“Professor Dumbledore, sir?” said a rich voice from across the study.
“Yes, Professor Diggory?” Dumbledore responded, turning to address the man identified as Diggory with a curious gaze.
“I have a matter which I wish to discuss with you. Or rather, a favour to ask of you,” Professor Diggory stated matter-of-factly.
“Yes, please, come and sit down,” Dumbledore replied, motioning to a pair of brown leather chairs in the corner of his office.
The year was 1948.
“What is it you wish to discuss, Diggory?” Dumbledore was asking now, as he adjusted his glasses and looked the other wizard in the eye.
“As you may know, my country home has been ransacked, and my poor Muggle housekeeper, Mrs. Macready, was killed in the assault. I’ve recovered what I can from the house, and most of what I’ve found is of no importance, but there is... one thing I cannot bear to be destroyed. The safest place for it would be Hogwarts, so I was wondering if you could help me figure out a way to store it here.”
And Professor Diggory relaxed back into his chair with a sigh.
Dumbledore looked at Diggory, intrigued. “What is this object, Diggory?”
“It is the most extraordinary magical artefact I own. A wardrobe, to be exact,” Professor Diggory said.
A misty look had appeared in the old Professor’s eyes, and Dumbledore gazed at him curiously.
“A wardrobe?” he wondered.
“Yes, a wardrobe. Albus, do I have your confidence?” Diggory asked in a grave tone.
“I am going to tell you why this wardrobe is so special, and in some ways, so dangerous. When I was a boy, my Uncle Andrew, who was a Squib, worked on many magical experiments in his upstairs study. My mother was ill, my father was away, and no one had bothered to tell me anything about magic or Hogwarts until I got my letter. At any rate, the summer before I got my letter, I made friends with a girl who lived next door, and my foolish uncle decided to use both of us as his guinea pigs. He tricked her into trying on one of his rings, an experiment which he’d been working on for some time, and she disappeared into thin air. Then he blackmailed me into going after her. Both of us appeared in this void, with all these pools. We named it the Wood Between the Worlds, because that is what it was. Albus, there were different universes, all over the place, and you could get to them by jumping into the pools. It’s a very long story, but we ended up in a world that hadn’t been made yet, and we watched its creation. Aslan, who created the world called Narnia and ruled over it, allowed me to take back an healing apple to give to my mother who, as I mentioned, was dying. She ate it, and was healed, and then I buried the core in the backyard, and it grew into a tree, which eventually blew over in a storm about 20 years ago. I couldn’t bear to have it chopped up, so I had them make it into a wardrobe. I put it in an upstairs room in my country estate, and didn’t think much more of it until World War II,” the old Professor recounted.
“Diggory, this is fascinating. I can’t say it surprises me much, but that is truly amazing. That wardrobe is made of wood from another universe?” Dumbledore was astonished.
“Yes, Albus. I didn’t think it had any significant magical powers, but during the Muggle war, I offered my home to children fleeing the crisis. That’s when the Pevensie children came to stay. I’m sure you remember my mentioning them?”
“Come to think of it, yes. Were there four?”
“Yes. Their names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. Peter was a handsome young lad of 16, the man of the house, as his father was fighting the war. Susan was the sensible older sister, she had to have been 14, nearly 15. Edmund was the most sullen boy I had ever met, at the age of 13. And sweet little Lucy was 10 years of age, playful and imaginative. They were a sorry looking bunch, missing their home and family and trying to make the best of their situation. But apparently, Lucy discovered the wardrobe one day, and decided to have a look inside. And she found Narnia! I was elated! Peter and Susan came to me one evening, worried about both Edmund and Lucy. Lucy wouldn’t give up her story of meeting a faun inside the wardrobe, and Edmund wouldn’t stop bullying her for it. They were obviously quite shocked by the idea of magic and other worlds.
“Then one day, they all ended up in the wardrobe, and they all tumbled out, changed forever. In speaking with them later, I found out that they’d been in Narnia for nearly 20 years, and had grown into adults, and had ruled as Kings and Queens of Narnia, but that’s the strange thing about it. When one is in Narnia, they can be there for years, and when they come back to Earth, it has taken no time at all. At any rate, the wardrobe is a profound and special object, but I don’t want anyone to know it exists. It is too easy to abuse its power. That is why I am asking you to protect it, Albus.”
Dumbledore seemed to understand the weight of this request, for Professor Diggory was right: the wardrobe had extraordinary power which could be easily abused.
“Then this is what you must do, Diggory. Go to the seventh floor, and stand in the corridor in front of the blank wall. Then, think of what you need- a place to hide something. A door will appear, and no one will ever be able to find the wardrobe inside that room except for you,” Dumbledore advised.
It was Diggory’s turn to look intrigued, but the Arithmancy professor said nothing to the Transfiguration professor as he exited his colleague’s study, other than “Good day, Albus”.
The wardrobe was moved the following day.
Professor Dumbledore and Professor Diggory had many more conversations over the next year regarding Narnia, until Diggory’s untimely death, along with Peter, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie, Polly Plummer, Eustace Scrubb, and Jill Pole, in a fatal train crash in 1949. Upon hearing this news, Dumbledore guessed, correctly, that Diggory had been trying to return to Narnia. However, he paid no more mind to the old, deteriorating wardrobe in the Room of Hidden Things for nearly fifty years.