lt was dreadfully cold, it was snowing fast, and almost dark; the evening----the last evening of the old year was drawing in. But, cold and dark as it was, a poor little girl, with bare head and feet, was still wandering about the streets. When she left her home she had slippers on, but they were much too large for her; indeed, properly, they belonged to her mother, and had dropped off her feet whilst she was running very fast across the road, to get out of the way of two carriages. One of the slippers was not to be found, the other had been snatched up by a little boy, who ran off with it thinking it might serve him as a doll's cradle.
So the little girl now walked on, her bare feet quite red and blue with the cold. She carried a small bundle of matches in her hand, and a good many more in her tattered apron. No one had bought any of them the live long day; no one had given her a single penny. Trembling with cold and hunger crept she on, the picture of sorrow: poor little child
The snow-flakes fell on her long, fair hair, which curled in such pretty ringlets over her shoulders; but she thought not of her own beauty, or of the cold. Lights were glimmering through every window, and the savor of roast goose reached her from several houses; it was New Year's eve, and it was of this that she thought.
In a corner formed by two houses, one of which projected beyond the other. She sat down, drawing her little feet close under her, but in vain, she could not warm them. She dared not go home, she had sold no matches, earned not a single penny, and perhaps her father would beat her， besides her home was almost as cold as the street， it was an attic; and although the larger of the many chinks in the roof were stopped up with straw and rags. the wind and snow often penetrated through. Her hands were nearly dead with cold; one little match from her bundle would warm them. Perhaps, if she dared light it, she drew one out, and struck it against the wall, bravo! it was a bright, warm flame, and she held her hands over it. It was quite an illumination for that poor little girl; nay,1 call it rather a magic taper, for it seemed to her as though she was sitting before a large iron-stove with brass ornaments, so beautifully blazed the fire within! The child stretched out her feet to warm them also; alas, in an instant the flame had died away, the stove vanished, the little girl sat cold and comfortless, with the burnt match in her hand.
A second match was struck against the wall; it kindles and blazed, and wherever its light fell the wall became transparent as a veil. The little girl could see into the room within. She saw the table spread with a snow-white damask cloth, whereon were ranged shining china-dishes; the roast goose stuffed with apples and dried plums stood at one end, smoking hot, and which was pleasantest of all to see;the goose, with knife and fork still in her breast, jumped down from the dish, and waddled along the floor right up to the poor child. The match was burnt out, and only the thick, hard wall was beside her.