Near the end of the story "A Christmas Carol," Ebeneezer Scrooge sees a glimpse of a possible future with the ghostly spirit of Christmas Yet to Come. After the ghost reveals the sad fate of Tiny Tim, he shows Scrooge a gravestone with his name engraved upon it. In this monologue, Scrooge repents his avaricious ways and embraces the holiday spirit.
(To the ghost.) Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point, answer me one question.
Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only? Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead, but if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!
(Scrooge leans forward and reads his name upon the headstone.)
Am I that man who lay upon the bed? No, Spirit! Oh no, no! Spirit! hear me! I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. Why show me this, if I am past all hope? Good Spirit, your nature intercedes for me, and pities me. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life! I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!