"Miss Granger," said the teacher sternly, her greying hair pulled back in a bun so severe that half of it would probably fall out if the net was removed. "I thought I told you to write a romance story."

"But it is!" protested Hermione Granger, all of nine years old. "It's got everything; one man, one woman, them talking about each other all the time, a dramatic meeting... it's even got kissing, and I hate kissing."

"Let me put this question to the class," said the teacher, and Hermione's heart sank. She didn't know why she was meant to be able to write stupid romance stories anyway. It wasn't as if they were useful for anything. She'd rather be sitting down to a nice session of maths with the brand new textbook they'd bought for her when she'd finished everything in the last one.

The teacher called the class to attention; twenty-six pairs of wary eyes, attached to small nine-year-old bodies clad in identical blue check dresses or shirts and grey trousers, looked attentively up at her from their seats. "Miss Granger has something to share with the class," she said, not unkindly; she was not trying to punish Hermione, merely teach her a lesson. "Come here, Hermione."

Reluctantly, Hermione brought her writing book to the front of the class, feeling the pressure of twenty-six pairs of eyes gazing at her, twenty-five small children waiting on her.

"Read, say, the first line on the third page for us, will you?" asked the teacher gently. With trepidation, Hermione turned to the requested page and began to read.

"Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left York at 6:36 p.m. travelling at 55mph, the other from Peterborough at 4:19 p.m.at a speed of 35mph."

She was suddenly aware that the polite interest in the twenty-five pairs of eyes before her had turned to a barely contained mirth. It wasn't fair. She wasn't meant to be good at writing stupid stories as well as everything else. That wouldn't be fair either. And it wasn't as if she hadn't tried. She looked up at the teacher, anger flashing in her eyes at having been set up like this, to see the mirth of the class reflected in the eyes of her normally impassive teacher. Before anyone could catch her, or even speak, she burst into floods of tears and fled the room.