After an hour or two of soaring over the countryside and eating Every Flavored beans, Ron, Harry, Ellen, and Maggie arrived on the outskirts of Hogsmeade. Before Harry and Ron dropped the girls off, Harry gave them directions on how to get to town, told them how to use a wizard phone (that was pretty complicated), and gave them a handful of sickles to use in the phone (and to have a treat at Honeyduke's).
"Wow! This is going to be great!" said Maggie. Ellen didn't have any pockets, so Maggie put the pouch of sickles in her pocket.
"I think we better call home," said Ellen.
"Okay, but first let's go to Honeyduke's," said Maggie, "Tuba's Tongue Wart gum is just the thing for my brother Duncan! And I want to get some Two Minute Burp Balls."
"I think we better call first."
Ellen set off down the path that Harry had told them to follow. Maggie ran to catch up. As the girls walked along, Maggie's shopping list got longer and longer. "And Cheek Buzzers for Nicole. Chocolate Frogs for Ethan, because they have wizard cards. And Sweetie Pie Pops for Annie." Ellen moaned, "Maggie, I'm sure we don't have enough money for all of that."
They hadn't walked very far when they heard a rustling sound from the top of a tree. Just as they looked up, a short, fat elf came bounding to the ground in front of them.
The elf was magnificently dressed. Shiny boots with bright gold buckles, red velvet pants, and a shirt with pearl buttons.
"Charming ladies, allow me to introduce myself," announced the elf. "My name is Midas. Once a poor house elf without a knut to call my own, today I am the inventor -- the creator, the manufacturer, the originator, shall we say -- of the famous Midas Money Magnifier!"
He lowered his voice, "You may have heard about it."
The two girls shook their heads. "Let's go," Ellen whispered to Maggie, but Maggie wouldn't budge.
"You two are lucky to run across me today! I can see, I know these things, that you two need some more money -- loot, scratch, lettuce, moolah, dough, shall we say. And, my heart is absolutely broken -- cracked, busted, smashed, shall we say -- to see you two charming ladies feeling that way."
"If you are interested, I would be only too happy -- joyful, ecstatic, pleased, shall we say, to double your money for you. Only a slight -- tiny, itsy-bitsy, small, shall we say, fee."
"How much?" asked Ellen.
"Just a mere eight sickles. And think of all the money you'll make . . .! "
Maggie was indeed thinking of all the money she'd make -- and of all the candy she would buy at Honeyduke's. She immediately pulled the pouch of sickles from her pocket and said, "It's a deal! Go ahead!"
Ellen frowned, "I don't think this is a good idea."
Midas pulled an odd jewel-studded wand from his pocket -- the Money Magnifier. He waved it around the pouch.
Suddenly, Maggie felt the pouch grow heavier. She almost dropped it.
"This is great! great! great!," cried Maggie. She reached into the pouch and handed eight sickles to Midas.
"Do it again!"
Midas did it again. And Maggie paid him another eight sickles.
She jangled the sickles in the pouch. "One more time. Please! Please Mr. Midas."
Midas smiled and waved the contraption around the pouch a third time. Maggie reached into the pouch and started to count out eight sickles. When she handed the eighth sickle to Midas, the pouch was empty.
"You cheated us!" Maggie yelled.
"I most certainly did not. That is a lie -- fib, falsehood, untruth, shall we say" said Midas.
Maggie tried to grab Midas, but before she could get her hands on him, the elf disappeared.
Ellen looked close to tears. "Maggie, he didn't cheat us. He did just what he said he would do. You just goofed."
Ellen is right. Midas played by the rules. How many sickles did Harry give the girls? How many sickles were in the pouch each time Midas used the Magnifier? How are they going to call home?
To be continued . . .