I have always loved this short story, by O. Henry, about a young newlywed couple who are so poor that they can't afford to buy each other Christmas presents. The wife, Della, cuts off her treasured hair to buy her husband, Jim, a watch fob; but he sells his heirloom watch to buy her beautiful combs for her hair. Below are the delicate illustrations Lisbeth Zwerger lends to the tale...
So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her, rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made almost a garment for her.
"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it." Down rippled the brown cascade.
"The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought 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." - O. Henry, from THE GIFT OF THE MAGI
Unabridged, with illustrations by Lisbeth Zwerger.
Unabridged, with illustrations by P.J. Lynch (see below).
From Library Journal: "The sepia-toned watercolors have an authentic period look; the details present in the New York City street scenes and the couple's rather shabby apartment add a strong feeling of time and place to the story. Very different in style from Lisbeth Zwerger's lovely and delicate version." (P.J. Lynch also illustrated The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.)