LitReading - Classic Short Stories

Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen by O. Henry

Episode Summary

Somewhere there’s a great story for almost every holiday, even the decidedly American tradition of Thanksgiving and who better to tell such a story than one of America’s finest authors, O. Henry.

Episode Notes

There is one day that is ours. There is one day when all we Americans who are not self-made go back to the old home to eat saleratus [sale-er-ah-tus] biscuits (biscuits made with baking soda) and marvel how much nearer to the porch the old pump looks than it used to. Bless the day. President Roosevelt gives it to us. We hear some talk of the Puritans, but don't just remember who they were. Bet we can lick 'em, anyhow, if they try to land again. Plymouth Rocks? Well, that sounds more familiar. Lots of us have had to come down to hens since the Turkey Trust got its work in. But somebody in Washington is leaking out advance information to 'em about these Thanksgiving proclamations.

The big city east of the cranberry bogs has made Thanksgiving Day an institution. The last Thursday in November is the only day in the year on which it recognizes the part of America lying across the ferries. It is the one day that is purely American. Yes, a day of celebration, exclusively American.

And now for the story which is to prove to you that we have traditions on this side of the ocean that are becoming older at a much rapider rate than those of England are--thanks to our git-up and enterprise.

William Sydney Porter spent several years imprisoned for embezzlement in Austin Texas. There he met a guard named Orin Henry. Shortly after his release from prison he moved to New York and started writing ironic short stories under the pen name O. Henry.