One of the stories that affected me deeply as a child, and still continues to, is Hans Christian Anderson's 'The Little Match Girl'. My parents in all their wisdom didn't believe in giving me sanitised versions of children's books, so my original stories by the Brother's Grimm were, well quite grim 😜 And HC Anderson's children's tales often came with a healthy dose of reality thrown in.
The Little Match Girl opens with a young child stumbling barefoot through cold, dark streets. She cannot go home until she has sold all the matches she has as wares, otherwise her father is likely to severely beat her, as he usually does.
But it is evident that hypothermia is setting in, because she begins hallucinating after striking one precious match against an alley wall, to keep herself warm. She sees visions of a warm hearth, a table groaning with food including a roast goose that dances towards her (with a knife and fork stuck firmly into its flesh!), a Christmas tree festooned with lights and finally a falling star. But in order to keep these visions going, she is compelled to keep striking matches to generate a flame, as it is within the orange glow that she watches the scenes unfold.
Her final vision is that of her dead grandmother, and the little match girl is so consumed with longing that she strikes an entire bundle of matches to maintain the vision for as long as possible. She beseeches her grandmother to take her away, and her grandmother smiles, enfolds her into her loving arms, and they ascend to Heaven where they enjoy the warmth and feasts of her earlier visions. The next morning is New Year's Day and the townspeople find a little girl, frozen to death, slumped against a wall with a smile on her lips. Scattered around her are the blackened remains of burnt matches. The townspeople feel a twinge of regret that they could not help the girl sooner, but the writer notes that they will never be able to understand the immense joy the little girl derived from being reunited with her beloved grandmother.
My #sareeoftheday is a Flame Kashmir Silk paired with a Sooty #sareeblouse, in honour of HC Anderson's little match girl and her illuminating vision of love ❤️