Wednesday, November 30, 2005

forgotten? fairy tale

I sent this fairy tale to Leslie in an e-mail. I learned that most people I know are not familiar with this beautiful Hans Christian Anderson's tale. So I retold it in short in mainly my own words. Thought you all may like it.The Little Match Girl is from a very poor home way back in Industrial Britain. There isn't a mother anymore, and the father makes the children make flowers and then they are sent out on the street to sell the flowers and matches. The Little Match Girl has only slippers with wholes in it on her feet that are too big. They were her mother's. She walks the busy streets and barely escapes a collision between a motor car and a horse and buggy. She loses one slipper and has to go on bare feet in the snow. It is close to New years. She doesn't sell anything. The stores are full of goodies. Well dressed people shop. They don't even see her. She is cold and hungry. She doesn't dare to go home. Her father will hit her for not bringing home money. She finds herself a spot in the corner of buildings to sit down for a spell. She looks at the matches and wonders if she dares to light one. She does. In the warm flame she sees a hot stove and stretches out her feet to warm them. The match goes out, taking the vision away. She strikes anothe match. The wall across from her becomes transparent and a table set with festive foods is laid out for her, making her tummy rumble. The scene disappears, when the match goes out. She strikes another one, and a beautiful Christmas tree, full colourful decorations and blazing candles appears before her feasting eyes. When the match goes out, the lights are the stars in the night sky. One of the stars is falling. Her grandmother, who died, and who she had loved so very much, had told her that when a star falls. someone dies and goes to God. She then strikes a handfull of matches. Her Grandmother appears with stretched out arms. She looks in her beautiful, loving face and remembers all the good times they had together. The grandmother lovingly takes the Little match girl in her arms and they soar in a halo of light and joy, far above the earth to where there was no more cold and hunger and no pain for they were with God. The next morning people on the street find the dead body of the Little Match Girl frozen, with a smile still on her face. They saw the burned matches and said, "She must have tried to warm herself." But no one imagined what beautiful visions she had seen, nor in what glory she had entered with her grandmother in the New Year.
~Netty

13 comments:

netty said...

Clarification: I learned just recently that people around me are not familiar with this Hans Christian Anderson Tale. I e-mailed my re-telling version to Leslie and then thought maybe I should make it a blog so all Dovetalers can share in it. Maybe a good Christmas tale to bring out for children/grandchildren during the festive season?

Marianne said...

I recently discovered through blogging (visit Larry's "Mental Blog", folks) that Larry didn't know about Tinkerbell - of Peter Pan fame - and hadn't watched the television movie as a kid. Maybe Santa Claus will leave the book or DVD in his stocking - if Larry's been good, that is, which I couldn't vouch for...

Larry Keiler said...

Now...there, you see...Netty's story is not entirely unfamiliar to me...I've heard that one, but a long time ago now, I think. Thanks, Netty, for retelling it.

If Larry had been good he would not be in this mess in the first place. However, he has been good enough to wangle a two-day holiday pass (not allowed to say Christmas, don't tell the warden I used the word...) from the Yoni School, so he will taste freedom, sweet freedom, however temporarily, at the holidays.

netty said...

You are welcome, Larry. Thirteen years ago, (Can you believe that?) Margaret Springer had the launch of her children's book, "A Royal Ball." It was a costume party. Do you remember that? Were you there? Or was it before you came to the C.A.A. meetings? Anyhow Hans and I went, Hans dressed up like Hans Christian Anderson, and me like The Little Matchgirl.

Maybe because of your European background you have heard of the tale. Maybe it is one that hasn't travelled well over the ocean. Everyone seems to know "The Ugly Duckling, though.

And, ha, ha, everyone seems to know Hans Brinker, and that ain't no fairy tale. And I sure never had heard that story in Holland. And I did read endlessly when I was a kid. Not counting adult novels, there wasn't a book in that small library we had, around the corner from where we lived, that I hadn't read.

Now I must admit that I do know about Peter Pan and Wendy. But you know, I have never read the story in full and never got to view the full movie, just parts. It seems that the purely Britisch, or American stories,g.e. Tom Saywer, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh never appealed to me as a child. Probably because I didn't have the cultural background to go with it. Living here, as an adult, I have come to appreciate them.

Even though I never read Peter Pan in full, I knew enough to love the movie "Finding Neverland."

I still don't care about adult novels.

Marianne said...

It's funny the effect stories we read as children have on us - even now. How the characters become archetypes for us in some ways... I'm sure the stories influenced us in terms of why (and maybe even what) we write now.

Sometimes, though, you just can't go back - I remember loving The Borrowers as a child. Read the books avidly. Got them a few years back to read again. Couldn't do it. Bored me silly. But sheesh, I liked them as a child.... those little people hiding & living like mice in the house had a big effect on me. Maybe it was how joyful that little family was - overcoming the dangers together. Maybe it was the idea of "secrets" - that family hid from the "big-size" occupants.

I recently asked Leslie who was her childhood comic hero and she answered Little Lulu. That spurred me to do some research, and I discovered Little Lulu is considered an early feminist! And my comic book hero as a child? Batman. I just loved Batman - especially the television show. Couldn't fathom that a friend of mine, Linda Thompson, didn't "get" Batman at all! What a sissy!

Larry Keiler said...

Larry thinks he was a precocious reader. In grade one he was already reading See Dick. See Jane. See Dick run. See Jane run.

Why was Dick running? Why, then, was Jane running?

In grade one, Larry was waxing philosophical. He was also waxing apples cuz he was the teacher's pet.

Larry moved swiftly from Dick and Jane to CS Lewis and Walter Scott, finally Tolstoy with Illustrated Classics in between. He remembers what a revelation to discover that a word he'd been reading in a comic book as Pro-test-ant was pronounced in that Canadian way as Prod-essant, which meant those non-Catholic kids around the corner.

Larry also remembers, vaguely, the original Lunchbucket Library, which must have been one of those Carnegie thingies, at the corner of Queen and Weber, and thinks it must also have housed the original librarian still...Mabel Dunham...although by then it might already have been Dotty Shoemaker, for whom Larry's altered ego worked for a time as a teenager. There, in the then new Lunchbucket Library, Larry (thru his a.e.)read everything he got his hands on.

Favourite comic book? Well, maybe Spiderman cuz he was more complex, but really, Larry liked the artwork better than in Batman and Superman. Nevertheless, he collected indiscriminately...

Which reminds him of something...but you'll have to go to Mental Blog for that cuz this comment is becoming a lengthy missive.

PS. How can you not love Little Lulu? But then, Larry was also a fan of Betty Boop! Larry will have to borrow the Borrowers. Another gap in his pre-historic reading...

Anonymous said...

Hey Larry, I wouldn't consider "The Borrowers" a gap in your reading!

This ongoing conversation brought back to mind another comic book hero of mine as a child - Wendy the Little Witch, and Casper the Friendly Ghost. I think I liked Casper because (if I remember right), he had three really mean older brother-ghosts. I'm wondering - maybe I equated them with my three older siblings....

Marianne said...

Whoops - forgot to add my name above- "anonymous" is Marianne... it's not a nice feeling, being anonymous...

netty said...

There is a legend, I'm not sure of the origin, somewhere Northern Europe, about Reinaert the fox. Larry may know that tale? Anyhow, Reinaert was a mean, old fox. I had a children's book, a series, called Valko the fox. Valko was the grandson of Reinaert. He was as a young pup, very disturbed about his Grandfather's ways and reputation. Because of him all other animals in the forest were afraid of foxes. So he worked hard to gain their trust. He became known as the peace fox. He set up a system where all animals worked together to keep the forest safe. There was a hedgehog who was the doctor, birds were look outs to report danger, etc. Fascinating stories. I loved them and read them over and over.

I read countless animal stories. The other kind I loved were family stories. There was a series about a family where the father's work was delivering things by boat, a large barge travelling the canals.the little room inside with a lamp close over the table was so cozy. At the stopping places there was the excitement of meeting different people, and experiencing adventures.

We had no comic books but one. It's interesting the contrast that was in my reading. The format was like a little book, maybe 4x5". The main character was Dik Bos, a detective. There was the good and the evil,a lot of violence, jujutsy (spelling?) and karate like things. They were forbidden in our home. But my 5 year older sister got them from a neighbour boy and read them in secret. I too, (I can't have been more than 7 or 8 years old) got a hold of them and read them with firy red cheeks.

Valko Vos, I guess is my socialistic background. The barge family and other family stories may
explain why I still seem to treasure and indulge in family life,even though there was a time I tried hard to get away from it. Ofcourse I always loved to work/interact with young children. And maybe Dick Bos brings out my violent side and fighting spirit.

YES, Marianne, my early love of reading and favourites are indeed still influencing my life. And larry, it is neat to have conversations with you this way.

I still run into this computer problem I don't know how to solve. So please don't mind where I miss capitals or seeming typos.

Leslie said...

Hey, Netty, that email generated some great comments. So Little Lulu was an early feminist, eh? Figures... I also liked books about animals, families that were not dysfunctional and kids who were smart and brave.

Brighty of the Grand Canyon (Brighty dies at the end, wah!)

Mr. Popper's Penguins (the penguins live in the freezer of his fridge)

Waub a Grizzly which my grandfather used to read to me (Waub dies at the end, wah wah)

All the Enid Blyton books, esp Mountain of Adventure and Sea of Adventure

Trixie Belden books (girls with smarts, ya!)

Winnie the Pooh

Anything Beatrix Potter wrote

Born Free, Living Free, Forever Free (non-fiction, about Elsa the lioness)

and a book I have never found again about a family that lived on a farm in the prairies and had a black pig who was a pet... I loved that book - any idea what it was, anyone?

leslie said...

By the way, the Little Match Girl story is so beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes...

thanks for sharing it, Netty.

Dianne said...

Hey there folks

netty said...

Welcome Dianne.
Loved that "freefall" or "Stream-of-conciousness" writing. Do horses like snow? Don't know how that question popped up. Except that I did go for a snow walk still, last night with Simon. He loves that snow. And so do I when it is still snowing and it is so fresh and pristine and undisturbed. A "neverland" experience.