The Princess And The Puma by O. Henry, 1907
The magic trick:
Going all in on cornball Vaudeville comedy
We go to Texas this week, beginning with a trip back in time via O. Henry.
You will not be surprised to learn that the story turns in the final paragraphs. Classic William Sydney.
But I most enjoyed the brief section right before the ending. Things get especially silly, and our author hams it up. It’s less like uptight literature and more like really cheesy comedy. I wouldn’t want every story to be like this – or really many more stories at all like this – but hey, I laughed. I’ll admit it. And that’s quite a trick on O. Henry’s part.
“I might have shot you!” she exclaimed. “You ran right in between. You risked your life to save your pet! That was fine, Mr. Givens. I like a man who is kind to animals.”
Yes; there was even admiration in her gaze now. After all, there was a hero rising out of the ruins of the anti-climax. The look on Givens’s face would have secured him a high position in the S.P.C.A.
“I always loved ’em,” said he; “horses, dogs, Mexican lions, cows, alligators —”
“I hate alligators,” instantly demurred Josefa; “crawly, muddy things!”
“Did I say alligators?” said Givens. “I meant antelopes, of course.”
Josefa’s conscience drove her to make further amends. She held out her hand penitently. There was a bright, unshed drop in each of her eyes.
Subscribe to the Short Story Magic Tricks Monthly Newsletter to get the latest short story news, contests and fun.