Небольшая рождественская история от BBC.
Narrator: This is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a man who loved money and didn't like Christmas. There he was, on Christmas Eve, in his office. He was keeping an eye on his clerk Bob Cratchit. Scrooge wanted to get every little bit of work from Cratchit before allowing him to spend Christmas Day at home. Scrooge thought Christmas was a waste of time! Even his nephew couldn't convince him that it wasn't.
IN SCROOGE'S OFFICE
Scrooge's Nephew: A Merry Christmas, uncle!
Scrooge: Bah! Humbug!
Scrooge's Nephew: You don't mean that, I'm sure!
Scrooge: What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money? You find yourself a year older, but not an hour richer! What good has it ever done you?
Scrooge's Nephew: I've always thought of Christmas as a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time. A time when men and women seem to open their hearts freely. It's never put money in my pocket, but I believe that it's done me good!
Scrooge's Nephew: Come on, uncle, come and have dinner with us tomorrow.
Narrator: Scrooge's nephew was persistent but the old man wouldn't change his mind. He was in his usual bad mood when two gentlemen came to his office to ask for a donation to offer Christmas dinner to the poor. Scrooge worked in the money-lending business. No donation from him...
Scrooge: Gentlemen, are there no prisons and workhouses, where the poor receive food and accommodation in return for some work?
Gentleman: We wish we could say there aren't any, Mr Scrooge. Many poor people would rather die than go to prison or the...
Scrooge: They should die and decrease the surplus population. And... well, it's none of my business anyway. They cost a lot of money, and the poor should go there. Goodbye, sir.
Narrator: Let's continue the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, the selfish man who didn't like Christmas. Last time, the ghost of his dead partner, Marley, told Scrooge he would be visited by three spirits. They would give him a chance of escaping Marley's fate. Scrooge was in bed when the curtains were opened and he saw a face...
Spirit of Christmas Past: I'm the Ghost of Christmas Past – your past. Come with me.
Narrator: The Spirit took Scrooge through a wall and suddenly they found themselves on an open country road. The city had disappeared. Scrooge was very excited.
IN SCROOGE'S OLD NEIGHBOURHOOD
Scrooge: Good heavens! I grew up in this place. That's the river! And... Oh, and I used to climb that tree...
Narrator: He remembered everybody's names. He could see them, but they couldn't see him or the Spirit. Then the Spirit invited Scrooge to go to the local school.
Spirit of Christmas Past: The school is not quite empty. There's still a child there...
Scrooge: I know! And I know who it is!
Narrator: There he was, young Scrooge, alone in a room, sad and lonely. But one Christmas, his young sister came to the school with good news.
AT SCROOGE'S OLD SCHOOL
Scrooge's little sister: Hello, my dear brother! I've come to take you home! Home forever and ever. Father is much kinder than he used to be and he sent me in a carriage to bring you. And we'll be together all Christmas, and have the merriest time in all the world!
Spirit of Christmas Past: Your sister... She had a big heart! She died when she was an adult and had, I think, children. Your nephew!
Scrooge: Yes. She was so kind...
Narrator: Do I sense regret in Scrooge's voice? He behaved so badly towards his nephew... But time was running out and the Spirit of Christmas Past had another place to take Scrooge to: a big warehouse.
AT SCROOGE'S OLD WORKPLACE
Spirit of Christmas Past: So, do you recognise this place?
Scrooge: Yes! I was an apprentice here. Oh! Old Mr Fezziwig! That's my old boss!
Mr Fezziwig: Yo ho ho boys, no more work tonight. It's Christmas Eve! Clear away my lads, and let's have lots of room here!
Narrator: The warehouse was transformed into a bright ballroom in no time at all. In came a musician, Mrs Fezziwig and her three daughters, and all the young men and women employed in the business. It got old Scrooge thinking. He told the Spirit...
Scrooge: Mr Fezziwig had the power to make us happy or unhappy; to make our work easy or hard; pleasure or pain. The happiness he gave us is as great as if it had cost a huge pile of gold. I should like to be able to say a word or two to my clerk Bob Cratchit just now.
Narrator: Is there a change in old Scrooge? Mmmm... Maybe... Well, the mood was darker when the Spirit took Scrooge to see another Christmas a few years later. Then, the young Scrooge was starting to look obsessed with money. He wasn't alone. There was a young woman by his side. Oh, she was crying…
IN THE PAST
Scrooge's girlfriend: Something else has taken my place; if it can cheer and comfort you as I wanted to do, I have no reason to cry. May you be happy in the life you have chosen!
Scrooge: Spirit, show me no more. Take me home. Why do you torture me?
Narrator: It was hard for Scrooge to see how his girlfriend left him when he started to fall in love with money. But the Spirit's work wasn't done yet. He took Scrooge to yet another Christmas a few years from then. And the greedy, old man saw her happy with a husband and children – children who he almost wished were his own. Scrooge was very depressed when he got back home: the kind sister whose son he rejected, the generous employer, the lost girlfriend – that's a lot to take in! But there were still two spirits left. What would the Spirit of Christmas Present show Scrooge? Let's see it tomorrow. I can't wait!
Narrator: Ebenezer Scrooge woke up just before the clock struck one again. He was ready for the Spirit of Christmas Present. This time, he met his guide in the next room, which looked very different from usual. It was decorated with holly and other plants. On the table, there was a lot of delicious Christmas food like turkey, cake, fruit... Scrooge talked to the ghost.
Scrooge: Spirit, take me where you like. Last night I learnt a lesson. Tonight, if you want to teach me, let me profit by it.
Narrator: Oh, that's not the Scrooge we knew before. No longer arrogant?! Well, the Spirit took Scrooge to the edge of the city where his clerk Bob Cratchit lived. The man entered his humble home carrying a little boy who had a crutch and iron around his legs. His wife was preparing the meal.
AT BOB CRATCHIT'S HOUSE
Mrs Cratchit: How did Tiny Tim behave at church, Robert?
Bob Cratchit: As good as gold! He told me on our way home that he hoped that people noticed him in the church, because he's disabled. It might be good for them to remember on Christmas Day our Lord, who made lame people walk and blind men see.
Narrator: Tiny Tim was a sweet little boy who knew the meaning of Christmas. But he was very sick. Scrooge felt sorry for him and asked the Spirit what was going to happen.
Scrooge: Spirit, tell me if Tiny Tim will live.
Spirit of Christmas Present: I see an empty seat in the corner, and a crutch without an owner. If things don't change in the future, the child will die.
Scrooge: No, no. Oh, no, kind Spirit. Say he'll live!
Spirit of Christmas Present If he's going to die, he should do it, and decrease the surplus population.
Narrator: These words caused a huge and sudden feeling of deep regret in Scrooge's heart. That was exactly what he had said earlier to the gentlemen who had asked for a donation to help the poor. If the poor died it would be good to help decrease the surplus population. Then, Scrooge heard Cratchit mention his name...
Bob Cratchit: After this wonderful dinner, let's raise our glasses. A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears! God bless us! And also Mr Scrooge, the Father of the Feast! Come on, dear wife!
Mrs Cratchit: I wish I had him here, Robert. I'd give him a piece of my mind! Such a horrible, hard, unfeeling man, Mr Scrooge. I'll drink to his health because it is Christmas, but not because of him.
Tiny Tim: God bless us every one!
Bob Cratchit: Thank you, Tim, my dear child.
Narrator: There was no doubt Scrooge was the monster of the family. But if the thought of her husband's selfish boss annoyed Mrs Cratchit, it caused laughter elsewhere. The Ghost of Christmas Present took Scrooge to his nephew's house – to the Christmas dinner the old man had refused to go to.
AT SCROOGE'S NEPHEW'S HOUSE
Scrooge's Nephew: ...and my uncle said that Christmas was a humbug! He's a funny man, that's the truth. And not as pleasant as he could be. However, his crimes carry their own price. His money is of no use to him. He doesn't do any good with it. He doesn't make himself comfortable with it.
Narrator: The house was full of people dancing, playing games. The Spirit noticed that Scrooge was enjoying himself. The night was coming to an end when Scrooge saw two figures at the ghost's feet. What were they? They looked like children, but they were old and frightening. Scrooge was shocked.
Scrooge: I'm sorry to ask but... are they yours?
Spirit of Christmas Present: They are Man's creatures. The boy is Ignorance. The girl is Want. Be afraid of them both, but most of all you should fear this boy for on his face I see a terrible destiny!
Scrooge: Don't they have a place to go?
Spirit of Christmas Present: Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?
Narrator: Yes, once more Scrooge had his own words repeated back to him. He had always thought the poor had prisons and workhouses to go to, hadn't he? Eat your words, Mr Scrooge! Well, the bell struck twelve and that was it for the Ghost of Christmas Present. He disappeared. But the third spirit was coming. You'll hear about it next time.
Narrator: Let's continue the story of Ebenezer Scrooge. The Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come couldn't have been more different from the Spirit of Christmas Present Scrooge had just seen disappearing. It was very tall and it was hidden in a black cape and hood. It didn't speak at all. Scrooge was getting used to the company of ghosts by now but he was afraid of this one.
Scrooge: Ghost of the Future, I am more afraid of you than any spirit I've seen. But I know your purpose is to do me good. And I hope to become another man from the one I was, so I am prepared to be in your company. And do it with a thankful heart.
Narrator: Was Scrooge really changing his ways? They went to the financial district and the Spirit stopped near a group of businessmen who were chatting.
Businessman 1: I don't know much about it. I only know he's dead. It's likely to be a very cheap funeral! I'm certain I don't know of anybody who'd go to it. Should we volunteer?
Businessman 2: I don't mind going if a lunch is provided! What happened to the money?
Businessman 1: Well, he didn't give it to me!
Narrator: Scrooge knew these men. But why did the Spirit make him listen to this conversation? No answer. Then the Spirit took him to a bad part of town. Criminals lived there. Some people were trying to sell stolen goods and they were making fun of the person who used to own them.
Housekeeper: Who's the worse for the loss of a few things like these? Not a dead man, I suppose. He frightened everyone away from him when he was alive, but he profits us now he's dead!
Narrator: And even the shirt the dead man was wearing was sold. A housekeeper, a laundress, an undertaker – they stood in line to make a profit on the dead man's things. Scrooge was shocked! He asked the Ghost to show him people with kindness towards the dead. And where do you think they went? Scrooge found himself back at Bob Cratchit's house. But this time everybody was sad and quiet. Bob Cratchit had just returned from church where he had made arrangements for somebody's funeral.
Mrs Cratchit: How was it, Robert?
Bob Cratchit: I wish you could have been there, dear wife. It would have done you good to see how green a place it is. But you'll see it often. I promised him that I would walk there on a Sunday. My little, little child...
Narrator: Scrooge knew now that Tiny Tim was dead. But who was that man whose death others were talking about? The Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come took Scrooge to a graveyard and pointed ahead. On the stone of a neglected grave, the old man read a name: Ebenezer Scrooge! It was his own name! It was Scrooge's grave!
Scrooge: No, Spirit. Oh no, no! Spirit, hear me. I'm not the man I was. Why show me this, if all hope is gone?
Narrator: Wow! That's a brand new Scrooge we're seeing! And he's not done yet in his pleading...
Scrooge: Good Spirit, tell me that I still may change these shadows you have shown me, by changing my life. I will celebrate Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I'll live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall live within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me that I may remove the writing on this stone!
Narrator: Scrooge grabbed the Spirit's hand. The Spirit tried to free itself. In the end, it just disappeared. Scrooge found himself grabbing his own bedpost. What will happen now? I'll tell you next time.
Narrator: A lot has happened to Ebenezer Scrooge. How will this story end? Scrooge's only love used to be money, but now he might be a changed man! After the struggle with the frightening Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come, he found himself in his own bed, in his own room, and he felt happy and ready to change his life.
AT SCROOGE'S HOUSE
Scrooge: I'm as light as a bird, I'm as happy as an angel, I'm as merry as a schoolboy, I'm as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world. Hello!
Narrator: Scrooge ran to the window and put out his head. Bells are ringing! Ah! The sun was shining, the air felt fresh. Everything was wonderful!
Scrooge: Hey boy! Yes, you. Look up. Here in the window! What's today?
Boy: It's Christmas Day, sir!
Scrooge: It's Christmas Day. I haven't missed it. The Spirits have done it all in one night. Hello, my good boy. Do you know whether they've sold the special turkey that was hanging up there?
Boy: What? The one as big as me?
Scrooge: Yes! Go and buy it, and tell them to bring it here, so I may give them the address to take it to. Come back with the man, and I'll give you a little money. Come back with him in less than five minutes and I'll give you a lot of money.
Narrator: The boy ran off as fast as he could.
Scrooge: I'll send it to Bob Cratchit's. He will not know who sends it. It's twice the size of Tiny Tim!
Narrator: Then Scrooge went to the streets. He was greeting everyone: "Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!" He approached the gentlemen who had asked him to help the poor. He had behaved so badly before, when he refused to give anything. But now, he offered them a generous donation.
IN THE STREET
Gentleman: My dear Mr Scrooge, are you serious?! I don't know what to say to such kindness!
Narrator: In the afternoon Scrooge went to his nephew's house for that dinner he was invited to but didn't want to go to. Do you remember that? How will his nephew react?
AT SCROOGE'S NEPHEW'S HOUSE ENTRANCE
Scrooge's Nephew: Who's that?! Uncle Scrooge! Welcome, uncle! Come and have some fun with us!
Narrator: His nephew received him with open arms. And what a party it was! It was great to be in that same party the Spirit of Christmas Present had shown him before. And this time everybody could see Scrooge and talk to him. The next morning, the old man went to the office very early to catch Bob Cratchit coming late. Eighteen and a half minutes late!
AT SCROOGE'S OFFICE
Scrooge: What do you mean by coming here at this time of day?
Bob Cratchit: I'm very sorry, sir. It's only once a year. It will not be repeated. I was making rather merry yesterday, you see, sir...
Scrooge: Now, I'll tell you what, my friend: I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. And therefore... and therefore I'm about to raise your salary!
Bob Cratchit: Mr Scrooge?!
Scrooge: A Merry Christmas, Bob, my good friend. I'll raise your salary, and help your hard-working family, and we'll discuss your problems this very afternoon, over a Christmas drink!
Bob Cratchit: Wonderful, Mr Scrooge! Wonderful!
Narrator: Scrooge did it all, and much, much more. He became a second father to Tiny Tim, who did not die, and a good friend to all. Some people laughed to see how he'd changed, but he let them laugh. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him. It was always said of Scrooge, that he knew how to keep the Christmas cheer alive and well. I hope we do the same. Tiny Tim has the last word:
Tiny Tim: God bless us, everyone!
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