Yesterday’s festive fact concerned ‘A Christmas Carol’, but not the Christmas Carol. Today we’re moving on to Dickens’s enduring story of redemption and goodwill – the modern book that, more than any other, helped to instil us with a sense of the true spirit of Christmas (which is, of course, getting the biggest turkey you can and stuffing your face).
The family in A Christmas Carol whose plight helps to bring about Scrooge’s change of heart is, of course, the Cratchits, the father of whom, Bob Cratchit, works for Scrooge. Their starving son, whose plight helps to bring about Scrooge’s reform, is called Tiny Tim. This is well known.
But Tiny Tim was not the original name for the little boy in Dickens’s novella: originally he was going to be called ‘Little Fred’, possibly after one of Dickens’s brothers, two of whom were called Frederick and Alfred. Dickens altered the name just before the book went to press.