The Little Match Girl


Once upon a timeā€¦ a little girl tried to make a living by selling matches in the street.
It was New Year's Eve and the snowy streets were deserted. From brightly lit windows came the sound of laughter and singing. People were getting ready to bring in the New Year. But the poor little match-seller, in her ragged dress and worn shawl sat beside a fountain shivering from the cold. She hadn't sold one box of matches all day. The little girl's fingers were stiff. If only she could light a match! Her hands shaking, she took out a match and lit it. What a nice warm flame! The little match-seller cupped her hand over it, and as she did so, she magically saw in its light a brightly burning stove.
She held out her hands to the heat, but just then the match went out and the vision faded. The night seemed blacker than before and it was getting colder.
She struck another match on the wall, and this time, the glimmer turned the wall into a great sheet of crystal. Beyond that stood a fine table laden with food. The little match-girl held out her arms towards the plates, but then the match went out and the magic faded. Poor thing! In just a few seconds she had caught a glimpse of everything that life had denied her: warmth and good things to eat. Her eyes filled with tears.
She lit a third match and an even more wonderful thing happened. There stood a Christmas tree hung with hundreds of candles, glittering with tinsel and colored balls. "Oh, how lovely!" exclaimed the little match-girl, holding up the match. Then, the match burned her finger and flickered out. The beautiful Christmas tree faded into darkness.
Scarcely aware of what she was doing, the little match-girl lit yet another match. This time, she saw her grandmother.
"Granny, stay with me!" she pleaded, as she lit one match after the other, so that her grandmother could not disappear like all the other visions. Granny did not vanish, but gazed smilingly at her. Then she opened her arms and the little girl hugged her crying: "Granny, take me away with you!"
A cold day dawned and a pale sun shone on the fountain and the icy road. Close by lay the lifeless body of a little girl surrounded by burnt-out matches.
But the smile on her face was a sign that the little match-girl was far away, in a place where there is neither cold, hunger, nor pain.