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Rowling pens Potter tales for charity

LONDON — Author J.K. Rowling has penned two special short stories in the hugely successful Harry Potter series to provide a magical boost to a British charity's fund-raising appeal.

The books — "Quidditch Through the Ages" and "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" — went on sale Monday with the proceeds going toward the BBC's charity drive Comic Relief, which seeks to help end poverty and social injustice.

"I always write more than I need for the books so bits of them were just written for my own fun," Rowling said.

"So when Comic Relief asked me to write something I thought I would just love to write them, I just thought it would be so much fun and I was completely correct. It was more fun than I've had writing the others."

The titles of both the new stories featured in previous Harry Potter novels. "Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them" is a book Harry the bespectacled schoolboy wizard buys to prepare him for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

"Quidditch Through The Ages," is a library book Harry used to learn rules of Hogwarts's infamous sport played on broomsticks with four balls.

Both books will be published by Scholastic Inc in the United States and cost about $3.60, with most of the money going to charity.

More than 60 million Harry Potter novels have been sold in 200 countries.

"There is something wonderful about the idea that laughter should be used to combat real tragedy and poverty and suffering and it just is the most wonderful thing," Rowling said.

In addition to the books, the author has given the charity signed copies of the books that will be auctioned online at http://www.comicrelief.com/other/harry.shtml