A Story From: United States
Read Time: ["3 to 5mins","6 to 10mins"]
For Ages: 8 to 10yrs., 10 to 14yrs.

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Then Della saw the perfect gift- a gold chain for his pocket watch!  For $21 she bought the gold watch chain.

 

That night when Jim came home, Della rushed up to give him the gift she had bought.  Yet when he saw his wife’s short hair on her face, a frown appeared where he had smiled.  “Oh, do not worry, husband!” she cried.  “My hair grows back quickly.”

Then, before she could give Jim her gift, he handed his wife a small box.  Della untied the ribbon and opened it.  Inside were two beautiful hair combs!  They were the very same ones she had mooned over many times in the store windows, but they cost far too much money.  Now they were the gift her dear husband had given her. Then, Della handed Jim her box.  “Now your turn,” she said.

When Jim opened it and saw the gold watch chain, he had to sit down.  “Don’t you like it?” said his wife.  “Of course, I do!” said Jim.  “But you see, I sold my watch so I could buy you the two hair combs.”

“And I sold my hair to buy you the watch chain!” said Della. 

Jim and Della had both given up the one thing they held most dear for the sake of the other.  And now they had nothing to show for it. 

Or did they?

“My queen,” said Jim, taking his wife’s hands into his own and looking into her eyes.

“My dear husband,” said Della, with love.

end

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FOOTNOTE:

This is the original ending of the story as presented by O'Henry for further discussion after reading our version. The magi, as you know, were wise men—wonderfully wise men—who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise,their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.