The Gift of the Magi (Part 1) by O. Henry (simplified)


One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all, and sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bargaining so hard with the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher that she was often embarassed. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but sit on the worn little couch and cry bitterly. So Della did it.

While the mistress of the home is crying, take a look at the home. A furnished apartment at $8 per week.

At the front door, there was a doorbell that no longer worked, and, under the broken doorbell, there was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young."

When Mr. James Dillingham Young came home, he was called "Jim" and was dearly loved by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della.

Della finished her cry and fixed her make-up. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking on a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. She had spent many happy hours planning something nice for him. Something fine and rare - something Jim deserved.