"I am aware about the reputation of this class and I will tell this only once: I will try to explain some crucial information concerning the History of Magic - not just the facts alone, but the theory behind it and what is important to know in everyday life, not just for exams. I will include various points of view and I am sure this class will quickly become one of your favourites. In return, you all are going to pay attention. Listen closely. Think. If you have any questions relating to the topic, you quickly write them down and continue to listen. It is very well possible that some of your questions will be answered before I finish, and if not, you can ask afterwards."
Professor Mirage was tall, good-looking man. He appeared to be around forty years old. He had similar 'feel' around him like Professor McGonagall - the 'no-nonsense' expression.
"I will provide you with the list of everything you need to know for exams later. I don't believe you need to know exact years or names. It is pointless. However, exams are still dictated by the Ministry of Magic so if you want to pass them, you have to learn all the useless information. I understand Professor Binns talked mainly about Goblins and Goblin rebelions, so we can start right there."
There was barely audible groan in the classroom, which Professor Mirage ignored. He waved with his want a few times and a goblin appeared. People sitting in the front jerked. "Do not worry, it is merely an illusion."
He walked to the illusionary goblin and lifted his hand so it looked like it was rested on its shoulder. Few people grinned at that. "Goblins control most of precious metals. Gold, silver, etc. Therefore, they control wizarding economy to a large extent. This is the real affect of rebellions - economy influence. First very important thing - you have to understand peace. Peace or truce between two sides isn't made because one side won and the other lost. It is made when both sides decide it would be counterproductive to continue fighting. The cost of such victory would be too great, so they agree to a compromise."
"Now - most people think that we - wizards won those war agains goblins. After all, we took their right to carry wands. Their control our gold - but we can still go to the bank a take it out, right? It looks like wizards didn't lost anything, but the truth isn't this simple."
Professor Mirage wrote the word 'Money' on the blackboard. "Let's think about the real value of gold, silver and other metals. In short - about money. What is money? Pieces of metal. Wizard can't eat or breathe metal. Metal won't heal wizards, it won't give you power, it won't give you anything. If you look at wizards objectivelly from Natural point of view, you will find that we do not need any metal to live our lives. We need air, we need soil, we need sun. Goblins on the other hand, need gold and other metals to survive. I do not know the exact mechanism, but it is somehow tied to their life energy.
Some of you may argue that money is important - but the importance is only because of our current society - and, let's be honest - this society is far from ideal - it is partly a goblin society."
Professor started to pace slowly. Everyone was listening closely. "The structure of our society is built on money. Average wizard has to work for gold. Then he uses the gold to buy food, books, equipment, house . . . and so on. This system means that anyone can have everything - even people who wouldn't have much in another type of society - the one that was before. Powerful wizard can build his house just with his wand. He can cut the trees, he can conjure stone, transfigure anything into any shape, enchant it to be long lasting, duplicate. Hogwarts was literally built by four wizards - without gold, without money. Powerful wizard can find, hunt or duplicate food. He can make fields of food in mere days just with magic. Powerful families were not always powerful because of their money - they had money becaue of their power. In present, there are many wealthy families without an ounce of power to back it up."
There were various expressions in the classroom. Some people were frowning, some were nodding, some were just thinking.
"What you need to know about goblin rebellions is simple - it made wizards weaker. Wizards were no more pressured to be more powerful and more knowledgeable. Many people lost their interest for learning, training, thinking. They only needed to work and they can buy anything they want, right?"
"Very well. Back to the power to back up the wealth. Should another rebellion arise, Goblins would simply block the vaults. It would be a disaster. Chaos. Anarchy. Eventually - another pointless war against goblins, or - a civil war. Maybe both. All because goblins made our society built on gold - useless metal for wizards."
Professor walked to the blackboard again and wrote 'market'
"What is the point of market? You need or want something you can't make or find yourself, so you find someone who have what you want or need and offer something in return. Goblins forced their gold into these transactions - this is the real consequence of those rebellions. It created inbalance between wizards and led to many conflicts.
Another word appeared on the blackboard - 'power'
"There are three different conclusions of this lecture, based on your power. First - you are an idiot, weak person and leave everything in goblin's vaults. If a rebellion arises, you will lost all your gold and you won't have the power to live without it."
Second - you are powerful enough or smart to ward your gold yourself.
Third - you are so powerful that you don't need gold at all.
Think about it. You are dismissed.
He didn't have to wait long. He was standing on the bridge, looking at the distance, when Dumbledore came to speak with him.
"Interesting lesson, Tom." Dumbledore remarked casually.
"Yes. The whole "Professor Mirage" makes me feel odd. Even Tom Riddle sounds better."
"I know why you are here Dumbledore." Riddle remarked. "And I won't censure my lessons."
Dumbledore frowned. "Well, do you not think it was maybe a little harsh? It could very well cause tension between wizards and goblins again."
Riddle scoffed. "As if it isn't tense already."
"You are being a hypocryte, Dumbledore."
Riddle smirked at him like a predator. "Tell me Albus, how much gold have you stored in Gringotts?"
Dumbledore looked at him for a long time, then he sighed and a small smile appeared on his face. "Alright, nothing."
"So why don't your rules apply for everyone?" Riddle asked seriously. "You know what - don't tell me, I know it already. You like the status quo. You like when people have their freedom, make their own decisions. But I say this - for most people it would be better if you rather made those decisions for them."
Dumbledore shook his head. "Then they would have no freedom."
"Then at least give them a choice. Present yourself as an example. At least show yourself - you don't teach anymore, you don't communicate, you don't socialize. You should influence people more."
They stood in silence for a while, both deep in their thoughts.
Riddle spoke again. "I believe this is a change for both of us, not just for me. We are in this together, Dumbledore. You just sat in your office for decades, doing nothing. Have you seen these students? They don't want to learn. They don't want to become stronger, they don't want to explore the world, they don't want to understand the Magic, they don't want anything! The thing is - ordinary student won't come to you and ask - please Professor, teach me how to live!"
"Tom . . . "
"No! I know this isn't really good example - but I didn't recruit hundreds of wizards by doing nothing and showing my face at Hogwart's dinners. Why don't you set your standards for everyone? Why don't you make more people like you? Do not just sit in your office and wait for ideal society to form."
Dumbledore was standing on the bridge long after Riddle left. He was slowly inhaling the watery, slightly nostalgic sempember air and thinking about Tom's words.