It was the evening before Christmas.
Great big snowflakes were falling, carpeting the pavements.
A little girl, bare-headed and barefoot, was out walking in the cold.
Her mother had given her shoes – but they’d been too big for her and she’d lost them crossing the street.
Then a boy had run off with them...
Her feet ached with the cold and her hands were all red and numb.
But the poor little girl didn’t dare go home.
She hadn’t sold even one box of matches – not one.
Her father would beat her for sure.
The icy wind pinched at her cheeks and whirled around her neck.