Public Domain Super Heroes

Little Match Girl

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The Little Match Girl

Real Name


First Appearance

"The little girl with the matchsticks" (1845)

Created by

Hans Christian Andersen


The Little Match Girl is the titular protagonist of an 1845 short story, concerning a dying child's hallucinations.

On New Year's Eve, a poor girl attempts to sell matches in the street. She is freezing and has few customers but, is afraid to return home empty-handed, where her father will surely beat her. She has nothing to cover her head and has ended up barefoot. She lost one of her slippers and a boy stole the other one. She takes shelter in the corner between two houses and lights her own matches, trying to keep warm.

In the light of the matches, the girl starts seeing lovely visions of everything she has been missing. Great iron stoves providing warmth, a holiday fest, a Christmas tree. She sees but can not touch them. Each match burns away and the visions end. She then has to light another. Looking skyward she sees a shooting star, figuring that someone is dying.

She remembers her dead grandmother telling her that "when a star fell down a soul went up to God". The next vision she sees is her dead grandmother, remembered as the only person to have treated the girl with love and kindness. It is the final vision. The child dies and the grandmother takes her soul to heaven. The following day, the people on the street discover the corpse with rosy red cheeks and a strange smile on her face.


Only any appearances of the character dated prior to 1923 are public domain.

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