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Honour the Child

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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Tuesday, 13 December 2011
Eep! December is rolling out quickly, and with it our Christmas book a day adventure!
Tonight I am playing catch up!

On Day Ten, Rowan and Andy read from a book borrowed from a friend to fill out our roster... Merry Christmas Little Mouse was enjoyable (but, apparently forgettable as neither one of them can tell me what it was about!).
On Day Twelve, while I was at meetings, they read another of our numerous versions of Rudolph ~ this time the Little Golden Book version from the 60s, illustrated by Richard Scarry.
Did I miss Day Eleven?
Nope.
Day Eleven is in our 'dishonourable mention' category.
Now, you may love this story.
Maybe it was a fixture of your holidays as a child.
It was not a fixture of mine, thank goodness.

The Little Match Girl.
Ugh. Why did I even include it this year?
Last year I bought this book, having some vague awareness of it being a Christmas Classic.
The illustrations looked lovely (they *are* beautiful!).
But I didn't know the story.

{{At this point I should mention that I have a highly sensitive child.}}
Extremely so.

So, I blithely open the book to read it to my then-five-year-old.
Poor little girl, afraid to go home~ incredibly sad, if true to life.
So she lights all of her matches and has warm fantasies of hearth, feast and safety.
And then her dead grandmother arrives, she burns through the last of her matches to keep the vision of her grandmother with her.
Wait for it...
And then she, as they say, wakes up dead.
With a dog licking her hand.

When I turned to that last page, completely unaware of where this story was going, I gasped, kicked my poor husband, hard, and quickly muttered something about a dog finding her safe and sound. The End.

Oh, how I wish someone had told me The Little Match Girl had more than just matches being snuffed.
I mean, I am all for reality.
For Hans Christian Andersen and the classics.
I can see the beauty in the sadness of the tale.
And having just marked the 20th anniversary of my grandmother's passing, I get the wonder of the warmth the child receives.
And as I said, the illustrations in our version, by Rachel Isadora, are transcendentally lovely.
 But a mother has to know that that sort of thing is coming, am I right?
Maybe it will grow on me.
Maybe next year we can end it the way it really ends.
But for now, I am quite happy to read another version of Rudolph!♥♥

2 comments:

CopiousGypsy said...

Oh my, yes, that story is a very sad story about a poor child who dies while using up all the matches she was trying to sell. I don't think my five-year-old could handle that story either.

Carolien said...

I think the symbolism in this tale gives a very important image as well, there is always a good ending even after death you will turn to the light. Don't change it, death is a part of life we do not have to be afraid of. It is just a new beginning, as the sun comes back to give us a new year.

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