Real-life Scrooge was Dutch gravedigger

Published: Dec. 25, 2007 at 2:51 PM
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- A Dutch academic says Charles Dickens may have based the character of Ebenezer Scrooge, the protagonist of "A Christmas Carol," on a 19th century gravedigger.

Sjef de Jong said Dickens' classic novel may have been based on the life of Gabriel de Graaf, a Bronkhurst, Netherlands, gravedigger known for his cruelty and love of money until he disappeared one year on Christmas Eve and resurfaced years later claiming to have reformed, the Telegraph reported Tuesday.

"According to local people, the real Gabriel was a terrible man, unpleasant, addicted to alcohol and violent to children. Because he was so keen on money, he even dug graves on Christmas Eve. Then he disappeared. All he left was an empty bottle of gin in the grave," de Jong said.

"Years later, Gabriel showed up saying he had changed after dwarves showed him a vision of a poor young child that died because nobody cared."

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