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THE GIFT OF THE MAGI (full version)

William Sydney Porter "O. Henry"

O. Henry was the pen-name of William Sydney Porter (1862-1910) one of the most famous North American short-story writers. His life was a tragic one because he was sentenced to five years in prison accused of fraudulent appropriation of funds at the bank where he worked as a cashier. In spite of this, life gave him a profound knowledge of human character, especially of inhabitants in big cities who are unfortunate in life.

 

First published in 1909, this Edwardian Christmas story by the celebrated American short story writer tells of a young married couple, Della and Jim, whose only two possessions of any value are her beautiful long hair and his gold watch inherited from his father.

 
 

The Gift of the Magi
PAGE 1/3

El Regalo de los Reyes Magos
PAGINA 1/3

One dollar and eighty seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bull-dozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

Un dólar y ochenta y siete centavos. Eso era todo. Y setenta centavos estaban en peniques. Peniques ahorrados, uno por uno, discutiendo con el almacenero y el verdulero y el carnicero hasta que las mejillas de uno se pongan rojas de vergüenza ante la silenciosa acusación de avaricia que implicaba un regateo tan obstinado. Della los contó tres veces. Un dólar y ochenta y siete centavos. Y al día siguiente era Navidad.

There was clearly nothing 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.

Evidentemente no había más nada que hacer que echarse al miserable lecho y llorar. Y Della lo hizo. Lo que conduce a la reflexión moral de que la vida se compone de sollozos, lloriqueos y sonrisas, con predominio de los lloriqueos.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

Mientras la dueña de casa se va calmando, pasando de la primera a la segunda etapa, echemos una mirada a su hogar, uno de esos departamentos de ocho dólares a la semana. No era exactamente un lugar para alojar mendigos, pero ciertamente la policía lo habría descrito como tal.

In the vestibule below was a letterbox into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young."

Abajo, en la entrada, había un buzón al cual no llegaba carta alguna, Y un timbre eléctrico al cual no se acercaría jamás un dedo mortal. También pertenecía al departamento una tarjeta con el nombre de "Mr. James Dillingham Young".

The "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, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

La palabra "Dillingham" había llegado hasta allí volando en la brisa de un anterior período de prosperidad de su dueño, cuando ganaba treinta dólares semanales. Pero ahora que sus ingresos se habían reducido a veinte dólares, las letras de "Dillingham" se veían borrosas, como si estuvieran pensando seriamente en reducirse a una modesta y humilde "D". Pero cuando Mr. James Dillingham Young llegaba a su casa y subía a su departamento, le decían "Jim" y era cariñosamente abrazado por la señora Della Dillingham Young, a quien hemos presentado al lector como Della. Todo lo cual está muy bien.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling--something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

Della dejó de llorar y se empolvó las mejillas con el cisne de plumas. Se quedó de pie junto a la ventana y miró hacia afuera, apenada, y vio un gato gris que caminaba sobre una verja gris en un patio gris. Al día siguiente era Navidad y ella tenía solamente un dólar y ochenta y siete centavos para comprar un regalo a Jim. Había estado ahorrando cada penique, mes a mes, y éste era el resultado. Con veinte dólares a la semana no se va muy lejos. Los gastos habían sido mayores de lo que había calculado. Siempre lo son. Sólo un dólar con ochenta y siete centavos para comprar un regalo a Jim. Su Jim. Había pasado muchas horas felices imaginando algo bonito para él. Algo fino y especial y de calidad -algo que tuviera justamente ese mínimo de condiciones para que fuera digno de pertenecer a Jim. 

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Entre las ventanas de la habitación había un espejo de cuerpo entero. Quizás alguna vez hayan visto ustedes un espejo de cuerpo entero en un departamento de ocho dólares. Una persona muy delgada ágil podría, al mirarse en él, tener su imagen rápida y en franjas longitudinales. Como Della era esbelta, lo hacía con absoluto dominio técnico. 

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

De repente se alejó de la ventana y se paró ante el espejo. Sus ojos brillaban intensamente, pero su rostro perdió su color antes de veinte segundos. Soltó con urgencia sus cabellera y la dejó caer cuan larga era.

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 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.

Los jóvenes Dillingham eran dueños de dos cosas que les provocaban un inmenso orgullo. Una era el reloj de oro que había sido del padre de Jim y antes de su abuelo. La otra era la cabellera de Della. Si la Reina de Saba hubiese vivido en el departamento frente al suyo, algún día Della habría dejado colgar su cabellera fuera de la ventana para secárselo nada más que para demostrar su desprecio por las joyas y los regalos de Su Majestad. Si el Rey Salomón hubiera sido el portero, con todos sus tesoros apilados en el sótano, Jim habría sacado su reloj cada vez que pasara delante de él nada más que para verlo mesándose su barba de envidia.

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. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

La hermosa cabellera de Della cayó sobre sus hombros y brilló como una cascada de pardas aguas. Llegó hasta más abajo de sus rodillas y la envolvió como una vestidura. Y entonces ella la recogió de nuevo, nerviosa y rápidamente. Por un minuto se sintió desfallecer y permaneció de pie mientras un par de lágrimas caían a la raída alfombra roja.

Click here to read PAGE 2/3 of this short story

 

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