It was a cold winter night. Freezing. Last night's blizzard was evident by the thick blanket of snow covering the roads and the roofs. Dark heavy clouds hanging low above the roofs and the biting wind warned of yet another imminent storm. Still, there were people hurrying up and down the street, with their heads buried deep within their coats, who were all too eager to get to their destination and out of the cold.
"Sir, matches for 50 cents?" the little girl's voice trembling in the cold, as she approached a gentleman walking passed her.
In their hurried pace, nobody seemed to notice the little girl, crouching besides the street. Those who saw her would just smile and continue on their journey. Some shook their heads.
"These are special matches, ma'am. See its bigger head? And its special kind of red? It lasts longer. And it gives out more heat too. You can fry an egg with just one stick, ma'am?" for those who were willing to stop and listen, the little girl would give her very best to reduce her stock level.
Smell of delicious food was drifting out from a house nearby. Hmm ... garlic bread, glazed ham, roast turkey, honey ducklings, baked potatoes, and ..., the little girl's nose twitched as she drew in a deep breath, ... and cranberry chicken stew. She curled the corner of her lips smugly at her sharp sense of smell. Her stomach was starting to growl in protest.
After some futile sales technique, the girl was starting to give in to the cold, and the boredom. She took a match out and struck it against the wall. As she warmed her little hands with the small fire, she suddenly noticed on the cold damp wall images of freshly-baked bread, beside the juicy roasted beef tenderloin, medium. They looked so real that she could almost smell the aroma of the hot bread mixing deliciously with the still-sizzling tender beef. But the saliva-inducing picture was all too brief with the short match. And her saliva dropping right from her mouth onto the flame didn't help either.
Sensing something magical with the matches, she struck another one. A fireplace, red Christmas stockings, and warm rug appeared. She could see the fire dancing in the fireplace. She felt warm just by looking at the picture. Before she could reach out and touch the Christmas stockings, the wind blew out the flame.
Damn, she cursed.
Another match struck. This time, she carefully protected the flame with her free hand. Christmas tree; gifts wrapped with colorful shinning wrapper; color balls, Christmas lighting, plastic snowflakes, angel figurines, and Christmas star that decorated plentifully on the tree were the images of the moment. As the images roll around the room, she quickly struck another match before the first match ran out. Best to think ahead, she thought. But the wind had other idea. Another blow from the wind, the flame went out.
Darn. The little girl stomped her feet, fretting.
She frowned, her fingers rubbing her chin thoughtfully. Five seconds later, she snapped her finger. A cheeky smile crept onto her face.
She put her hand into her pocket, felt for her intended object, took it out, and gave it a good flick with her thumb. Walla! A perfect bright flame jumped out from the lighter.
Take that, you shitty wind, she snorted.
Just as the flame were lighting up the darkness, she closed her eyes quickly and made a wish.
She smiled as she watched the images on the wall - a villa by the beach; beautiful sunshine; fine white sand; girls with bikini and perfectly-tanned skin walking around; people lying on mattress under the shades of big umbrella scattered all over the beach; summer music from radios filled the bustling paradise; children splashing water in the crystal clear water; blue sky, no cloud, sunglasses and ice cream everywhere. Ahhh ... she gave a satisfying grin.
As she was basking in the imaginary sunshine, she noticed a familiar figure walking towards her. Clad in a two-piece, with wrinkled skin one layer on top another for protection, and her back hunched, the figure approached her slowly.
"Grandma!" the little girl cried out. Stretching out her hand, the one that's not holding the lighter, she reached for her grandma's hand and held it affectionately. Tears in her eyes, "I miss you, Grandma," she murmured gently.
The girl rubbed her reddened cheek with her hand, grimaced. She looked at her grandma through teary eyes.
"You little rascal. What the hell are you doing here? Your parents are worried sick about you," the old lady blasted.
"I'm sorry, Grandma. I was bored to death in the house. There's no good show on TV, and I'm tired with all the old games on Playstation, and, and ..." the little girl sobbed in apologies, tears rolling down her cheeks.
"I'm sorry, dear. Did it hurt?" Grandma caressed the little girl's face softly, feeling regret for her overreaction.
"C'mon, child. Let's get you home," she bent over to adjust the little girl's Armani overcoat, gave it a nice pat, and took the Dupont lighter from the little girl. The old lady then adjusted her own Prada fur coat. With one hand holding her LV handbag, she held the little girl hand with the other. And the little girl skipped happily in her red Gucci boots towards their house of 9-room, 2-kitchen, 3-bathroom, 4-garage (that housed a Mercedes, a BMW, a Ferrari, and a lowly Rolls Royce limousine), with a 10-acre-garden, and a heated swimming pool; all attended by 3 butlers.
Moral of the story?
Well ... I'm not so sure. But whatever it could be, I'm sure it'll be better than the original Little Match Girl.
I read a lot of bedtimes stories for the kids. Although we have the book on Little Match Girl, I have never read it to them. Apart from "If the going tough, follow your dead relative that appears at the end of the light to the other side of the world. Or, the best way to die is being frozen to death, painless. That's how you can go with a smile," I can never think of a better conclusion to tell the kids after the story, so that they can go to sleep with a warm and happy feeling.
What actually is the moral of the Little Match Girl story anyway?