The Second Head of Slytherin House
Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns the Potterverse, and the characters, of course, unless I end up coming up with any original ones. And I'm not making any money on this.
This story came out of this quote from my fic, "The Highest Value", Chapter Two, "Patronage": "Tobias taught him Snape family lore."
Here is one of the stories Tobias told his son, Severus Salazar Snape. I'm using what I hope are some Manchester spellings to evoke a Manchester sound, but otherwise the idioms are all American midwest as far as I know.
t'other = the other
childer = children
in't = in the
on't = on the
People talk about the four Founders of Hogwarts, but not everyone knows it was Salazar Slytherin who had the idea for a school to train magical children. He convinced his best friend, Godric Gryffindor, that it would be a glorious undertaking. Together, they brought in Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff to join them and that made four.
Now, what Salazar wanted was a place where wizards and witches could use their magic without worrying about the reactions of Muggles. What kind of world would they create if the use of their magic could be unfettered? Salazar imagined a new and unique culture centered round magic.
Now, at that time most magical people lived right alongside of Muggle folks. How open they were about their magic depended on the attitude of their Muggle neighbors. Most villages saw the magically gifted as just another specialty, like blacksmithing. You didn't really want more than one or two blacksmiths to a village, but then every village wanted at least one, and it was the same way with magical folk. On t'other hand, some villages persecuted their magical folk. And then a very few villages started to "specialize" in magic, like Hogsmeade did.
Now the first students for Hogwarts came from those villages that "specialized" in magic. It was a lot easier to identify magical people there and those were also the folks most interested in the idea of magical training and magical culture. In fact some people had even taken to bragging that their whole family tree included only witches and wizards. Of course, records weren't the best back then, so it wasn't all that easy to prove one way or t'other. Still, it was very common for a family in a village like Hogsmeade to be able to count only witches and wizards back to their grandparents, which in those days was often all it took to establish "pure" magical blood.
So it turned out that most of the students when Hogwarts started out were "pureblood" witches and wizards, although no one really thought much about it much one way or t'other.
Now, when the four friends founded Hogwarts, they decided to keep it hidden from Muggles. They were all aware of the binges of persecution that magical people were subject to from time to time and, besides, a main point of Hogwarts was to allow magical people to be easy about using their magic.
Now, there was no problem at the beginning, when the students came from villages like Hogsmeade. There were some students with a Muggle parent or grandparent living with them, which made Salazar a bit nervous. After all, you couldn't exactly forbid a Muggle parent from visiting the school, although Salazar actually did make an attempt to do just that. But such a child at least had one magical parent and sometimes both, so Salazar comforted himself that the risk wasn't too great. But he was still more comfortable with purebloods, who had nothing but magical parents and grandparents.
But then, something happened to bring the question of Muggle relatives to the fore, and wouldn't you know, it involved a family by the name of Snape.
Now Ezekiel Snape was a Muggle who had married a witch. They had several childer, all magical and sent them all to Hogwarts. And he had a brother named Mordecai, also a Muggle, who married a Muggle woman called Grace. They had several childer as well. Now since the brothers and their families lived in't same village, they saw each other quite a bit, and their childer played together until, one by one, round about the age of eleven, Ezekiel's childer went off to Hogwarts and Mordecai's childer went off to apprenticeships.
But it just so happened that Mordecai's third child, a boy by the name of Josiah, began showing magical breakthroughs at about the age of five. Now, most Muggle couples tended to be spooked when this happened or else managed to explain it away. But Mordecai and his wife had already seen three or four of their nephews and nieces go through the process, so they weren't the least bit put out by it. Wizarding was a decent and respectable occupation and when Josiah was going on ten, they sent to Hogwarts to arrange for his schooling.
At first, the founders didn't realize that Josiah Snape's parents were both Muggles. You see, they'd sent their letters to the school using Ezekiel's owl. But then a problem came up when it was time for the parents to actually visit the school, and Mordecai and Grace owled for instructions on how to get there.
The first owl back mentioned the best route to take by broom and noted that if there were a Muggle parent or grandparent along, they would have to be accompanied by a witch or wizard to get on't school grounds.
Well, Mordecai and Grace weren't planning to go by broom, of course, but they could work around that. But you see, Ezekiel didn't really want to take time out to go all the way to Scotland, so Mordecai and Grace owled back and asked what the instructions were when both parents were Muggles.
Now back then, there were few enough students that all four founders reviewed each one, and when they got that last owl from Mordecai and Grace, it caused quite a stir. Of course, they all knew that sometimes two Muggles had a magical child, but it hadn't come up yet at Hogwarts.
Helga didn't think it was much of a problem. They just needed to arrange for someone from the school to meet the Snapes. Rowena was already planning tests to determine if there were any magical differences that could be attributed to all Muggle parentage. And Godric thought it would a grand adventure for the boy to enter into a completely magical world.
But Salazar was livid.
The more he looked over the letters from and about the Snapes, the less he liked it. Not only were both Josiah's parents Muggles -- he and his uncle's family were the only magical people in't village. Which wasn't nearly enough for the village to be a specialized "magic" village, but with all of Ezekiel's childer, was way too many to be stable for such a small village. It didn't help that two villages within a day's ride of the Snapes had recently "purged" their magical folk. The way Salazar saw it, bringing Josiah Snape to Hogwarts was just a disaster waiting to happen. The Muggles in his village would get nervous about all those magical Snapes and turn on them. And then Ezekiel or Mordecai or Grace would give in to the pressure and tell them all where Hogwarts was and the school would come under attack.
Finally, Godric convinced Salazar to take in Josiah as a test case.
Well, Salazar got quite a surprise when Josiah showed up and took his sorting tests. That was back before the Sorting Hat, of course, so the process took several days and included interviews with all four founders. Well, the results made it quite clear that Josiah was a Slytherin through and through and he ended up in't House of the founder who'd tried to keep him from attending in't first place!
Godric was tickled pink. And for several years, the "test case" seemed to be a great success. Josiah turned out to be one of Salazar's best students and they both shared a common love for wizarding culture. Truth to tell, Josiah was one of Salazar's favorites, but he was popular with the other students as well since he didn't brag about it. And because if someone needed a favor with the Slytherin founder, Josiah could usually be counted on to put in a good word.
Well, around Josiah's fourth year, another Muggle-born came to the attention of Hogwarts, and since things had gone so well with the Snape boy, they let young Penelope Jones attend, too. By the time Josiah took his NEWTs and graduated, there were seven Muggle-born students set to attend Hogwarts the next year, and that counted one Muggle-born first year too.
It was three years after Josiah graduated that the crisis hit. It turned out that Penelope's mother's cousin on her father's side came to the conclusion that magic was the work of the devil. That's what he claimed, anyway, although Penelope's mother thought it might have had something to do with Penelope refusing to brew a love potion for him.
The exact scenario that Salazar had worried about back when Josiah came to Hogwarts seemed to be unfolding before his eyes. The cousin got together a group of Muggles with sticks and rocks and farm implements, and dragging Penelope along, set off for Hogwarts. They made good progress that first day, but then things started going downhill for the little group. Penelope, of course, had been brought against her will, and when she got a chance, she managed a Stupefy or two and hightailed it out of there.
The rest of the group still made it to the approximate location of Hogwarts after another five days of steady walking, but it didn't do them much good. Helga kept all the students off the grounds and in't castle proper, while Godric kept watch. The Muggle group wandered around and camped out for four days, then gave up and headed for home.
Godric thought the whole fiasco was just so funny and would lay to rest his friend's fears about letting the Muggle-born attend Hogwarts. It was just the opposite, of course. Salazar was convinced that all his fears had been justified and that they were just fortunate that this time the Muggles hadn't been able to get through.
Finally, Salazar put his foot down. Either the Muggle-borns would go or he would. He was reasonable though -- he agreed to let the Muggle-borns already at Hogwarts stay. Godric screamed and steamed and fumed at his friend and tried both honey and vinegar, but Salazar would not be moved. So on a very sad day, some fifteen years after the initial founding of Hogwarts, Salazar picked up and left.
Well, they needed a new Slytherin Head of House, so who do you think they picked? Josiah Snape, Salazar's Muggle-born favorite! He came back to Hogwarts to teach Defense against the Dark Arts and head up Slytherin House. And he made it one of his life's goals to bring old Salazar Slytherin back to Hogwarts where he belonged. Right along with all those Muggle-borns that scared him so much.
And the fact is, it took round about three decades, but Josiah did bring Salazar back, although by that time he wasn't really up to teaching full time. He moved back into the castle, though, continued his research and took on the occasional star pupil for special tutoring.
Josiah himself continued as Head of Slytherin House and Defense against the Dark Arts Master until he was 103 and then retired back to his home village. Since that time, most of the Snapes are still Muggles, but every third generation or so, one will be a witch or a wizard and then you can be sure he or she will end up in Slytherin House.