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>>The little match-seller

It was cold on the last evening of the old year and it was snowing. A poor little girl with naked feet and without a coat was walking alone in the street. She had lost her shoes. She was cold and hungry. She was trying to earn money selling matches. People didn’t pay any attention to her. So she was afraid to go back home without money.

She was so cold that she hid herself between two houses. Her hands were frozen. She lit one match to warm her fingers. It was a wonderful light but the match went out. She lit another one and she saw a beautiful Christmas-tree. The match went out again. She lit another one and saw a splendid dinner on a table in a room. When the match went out nothing remained but the night.

The Christmas lights rose higher and higher, till they looked like stars in the sky. The little girl saw a star fall and thought of her dead grandmother. She lit all her matches and in the brightness stood her grandmother. The little girl cried : “Grandmother, take me with you before the match burns out. I know you will disappear like the Christmas-tree and the dinner.” The grandmother held the little girl in her arms and they both flew away with joy, to a place where there was no cold, no hunger and no pain.

In the morning people found the poor little girl. She was smiling. She had been frozen to death on the last evening of the year. She was holding a bundle of burnt matches. “She tried to warm herself”, said someone. But no one imagined what beautiful things she had seen.

Adapted by Caroline Rinaudo, Corinne Sahri and Juliette van den Herreweghe (PE2 2005/2006)

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