The Gift of the Magi

English’s Docs Intermediate The Gift of the Magi

The Gift of the Magi

Adapted from the story by O. Henry

There was a woman whose name was Della. Della was very poor. She only had a little money. She only had $1.87. Della was worried. Tomorrow was Christmas Day, and she only had $1.87 to buy her husband, Jim, a gift. She wanted to give Jim a really good Christmas gift. She wanted to buy something special. But she couldn’t buy a good gift because she only had $1.87.

Della and Jim had two valuable things. One was Jim’s gold watch. The watch was originally his grandfather’s watch, then it was his father’s watch. Now, Jim had it. Their other valuable thing was Della’s hair. She had long, beautiful hair. Her hair was so long that it went down below her knees.

Della looked at herself in the mirror at her home. She looked at her beautiful hair, and she cried.

Then she put on her coat, left her apartment, and went outside. She walked a few blocks down the street, and then she went inside a small store.

Della asked the store owner, “Will you buy my hair?”

“Yes,” said the store owner. “I’ll give you twenty dollars for it.”

Della agreed to the price. So the woman cut off Della’s beautiful hair and paid her twenty dollars.

Della took the money. Then, she left the store and went shopping. She wanted to find a gift for Jim. Della found the perfect gift. It was a gold chain. Jim could use it with his gold watch. It was $21. She had just enough money! Della bought the chain, and she went home quickly.

When Della arrived home, she looked at herself in the mirror. She looked very different with her beautiful hair gone! She hated her new hair.

At 7:00 that night, Jim came home from work. As soon as he walked in the door, he looked at Della. When he saw her short hair, he was very surprised.

Della explained, “I cut my hair, and I sold it because I wanted to give you a nice Christmas gift.”

Jim didn’t say anything, but he had a strange expression on his face.

“What?” asked Della, getting worried. “Do you think I’m not pretty anymore?”

Jim gave Della a hug. “I think you are always pretty,” he said. “But if you open this package, you’ll see why I was scared at first.” And Jim gave Della a gift.

Della opened the gift. In the package, there were two diamond hair clips. They were shiny and beautiful and perfect—Della loved them! She knew that the hair clips cost a lot of money.

But now, Della didn’t have long hair. She couldn’t wear the hair clips. But still, Della was happy with the gift. Eventually, her hair would grow back. Then, she could use the clips.

Then Della remembered the gift she had bought for Jim. She gave it to him happily, confident that he would love the gift. She was excited to see his reaction. He opened the gift and saw the gold chain.

“Do you like it?” Della asked Jim. “You can use it with your watch!” she said.

But Jim just sat down on the sofa and smiled.

“Neither of us can use our gifts anytime soon,” he said. “I sold my gold watch so I could get the money to buy the clips for your hair.”