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The Gift of the Magi Retold

A Villanelle in honor of O. Henry and his classic 1905 short story

By J. S. WadePublished 7 months ago Updated 7 months ago 1 min read
The Gift of the Magi Retold
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Love so pure,


One, and sure.

Jim loved her.

Watch was swapped.

Love so pure.

Combs the cure

for her mop.

One, and sure.

Della stirred.

Locks were chopped.

Love so pure.

Chain secure

for his clock.

One, and sure.

Vows endure.

Presents boxed.

Love so pure.

One, and sure.


Authors Note:

Texas bronco buster, banker, pharmacist and convicted felon, William Sydney Porter aka O. Henry, brought us the wonderful story, The Gift of the Magi, written in less than two hours either at his apartment at Irving Place or across the street at Harley’s bar in NYC to meet a deadline just before he was fired by The New World.

His hundreds of short story’s were known for their wild twists, his unique voice, and skilled writing. If there were ever an example to keep writing, each on their own journey, then O. Henry leads the way. He is us in so many ways. (By the way, I am not a convicted felon, yet! 😎)

O. Henry (pen name believed to come from a cat or the Ohio Penitentiary where he served three years charged with embezzlement) … I salute you! Cheers! 🥂

For your pleasure, the story is linked below.

Villanellelove poemsinspirationalHoliday

About the Creator

J. S. Wade

Since reading Tolkien in Middle school, I have been fascinated with creating, reading, and hearing art through story’s and music. I am a perpetual student of writing and life.

J. S. Wade owns all work contained here.

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Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (7)

  • Caroline Jane7 months ago

    I am ashamed to say I had no idea who this author was until now. Thank you for sharing this. ❤️

  • A favorite story & marvelous villanelle-ous summary.

  • Babs Iverson7 months ago

    It's one of my favorite O'Henry stories!!! Loved this!!!

  • Cathy holmes7 months ago

    Nicely done. I'm not familiar with the story, bit will check it out.

  • I loved the poem and the Magi story together!!! Excellent

  • Born in Greensboro NC to the son of a doctor and inventor. He moved it Texas and worked on ranches. His wife encouraged him to write his stories. He worked for a bank in Austin Texas as a teller. He moved to Houston and the bank accused him of stealing $5000. Instead of facing the charges he fled the country to Honduras. 7 months later his wife in Texas contracted Tuberculosis and he returned. She died. He faced the charges and was convicted of stealing $800. Many say the bank was disorganized and he didn’t steal anything. His prison sentence was more about running away. He served 3 years in the Ohio penitentiary and got out early for good behavior. Moved to NYC and was hired by The New World paper to write one short story a week. They fired him when they decided he was over paid. He died of cirrhosis of the liver from heavy drinking. He was just an eclectic man who liked to tell story’s. He was known for his twists at the end that caught readers by surprise.

  • I've not familiar with this story so I didn't really get your Villanelle but it was brilliantly executed! O. Henry seems to be such a hugeeeee inspiration! Also, may I know what was he convicted for?

J. S. WadeWritten by J. S. Wade

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