The O'Ruddy was published posthumously in 1903. Despite his youth, before his death Crane had already published Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, The Red Badge of Courage, and The Open Boat and Other Tales of Adventure (among other works). Even so, he was not quite as prolific as O. Henry, who died the same day, ten years later, on June 5, 1910. Henry was 47.
The Gift of the Magi." The story follows a poor couple searching for the perfect gift for their spouse. The wife buys a fob for her husband's prized watch, selling her beautiful hair for money to make the purchase. Unbeknown to her, the husband has sold his watch to buy an extravagant set of combs for his wife's long hair. Henry compares this couple to the Biblical magi:
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. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.