J.K. Rowling Expands 'Potter' Universe For Charity

J.K. RowlingThe problem of coming up with a clever title? Following it up. You just try writing a story called "Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump" -- "if anyone thinks it was easy, let me disabuse them here," J.K. Rowling wrote on her website of her efforts to flesh out the fairy-tale book Dumbledore leaves to Hermione in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

Since J.K. wanted to create a very personal thank you present to those most closely involved with Harry over the years, she actually wrote the fables referred to in "The Tales of Beedle the Bard." "The Tale of the Three Brothers," the only one we got a real sense of in Book Seven, so that left the titles Ron rattles off: "The Fountain of Fair Fortune," "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot," the aforementioned "Babbitty Rabbitty" and a new story, "The Warlock's Hairy Heart." Rowling handwrote and illustrated the 160-page "Tales of Beedle the Bard," which is extremely limited edition -- only seven copies were made, and one of those, the "Moonstone" edition, is being auctioned off for the charity Children's Voice, with an asking price of $60,000. Don't have that kind of dough? You can look at the book, which will be on display in London until the auction on December 13.

"People kept saying to me, 'You'll be glad to have a break from writing,' when of course I wasn't taking a break at all," Rowling told the BBC. "I was literally writing out -- as these are handwritten books -- these new stories. It's not about Harry, Ron, and Hermione, but it comes from that world. It's been a wonderful way to say goodbye. It's like coming up from a deep dive."

After this project, Rowling next plans to tackle her Harry Potter encyclopedia, also for charity -- at least according to her lawsuit filed on Halloween.