The Gift of the Magi (Henry)

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The Gift of the Magi
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Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «The Four Million»
Microsummary: A young couple sold their most prized possessions to buy each other Christmas gifts, only to discover their sacrifices made the gifts unusable, highlighting their love and devotion.

Della and Jim were a young married couple living in a modest flat. They were both very much in love and took great pride in two possessions: Jim's gold watch, which had been passed down through his family, and Della's beautiful long hair.

Della — loving wife in her early 20s; slender, beautiful long brown hair (before cutting); caring, selfless, devoted to her husband.
Jim (Mr. James Dillingham Young) — loving husband in his early 20s; thin, serious, needs a new overcoat and gloves; caring, selfless, devoted to his wife.

Despite their love for each other, they were quite poor, and as Christmas approached, they found themselves with very little money to buy each other gifts.

Della had been saving every penny she could for months, but she only managed to save one dollar and eighty-seven cents. Desperate to buy Jim a present, she decided to sell her hair. She found a buyer, Madame Sofronie, who paid her twenty dollars for her hair. With the money, Della searched the stores for the perfect gift for Jim and finally found a platinum fob chain for his watch. She knew it was the perfect gift and bought it for twenty-one dollars.

Meanwhile, Jim had also been trying to find a way to buy Della a special gift. He decided to sell his prized gold watch to buy a set of beautiful tortoiseshell combs with jeweled rims that Della had admired in a store window. He knew she would love them and that they would look stunning in her long hair.

On Christmas Eve, Della returned home with the fob chain and tried to fix her hair, which she had cut short to sell. She was worried that Jim would not find her attractive anymore, but she hoped he would understand her sacrifice. When Jim arrived home, he was shocked to see Della's short hair but quickly reassured her that he still loved her just as much. Della then excitedly gave him the fob chain for his watch.

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.

Jim, in turn, gave Della the combs he had bought for her hair. They both realized that they had sold their most prized possessions to buy gifts for each other, rendering the gifts themselves unusable. However, they also understood the depth of their love and the sacrifices they were willing to make for each other. In the end, they decided to put their gifts away for the time being and enjoyed a simple Christmas dinner together, cherishing the love they shared.