THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL 345
You will vanish like the warm fire, the beautiful roast goose, and the great glorious Christmas .tree ! '
And she hastily rubbed the whole bundle of matches, for she wished to hold her grandmother fast. And the matches burned with such a glow that it became brighter than in the middle of the day ; grandmother had never been so large or so beautiful. She took the little girl in her arms, and both flew in brightness and joy above the earth, very, very high, and up there was neither cold, nor hunger, nor care—they were with God !
But in the corner, leaning against the wall, sat in the cold morning hours the poor girl with red cheeks and smiling mouth, frozen to death on the last evening of the Old Year. The New Year's sun rose upon a little corpse ! The child sat there, stiff and cold, with the matches of which one bundle was burned. ' She wanted to warm herself,' the people said. No one imagined what a beautiful thing she had seen, and in what glory she had gone in with her grandmother to the New Year's joy.
A PICTURE FROM THE FORTRESS WALL
It is autumn : we stand on the fortress wall, and look out over the sea ; we look at the numerous ships, and at the Swedish coast on the other side of the Sound, which rises high in the evening glow ; behind us the rampart goes steeply down ; mighty trees surround us, the yellow leaves flutter down from the branches. Down there where the sentinel goes, stand gloomy houses fenced in with palisades ; inside these it is very narrow and dismal, but still more dismal is it behind the grated loopholes in the wall, for there sit the prisoners, the worst criminals.
A ray of the sinking sun shoots into the bare cell of one of the captives. The sun shines upon the good and the evil. The dark stubborn criminal throws an impatient look at the cold ray. A little bird flies towards the grating. The bird twitters to the wicked as to the just. He only utters his short ' tweet ! tweet ! ' but he perches upon the grating, claps his wings, pecks a feather from one of them, puffs himself out, and sets his feathers on end on his neck