'The First of the Three Spirits' from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Illustrations by John Leech
Novella Excerpt (1843)
Ebenezer Scrooge is shown his Christmas past by the first of three spirits, in an effort to make him change his heartless and miserly ways.
There is no need to explain this story. The version of this excerpt in my collection would probably be abridged, to make it closer in length and ease of reading to other pieces than it might have been. I chose this chapter because it's the one that strikes me most. Possibly as a child I was more interested in Scrooge's own childhood than anything else, and the famous Fezziwig Christmas work-do and the sad love story also make for great reading. Children doubtless still enjoy the many fine stage and screen adaptations of this work (and perhaps some of the bad ones as well); perhaps, like me, they will be interested to see just how aggressive the spirits can get in Dickens' original (given that they'll be a little young to have read the whole thing).
'But the relentless ghost pinioned him in both his arms, and forced him to observe what happened next.'
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (George Routledge and Sons, 1885), p.108.