Here you have the vision of ‘The Little Match Girl’ in Poland of the 21st century:
THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL written by Agnieszka, Aleksandra, Alicja, Amir, Hubert, Jakub, Maksym, Michał, Mikołaj, Piotr
It was terribly cold, it was snowing, and it was already quite dark. It was Christmas Eve. A desperate young girl stood at the corner of Piotrkowska and Tuwim’s Street while everyone was setting their tables at home and waiting for the first star to appear. She was wearing an old pair of leggings, her mother’s old sweater and a coat which was too big for her. Instead of warm winter boots she had some old, scruffy gym shoes. She carried a plastic bag full of lighters and she held a few of them in her hand. Nobody had bought anything of her the whole day; no one had given her a single zloty.
Flakes of snow covered her long dark hair which fell in beautiful curls around her neck, but she wasn’t aware of that at that moment. From all the windows around her the blue light from the TV screens was gleaming and in the air there hung a delicious smell of the traditional mushroom soup; of that she was aware.
She kept thinking about her parents who had been abroad for over a year now and it was her second Christmas Eve without them. They had gone to Ireland to work and they at first used to send money every month, but three months ago they stopped and she didn’t know why. Of course she missed her father and her mother a lot, but now, since her grandmother had been taken to hospital, she really needed the money. That’s why she was standing at the corner with the lighters: she was hoping to earn some money for her grandmother’s treatment. She knew that if her grandmother died, she would be left alone and since there was no contact with her parents she would be taken to the orphanage.
Her hands were almost numbed with cold. Only the warmth from the lighters helped her to endure the cold but it was still not enough to keep her warm the whole evening. As she was standing alone at the corner, a man approached her. She was so concentrated on getting warm from the lighter that she didn’t even notice him, not until he said:
– “Hey there. What is such a beautiful girl doing alone at Christmas in Piotrkowska Street?”
– “I’m selling lighters. Do you want to buy one?”
– “No, thank you, I don’t need a lighter. Aren’t you cold? You don’t seem to have warm enough clothes for this kind of weather.”
– “I am a bit cold, you got that right, I have been standing here since early morning.”
– “So why are you still standing here and selling these lighters? You should be with your family right now.”
– “I live with my grandmother who has just been taken to hospital and I need money for her medicine.”
– “Well, I don’t have any money with me but I have something that will keep you warm. Do you want some?”
– “But, what is it?”
– “These are just some sweets that will make you feel better. But you can’t eat more than three, otherwise you will get really, really ill.”
– “Okay, you are a kind man. I’ll take them and thank you.”
– “No problem, cutie. I hope I helped you somehow and that your grandmother will get better. Merry Christmas.”
– “Merry Christmas to you too.”
He began to walk away, but stopped and looked back at her, as if he had suddenly recalled something important.
– “Hey, sweetie! If you want some more, just go right behind that corner and ask about me, clear?” He shouted, smiling widely.
– “Oh… Sure. Bye” She replied, and the man was no more.
And there she stood with a handful of “sweets”, not certain of what she should do next. It wasn’t so bad yet, so she decided to save them for later, just in case she was really cold, and concentrated on selling the lighters. Easy to say, it was not easy to do. All the happy people passing her, unwilling to buy anything from her, made her feel even worse, even more miserable. Longing for peace, she looked at the pocket and stretched her arm… But then she remembered the man’s grin and there was something unpleasant in it, something that made her uncomfortable for a moment. Too scared to make a move, she started thinking of her parents and how she missed them, but that was of even less use.
Slowly, she took one of the sweets out. She looked closely at it, but couldn’t see anything suspicious. She put it back in her pocket and looked around, frightened. When no one was looking, she slowly counted them. Four. Four sweets that would, said the man, give her relief. “Well, now I know what I got, no reason to panic!” She said to herself and once more tottered on her usual way, already beaten by her frayed shoes.
But soon the frost sharpened and dark thoughts more obscure than ever possessed her. The poor girl caught herself reaching into the pocket more and more frequently. Her toes, her fingers, her face were all bitterly cold and her whole body almost stiff. She gazed at one of the “sweets” in her palm. “Well, what the heck, it couldn’t get worse now” she thought and without hesitation put it in her mouth.
At first, she felt nothing and was disappointed. He said it would work, but apparently he had been lying to her. Tottering around, selling nothing and feeling miserable really tired her out and sitting on a frozen bench seemed gave her some relief. Sitting there and feeling all lonely and sad she pondered – Maybe two will do? – but she still had in mind the warning and it seemed like a bad idea to take two. She waited.
She was abruptly distracted from all the sorrow in her mind, all the pain. A pigeon perched on the bench, right next to her. And for the moment her whole world was limited to two objects only. Her and the pigeon. And there was no cold and no suffering. She felt comforted for a while, but it lasted only a split second, one blink of an eye. Back came the cold and the pain and the suffering. At that moment, she would have done anything to stretch this moment of comfort, and she did. She did the only thing she could think of. She swallowed another pill.
The world seemed to gleam and dance and there was no pain and no sorrow. There were no feelings, cold and warmth alike were gone. Everybody was there, smiling and present. The grandmother, healthy and happy, her parents, not at all in exile in Ireland. That was beautiful. Her hand, independently of her mind, made the mouth swallow the rest of the pills and everything erupted with colours and she was lost in her own comfortable universe.
Only the cold body was left stiff on the bench, quite ruining the following day’s news on TV and making a few passerbys irritated. The girl, however, was free. Free at last.
And here you can read the vision of “The Three Little Pigs” in Spain of the 21st century:
The Three Little Pigs written by the students from Málaga
In the heart of the forest three little pigs who were brothers lived with their parents. As they were more than forty years old, their parents told them to go away from that house.
But there was a wolf in that forest, and he was going to a gym and had anabolic medicines to be stronger. As he was very hungry, he decided not to follow his diet and little pigs were his favourite food. So the pigs decided to make a house each so that the wolf couldn’t eat them.
The smallest didn’t want to study, so he did a vocational training course about straw baskets. He made his house from straw, to finish first and go out to play. He was addicted to play video games and could not stop playing for a moment.
The middle one constructed a cottage from wood. He went to the forest to get the wood. He didn’t have any money because he was unemployed and spent a lot of time doing nothing. Instead of looking for a work, he was engaged to lounge with his brother and play video games too. Seeing that his little brother had already finished, he hurried to go and play with him.
The oldest brother studied at university to be an architect. He decided to work on his house of brick. ‘You’ll soon see what the wolf does with your houses,’ he scolded his brothers but they were having a great time. He had studied new technologies and put video cameras outside the house, so he could see the wolf coming to the house. He also wanted to put traps which made terrible noises to scare the wolf when approaching. But, as he didn’t have enough money, he went to the bank to ask for a bank loan.
The wolf came behind the smallest pig and he ran up to his straw cottage, but the wolf blew and blew and the straw cottage fell down. The wolf chased after the pig through the forest, who ran to take shelter in the house of his middle brother. But the wolf blew and blew and the wooden house toppled. The two little pigs were off like a shot from there. Breathless, with the wolf hot on their heels they arrived at the house of their big brother. The three went inside and firmly closed all the doors and windows. But a man from the bank knocked on the door in that moment. The pig owned money to the bank and had to leave the house. They realized that the wolf had become a banker.
At last, they went back to their parents’ house, who had to devote the money from their retirement to pay the bank.