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The Gift of the Magi

Read this famous short story by O. Henri (the pen name of American writer William Sydney Porter who was born in 1862 and died in 1910). O. Henry’s stories are famous for their surprise endings, to the point that such an ending is often referred to as an « O. Henry ending. » His stories are also well known for witty narration. Most of O. Henry’s stories are set in his own time, the early years of the 20th century. Many take place in New York City, and deal for the most part with ordinary people: clerks, policemen, waitresses.

The Gift of the Magi is a classic. It is studied in American schools and has been copied, re-worked, parodied, and re-told countless times in the century since it was written. You can read a version that has been adapted for English learners on Many Things. You can listen to the text while you read it. It lasts about 15 minutes.

You can also watch this black and white adaptation of the short story:

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