Monday, December 26, 2011

THE LITTLE MATCH BOY~~~~ a re-telling of H.C. Andersen's poignant tale Part III

Six pfennigs is not very much. And the days grew ever colder. The little boy bundled himself up and went outside. He missed the way his mother used to tie the scarf. She knew how to make it stay in place. She knew how to keep him warm. And one of his mittens needed mending, but he did not know how to do it. If he kept his fingers curled into the palm of his hand it was not  so bad. At least he had a cap. At least he had a coat. The warm, thick, woolen over-all's helped too. Still, the sole of one shoe had the makings of a tiny hole, but if he stepped lightly and did not scrap his feet, maybe it would be all right.

The man behind the vegetable stall sold him potatoes, little, round hard ones. The stout, fussy ladies did not like those. They would 'tut, tut, tut' and curl up their noses. They'd go 'humph' and plod away. So he let the poor,  little orphan have them...... five for a pfennig. If he had one for lunch and another for dinner, he might be able to eat for a while. Sometimes the woman in the dairy shop tossed him a cheese rind or two, one  for him and one for his puppy.  But most days she was too busy. Three of the big, glass jars on the shelf in the kitchen held good, sweet slices of almond bread. They were dry and chewy. If he counted them out carefully, they'd last for a few weeks too. But when he was hungry for meat, or perhaps a nice, fresh egg, there just wasn't any.

In this way he managed to survive a few more weeks. When the pfennigs ran out he searched through the bottom of the wardrobe. His mother had a nice pale, yellow spring coat with  real silver buttons. She won it as a prize in an embroidery competition. His father made her enter. He knew how  good she was. And when she won, he was so proud. .But she never wore it, not even when they walked down by the river. It was just too good. He liked it there by the river, especially when the locust trees were covered in tiny, white flowers.. And there was a colorful. little kiosk that sold sweet ices. The little  boy liked lemon. Most times his father bought him one. But mommy always said - Next time. She didn't want to waste any money for herself. The little boy remembered all that. So he carefully lifted the spring coat out from the wardrobe and laid it down upon the bed. He counted the silver buttons. There were seven of them. But he did not know how many potatoes they would buy , or if there'd be enough to pay the landlord. Tomorrow was the thirtieth day. He had to make sure the snug, little house was extra neat. Maybe the old man wouldn't take so many of his monies, if he saw how careful he was? But what difference did that make, when he didn't have any money at all? So he silently folded up the coat and managed to get it back into the fine tissue paper bag. Then he bundled  up and went out. Max could not go with him this time. He needed both arms to hold up the bag, so the coat wouldn't get dirty.Maybe the husband and wife who ran the tailor shop would buy it? Max didn't like to be left alone. He started to whimper. After a few lonely heartbeats he curled up under the sofa quilts and went to sleep.......


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