Distantly descended

Hepzibah Smith tells Tom Riddle of her relationship to Hogwarts founder Helga Hufflepuff

Extract from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By J.K. Rowling

‘Now,’ said Hepzibah happily, taking the boxes from the elf, laying them in her lap and preparing to open the topmost one, ‘I think you’ll like this, Tom ... oh, if my family knew I was showing you ... they can’t wait to get their hands on this!’

She opened the lid. Harry edged forwards a little to get a better view and saw what looked like a small golden cup with two finely wrought handles.

‘I wonder whether you know what it is, Tom? Pick it up, have a good look!’ whispered Hepzibah, and Voldemort stretched out a long-fingered hand and lifted the cup by one handle out of its snug silken wrappings. Harry thought he saw a red gleam in his dark eyes. His greedy expression was curiously mirrored on Hepzibah’s face, except that her tiny eyes were fixed upon Voldemort’s handsome features.

‘A badger,’ murmured Voldemort, examining the engraving upon the cup. ‘Then this was ...?’

‘Helga Hufflepuff’s, as you very well know, you clever boy!’ said Hepzibah, leaning forwards with a loud creaking of corsets and actually pinching his hollow cheek. ‘Didn’t I tell you I was distantly descended? This has been handed down in the family for years and years. Lovely, isn’t it? And all sorts of powers it’s supposed to possess, too, but I haven’t tested them thoroughly, I just keep it nice and safe in here ...’

She hooked the cup back off Voldemort’s long forefinger and restored it gently to its box, too intent upon settling it carefully back into position to notice the shadow that crossed Voldemort’s face as the cup was taken away.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By J.K. Rowling