The Little Match Girl’s Story




Attribution A.J. Bayes Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

My Danish father, Hans Pederson, came to Seattle as an immigrant at the age of 20. In my upcoming book, I refer to a story by Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark’s illustrious author, that invariably brought tears to my eyes during my childhood.

The Little Match Girl tells the sad tale of a child sent out to sell matches on New Year’s Eve. To keep warm, she huddles in a corner and lights her matches one by one. As she strikes, each match brings forth memories of a warm home with her  grandmother, now deceased, the joy of holiday revelers who are ignoring her, and the aroma of delicious food.



Once the last match burns out, the merriment and laughter fade away as the little match girl slowly freezes to death.

This story, adapted into a Disney movie, was apparently written by Andersen to emphasize the plight of abused and abandoned children. The tale, which I read it every Christmas, remains etched in my memory.


4 responses

    • Thank you for your kind words, Claudia. I have scrolled through your lovely posts on friendship, fun, food, and beauty — such a pleasure in this holiday season. Unfortunately I do not know German.
      I grieve for your countrymen at the recent terrorist tragedy and wish you the best in the new year.

  1. We once heard the story behind this. HCA spent much time at estates entertaining the rich people for meals and a room to stay both in Denmark and what is now Germany south of the Danish border. The people he stayed with then had uttered their disgust for poor people. Then he wrote this tale and read it aloud.

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