You are on page 1of 6



A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
Retold by Kieran McGovern

5.1 Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

The Third and final ghost visits Scrooge
THE Spirit slowly silently approached. When it
came near him, Scrooge bent down upon his
A deep black garment hid its head, its
face, its form. It left nothing visible except an
outstretched hand. He knew no more, for the
Spirit neither spoke nor moved.
"You are the Ghost of Christmas Yet To
Come? Ghost of the Future! I fear you more
than any spectre I have seen. But I hope to live
to be another man from what I was. Will you
not speak to me?"
It gave him no reply. The hand was
pointed straight before them.
"Lead on! Lead on! The night is ending
fast. Lead on, Spirit!"
Into the future
The Spirit takes Scrooge back into the city. A
group of business men are standing together. He
recognises the place and the people
Scrooge advanced to listen to their talk.
"No," said a great fat man with an
enormous chin, "I don't know much about it
either way. I only know he's dead."
"When did he die?" asked another.
"Last night, I believe."
"Why, what was the matter with him? I
thought he'd never die."
"God knows," said the first, with a yawn.
"What has he done with his money?" asked
a red-faced gentleman.
"I haven't heard," said the man with the
large chin. "He hasn't left it to me. That's all I
know. Bye, bye!"
He died alone
The Spirit then shows thieves taking away the
few possessions of the man who has died. One
justifies why he is stealing these things

"If he had been kind in his lifetime, he'd
have had somebody to look after him when he
died. Instead he lay there gasping out his last
there, alone by himself."
"What do you call this?” said the other
thief, rolling out some material. “Bed-curtains!"
"Ah! Bed-curtains! Don't drop that oil
upon the blankets."
"His blankets?"
"Whose else's do you think? He isn't likely
to be cold without them."
Scrooge listened to this dialogue in horror.
"Spirit! I see, I see. The case of this
unhappy man might be my own. My life tends
that way, now. Merciful Heaven, what is this!"
A body
The scene had changed, and now he almost
touched a bare bed. Unwatched, unwept,
uncared for, was the body of this unknown
"Spirit, let me see some tenderness
connected with a death!" cried Scrooge
The Ghost conducted him to poor Bob
Cratchit's house, and found the mother and the
children seated round the fire.
Tiny Tim has recently died. Bob has been looking
for a suitable grave for him
It was quiet. Very quiet. The noisy little
Cratchits were as still as statues in one corner.
They sat looking up at Peter, who had a book

before him. The mother and her daughters were
doing needle-work.
The mother laid her work upon the table,
and put her hand up to her face.
"It’s near the time for your father to come
home," she said.
"Past it rather," Peter answered, shutting
up his book. "But I think he has walked a little
slower these few last evenings, mother."
"I have known him walk with -- I have
known him walk with Tiny Tim upon his
shoulder, very fast indeed."
"And so have I," cried Peter. "Often."
"But he was very light to carry, and his
father loved him so. It was no trouble. And
there is your father at the door!"
Bob weeps for his son
She hurried out to meet him; and Bob, poor
fellow, came in. The two young Cratchits got
upon his knees and laid, each child, a little
cheek against his face
Bob was very cheerful with them, and
spoke pleasantly to all the family.
Mrs Cratchit said: “You went today, then,
"Yes, my dear," said Bob. "It’s a beautiful
green place. But you'll see it often. I promised
him that I would walk there on a Sunday. My
little, little child! My little child!"

He broke down all at once. He couldn't
help it.
"Spirit," said Scrooge, "something informs
me that our parting moment is at hand. I know
it, but I know not how. Tell me what man that
was, with the covered face, whom we saw lying
Among the graves
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come took him
to a dismal churchyard.
The Spirit stood among the graves, and
pointed down to one.
"Answer me one question,’ said Scrooge.
‘Are these the shadows of the things that will
be? Or are they shadows of the things that only
may be?"
Still the Ghost pointed downward to the
grave by which it stood.
"But can this be changed?"
The Spirit did not move.
Scrooge crept towards it,
trembling as he went. Following
the finger he read upon the
stone of the neglected grave his
No, Spirit!
"Am I that man who lay upon the bed? No,
Spirit! O no, no! Spirit! Hear me! I am not the
man I was. I will not be the man I was going to
be. Why show me this, if I am past all hope?

Tell me that I yet may change these shadows
you have shown me by an altered
For the first time the kind
hand faltered.
"I will honour Christmas in
my heart, and try to keep it all
the year. I will live in the Past, the
Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all three
shall strive within me. I will not shut out the
lessons that they teach. O, tell me I may sponge
away the writing on this stone!"
Final Part

At hand - coming near
Faltered - hesitated, stopped
Garment - something to wear
Grieve - feeling of deep loss
Engagement - promise to marry
Matter with - the problem
Sponge - used to clean
Tenderness - kind feeling
Yawn - open mouth when sleepy

A glossary, comprehension exercises, key quotes and other learning

activities related to this text are here:

Related Interests