A Christmas Carol
Written by Charles Dickens
The Forgotten Helper
Written by Lorrie Moore
An evergreen classic, ‘A Christmas Carol’ is a must read for all children. Ghost stories are abundant in all cultures and in all literature, but perhaps Dicken’s book is the best known.
‘A Christmas Carol’ is the story of Scrooge, a miser, who reforms after the spirit of his friend, Marley, opens his eyes to the scourge he has become. In the course of the story, Scrooge encounters other ghostly spectres during Christmas.
An excerpt from the book:
Scrooge said, “Spirit, conduct me where you will. I went forth last night on compulsion, and I learnt a lesson, which is working now. Tonight, if you have ought to teach me, let me profit by it.”
“Touch my robe!”
Scrooge did as he was told, and held it fast.
The room and its contents all vanished instantly, and they stood in the city streets upon a snowy Christmas morning.
Scrooge and the Ghost passed on, invisible, straight to Scrooge’s clerk’s; and on the threshold of the door the Spirit smiled, and stopped to bless Bob Cratchit’s dwelling with the sprinklings of his torch.
“Mr. Scrooge,” said Bob; “I’ll give you Mr. Scrooge, the Founder of the Feast!”
“The Founder of the Feast indeed!” cried Mrs. Cratchit, reddening. “I wish I had him here I’d give him a piece of my mind to feast upon and I hope he’d have a good appetite for it.”
“My dear,” said Bob, “the children! Christmas day.”
“It should be Christmas day, I am sure,” said she, “on which one drinks the health of such a odious, stingy, hard, unfeeling man as Mr. Scrooge. You know he is, Robert! Nobody knows it better than you do, poor fellow!”
“My dear,” was Bob’s mild answer, “Christmas day.”
“I’ll drink his health for your sake and the day’s,” said Mrs. Cratchit, “not for his. Long life to him! A merry Christmas and a happy New Year! He’ll be very merry and very happy, I have no doubt!”
The children drank the toast after her.
The Forgotten Helper
This wonderful story by Lorrie Moore is a must-read for children. It is about Santa’s best toy-maker, Aben. This elf has been making toys for 40 years but is a grouchy little fellow who likes nothing better than to torment his fellow elves by tying their stocking caps together, or swinging from the ceiling lights and dropping gumdrops into their projects.
Finally, sometime near Christmas, Santa grows so tired of Aben’s mischievous pranks, that he demotes the elf to Reindeer Guard for Christmas Eve. During one such nightly visits, Aben is bored and decides to sneak down a chimney and pilfer some milk and cookies. Alas, when he gets back on top, Santa is gone and so are the other elves, on the sleigh!
Aben reckons that his best chance to get back to the North Pole by next Christmas, is by trying to persuade the little girl of the house, Ivy, to be good. But what a difficult task that is! Because Ivy is just as bad as Aben – disgruntled, mischievous and a real grouch! No wonder Santa almost didn’t stop to bring Ivy gifts this year.
And who’s to say Santa will bring gifts for her next year if this incorrigible girl doesn’t learn to behave? Both Aben and Ivy learn the meaning of being good only towards the end of the book.
Despite a somewhat abrupt conclusion, the book is a nice read.