide a note of recommendation if you so desired. I wish you the best of fortune and success in your own school career.
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.
He added the usual "Order of Merlin, First Class, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, Supreme Mugwump," etc. that he used for formal correspondence, and put the parchment in an envelope. After a few moments of thought, he dug a small box of Chocolate Frogs from his desk drawer and added it to the package.
Then he sealed it all up with the Hogwarts crest and gave it to the owl, instructing the owl to take the package to the return address on Petunia's letter.
The bird took off out the window, and Dumbledore watched it go. He brushed a stray owl feather from his desk and went back to reading over resumes from prospective new Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers.