It was the last day of the old year in the old city. Light spilled generously from every window and the cheerful sounds of laughter and music filled the night. Sometimes through an un-curtained window came the glimpse of silk-gowned ladies and the sight of tables sparkling with silver and glass and laden with succulent meats and sweets. All over the city people were gathered together in families and gay parties to hail the birth of a New Year.
Outside, the death of the old year was mourned in cold dark streets, their empty silence mocked by the merriment of the revelers within. Snow fell thick and fast as one little barefoot girl wandered, lonely as a shadow, through the deserted streets.