It was late on bitterly cold, snowy New Year"s Eve. A poor little girl was wandering i the dark, cold streets.She was bare-headed and bare-footed. She certainly had had slippers on when she left home, but they were not much good,for they were so huge and had last been worn by her mother. And they fell off the poor little girl"s feet when she was runing across the street to avoid two carriages that were rolling rapidly by. One of the shoes could not be found at all.And the other was pickde up by a boy who ran off with it, saying that it would do for a cradle when he had children of his own.
So the poor little girl had to go on with her little bare feet which were red and blue with the cold. She carried a quantity of matches in her old apron, and held a packet of them in her matches during all the long day. Nobody had even given her a copper.The poor little creature was hungry and perishing with cold and she looked the picture of misery.She found a corner where one house projected a little beyound the next one,and here, she crouched. drawing up her feet under her.But she was colder than ever.
Her little bands were almost dead with cold. One little match would do some good. Dare she pull one out of the bundle and strike it on the wall to warm her fingers? She pulled one out.rishhh…How it splattered,how it blazed.It burnt with a bright clear flame just like a candle when she held her hand on it. It was a very curious candle,too.The little girl fancied that she was sitting in front of a big stove with polished brass feet and handles. There was a splendid fire blazing in it and warming her so beautifuly.But what happened? Just as she was stretching out her feet to warm them,the blaze went out.
The stove vanished and she was left sitting with the end of a burnt-out match in her hand.Again she lit another.This time she was sitting under a lovely Christmas tree. It was much bigger and more beautifully decorated than the one she had seen when she peeped through the glass doors at the rich merchant"s house this very last Christmas. Thousands of lighted candles gleamed upon its branches and colored pictures such as she had seen in the shop windows looked down to her. The little girl stretched out both her hands towards them, and out went the match. (来源：英语麦当劳－英语杂志 http://www.EnglishCN.com)
All the Christmas candles rose higher and higher till she saw that they were only the twinkling stars.One of them fell, and made a bright streak of light across the sky.
Someone is dying,"thought the little girl.For her own grandmother, the only person who had ever been kind to her, used to say,"When a star falls, a soul is going up ot God."
Now she struck another match against the wall and this time it was her grandmother who appeared in the circle of flame. She saw her quite clearly and distinctly, looking so gentle and happy."Grandmother!"cried the little creature."Oh, do take me with you.I know you wil vanish when the match goes out. You will vanish like the warm stove, the delicious goose and the beautiful Christmas tree."
She hastily struck a whole bundle of matches because she did so long to keep her grandmother with her. The light of the matches made it as bright as day. Grandmother had never before looked so big or so beautiful.She lifted the little girl up in her arms, and they soared in a halo of light and joy, far, far above the earth where there was no more cold, no hunger, no pain.For they were with God.