О. Генрі. Дарунок волхвів (Дар волхвів)

The Gift of the Magi

   One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. Three times Della counted it. And tomorrow was Christmas. She sat down on the old sofa and burst into tears.  She had saved every penny for months and this was the result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Only   $ 1. 87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. She had spent hours planning to buy something nice for him.

   She went to the mirror and let down her hair. She let it fall to its full length, below her knees.                   There were two possessions of which the Dillinghams were very proud. One was Jim’s gold watch, which had been his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair.

   She put her hair up again nervously and cried a little again. Then she put on her old brown jacket,  her old brown hat and went down the stairs to the street. She stopped at a sign which read: “Madam Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds”. She ran up the stairs.

   ” Will you buy my hair?”, asked Della.

  “Take your hat off”, said Madam Sofronie, ” and let me look at it”. She let her hair down.

  “Twenty dollars”, said Madam.

  ” Give it to me quickly,” and the woman began to cut off Della’s beautiful hair.

  For the next two hours Della searched for a present for Jim. Then she found it. It was a platinum chain for Jim’s watch. As soon as she saw it, she knew it was right for Jim.  It was like him. Quiet and valuable. It cost $21.

   When Della got home, she started to curl her hair. After half an hour, her head was covered in small curls. At seven o’clock the front door opened and Jim came in. Della whispered to herself: ‘Please God, make him think I’m still pretty’.  Jim looked thin and serious. Poor Jim. He was only twenty-two. His eyes fixed upon Della and there was an expression on his face which frightened her.

  “Jim, darling, don’t look at me like that. My hair will grow again.  I cut it off and sold it  because  I wanted to buy you a present. I’ve got a beautiful present for you.”

  ” You’ve cut your  hair,” said Jim slowly. ” Yes, but I’m still me without my hair, aren’t I?”

“Your hair is gone,” he said again, almost like an idiot. He took a package from his coat pocket and threw it on the table. Della tore at the string and paper. First, an ecstatic scream. Then, hysterical tears. For there lay the combs-the set of beautiful, tortoiseshell hair combs which she had wanted for so long. She knew they were expensive. She hugged them closely and said:”My hair grows very Fast, Jim”. Then she jumped up and gave him her present. The platinum watch chain flashed in the light.

  “Isn’t it beautiful, Jim? Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.”

  Jim sat down on the sofa and smiled. “Dell, he said, “let’s put out Christmas presents away and keep them for a while. They’re too nice to use at present. I sold the watch to buy your combs. Now let’s have supper”.

1.Read the story and answer the questions

  1. What two possessions did Della and Jim Dillingham value most highly?
  2. How much did Della have to spend on a Christmas present for Jim?
  3. How did she managed to buy him a present?
  4. What did she buy for him?
  5. What did jim buy for her?
  6. How did he get the money to buy it?


  1. Read and think.
  2. How long ago do you think the story took place? Why?
  3. How do you know that the Dillinghams were poor?
  4. How long do you think they had been married?
  5. Do you think the Dillinghams were happy?


3.Answer the questions using one of the phrasal verbs  below

              Put down   put on   put up   take  off

  1. What do people with long hair sometimes do to their hair when they play sport?
  2. What do you say to a child who has just picked up a piece of broken glass?
  3. What do you do when you go out in cold weather?
  4. What do you do with an anorak when you come into a warm house?
  5. What do you do with a tent when you want to sleep in it?


4.When telling a dramatic story , it is common to choose colourful rather than ordinary words, e. g. wonderful instead of  nice.

Find words in the text that have a similar meaning to the following but are more dramatic and colourful.

  1. started to cry                                       5. uncontrolled
  2. put it (on the table)                             6.  held them to her closely
  3. opened (the package)                          7. got up
  4. very happy                                           8 shone

 5.Verbs with prepositions are often called phrasal verbs. Some phrasal verbs can take an object. When the object is a noun it can go in two places, either before  the preposition or after it. However , when the object is a pronoun, it can only go before the preposition. She let her hair down./She let down her hair. She let it down. She let down it.   Find five more examples of phrasal verbs which take an object.