Snidgets and Quidditch

Kennilworthy Whisp describes the brutal introduction of the Golden Snidget to the game of Quidditch

Extract from Quidditch Through the Ages

By J.K. Rowling

From the early 1100s, Snidget-hunting had been popular among many witches and wizards. The Golden Snidget is today a protected species, but at that time Golden Snidgets were common in northern Europe, though difficult to detect by Muggles because of their aptitude at hiding and their very great speed.

The diminutive size of the Snidget, coupled with its remarkable agility in the air and talent at avoiding predators, merely added to the prestige of wizards who caught them. A twelfth-century tapestry preserved in the Museum of Quidditch shows a group setting out to catch a Snidget. In the first portion of the tapestry, some hunters carry nets, others use wands, and still others attempt to catch the Snidget with their bare hands. The tapestry reveals the fact that the Snidget was often crushed by its captor. In the final portion of the tapestry we see the wizard who caught the Snidget being presented with a bag of gold.

Snidget-hunting was reprehensible in many ways. Every right-minded wizard must deplore the destruction of these peace-loving little birds in the name of sport. Moreover, Snidget-hunting, which was usually undertaken in broad daylight, led to more Muggle broomstick sightings than any other pursuit. The Wizards’ Council of the time, however, was unable to curb the sport’s popularity – indeed, it appears that the Council itself saw little wrong with it, as we shall see.

Snidget-hunting finally crossed paths with Quidditch in 1269 at a game attended by the Chief of the Wizards’ Council himself, Barberus Bragge. We know this because of the eyewitness account sent by Madam Modesty Rabnott of Kent to her sister Prudence in Aberdeen (this letter is also on display in the Museum of Quidditch). According to Madam Rabnott, Bragge brought a caged Snidget to the match and told the assembled players that he would award one hundred and fifty Galleons to the player who caught it during the course of the game.

Quidditch Through the Ages

By J.K. Rowling