One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next daywould be Christmas.There was nothing to do but fall on the bed and cry. So Della did it.While the lady of the home is slowly growing quieter, we can look at the home.
Della finished her crying and cleaned the marks of it from her face. She stood by the window and looked out with no interest. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a gift.
“It’s sold, I tell you—sold and gone, too. It’s the night before Christmas, boy. Be good to me, because I sold it for you. Maybe the hairs of my head could be counted,”
She put on her old brown hat. With the bright light still in her eyes, she moved quickly out the door and down to the street.Where she stopped, the sign said: “Mrs. Sofronie. Hair Articles of allKinds.”Up to the second floor Della ran, and stopped to get her breath. Mrs. Sofronie, large, too white, cold-eyed, looked at her.
Nothing like a haircut could make me love you any less. But if you’ll open that, you may know what I felt when I came in.”
As soon as she saw it, she knew that Jim must have it. It was like him. Quietness and value—Jim and the chain both had quietness and value. She paid twenty-one dollars for it. And she hurried home with the chain and eighty-seven cents.
The door opened and Jim stepped in. He looked very thin and he was not smiling. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two—and with a fam- ily to take care of! He needed a new coat and he had nothing to cover his cold hands.
Each sold the most valuable thing he owned in order to buy a gift for the other. But let me speak a last word to the wise of these days: Of all who give gifts, these two were the most wise. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are the most wise. Everywhere they are the wise ones. They are the magi.