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Charles Dickens

In the history of English literature,
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
stands out as the
Christmas story. It has been
continuously in print since it was first
published in the winter of 1843.


The whole story (a preface and five chapters) has been summarized below for intermediate levels. If you are interested in reading the full original work you can download the files onto your computer.


Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserly businessman. He treats his clerk Bob Crachit badly, he refuses to help the poor and miserable, and he hates Christmas. "Humbug!" he calls it, but at night on Christmas Eve he is visited by the ghost of his late partner Jacob Marley, who warns him to change.

The Ghost of Christmas Past is the next visitor. He takes Scrooge back to times long past, back to his schooldays and to Christmases he enjoyed when young, showing him merriment, feasting and kindness. But he also reminds him of the day when Scrooge's fiancee broke up their engagement.

This supernatural appearance is followed by the Ghost of Christmas Present, who comes to show Scrooge people enjoying their humble Christmases. Bob Cratchit's and Scrooge's nephew's families are among them.

From the foldings of its robe this ghost then brings forth two wretched, miserable children, Want and Ignorance. Scrooge wants them to be helped but the Ghost reminds him of his own words: Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?

The last visitor of the night is the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, who offers insights into a hypothetical future which is marked by the death of a covetous old sinner and of Tiny Tim, the beloved child of Bob Cratchit. Eventually Scrooge is led to a neglected graveyard and to one particular grave ... on the stone of which he finds his own name.

Because of what the ghosts have taught him, Scrooge becomes a new man, generous and kindhearted ... and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well ... if any man alive possessed that knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!

And so, as Tiny Tim observed: God Bless Us, Ever One!