A Christmas book by Charles Dickens (1812–1870), published in 1843. Dickens was prompted to write this morality tale having been ‘perfectly stricken down’ by the appalling revelations published in a parliamentary report on child labour in 1843. A Christmas Carol is an allegory about a penny-pinching misanthrope, Ebenezer Scrooge, who on Christmas Eve receives an unexpected visit from the spectre of his long-dead business partner. Jacob Marley warns Scrooge that three further spirits will haunt him. The Ghost of Christmas Past, The Ghost of Christmas Present, and The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come force Scrooge to confront the consequences of his actions. He is especially horrified by the hardship endured by the family of his clerk, Bob Cratchit. Scrooge’s chastening experiences have a salutary effect: the miser is redeemed and transformed. In the Preface, Dickens wrote ‘I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it’.