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The Poor Little Match Girl

A long, long time ago -- on a bitter cold New Year's Eve --
a poor little girl with bare feet was trudging along through
the cold deep snow.

Yes, her feet were bare because she had no real shoes, and
the large slippers someone had given her had been lost
when she ran to get out of the way of a cart, and a
naughty boy ran away with one of them. So, she was walking
in the bitter, bitter cold snow and her poor little bare feet
were red and blue with cold.

In her apron, she was carrying a lot of matches that she was
trying to sell for apenny a box. No one had bought any from
her all day long-- and the poor little thing was shivering
and hungry-- but she was afraid to go home because her cruel
father would beat her -- for she had not sold even a
half-penny of matches all day long.

She looked into the bright, cheerful windows of homes as
she walked by. Everyone seemed so warm and comfortable
and happy -- everyone except the poor little match girl.

She saw a beautiful trimmed Christmas tree in one window --
from another house came the tempting aroma of roast goose --
and she was so very hungry.

It was getting colcer and snowing harder -- and it was now
real dark when she huddled in a corner between two buildings
to try to keep warm.

She took one little match from a box and lit it to warm her
cold, cold fingers. How brightly it sputtered!! In its
light, she seemed to see a big warm stove. How warm and cozy
it was!! But when the match burned out, the stove disappeared,
and she was colder than ever.

She struck a second match, and before her was a big table with
a glistening white table cloth. There was huge roast duck and
apples, a cake and warm milk. She was so hapy, because she was
so terribly hungry. Then, just when she was reaching for the
roast duck, the match burned out.
And then, she was colder than ever.

She lighted another match, and lo! there was the most beautiful
Christmas tree she had ever seen -- full of shiny toys and
sparkling candles, candies and everything nice.
The beautiful candles rose higher and higher until they were
only stars in the sky, then one of them fell.

"That falling star means someone is dying", she said to herself.
"My dear grandmother used to tell me that."

She quickly lit another match -- and another -- then a whole
handful, and right in the bright glow, so dazzling and bright!
so kind and loving, stood her dear old grand mother with
outstretched arms.

"Grandmother!" she cried. "Please take me with you! I know
you will go away when the match burns out, just like the roast
goose and the warm stove and the Christmas tree did."

She quickly lighted the whole box of matches, because she
did not want her grandmother to go. The matches burned with
a blaze that was as light as day. Her grandmother had never
seemed so beautiful. And, as she took the poor little match
girl in her arms, she flew up with her in brightness and joy!
High! So very high! And there was no cold and no hunger and
no sorrow -- and no matches to sell, for they were in heaven.

In the morning, people passed by and saw the poor little
girl still huddled between the buildings, with burned
matches around her.
adapted from:
Hans Christian Andersen