The Beggar Boy at Christ’s Christmas Tree by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Good old Fyodor starts his story like this:
I am a novelist, and I suppose I have made up this story. I write “I suppose,” though I know for a fact that I have made it up, but yet I keep fancying that it must have happened somewhere at some time, that it must have happened on Christmas Eve in some great town in a time of terrible frost.
The Beggar Boy at Christ’s Christmas Tree is a heartbreaking story. The setting and ending are similar to The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen. However, the voice behind it is pure Dostoevsky. As he did so often, in this short story, he gives a voice to the voiceless and forces us to see the unseen poor, wretched souls swallowed by disregard, haughtiness, and indifference. Starving children freezing to death, young mothers ‒ “sinners” with children born out of wedlock, the old and sick, powerless, hopeless, which the society mostly ignores since it’s much easier to look the other way, are immortalized in Dostoevsky’s works and this story is no different. His masterful, profound style seems to pull you into this story and, even though one can read it in only fifteen minutes, it is hard to forget.