What is a Pensieve?
He lifted the basin, carried it over to his desk, placed it upon the polished top, and sat down in the chair behind it. He motioned for Harry to sit down opposite him.
Harry did so, staring at the stone basin. The contents had returned to their original, silvery-white state, swirling and rippling beneath his gaze.
"What is it?" Harry asked shakily.
"This? It is called a Pensieve," said Dumbledore. "I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind."
"Er," said Harry, who couldn't truthfully say that he had ever felt anything of the sort.
"At these times," said Dumbledore, indicating the stone basin, "I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one's mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them as one's leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form."
Excerpt from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire © J.K. Rowling, 2000
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