The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






The Gift of the Magi

The Gift of the Magi is an O. Henry short story in which a young couple are very much in love with each other but can barely afford their one-room apartment opposite the elevated train. The wife is always fantasizing about being wealthy, and the husband plays along. For Christmas, she decides to buy him a platinum chain for his prized pocket watch. To raise the funds, she has her hair cut off and sold to make a wig. Meanwhile, he decides to sell his watch to buy her a beautiful set of combs for her lovely, waist-long hair.

O. Henry ends the story by clarifying the metaphor between the characters in the story, Della and James (or Jim), and the historical Magi.

The Gift of the Magi features O. Henry's characteristic twist ending and use of flowery diction.

Last updated: 05-18-2005 00:13:34