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O. Henry

1862 - 1910

O. Henry was the pen name of William Sydney Porter, an American short story writer who is known for his tales about the life of ordinary people, especially in New York. His stories generally expressed the effect of coincidence on character through humour, grim or irony. Above anything else, he is known for his surprise endings. Once his trademark, it finally cost him critical favour.


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A Strange Story

In the northern part of Austin there once dwelt an honest family by the name of Smothers. The family consisted of John Smothers, his wife, himself, their little daughter, five years of age, and he... [+]

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After Twenty Years

The policeman on the beat moved up the avenue impressively. The impressiveness was habitual and not for show, for spectators were few. The time was barely 10 o'clock at night, but chilly gusts of... [+]

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The Gift of the Magi

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 bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's... [+]

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The Last Leaf

In a little district west of Washington Square the streets have run crazy and broken themselves into small strips called "places." These "places" make strange angles and curves. One Street crosses... [+]

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Hearts and Hands

At Denver there was an influx of passengers into the coaches on the eastbound B. & M. Express. In one coach there sat a very pretty young woman dressed in elegant taste and surrounded by all the... [+]

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A Newspaper Story

AT 8 A. M. it lay on Giuseppi's news-stand, still damp from the presses. Giuseppi, with the cunning of his ilk, philandered on the opposite comer, leaving his patrons to help themselves, no doubt on... [+]

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The Prisoner of Zembla

So the king fell into a furious rage, so that none durst go near him for fear, and he gave out that since the Princess Ostla had disobeyed him there would be a great tourney, and to the knight who... [+]

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The Cop and the Anthem

On his bench in Madison Square Soapy moved uneasily. When wild geese honk high of nights, and when women without sealskin coats grow kind to their husbands, and when Soapy moves uneasily on his bench... [+]

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The Skylight Room

First Mrs. Parker would show you the double parlours. You would not dare to interrupt her description of their advantages and of the merits of the gentleman who had occupied them for eight years. Then... [+]

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Lord Oakhurst's Curse

I
Lord Oakhurst lay dying in the oak chamber in the eastern wing of Oakhurst Castle. Through the open window in the calm of the summer evening, came the sweet fragrance of the early violets and... [+]

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Aristocracy Versus Hash

The snake reporter of The Rolling Stone was wandering up the avenue last night on his way home from the Y.M.C.A. rooms when he was approached by a gaunt, hungry-looking man with wild eyes and... [+]

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Fickle Fortune of How Gladys Hustled

"Press me no more Mr. Snooper," said Gladys Vavasour-Smith. "I can never be yours."
"You have led me to believe different, Gladys," said Bertram D. Snooper.
The... [+]