She can't go home, no, it would mean that she will get another beating from her father. They are just too poor, desparate. With no mother to turn to anymore, she need to sell off these matches in her rattan basket to get home. She shivers at the thought of the temper of her much drunken father.
Looking into the windows of the house just around the corner, a family is saying grace for the food blessed by the Saviour. A cheerful fire burning in the fireplace, puffing up gray thick smoke through the chimney above, a turkey lies beautifully done on the dinner table. It looks so real to her, as if she is in the picture too, with new warm clean clothes and hair curled up tidily into a half-bun.
The cold suddenly shook her. She needs warmth, wherever it may come from. With a swift and a twinch in her heart, she lit her first match, telling herself she would only use one, just one. The flames on the match starts to burn, the warmth overwhelms her, like a touch on her finger, she saw a fireplace of her own, burning just as cheerfully as the one she just saw. Craving for the warmth, but the match is dying out. It's getting further and smaller, and it is gone.
"No..NO....come back!", and she lit another one, a turkey starts to materialize in front of her, just as the fireplace, it got closer and she can even smell the warm delicious air, the brownish skin of the turkey shimmer in the flame of the match as if it had just winked to her. She smiles, taking in the hopeful fantasy. But her smile did not last the flame is growing weak, it can't be, she looked helplessly at the burning match. It's going away too...the air, the sight, the crave and her hopes.
Just one more, just one more, she tries to convince herself she just need another look into the things that she wants, she needs. The third match was lit. Laughter and voices of people talking starts swimming in the soft spark, they are here! All her families, they are here again, just like they had always been in Christmas. It is not even about the presents this time. She felt a painful joy to find love again, in this fantasized family. Even well before she can get over her grief, the faces starts to grow blurry, they are fading away too.
The sadness is drying her throat, tears starts welling up and finally burst forth and wet her cheek, desparation screaming in her; she doesn't care if they are real now. She cries out, "NOoo!! Don't leave me! Don't go!". She franticly reach for another match, lit it and a familiar face came into sight, the family was gone, the only one left now is just her mother. She heard a choking sob and almost collapse at the sight of her beautiful mother. She seems to try to speak out to the girl but the flame is getting weak, the purple fingers grabbed another bunch of matches and kept the flame burning. She is not letting her go this time, she can't bear to loose her again, her mother is her only hope.
The matches burned and the heat almost touches her fingers, she can't hold them anymore. She cries out, "Take me with you...take me with you..." and throws herself into her mother's arms. Her voice rang in the streets before it goes back to
its stillness again.
They found her body the next day, smiling, her hands are pink and they were curled up as if she was holding somebody's hand. She had left, in the arms of her mother, to the Heaven of matches.