It’s the holiday season, and a time to watch all our holiday specials: White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, Rudolph, The Little Drummer Boy, The Grinch and of course, perhaps the best of all, A Christmas Carol.
The other day I was watching Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol in the 1970 adaptation with Albert Finney as Scrooge, one of my favorite adaptions. And watching Tiny Tim struggle on his crutch, it got me thinking: just what disorder or disease did Tiny Tim have? He limped, he was in pain, his joint was crippled, and in the vision of the Ghost of Christmas Future, he passed away.
I wondered: could Tiny Tim have had hemophilia?
It’s not so far-fetched. Living in 1859, Tiny Tim inhabited London when Queen Victoria’s son Leopold did (born in 1853), and he had hemophilia. But his condition was never really described in full. We know he could not walk on his own during the story, and needed a crutch. He didn’t appear to have a cough (denoting tuberculosis), or any other pain. One website suggested rickets or cerebral palsy, but the story doesn’t seem too really support that. Everyone overlooks hemophilia, because… well, it’s so rare!
I’m going to imagine he did have it; and thanks to Scrooge’s transformation to a benefactor, Tim got medical care, nutrition, support and grew up. Of course, they did not have commercial factor. But even Leopold lived to his early 30s without it.
To those with hemophilia then and now, in the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us, every one!” And happy holidays!
If you’ve never read it, read A Christmas Carol soon! It has never been out of print, and is one of the most enduring, powerful stories in the English literature.