The Little Match Girl
Once upon a time, on a freezing New Year’s Eve, a poor little girl wandered through the snowy streets barefoot, trying to sell matches. Earlier that day, she had lost her slippers.
Hungry, cold, and with no one to turn to, she was too afraid to go home because she hadn’t sold any matches and feared her father’s punishment. To keep herself warm, she struck a match and saw a vision of a grand dinner table with roasted goose and a large Christmas tree.
When the first match burned out, she struck another and saw a vision of a cosy Christmas living room with a big stove. When the second match burned out, she struck a third, and in its glow, she saw her beloved grandmother, the only person who had ever treated her with love and kindness.
The little girl struck another match to keep her grandmother’s spirit alive as long as she could. However, as the light of the fourth match extinguished, her grandmother disappeared.
In her desperation, she struck all the matches she had left. In the final burst of light and warmth, her grandmother appeared again. She looked loving and warm. This time, she took the little girl in her arms and they both floated into the sky, where the girl felt no more cold, hunger, or pain.
The next morning, passers-by found the little girl sitting against the wall, frozen to death, with a smile on her face. They felt sorry for her, but they knew nothing of the wonderful visions she had seen, or how happily she had celebrated the New Year with her grandmother.