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Category Archive: рассказы и сказки

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry


One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
Della felt so bad she sat down on their shabby little couch and cried, but that didn’t help either. Drying her eyes, she walked to the window of the small apartment. The furnished flat at eight dollars per week was all that she and her husband Jim could afford on his weekly salary of twenty dollars.
But 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 her Jim. She had spent many a happy hour planning to buy something nice for him. If she had only been able to save more money, she could have bought something line and rare, something that deserved the honor of being owned by Jim.
Whirling from the window, she stood before the mirror. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.
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Fair’s Fair by Jane Speed

Fair's Fair by Jane Speed

Fair’s Fair by Jane Speed


I knew right away mother had something besides breakfast on her mind when she set a bowl of oatmeal in front of me. I mean it was Saturday. She usually gives that «busy little engines need good fuel» stuff a rest on Saturdays and lets me have whatever I want.
I was still wondering if it would do me any good to point this out to her when Daddy came in and sat down at the table. So I decided to just put a lot of strawberry jam on the oatmeal to pep it up and not say anything. Maybe, if I kept quiet, Mother would halfway forget I was there and go ahead and talk to Daddy about whatever was bothering her. Of course, it might be just bills. You’d be surprised how worked up my parents can get on that subject sometimes.
Daddy drank his juice down in one gulp like he always does and picked up the morning paper. But I could tell by the way Mother was stirring and stirring her coffee that he wasn’t going to get much read.
Sure enough, in about half a minute she said, «Harry —»
He just said. «Mm?» and kept his head behind the paper, although he must have known already that it was a lost cause.
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Fables by Aesop

The Wolf and the Crane

The Wolf and the Crane


The Wolf and the Crane
A Wolf had been gorging on an animal he had killed, when suddenly a small bone in the meat stuck in his throat and he could not swallow it. He soon felt terrible pain in his throat, and he ran up and down groaning and groaning and seeking for something to relieve the pain. He tried to induce every one he met to remove the bone. “I would give anything,” said he, “if you would take it out.” At last the Crane agreed to try, and told the Wolf to lie on his side and open his jaws as wide as he could. Then the Crane put its long neck down the Wolf’s throat and with its beak loosened the bone, till at last got it out.
“Will you kindly give me the reward you promised?” said the Crane.
The Wolf showed his teeth and said: “Be content. You have put your head inside a Wolf’s mouth and taken it out again in safety; that ought to be reward enough for you.”
“Gratitude and greed go not together”.
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Posthaste by Colin Howard

Posthaste by Colin Howard

Posthaste by Colin Howard


“I say, I am pleased to see you!” declared the little man standing dejectedly by the pillar-box.
“Oh, hullo!” I said, stopping. “Simpson, isn’t it?”
The Simpsons were newcomers to the neighbourhood, and my wife and I had only met them once or twice.
“Yes, that’s right!” returned Simpson. He seemed quite gratified by my ready recognition. “I wonder if you could lend me two pence-half-penny?” I plunged an investigatory hand into my pocket. “You see, my wife gave me a letter to post, and I’ve just noticed it isn’t stamped.”
“They never are,” I said, sympathetically.
“It must go to-night — it really must! And I don’t suppose I should find a post-office open at this time of night, do you?”
The hour being close upon eleven, I agreed that it seemed improbable.
“So I thought, you see, I’d get stamps out of the machine,” explained Simpson, not without pride in his ingenuity. “Only I find I haven’t any coppers on me.”
“I’m awfully sorry, but I’m afraid I haven’t either,” I told him, concluding my explorations.
“Oh, dear, dear!” he said. Just like that. He was that sort of little man.
“Perhaps somebody else —” I put forward.
“There isn’t anyone else.”
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The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky by Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane


The great passenger train was moving fast and smoothly over the plains of Texas, heading west, back to Yellow Sky, carrying Sheriff Potter and his new bride back home. The newly married couple in the luxurious Pullman coach had boarded the train at San Antonio. The man’s face was red from many days in the wind and sun. Because he was used to wearing jeans and a cotton shirt, his stiff new black suit made him uncomfortable. He sat with a hand on each knee, nervously. The glances he gave other passengers were furtive and shy.
‘The sheriff’s bride sat next to him. Despite the fancy dress that she wore, she was not very pretty. She appeared to be about thirty years old, of a working- class background. Now that she had married, she could look forward to many years of cooking and cleaning for her new husband.
Neither of the newlyweds was accustomed to such luxurious travel, so they were very happy, even though many of the other passengers were staring and grinning at the obviously out-of-place couple.
“Ever been on a train before?” he asked her, smiling with delight.
“No,” she answered; “I never was. It’s fine, isn’t it?”
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The angel of the bridge by John Cheever

John Cheever

John Cheever


You MAY have seen my mother waltzing on ice skates in Rockefeller Center. She’s seventy-eight years old now but very wiry, and she wears a red velvet costume with a short skirt. Her tights are flesh-colored, and she wears spectacles and a red ribbon in her white hair, and she waltzes with one of the rink attendants. I don’t know why I should find the fact that she waltzes on ice skates so disconcerting, but I do. I avoid that neighborhood whenever I can during the winter months, and I never lunch in the restaurants on the rink. Once when I was passing that way, a total stranger took me by the arm and, pointing to Mother, said, “Look at that crazy old dame.” I was very embarrassed. I suppose I should be grateful for the fact that she amuses herself and is not a burden to me, but I sincerely wish she had hit on some less conspicuous recreation. Whenever I see gracious old ladies arranging chrysanthemums and pouring tea, I think of my own mother, dressed like a hat- check girl, pushing some paid rink attendant around the ice, in the middle of the third-biggest city of the world.
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The Tower by Robert J. Fern

The Tower by Robert J. Fern

The Tower by Robert J. Fern


After the verb «to love», «to help» is the most beautiful verb in the world.
Ten-year-old John McNeil ran barefoot out the door on a windy, cold day in February and headed straight for the 125-foot electrical tower behind the McNeil home. John didn’t realize the dangers of the structure, which carries power from Hoover Dam to the southern Arizona communities. He didn’t know that it carried 230,000 sizzling volts through its silver wires. He wasn’t even aware that he had forgotten his shoes. John suffers from autism, a condition that separates him from reality, forcing him to live within his own thoughts. That day his thoughts were set on climbing to the top of that tower, touching the sky and feeling what it’s like to fly.
He had scaled the gigantic jungle gym before, but he had never gotten beyond the twenty-foot handrails. His seventeen-year-old brother, James, was always watching, and close by. James always made sure that no harm came to his little brother. But today was different. Today, John ran out the door unnoticed before James realized that he was missing. John had already cleared the handrails and was making his way to the sky by the time James spotted his brother. John, like most autistic children, had absolutely no fear or concept of danger. James, on the other hand, realized that he had to face his greatest fear of all — the fear of heights.
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Oberon and Titania

Oberon and Titania by Josephine Wal

Oberon and Titania by Josephine Wal


Wood has always been the favorite living place of Fairies. One night Oberon the king, and Titania, the queen of the Fairies, with all their people, were having their midnight party. Between this little king and the little queen there happened a quarrel: Titania had a servant who was a beautiful boy. She wanted him to stay with her. That made the king very angry. They quarreled and quarreled till all their fairy elves hid into flowers-cups.
“I am your master. You should do what I tell you to do. Why do you quarrel with me? Give me that little boy to be my page!” Oberon cried.
“Set your heart at rest and don’t ask me for him anymore!” said Titania. “All your fairy money won’t buy the boy from me. Come, fairies!”
And she left Oberon in great anger. She just danced away under the bright light of the moon.
“Well! Go away!” cried Oberon. “But before the morning, I’ll teach you a lesson and you’ll be sorry for what you have said”.
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Ghost Story after A.M. Burrage

Ghost Story after A.M. Burrage

Ghost Story after A.M. Burrage


It was Christmas Eve, and there were fourteen of us in the house. After a good dinner, we were all in the mood for fun and games. When somebody suggested hide and seek, there were loud shouts of agreement. The only person who refused to play hide and seek was Jackson.
‘I’m sorry. I won’t play hide and seek,’ he said with a shy little smile.
‘Aren’t you feeling well?’ someone asked. ‘I’m perfectly all right, thank you,’ he said. ‘But still I’m not playing hide and seek.’ ‘Why not?’ someone asked.
He hesitated for a moment, then he said, ‘I sometimes go and stay at a house where a girl was killed. She was playing hide and seek in the dark. She didn’t know the house very well. There was a door that led to the servants’ staircase but she thought the door led to a bedroom. She opened the door and jumped — and fell down to the bottom of the stairs. She broke her neck, of course.’
We all looked serious. Mrs Fernley said, ‘How terrible! And were you there when it happened?’
‘No,’ said Jackson, ‘but I was there when something else happened. Something worse.’ ‘What could be worse than that?’
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The ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry

The ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry

The ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry


It looked like a good thing, but wait until I tell you. We were in Alabama — Bill Driscoll and me — when this kidnapping idea came to us. It was a crazy idea, but we didn’t realize it at that time.
There was a town down there, as flat as a cake, and called Summit, of course. The inhabitants of the town didn’t look dangerous at all.
Bill and I had a joint capital of about six hundred dollars, and we needed just two thousand dollars more for our little secret plan in Illinois. We discussed this on the front steps of the hotel.
“Summit is a good place for kidnapping,” I said. “Parents love their children in small towns. And there are no curious journalists.”
We knew that Summit couldn’t get after us with anything stronger than policemen and maybe some bloodhounds. So, the idea looked good.
We chose for our victim the only child of an important man named Ebenezer Dorset. Mr Dorset was respectable and stingy. The kid was a boy of ten with red freckles and red hair.
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