Today's Beautiful Gem: Conclusion of `The Gift
of the Magi' by O'Henry
"For there lay The Combs-- the set of combs, side and back, that
Della had worshipped for long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure
tortoise shell, with jewelled rims-- just the shade to wear in the beautiful
vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had
simply craved and yearned for them without the least hope of possession.
And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the
coveted adornments were gone.
"But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look
up with dim eyes and a smile and say: `My hair grows so fast, Jim!'
"And then Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, `Oh, oh!'
"Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him
eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a
reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.
"`Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll
have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I
want to see how it (the chain) looks on it.'
"Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands
under the back of his head and smiled.
"`Dell,' said he, `let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em
a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get
the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.'
"The magi, as you know, were wise men-- wonderfully wise men-- who
bought gifts to the Babe in the Manger. They invented the art of giving
Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones,
possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And
here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish
children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the
greatest treasures of their house. 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. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest.
Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi."
Om Saantih! Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao