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The Little Stick Boy

Beta: None
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: None
Disclaimer: No characters in this belong to me. I am just borrowing them for a short while and playing. No harm or insult is meant to come of this.
Warning: Character death.
Summary: A retelling of H.C Christiansenís The Match Girl. It is Midwinter festival in a village of men and one lost little Elven boy who makes his living selling sticks for the fire is left alone in the cold.






The winter night was deep and cold. Snow and ice climbed up the sides of the small houses of the village. It was the longest night of the year, a night infamous for bringing evil to life and so people remained indoors. Lights shone in the windows and laden tables were filled with hams and sausages, huge racks of ribs hung roasting over the fire and a large hogshead had been grilled to perfection, the apple in its mouth adding a festive touch.

Outside a small boy was staggering between the houses, his feet red and blue from the cold and his clothes torn and worn. In his thin arms he carried a large bundle of fire-sticks. He had made his living selling them during the autumn but tonight there was no one out to buy the things he sold.

Shivering he curled up in the corner of two houses, trying to seek some shelter from the wind. Shaking of hunger and cold he set his fire-sticks aside and curled up tightly, trying to get warm. He had no home to go to, it had been burnt a year past.

His parents were dead, he had seen both his mother and father die before he and his brother had been dragged into the forest and left. Shivering he remembered how scared they had been that night. Elurin had wanted to wait until morning before trying to find his way home but he, Elured, had disagreed. He wanted to go home and fight the ones that had killed his parents. After an argument he had stalked off in the direction he thought they had come from, he expected Elurin to follow but he never did. He walked a long time unable to find the right path and when the sun rose he turned and walked back. All he could see Elurinís favourite wooden horse on the ground when he returned but his brother was nowhere to be found. He had been alone since then.

Wrapping his arms around himself he longed for warmth and for his family. Crawling deeper into the corner between the buildings he found a bit of shelter, the wind easing. After some hesitation he fumbled for his small piece of flint and steel. Surely lighting one of the sticks could do no harm. His hands trembled as he lift the small stick, cupping his hands around the tiny flame and marvelled at the heat. He could almost imagine sitting curled up in front of a roaring fire. All too soon the flame died and the cold returned.

He lit another one, the first one had spread such blessed warmth. This time he could imagine sitting inside one of the small houses, the table laden with food and the lights twinkling in the night to ward off the evil spirits of the night. The stick fell to ashes and the fire died. No longer hesitating he lit another one and found himself imagining an even larger feast, the colourful decorations seemed to dance for his eyes and when the stick in his hands went out a shooting star fell across the sky.

"Someone is dying," he whispered to himself, that was the belief they held here. Every shooting star was another soul on the way home.

Lighting another stick he thought of his family and as the light flickered into life he saw them. His father stood there in front of him, an arm wrapped around his motherís waist and in front of them stood Elurin, holding his hand out, waiting for him to join them.

Desperately he lit the rest of the sticks, trying to keep them with him for longer for he knew that they would disappear when the light died, just as the roasting fire and the feasts he imagined had done. "Do not go," he pleaded, "do not leave me alone, please let me come too!"

The small fire shone brightly when Elurin stepped forward, wrapping his arms around his brother and they were together again.

Soon the fire died, choked from wind and snow. Against the wall sat a small boy, his body stiff and cold but on his face was a smile of joy. Dawn came to the village and people once again ventured out from their houses, tending to animals and gathering more wood for the fire. They found the child and pitied the sight of the remains from a small fire. "He tried to get warm," they said as they reached down to lift the dead child. As the first hands touched the child a gust of wind swept into the corner and the small body shattered into snowflakes, leaving no traces of the once heartbroken boy