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"The Little Match Girl" is Hans Christian Andersen's short story about a dying child's hallucinations at New Year's Eve. First published in 1845, it has been adapted into different media such as a Disney short and a Made for TV Movie.
On a cold New Year's Eve, a little girl freezes barefoot outside with nothing but the matches she sells to keep her warm. She looks into the window of the house she sits in front of, and pictures how nice it would be to celebrate with a family. She looks up and sees a shooting star, and recalls that her grandmother once told her that whenever a star streaks across the sky like that, a person goes to heaven. The girl lights all of her matches and it's as if she can celebrate with her grandmother right there, and on New Year's Day all that's left is her frozen body huddled against the building, smiling.
The full English translation can be found here, and the Disney short can be found here. There was also a 1977 Toei anime adaption. Additionally, there was a French silent film that can be found here. The adaption differs from the original, though. It has also been adapted as an audiobook with slideshow here.
Tropes in "The Little Match Girl":
- Abusive Parents: The original story says that her father will beat her if she returns without selling all of her matches.
- Barefoot Poverty: In the freezing winter, as a result of Abusive Parents.
- Crapsack World
- Died Happily Ever After
- Disneyfication: Averted, even by Disney. Unlike most of Andersen's other works, adaptions usually stick with the original story. The only exception is the Michael Sporn version where she had a Disney Death and eventually revives in that adaption.
- That said, many adaptations do paint the events as a tragedy, while the tone of the original treats this as a happy ending.
- Dying Alone
- Dying Dream
- Fallen-On-Hard-Times Job
- Go Out with a Smile
- Karma Houdini: The father, although since he has just lost his kid and what may well be his primary source of income, he probably won't be feeling too great right now...
- Nameless Narrative
- Snow Means Death
- Talking in Your Dreams
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth