‘Christmas By Injunction’ by O. Henry


Christmas By Injunction by O. Henry, 1907

The magic trick:

Making the reader laugh; making the reader cry

Welcome to Christmas in the West. We’ve got the gold rush gang from Bret Harte’s “The Luck Of Roaring Camp.” We’ve even got the bratty kid from O. Henry’s own “The Ransom Of Red Chief.” Throw in the surprising and super-sappy ending from Dickens’s The Cricket On The Hearth, and you’ve got the makings of pretty solid Christmas story.

I’m not saying this is a particularly good story, but it’s pretty solid. Holiday stories have a lower bar to meet, right? “Christmas By Injunction” has a silly premise and a heartwarming (super cheesy) finale. And that’s quite a trick on O. Henry’s part.

The selection:

Two minutes of absolute silence ticked away in the wake of Baldy’s words. It was broken by the House, who, happily conceiving the moment to be ripe for extending hospitality, sent a dozen whisky glasses spinning down the bar, with the slower travelling bottle bringing up the rear.

”Didn’t you tell him?” asked the miner called Trinidad.

”Well, no,” answered Baldy, pensively; “I never exactly seen my way to.

”You see, Cherokee had this Christmas mess already bought and paid for; and he was all flattered up with self-esteem over his idea; and we had in a way flew the flume with that fizzy wine I speak of; so I never let on.”


What do you think about this story? As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.


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