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The Insect on the Leaf : Scrooge begs the Spirit of Christmas to tell him what will happen to Tiny Tim.
The Insect on the Leaf

From ‘A Christmas Carol’, by Charles Dickens

Once, Ebenezer Scrooge thought that disabled children should be left to die. Now, he is all anxiety to know what will become of his clerk’s lame and frail boy, tiny Tim.

“I SEE a vacant seat,” replied the Ghost, “in the poor chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, none other of my race will find him here. What then? If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief.

“Man,” said the Ghost, “if man you be in heart, not adamant, forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is.

“Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child. Oh God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!”

From ‘A Christmas Carol’, by Charles Dickens

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Picture: © William Cho, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0. View original
A blue dragonfly on a leaf. © William Cho, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0.
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