Two Gifts (after O.Henry, retold for beginners)

«Two Gifts» is a Christmas story adapted for beginners. It is based on the famous story «The Gift of the Magi» (Дары волхвов), which was written by the American writer William Sydney Porter, known as O. Henry.  After reading the story, answer the questions.

Two Gifts (after O.Henry, retold for beginners)

The story is a retold version of the story “The Gift of the Magi”

Words to remember:

  1. couple — пара
  2. treasure — сокровище
  3. earn — зарабатывать
  4. weep — заплакать
  5. a thought struck her — мысль пришла ей в голову
  6. Hairdresser’s parlour — парикмахерский салон
  7. curiously — с любопытством
  8. undo (undid) — распустить (зд. волосы)
  9. watch chain — цепочка для часов
  10. rush — броситься
  11. combs — гребни
  12. hug — сжать в объятиях

A young family couple lived in New York. Their small room was on the top floor of a high building. Their names were Jim and Delia and they were twenty-two and twenty-one.

Delia was a beautiful girl with long golden hair. Jim was a strong handsome man with brown eyes. They loved each other very much and were happy. Though they were poor,  they had two treasures which they were proud of. It was Della’s thick hair and Jim’s golden watch, which came to Jim from his father.

Both young people work from morning till night but all the money they had earned they paid for the room and for food.

That year Christmas Eve Delia was sitting on the sofa and counting her  money. She was sad. She only had one dollar and eighty-seven cents dollars to buy a present for Jim. She was going to weep.

Suddenly she looked in the mirror and a thought struck her. She got up and let her hair hang loose to her shoulders. It covered her like a cloak. With shining eyes,  she put it up again, quickly put on her old brown coat and ran downstairs to the street.

She went fast to the Hairdresser’s parlour of Madame Sofronie. Madame was looking at her curiously.

«What for did you come, my dear?” she asked Delia.

«I would like to sell my hair,” answered Delia and undid it.

Madame took the golden mass of Delia’s hair in her hand.

«Twenty dollars,» she said and Delia agreed at once.

Then she went shopping to look for a present for her Jim. She was excited when she found it at last. It was a massive watch chain, which cost 21 dollars. She paid the money and hurried home with 87 cents in her pocket. She said to herself, «I hope Jim will not stop loving me.»

At 7 o’clock Delia was sitting and waiting for Jim. When she heard his steps on the stairs, she felt nervous. Jim entered the room, looking very serious. And suddenly he saw Delia, and … There was something in his eyes that she could not understand.

«Jim, darling!» she cried. «Don’t look at me like that! I want­ed to give you a present that is why I had sold my hair. It will grow again very quickly.” And she rushed to him with a present in her hands.

When Jim saw the beautiful golden watch chain, he said nothing. He took out some package from his pocket and put it on the table. «If you open it, you will see,» he said quietly.

Delia tore off the paper and saw two beautiful bones combs, which she had wished for long ago. Now she had them but her hair … It was gone.

Jim sat on the sofa and smiled. «Delia, my darling! You are my best treasure,» he said and hugged her dearly.

Questions for the story:

  1. Did you enjoy the story?
  2. What is the title of the story?
  3. When did the story take place?
  4. Who were the main characters of the story?
  5. How old were them?
  6. Were they poor? Prove it.
  7. What treasure did Jim own?
  8. What treasure did Delia own?
  9. How did Delia get money for a present?
  10. How much money did Delia get?
  11. What did she buy?
  12. What did Jim buy?
  13. What happened in the end of the story?
The story is retold by Nabeeva Tatiana for  All rights reserved. ©, 2020.
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