Narrator: I`m going to tell you the story about the poor, the tradition of giving, the north wind and the love.
Just imagine the poorly furnished room with a chair or two and a chest of drawers and a simple bed. In the room a man and a woman are discussing Christmas. He is playing with a watch and her principle feature is long beautiful hair.
Mr. James Dillingham Young.
The name"Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, the letters of "Dillingham" looked blurred, as though they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, Della for short. Which is all very good.
Della: Oh, Jim, your lunch. Tomorrow will be Christmas and there`s not a single Christmas card in the mail-box. Ana I`ve wanted so much for you…
Jim: Sh… It will pass, Dell, and by the looks on my grandfather`s watch, you`ve got just enough time to make it to the butcher`s. Bye, Dell.
Narrator: Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair.
Had the Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out of the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts.
Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.
Della: To-morrow will be Christmas Day, and I have only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. I have been saving every penny I could for Expenses have been greater than I have calculated. Months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. My Jim. Many a happy hour I have spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling - something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honour of being owned by Jim.
Narrator: There was clearly nothing left to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.
Della: But crying without reason won`t help a whip.
Narrator: 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 itself almost a garment for her.
'Mme Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.
Della:Exuse me, Madam! Will you buy my hair?"
Mme Sofronie: We`ve closed.Come back later!
Della: Oh, please, will you buy my hair today.
Mme Sofronie: All right, take off your shawl and let`s have a sight of a look at it.
20 dollars. All right then 21, and not a penny more.
Della: All rght, I`ll take it. Give it to me quick.
Cut my hair off.
In the shop.
Della: Exuse me, Mrs. Selgonton.
Shop assistant: Hello, Della. Have you made up your mind yet?
Della:I`d like to buy that watch fob. How much is it?
Shop assistant:Well, how much have you got, Della?
Della:I`ve got 22 dollars and 87 cents. Oh, Jim might be very proud to check the time with that chain on his watch. Sometimes he doesn`t like it as he`s got only an old leather strap. I`ve been saving for months, I even sold my hair.
Shop assistant:Well, Della, you are in luck. This fob is 22 dollars even.
Della:Oh, I`ll take it.
The shopwindow with combs.
Jim:Dell seems to stop staring at that window almost every day. It`s so important combs that have cut her fancy. But it`ll be a warm day in December before she`ll be able to afford them on my street-car conductor`s pay. Too bad, if there is with hair fit enough to wear those fancy combs, it`s Della. But there`s always someone can do. I`ll sell my watch and buy them for her.
In Jim and Della`s apartment.
Della: If Jim doesn't kill me before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do - oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven cents? Please, God, make him think I am still pretty."
Della: Jim, darling don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold it because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again - you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say 'Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice-what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you."
Jim: You've cut off your hair?"
Della: Cut it off and sold it. Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?
Jim: You say your hair is gone?
Della: You needn't look for it. It's sold, I tell you - sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered, but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?
Jim: Don't make any mistake, Dell, about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."
Della: My hair grows so fast, Jim!
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 looks on it.
Jim: Dell, 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.
Narrator: 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. 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.