In a bustling town, with snowflakes dancing from the sky, there lived a little girl known by the townsfolk as the Little Match Girl. She was ragged, her shoes were worn out, and her clothes provided little protection against the biting cold. Every evening, she would wander the streets, selling matches to passersby. But on this particular New Year’s Eve, not a single match had been sold.
The little girl’s feet, which were bare because she’d lost her slippers, left small footprints in the snow. She thought of the warm fireplace at home, but her home wasn’t much warmer than the streets. Her father was waiting, and she dared not return without selling any matches.
Finding a corner between two houses, she decided to warm herself up by lighting a match. Striking the first match, a warm, radiant glow emanated, and suddenly, she found herself sitting in front of a grand iron stove. Its warmth was comforting, enveloping her. But as the match burnt out, the vision faded, and she was back in her cold corner.
She struck another match, and this time, she was under a magnificent Christmas tree, grander than any she’d seen in the shop windows. Candles gleamed from its branches, and it seemed to retreat into the heavens. But again, as the match died out, so did the vision.
In her yearning for warmth and comfort, she lit another match. This time, a shooting star streaked across the sky. She remembered her late grandmother saying, “A falling star means someone is going to heaven.” In the glow of the next match, she saw her dear grandmother, the only person who’d ever treated her with love and kindness.
“Grandmother,” the little girl cried, “take me with you! I know you’ll disappear when the match burns out.”
To keep the vision of her grandmother alive, she lit match after match. Her grandmother looked serene and loving. Holding out her arms, she wrapped the girl in a comforting embrace. Together, they soared, leaving behind the cold, indifferent world, journeying to a place where warmth and love were eternal.
Follow up questions
- Why do you think the little match girl was afraid to go home without selling any matches?
- How did the visions from the matches make the little girl feel, and why did they bring her comfort?
- What significance does the shooting star have in the story, and how does it connect with the girl’s grandmother?
- How did the townspeople react upon finding the little match girl, and what might they have misunderstood about her final moments?
- The story sheds light on the stark contrast between the little match girl’s reality and her visions. What message or lesson do you think the author wanted to convey through this contrast?