* Short Stories
* For Children
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The Little Match Girl
by Hans Christian Andersen
Although he is well noted for his fairy-tales, the poignant story of The Little Match Girl or The Little Matchstick Girl is a great example of Hans Christian Andersen's broad literary talent and ability. I personally like to read this story at least twice a year, once in Autumn as the holiday season comes into focus, and then again around the Christmas holiday. It's a gentle reminder of the value of compassion and charity.
Most terribly cold it was; it snowed, and was nearly quite dark, and evening-- the last evening of the year. In this cold and darkness there went along the street a poor little girl, bareheaded, and with naked feet. When she left home she had slippers on, it is true; but what was the good of that? They were very large slippers, which her mother had hitherto worn; so large were they; and the poor little thing lost them as she scuffled away across the street, because of two carriages that rolled by dreadfully fast.
One slipper was nowhere to be found; the other had been laid hold of by an urchin, and off he ran with it; he thought it would do capitally for a cradle when he some day or other should have children himself. So the little maiden walked on with her tiny naked feet, that were quite red and blue from cold. She carried a quantity of matches in an old apron, and she held a bundle of them in her hand. Nobody had bought anything of her the whole livelong day; no one had given her a single farthing.
She crept along trembling with cold and hunger--a very picture of sorrow, the poor little thing!
The flakes of snow covered her long fair hair, which fell in beautiful...