The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen

The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
But in the corner, at the cold hour of
dawn, sat the poor girl
with rosy cheeks
and with a smiling mouth
leaning against the wall
frozen to death on the last evening
of the old year
Stiff and stark sat the child there
with her matches
of which one bundle had been burnt
"She wanted to warm herself," people said
No one had the slightest suspicion
of what beautiful things she had
seen
no one even dreamed of the splendor
in which, with her grandmother she
had entered on the joys of a new
year.
She drew another match against the
wall
it was again light
and in the lustre there stood the
old grandmother
so bright and radiant
so mild
and with such an expression of love
"Grandmother!" cried the little one. "Oh, take me with you! You
go away when the match burns out; you vanish like the warm
stove, like the delicious roast goose, and like the magnificent
Christmas tree!"
And she rubbed the whole bundle
of matches quickly against the wall
for she wanted to be quite sure of
keeping her grandmother near her
And the matches gave such a brilliant light
that it was brighter than at noon-day
never formerly had the grandmother
been so beautiful and so tall
She took the little maiden on her arm
and both flew in brightness and in
joy so high
so very high
and then above was
neither cold
nor hunger
nor anxiety
they were with God
She lighted another
match.
Now there she was sitting under the
most magnificent Christmas tree
it was still larger, and more decorated than the one
which she had seen through the glass door in the rich
merchant's house.
Thousands of lights were burning
on the green branches
and gaily-colored pictures, such as she had
seen in the shop-windows, looked down upon
her.
The little maiden stretched out her
hands towards them when
the match went out
The lights of the Christmas tree rose
higher and higher
she saw them now as stars in heaven
one fell down and formed a long trail of fire.
"Someone is just dead!", said the little girl.
for her old grandmother
the only person who had loved her
and who was now no more
had told her, that when a star falls,
a soul ascends to God.
She rubbed another against the wall
it burned brightly
and where the light fell on the wall,
there the wall became transparent like a
veil
so that she could see into the room
On the table was spread a snow-white
tablecloth
upon it was a splendid porcelain service,
and the roast goose was steaming
famously with its stuffing of apple and
dried plums
And what was still more capital to
behold was
the goose hopped down from the dish
reeled about on the floor with knife
and fork in its breast
till it came up to the poor little girl
when the match went out and nothing
but the thick, cold, damp wall was left
behind
In a corner formed by two houses,
she seated herself down
and cowered together
she grew colder and colder
but to go home she did not venture
for she had not sold any matches
and could not bring a farthing of money
from her father she would certainly get blows
and at home it was cold too
for above her she had only the roof
through which the wind whistled
even though the largest cracks were
stopped up with straw and rags
Her little hands were almost
numbed with cold
Oh! a match might afford her a
world of comfort
if she only dared take a single one
out of the bundle
draw it against the wall
and warm her fingers by it
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!
From all the windows the candles
were gleaming
and it smelt so deliciously of roast goose
for you know it was New Year's Eve
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.
She drew one out.
"Rischt!"
how it blazed, how it burnt!
It was a warm, bright flame,
like a candle
as she held her hands over it
it was a wonderful light
It seemed really to the little maiden as
though she were sitting before a large iron
stove,
with burnished brass feet and a
brass ornament at top
The fire burned with such blessed influence
it warmed so delightfully
The little girl had already stretched
out her feet to warm them too
but
the small flame went out
the stove vanished
she had only the remains of the
burnt-out match in her hand.
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