It was Christmas Eve in London. The bells in the church were ringing all day long, the candles in the shop windows were lit and you could see people walking quickly through the snow-covered streets. That special feeling which people only seem to have at Christmas was everywhere. Everywhere, that is, except in one place.
There was one office, with the name Scrooge and Marley painted across the window. Two men were in it, working, without smiles on their faces. There was a small fire in the fireplace. Ebenezer Scrooge, the owner, did not like to spend money so the fire stayed small. Scrooge thought it was a waste of money to put more coal on the fire. His clerk, Bob Cratchit, was sitting at his desk writing letters, trying to keep his hands warm by the heat of his candle.
Suddenly, the door opened and the cold and wind from outside filled the room. A young man with red cheeks, curly dark hair and a friendly smile stood in the doorway.
«Merry Christmas, Uncle! Merry Christmas, Bob.»
Bob Cratchit looked up for a moment.
«Merry Christmas to you, sir.»
Scrooge pointed his crooked finger at Bob Cratchit.
«Get back to work, and keep your ‘Merry Christmas’ to yourself! As for you, Fred, I have two words for Christmas: Bah! Humbug!»
Fred, Scrooge’s nephew, came into the shop and closed the door. He never let the smile leave his face.
«Uncle, why do you call Christmas ‘humbug’? It’s the one holiday when people open their hearts and truly feel kind towards others. Even you can see that.»
Scrooge got up from his desk. He had small, round glasses sitting on the end of his nose. His face was red with anger and he frowned as he spoke.
«I’ll tell you what I see. I see people spending more money than they have. I see work stopping and money lost for a day that is just like any other day! If I could, I would cancel Christmas and make everyone work twice as hard.»
«But the fact is, Uncle, only butchers and bakers work on Christmas Day. So my wife and I want you to come and have Christmas dinner with us.»
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