Tips & more

This is the “Harry Potter” short story from 1972

Harry Potter short story from 1972
“Harry Potter” – a short story by Jan Rostworowski, Życie Literackie, 1972 / Images: Digital Library of Malopolska

J.K. Rowling was not the first author to create a character named “Harry Potter.” One Polish author had done it 25 years earlier.

The boy who lived had, in fact, lived ever since 1972.

A short story entitled “Harry Potter” was published in a communist Poland, on March 19, 1972, in a literary magazine Życie Literackie. Its author, Jan Rostworowski (1919-1975), was a Polish poet and short story writer. In 1940, as a soldier of the Polish Army, he came to Great Britain, where he spent twenty-eight years.

Rostworowski’s text published 25 years before Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone tells a story of a seventeen-year-old Harry Potter who, unlike J.K. Rowling’s protagonist, does not receive his Hogwarts letter.

In fact, his life is rather ordinary – as a shopkeeper, he delivers the original Cracovian sausage and pickles. He is not quite talkative, as he replies mostly with “Oh yeah” and “Oh no.” In the end – he suddenly vanishes.

Bogusław Rostworowski, the son of Jan Rostworowski, explained that the story was, in fact, the poet’s memory from times when he used to deliver meat to an English shop. The character of Harry Potter was to depict the shop owner.

Rostworowski made the name up – however, it is important to highlight that the surname “Potter” was rather popular in England at that time.

Apart from the name of the protagonist, the only similarities to J.K. Rowling’s works which can be found in the Polish text are two passages. One of them is: “The telephone in Harry’s house does not ring, but chirps like a bird” – which for the Potterheads might resemble magical carrier owls. The other is that the narrator casts a curse on “Mr. P.” Apart from that – the texts are not at all alike.

Is it possible that J. K. Rowling had ever seen Rostworowski’s work before publishing the Harry Potter series? It’s highly unlikely because when the Polish Harry Potter story was published, Rowling was merely seven years old, and was living near Bristol, in a small village Winterbourne.

On the other hand, let’s have a look at what J.K. Rowling said in 2000, in an interview for Scholastic, when asked from where she got the name for Harry Potter:

“Harry” has always been my favourite boy’s name, so if my daughter had been a son, he would have been Harry Rowling. Then I would have had to choose a different name for “Harry” in the books, because it would have been too cruel to name him after my own son. “Potter” was the surname of a family who used to live near me when I was seven years old and I always liked the name, so I borrowed it.

The news about the Harry Potter short story hit the Polish internet back in 2011, but now you can see it with your own eyes, as it was recently digitized by the Digital Library of Malopolska.

“Harry Potter” – a short story by Jan Rostworowski

Harry Potter - a short story by Jan Rostworowski in a Polish literary magazine Zycie Literackie

“Harry Potter” – a short story by Jan Rostworowski, published in a Polish literary magazine Życie Literackie in March 1972.

Życie Literackie from 1972 with Harry Potter short story

The front cover of Życie Literackie No. 12, from March 19, 1972 – “Harry Potter” short story in the table of content.

An illustration for Harry Potter short story by Piotr Turnau

An illustration for “Harry Potter,” created by Piotr Turnau.

Page 10 of "Życie Literackie" No. 12 with the entire text of "Harry Potter" short story

Page 10 of Życie Literackie with the entire text of “Harry Potter.”

Via Radio Zet.

• • •

We removed a comment system to increase your privacy and reduce distractions. Let’s discuss this article in your WordPress Reader, or on Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow us on Google News.

More to explore:

10 best Kindle Scribe covers that will improve your work performance
– November 28, 2022

14 premium but inexpensive Kindle 11 case covers so far
– November 21, 2022

Black Friday 2022 Kindle deals include Kindle 11 and Scribe!
– November 20, 2022

Most gifted books and audiobooks on Amazon – the complete guide
– October 30, 2022

17 best Kindle sleeves and bags to get in 2022-23 season
– October 23, 2022

Recommendation box

Gifts for modern bookworms in 2023

Based on recommendations from top tech sites and customer reviews.

• • •

Coffee and candle warmer with USB charger

Coffee and candle warmer with USB charger

This innovative little accessory that guarantees your coffee or tea will be always warm. You can also use it to release the scent from your candle without lighting it. Thanks to USB port, you will be able to charge your phone while reading.

Amazon

• • •

Innovative reading light

Compact and innovative reading light

From a German brand Nachteule comes a clever book light that you attach not to a book but your reading glasses. It’s so light that you can also clip it to your earphones or hair accessories! The built-in battery will let you read 200 pages.

Amazon

• • •

Hands-free pillow stand

Hands-free pillow stand – great for e-readers and print books

An improved version of a popular Lamicall tablet pillow comes now with a side pocket for a pen or small accessories. The grooves are deep enough to hold a print book. It’s made of durable materials and is available in five fashionable colors.

Amazon

More gifts for bookworms