قصه هديه عيد الميلاد The Gift Of The Magi O.Henry

mostfaPublished: June 1, 20157 views
Published: June 1, 2015

هدية عيد الميلاد

قصة : أو هنري


بعد جدال طويل وزعت فيه الكثير من ماء وجهها بين بائع الخضار تارةً وبائع اللحم تارةً أخرى ، جدال تحملت بسببه أن ينظر لها كل من في السوق نظرة شفقة صامتة كونها سيدة فقيرة، استطاعت ديلا أن توفر دولارا وسبع وثمانين سنت منها ستون سنتاً على شكل بنسات.

أعادت ديلا عد المبلغ ثلاث مرات ، فلم يزدد شيئا ، إنه دولار وسبع وثمانين سنت لا غير، فما العمل وغداً عيد الميلاد؟

جلست وأخذت تبكي بكاء الواثقة أن حياتها ليست سوى قليل من السعادة وكثير من الأحزان ، بعد قليل ، مسحت دموعها ووقفت حزينةً تنظر من النافذةِ إلى قطتها الرمادية وهي تمشي قرب سياج الفناء الخلفي الذي لونته الثلوج هو الآخر باللون الرمادي.

لقد دأبت طوال الشهور الماضية على توفير المال لهذه المناسبة ، ولكن جميع جهودها باءت بالفشل، فغداً هو عيد الميلاد وليس لديها ما يكفي لشراء هدية لزوجها جيم ، هدية لطيفة ، لا بل رائعة واستثنائية تليق به.

لم يكن غلاء المعيشة ليحرم عائلة ديلنكهام الصغيرة من قضاء أوقات سعيدة، فقد اعتاد الزوجان على الإنفاق ضمن حدود العشرين دولاراً التي يحصل عليها الزوج أسبوعياً، لا بل ويدخران ما يزيد منها.

استدارت ديلا فجأةً صوب المرآة الطويلة الموضوعة بين نافذتي الغرفة ونظرت إلى نفسها، فبرق في عينيها وميض سرعان ما انطفأ وهي تنظر إلى وجهها الشاحب.

لم تفكر طويلاً قبل أن تطلق سراح شعرها الجميل وتتركه ينساب ما شاء أن ينساب متمنيةً لو أن بلقيس حيةً ترزق وأنها تسكن معهم في ذات العمارة ، ساعة إذ ستتعمد ديلا تجفيف شعرها عبر النافذة ، لا لشيء ، فقط لكي تبرهن للدنيا بأسرها أن صاحبت هذا الشعر تمتلك ما تفوق قيمته قيمة جميع جواهر الملكة.

تعانق شعر ديلا البني المتدفق كالشلال والذي نزل دون مستوى ركبتيها مع ثوبها الأبيض ليرسما سوياً لوحةً لم تخطر على بال بشر، ولكن سرعان ما قطعت ديلا على نفسها ذلك المشهد الجميل ، فلقد قدحت في رأسها فكرةٌ ذرفت من أجل تنفيذها حرى الدموع.

شدت شعرها وارتدت معطفها وقبعتها البنية القديمة، وبحركةٍ رشيقة ، وجدت نفسها تسير في الشارع، حتى إذا وصلت إلى لافتة مكتوب عليها : محلات مدام سفروني لجميع أنواع الشعر، تسابقت قدماها، فاندفعت داخل المحل مقطوعةَ الأنفاس.

سألت ديلا: هل تشترين شعري؟
أجابت صاحبة المحل: نعم أشتري، ارفعي قبعتك ولنرى.

رفعت ديلا قبعتها، فتدفق شلال الشعر البني الجميل. قالت صاحبة المحل وهي ترفع ضفائرا من شعر زبونتها بيدٍ متمرسة: عشرون دولاراً.

ردت ديلا: حسناً، أعطني المبلغ بسرعة.

لم تدخر ديلا جهداً خلال الساعتين التاليتين اللتان مرتا بسرعة البرق وهي تبحث في المتاجر عن هدية لزوجها، وأخيراً وجدت ضالتها، فهذه السلسلة الفضية الجميلة ذات القيمة العالية كما لو أنها صنعت من أجل جيم، ثم أنها تناسب ساعته الذهبية.

سارعت إلى دفع الواحد والعشرون دولاراً ثمن السلسلة إلى صاحب المتجر، ثم عادت إلى شقتها برفقة الهدية والسبع وثمانين سنتاً المتبقية.

بدأت حال وصولها بتصفيف ما تبقى من شعرها الذي أفلست منه بدافع حبها لزوجها، وإن كانت مهمة لملمة الحطام شبه مستحيلة، لكن استطاعت ديلا في أقل من ساعة أن تتوج رأسها بما تبقى لها من خصل شعرها.

أمعنت النظر إلى وجهها الذي بدا كأنه وجه تلميذ وهي تحدث نفسها قائلةً: إذا لم يقتلني جيم، فإنه حتماً سيشبهني بمغنيات الكنيسة، ولكن ماذا عساي أفعل بدولار وسبع وثمانين سنتاً؟

في تمام السابعة مساءاً، جهزت ديلا القهوة وتهيأت لطهي طعام العشاء، لكن جيم الذي ما عودها أن يتأخر، تأخر عن موعده هذه المرة، فلم تجد بداً من أن تنتظره قرب باب الشقة حاملةً معها السلسلة الفضية.

شحب وجهها وهي تنصت إلى وقع أقدامه، فأخذت تصلي لله قائلةً: أتوسل إليك يا رب! اجعلني أبدو في عينيه جميلة كما كنت! لم تكد تكمل صلاتها حتى فتح جيم الباب ودخل.

كان جيم رجل كل ما فيه لا يتناسب مع سنواته الاثنين والعشرين، رجل نحيف، جاد، وقور، أخذ الفقر منه شر مأخذ حتى أعجزه عن تجديد معطفه وقفازيه وقد بدا عليهما القدم ، وأنى له هذا ؟ وهو على صغر سنه مسؤول عن إعالة أسرة.

تسمر جيم عند الباب وانطلقت عيناه تتفحصان ديلا بنظرة لم تجد لها تفسيراً ، فارتعدت فرائصها، فهي ليست نظرة تعجب ولا خوف ولا حتى غضب.

كان ينظر إليها وقد ارتسمت على وجهه تعابير غريبة لم تكن بحسبانها ، الأمر الذي جعلها تندفع نحوه باكيةً وهي تقول: حبيبي جيم! أرجوك ! لا تنظر إلي هكذا ! لقد قصصت شعري وبعته لأنني لا أتحمل أن يمر عيد الميلاد دون أن أهديك شيئا... صدقني إن شعري ينمو بسرعة... هيا، قلي عيد ميلاد سعيد ودعنا نحتفل هذه الليلة! لست تدري كم جميلة تلك الهدية التي اشتريتها لك.

سألها جيم متعجباً مما يسمع وكأن عقله توقف فجأةً عن العمل: ماذا تقولين! لقد قصصتي شعرك ؟؟؟

أجابت ديلا: نعم لقد قصصته وبعته... ألا تزال تحبني كما في السابق؟ فأنا لم أزل كما أنا لم أتغير، بشعري أو بدون شعري.

كما لو كان يبحث عن شيء ما، جال بنظره في الغرفة، ثم قال متسائلاً: تقولين إن شعرك قد ذهب؟

ردت ديلا: لا تجهد نفسك في البحث، فكما قلت لك ، إنني بعته وانتهى الأمر... إنها ليلة عيد الميلاد يا جيم! ارحمني! أقسمت عليك بشعري الذي قصصته من أجلك إلا ما رحمتني! قد يكون شعري له ثمن لكن حبي لك لا يقدر بثمن... والآن ماذا تقول يا صغيري؟ هل أضع طبق اللحم أم لا؟

أحاطها جيم بذراعيه قبل أن يخرج من معطفه علبةً ويضعها على المنضدة وهو يقول: لا تخطئي بحقي يا ديلا ! ما كان شعرك المقصوص ليقلل من حبي لكِ يا مدللتي، لكنك لو فتحتِ هذه العلبة لأدركتِ السر وراء صدمتي.

انهالت أصابع ديلا البريئة على العلبة تمزيقاً، ثم صرخت بفرح سرعان ما تحول إلى حسرة لم يستطع قلبها الصغير إخفاءها، فبكت بكاء مراً أعيت معه زوجها الحيلة لإقناعها للكف عنه، كيف لا؟ والعلبة تحتوي على مشبك الشعر الجميل المصنوع من المحار والمرصع بالجواهر والذي يتناسب لونه مع لون شعرها الذي كان شعرها قبل سويعات.

كان ذلك المشبك ذاته الذي رفرف نحوه قلب ديلا منذ أن رأته ذات يوم في واجهة إحدى المحلات، لكنها كانت تعي جيداً أنه لم يصنع من أجلها كونه باهظ الثمن، لذا فلم تتمنى ولو لمرة أن تمتلكه، أما الآن، وقد أصبح بمتناول يدها، فإنها لم تعد تمتلك الشعر الذي تشبكه به.
ضمت المشبك إليها وقد ارتسمت على وجهها ابتسامة متفائلة وهي تقول: لا تقلق يا جيم! فإن شعري سريع النمو.

أدركت أن جيم لم يرى هديته بعد، فقفزت بسعادة وهي تريه السلسلة الفضية الأنيقة قائلةً: أليست رائعة يا جيم؟ لقد بحثت لك عنها في كل محلات المدينة... ستنظر إلى ساعتك مئة مرة في اليوم... هيا! أعطني ساعتك! أريد أن أرى كيف تبدو مع هذه السلسلة.

وبدلا من أن يعطيها ساعته، استلقى جيم على الأريكة واضعاً كلتا يديه خلف رأسه وهو يقول مبتسماً: لنترك هدايا عيد الميلاد جانباً بعض الوقت، لكن إن أردتِ الحقيقة، فمجرد استعمالها الآن هو أمر غاية في المتعة... لقد بعت ساعتي الذهبية لأحصل على المال الكافي لكي أشتري لكِ هذا المشبك... والآن، لما لا تضعين طبق اللحم يا عزيزتي؟

نعم، لم يكن بحوزة عائلة ديلنكهام الصغيرة ما هو أثمن من ساعة الزوج الذهبية التي ورثها عن آبائه وأجداده ، وشعر الزوجة الذي هو تاجها كما يعبرون.

The Gift of the Magi

O.Henry

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 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.

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.

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.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box 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."

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, 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.

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.
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.

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.

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.

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.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: "Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie."

"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.

"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take your hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it."

Down rippled the brown cascade.

"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

"Give it to me quick," said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?"

At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please God, make him think I am still pretty."

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

"Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again--you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice-- what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you."

"You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

"Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?"

Jim looked about the room curiously.

"You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

"You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you--sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with sudden serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?"

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year--what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"

And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

"Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it."

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

"Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep them a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on."

The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi

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