The Gift of the Magi

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{god, call, give}
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{woman, child, man}
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{food, make, wine}

"The Gift of the Magi" is a short story written by O. Henry (a pen name for William Sydney Porter), about a young married couple and how they deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money. As a sentimental story with a moral lesson about gift-giving, it has been a popular one for adaptation, especially for presentation during the Christmas season. The plot and its "twist ending" are well-known, and the story and its lesson are sometimes subverted for the sake of irony or humor. It was allegedly written at Pete's Tavern[1][2] on Irving Place in New York City.


James "Jim" Dillingham Young and his wife Della are a young couple who are very much in love with each other but can barely afford their one-room apartment due to their very bad economic situation. For Christmas, Della decides to buy Jim a chain for his prized pocket watch given to him by his father's father. To raise the funds, she has her long, beautiful hair cut off and sold to make a wig. Meanwhile, Jim decides to sell his watch to buy Della a beautiful set of combs made out of tortoiseshell and jewels for her lovely, knee-length brown hair. Although each is disappointed to find the gift they chose rendered useless, each is pleased with the gift that they received, because it represents their love for one another.

The story ends with the narrator comparing the pair's mutually sacrificial gifts of love with those of the Biblical Magi:



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