Fairy tale flash fiction: Matches

First of all, happy birthday, David Bowie, and thank you for being my lucky star. Today, Enchanted Conversation magazine published my fairy tale flash piece based on the story of the Little Match Girl. The Starman was looking down on her too. You can read the story here



Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

40 thoughts on “Fairy tale flash fiction: Matches”

  1. I copy my comment on the Fairy Tale site here:

    Dear Heavens! Brought gooseflesh and a lump to the throat. I’ve always disliked the ‘moral’ proposed in the fairy tale – don’t burn all your matches or else to a little girl (and millions of other poor children who live desperately – who has no recourse whatsoever), while this story brings the true message home emphatically!

    1. I’m glad you like it. The story of the little match girl made me cry when I was little and I didn’t see it as a happy ending to die, even if she did get to go to heaven with her gran. I’d rather someone did something about her distress.

      1. Far too common. By ‘those days’ I meant the days when it was not only common but perfectly acceptable for children to abused and die miserable deaths in the street. It still goes on, even in rich countries, but we pay lip service at least to denouncing it.

    1. Thank you 🙂 It was one of the obligatory films they showed at my primary school every Christmas. That and the Tinder Box (loved that one). It was so terribly sad. I’m not sure what the moral of the story was.

      1. Yes, what indeed? Maybe he was just doing what Dickens tried to do – highlight to his better off readers the plight of the poor? My pleasure 🙂

      2. I’m sure sensitive people got just as upset about poverty as we do, but they must also have accepted it as a part of life. It was everywhere, and I don’t suppose they could see any way to do anything about it.

      3. Very true and if they were Christians – as many were – they would have remembered what Jesus said; ‘The poor are always with us.’ People accepted that God had a plan, had put people where they were in society for a reason and who were they to question that?

      4. Exactly. They often used biblical references to justify their lack of care for the poor. It kept everyone in his/her rightful place. You can find whatever you want in religious scripture.

      1. I don’t know the first thing about Paypal. It just seems hard work and to use it for only a few dollars, even if those dollars translates to ten times (?) the amount in SA Rand. The bank costs alone will cancel out the effort!

      2. They take a commission but I’m not sure it’s more than the banks do, and it’s secure. If you buy something with paypal and don’t receive it they reimburse you. I’d rather be payed through paypal than by cheque and have to cash it in a different currency.

  2. I thought of you when I woke this morning and realized what day it was. I am so glad the Starman smiled on you, his most devoted fan – that story deserves recognition, but then so does so much of what you write. Happy.

      1. It’s a beautiful modernisation and it has hope in it’s little belly …. and hope, surely is what we all need to cleave to. I know, right now, it is what I need in buckets.

      2. Nothing, but nothing makes me angrier than the cruelty that is rife in this world towards the innocent – children and animals. Heartlessness. And it makes me weep fat tears of despair so hopeful messages that remind me there are good, decent hearts full of love really does make a difference to me and if I am strong, then I can try to help instead of sitting with my face in my navel feeling blue!

      3. I hear you. I don’t do much except shout about it, but it’s like the hunting problem. Enough people are shouting about it for the tide to be turning. People are beginning to be revolted at the idea of senseless suffering. Things will change.

  3. Ugh! I love this so much! That poor child, that poor mother. But I love how the story ends, it’s like a forest start for them both. Such a good story Jane. Fabulous job. Congratulations on the collection. 💞

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