"Oh no, sir, no," said Dobby, looking suddenly serious. "'Tis part of the house- elf's enslavement, sir. We keeps their secrets and our silence, sir. We upholds the family honor, and we never speaks ill of them—though Professor Dumbledore told Dobby he does not insist upon this. Professor Dumbledore said we is free to—to—" Dobby looked suddenly nervous and beckoned Harry closer. Harry bent forward. Dobby whispered, "He said we is free to call him a—barmy old codger if we likes, sir!" Dobby gave a frightened sort of giggle. "But Dobby is not wanting to, Harry Potter," he said, talking normally again, and shaking his head so that his ears flapped. "Dobby likes Professor Dumbledore very much, sir, and is proud to keep his secrets and our silence for him."

This passage from Chapter Twenty-one demonstrates the lack of education given the house-elves and the reason that Dumbledore is the most widely admired wizard. Dumbledore, unlike Snape, Karkaroff, and Wormtail, does not make decisions that he regrets. He allows people to know much about his life—not reprimanding Harry for looking into his Pensieve. He is confident enough of his skill as a teacher, and as a result gives students a great deal of freedom. Dubledore foresees the trouble students can cause and deals with it, demonstrated when the Weasley twins' attempt to register for the Triwizard compitition causes them to grow beards. Here, he allows Dobby full rein as an employee, and we see that Dobby, who detested her previous masters, wishes to live up to Dumbledore's trust. In his concession that Dobby can call him a barmy old codger, Dumbledore ought to know that of course it will never happen, as he is inherently not one in his having given Dobby that assurance of freedom.