Once Upon a Time….







At this time of year, I think of The Little Match Girl fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. “It was terribly cold. It had snowed that day and it was almost dark”, begins the story of The Little Match Girl who carried with her a little box of matches to sell, but no passerby had stopped to give her even a penny as she walked along, hoping for someone to buy her matches for a penny, but no one even glanced her way.

The Little Match Girl was so terribly cold and her thin little body ached with the cold. She had no coat or shoes. Her old hand-me-down sweater was soaked through from the snow that had fallen earlier in the day.  She shivered uncontrollably as the snow started falling again. She saw a place between two houses where she could sit down and look across the street.

There she saw warm yellow lights from windows. She thought she could even smell the holiday goose that was headed for the dining table.  She was so weak from the freezing cold and so hungry she could no longer stand again, so she took one of the matches and lit it and she began to feel warm and then she lit another one. She knew she dared not go home, her father would beat her.

She began to dream of her grandmother and lit another match, but this time all the matches came aflame. To her it was like heaven with the sky ablaze and she saw her beloved grandmother as she watched as a star fall from the sky. She remembered what her grandmother told her, when a star falls a soul goes to heaven. “Take me with you Grandmother” she cried, and her grandmother picked her up and flew to heaven with the tiny Match Girl in her arms. The next morning, the little Match Girl was found frozen to death on the street corner where no one had stopped to give her even a penny.

This is more than a fairy tale, it is real because around the world there are many little Match Girls and Boys and they are dying for want of a little kindness from those of us who have shoes, warm coats and Christmas dinner waiting.







25 thoughts on “The Little Match Girl

  1. davidprosser says:

    A timely tale that we should show charity at this time of the year if at no other. Since here is much poverty in the world it would be better if that charity could be year long.
    Merry Christmas and a Hopeful New Year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi David, thank you for your lovely comment and I agree with you from the heart, charity should be everyday all day long: kindness, respect of others, giving what help we can through words and deeds. Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year ahead to you. Hugs to you and yours and all my good wishes too! Karen 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thank you so much David! What a kind heart you have! 🙂 Hugs!


  2. Jennie says:

    Yes there are, Karen. We just have to look with different eyes. “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” -Aesop- Merry Christmas to you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jennie, being the wonderful teacher that you are, I am sure that you are kindness itself, especially for children. I love that quote because it is so very true and can mean so much. Merry Christmas to you as well!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jennie says:

        Thank you, Karen!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Eileen says:

    My father used to read this to me when I was very young. I hated it and would cry.
    I never understood why he would want me to listen to it every year. Perhaps he thought he was teaching me that there were other children, who weren’t as lucky as I was. But I was born worrying about others by nature and had no way of making things better, so it really seemed like torture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Eileen, I understand because I was and still am always very concerned about little children and what they might be going through like hunger, homelessness and fear. The Little Match Girl is really a story for adults. However, more than hundred years ago, the concept of children was not fully understood by parents of earlier generations. Your father just didn’t know as many parent’s didn’t understand that very young children do not differentiate between fiction and reality. Karen

      Liked by 1 person

  4. frenchc1955 says:

    Thank you once again for an excellent post. We, as adults, need to understand the terrible hunger, poverty, and want many children suffer, and we need to act on this knowledge. We need to do whatever we can, even if it seems to be a small action.


    1. Thank you so much Charles and yes, it is so easy to forget that in America there are thousands of hungry and frightened children who live with no sense of security or care. I believe that many bloggers on WordPress and other sites care very much and give what they can. Thank you to all of you who give. A wonderful example is Jennie on her blog, A Teacher’s Reflection and what she taught her children about caring for others and sharing what you have. Karen 🙂


  5. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    This post is deeply important.


  6. It seems the suffering of this world will never end. When it involves children, though, then it is particularly heart-wrenching. Sadly the tale is indeed timeless.


    1. Yes, suffering is endless it seems, especially for children, and the heart-wrenching part is the needlessness of it. The world is full of the abundance of everything necessary for life. Unfortunately, there is a scarcity of humanitarianism around the world. Thank you for your caring comment. 🙂 Karen


      1. Keeps coming down to the haves and have nots. You’re so right, Karen. The real scarcity appears to be the lack of humanity. The world is cheapening life on a daily basis. If there is a way to turn that around, then I hope we figure it out fast.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I hope so too. 🙂 Karen


  8. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel and commented:
    This story is one I read in 6th grade. It profoundly moved me and I never forgot it. It is interesting to me that I found it here. Wishing you a happy New Year. Barbara


  9. petchary says:

    This fairy tale always made me cry when I was a child. Yes, it is very timely, I am afraid. We must have more love and compassion in the world.


    1. Yes, this is so true. K D Dowdall


  10. Eugenia says:

    A very lovely post and thank you for the follow. It’s nice to meet you. You have a lovely blog.


    1. Eugenia, and thank you too, you have a very lovely blog! Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for this lovely reminder of a very important tale for our time. And thank you for the follow too.


    1. You are very welcome and my pleasure – thank you! K D Dowdall 🙂


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