Christmas Stories: The Little Match Girl

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The Little Match Girl was written by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen

The story about a dying child’s dreams and hope.  A poor, young girl tries to sell matches in the street.  Afraid of going home, she takes shelter in an alley.  She lights a match to keep herself warm and in the glow begins to see visions.  When she lights the next match she sees a vision of her grandmother and remembers her saying that a falling star {which she’d just seen} means someone is going to heaven.  She lights all of the matches at once to keep the vision of her grandmother, the only person to show her love, with her for as long as possible.  After running out of matches, her grandmother carries her to heaven.  The next morning passers by find her body and feel compassion for her.

The Little Match Girl was first published in December 1845,  in Dansk Folkekalender for 1846. The work was republished in the 1848 New Fairy Tales.

The story has been adapted into a variety of works including TV, movies, animated films, video games, and put to music.  An amusement park, The Fairy Tale Forest, in the Netherlands there is a three-dimensional attraction showing the story of the Little Match Girl.  It is called  Het Meisje met de Zwavelstokjes.  An illusion technique, known as Pepper’s ghost, is used.