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HOME > Classical Novels > The Little Match Man > CHAPTER XV FIAM WEARS A FUR COAT
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CHAPTER XV FIAM WEARS A FUR COAT
One day when we were far away from our post there was a great storm. It rained cats and dogs, and the brim of my hat dripped all around like an overflowing gutter.

I walked through the wood with my head bent forward, completely forgetting Fiam, who was fastened to the band of the crown and was soaked through and through. After many hours I reached my tent. I took off my hat and pulled out Fiam, whom I placed on a blanket, knowing how he loved to climb around the folds. But to my dismay I saw that he didn’t move. He stayed just as I had put him; flat on his back, with his arms stretched out and one leg in the air. He looked as if he were dead.

[118]

“Fiam!” I called frightened. “Fiam, my friend, speak to me.”

But he was quite still.

“He is dead, he is dead!” I exclaimed, almost with tears in my eyes. “The rain has killed him, and it is all my fault. I was so cruel to forget him.” I continued to call, “Fiam, come back. Forgive me! Fiam!”

It seemed to me as if I had lost a brother of whom I should have been careful and should have protected better. I was overcome with remorse. I thought of all the delightful times we had had together, of his kindness, of his courage, of the work we had shared and of our sincere friendship.

“Fiam, Fiam!” I called, now and again, hoping to hear once more his little affectionate voice.

At last I thought of trying a radical way of reviving him if there were still the tiniest hope.

I took a flask of saki which I had had on the ship and dropped a little on Fiam. Then I put a wad of cotton (which I kept handy in case it was needed for wounds) in the cigarette box; then put my friend on the cotton, as if he were in a beautiful white feather [119] bed, shut the box and put it near the fire, which I lighted as best I could in the midst of my small shelter.

When I again opened the box and looked in, he was lying there immovable, his arms stretched out and his little leg raised up.

“Fiam!” I called.

No answer. I closed the box and waited, and am not ashamed to say that I waited in tears. At last after about an hour had passed, during whi............
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