It was New Year’s Eve. Snow covered roads and the roofs of houses. Passersby, dressed in expensive clothes, were rushing to their New Year’s parties.
This winter night, in the bustle of the streets, there was a poor girl. In her apron, she was holding bunches of matches for sale. Her bare feet were slipping into deep snow. She wore her mother’s old boots, but they were very big and she lost one of them in the snow when running down the street. The other boot was taken by a boy, who grabbed it from her and ran away laughing.
And there she was, running barefoot and freezing. It was snowing heavily and she could see candles on Christmas trees in the glass windows of people’s houses. She was sad and hungry. She could not sell even one bunch of matches and so she was penniless.
She was holding a bunch of matches in her hand, but nobody taken notice of them. People were passing by the girl, soaked up in their own matters.
She was really exhausted so she sat down in the corner, between the buildings. The air smelled of festive food, with Xmas trees glowing in the houses.
She was scared to return home. Father would beat her for not selling anything at all. They lived in a draughty basement, where the wind was blowing through all cracks, although they tried to cover them with straw and rugs.
Her little hands were blue from cold. She took one match out of a bunch. A bright glimmer warmed her cold hands and charmed out commendable images. She thought as if she was sitting in front of a big stove. Nice, soothing and drowsy heat was coming from it. The girl stretched her hip and legs towards the fireplace however the match went out. The hot stove faded somewhere in the snowy fog.
She took another match out of a bunch. In the light of the match, she saw a wonderfully decorated dinner table with a roasted goose filled with apples on the platter. All of a sudden, the goose jumped to the floor and was nearing the girl. When it was just at her fingertips, the glimmer shook stronger and the match went out.
In front of the girl, there was, again, only a cold, opaque wall of a tenement house.
She lit up one more match. In its sparkle, the girl saw a stunning Christmas tree. The most wonderful one that she ever had ever before seen. She reached her fingers out to the tinsels, but the match went out once again. The amazing stars of the Xmas tree rose up to the sky.
Then she lighted the whole bunch and in its twinkling light she noticed her grandma who had passed away a long time ago… standing right before her. Oh, grandmother, take me along with you! the girl shouted.
Early in the morning, when returning from their New Year’s celebrations, people discovered the girl dead in the snow no one knew, however , what lovely things she had witnessed in the light of her unsold matches.