Selected Stories

Author O. Henry
Introduction by Guy Davenport
Look inside
Eighty short stories by a master of the genre

O. Henry's comic eye and unique, ironic approach to life's realities are unmatched. These stories—about con men and tricksters and "innocent" deceivers, about fate, luck, and coincidence—have delighted generations of readers. Set in New York and the West, in Central America and the South, they demonstrate O. Henry's mastery of speech and place, and highlight his appreciation of life's quirks.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
O. Henry is the pseudonym of William Sydney Porter (1862–1910) and the name under which he published all of his work, which includes a novel and some 300 short stories. His talent for vivid caricature, local tone, narrative agility, and compassion tempered by irony made him a vastly popular writer in the last decade of his life. He was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, to ordinary middle-class parents and worked in an uncle’s drugstore as a youth, becoming a certified pharmacist.   Like many southerners after the Civil War, Porter sought his fortune in the West, holding various jobs such as that of a clerk in a land office and a teller at an Austin bank. Charged with embezzlement in 1894, he fled to Honduras, returning in 1897 to be with his ill and dying wife. His conviction was caused more by his eluding trial than by the conflicting evidence of theft. In the Ohio State Penitentiary, Porter began to write the stories that made him famous. After his release, he moved to New York, remarried, and kept his identity a secret from all but a few friends. Porter is buried in Asheville, North Carolina. He is universally honored for his mastery of the short story and for his humane spirit. View titles by O. Henry
Selected StoriesIntroduction
Suggestions for Further Reading

From The Four Million (1906)
The Coming-Out of Maggie
A Service of Love
Between Rounds
An Unfinished Story
After Twenty Years
By Courier

From The Trimmed Lamp (1907)
The Pendulum
The Buyer from Cactus City
Brickdust Row
The Foreign Policy of Company 99
The Count and the Wedding Guest
The Country of Elusion

From Heart of the West (1907)
The Ransom of Mack
The Higher Abdication
A Call Loan
The Princess and the Puma
The Indian Summer of Dry Valley Johnson
The Reformation of Calliope

From The Voice of the City (1908)
The Complete Life of Johns Hopkins
Doughtery's Eye-Opener
While the Auto Waits
The Defeat of the City
The Plutonian Fire
Squaring the Circle
The Fool-Killer
Transients in Arcadia
Extradited from Bohemia
From Each According to His Ability
The Memento

From The Gentle Grafter (1908)
Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet
Modern Rural Sports
The Man Higher Up
Hostages to Momus

From Roads of Destiny (1909)
The Guardian of the Accolade
Phoebe
A Double-Dyed Deceiver
A Retrieved Reformation
Friends in San Rosario
The Emancipation of Billy
A Departmental Case
The Renaissance at Charleroi
Two Renegades

From Options (1909)
"The Rose of Dixie"
Schools and Schools
Thimble, Thimble
The Moment of Victory
No Story

From Strictly Business (1910)
The Gold That Glittered
The Day Resurgent
The Thing's the Play
A Municipal Report
Proof of the Pudding
The Venturers

From Whirligigs (1910)
The Theory and the Hound
The Ransom of Red Chief
The Whirligig of Life
The Roads We Take
A Blackjack Bargainer
One Dollar's Worth
Madame Bo-Peep, of the Ranches

From Sixes and Sevens (1911)
Witches' Loaves
The Duplicity of Hargraves
October and June
The Church with an Overshot-Wheel

From Rolling Stones (1912)
The Atavism of John Tom Little Bear
The Marquis and Miss Sally

From Waifs and Strays (1917)
Out of Nazareth
Hearts and Hands

About

Eighty short stories by a master of the genre

O. Henry's comic eye and unique, ironic approach to life's realities are unmatched. These stories—about con men and tricksters and "innocent" deceivers, about fate, luck, and coincidence—have delighted generations of readers. Set in New York and the West, in Central America and the South, they demonstrate O. Henry's mastery of speech and place, and highlight his appreciation of life's quirks.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Author

O. Henry is the pseudonym of William Sydney Porter (1862–1910) and the name under which he published all of his work, which includes a novel and some 300 short stories. His talent for vivid caricature, local tone, narrative agility, and compassion tempered by irony made him a vastly popular writer in the last decade of his life. He was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, to ordinary middle-class parents and worked in an uncle’s drugstore as a youth, becoming a certified pharmacist.   Like many southerners after the Civil War, Porter sought his fortune in the West, holding various jobs such as that of a clerk in a land office and a teller at an Austin bank. Charged with embezzlement in 1894, he fled to Honduras, returning in 1897 to be with his ill and dying wife. His conviction was caused more by his eluding trial than by the conflicting evidence of theft. In the Ohio State Penitentiary, Porter began to write the stories that made him famous. After his release, he moved to New York, remarried, and kept his identity a secret from all but a few friends. Porter is buried in Asheville, North Carolina. He is universally honored for his mastery of the short story and for his humane spirit. View titles by O. Henry

Table of Contents

Selected StoriesIntroduction
Suggestions for Further Reading

From The Four Million (1906)
The Coming-Out of Maggie
A Service of Love
Between Rounds
An Unfinished Story
After Twenty Years
By Courier

From The Trimmed Lamp (1907)
The Pendulum
The Buyer from Cactus City
Brickdust Row
The Foreign Policy of Company 99
The Count and the Wedding Guest
The Country of Elusion

From Heart of the West (1907)
The Ransom of Mack
The Higher Abdication
A Call Loan
The Princess and the Puma
The Indian Summer of Dry Valley Johnson
The Reformation of Calliope

From The Voice of the City (1908)
The Complete Life of Johns Hopkins
Doughtery's Eye-Opener
While the Auto Waits
The Defeat of the City
The Plutonian Fire
Squaring the Circle
The Fool-Killer
Transients in Arcadia
Extradited from Bohemia
From Each According to His Ability
The Memento

From The Gentle Grafter (1908)
Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet
Modern Rural Sports
The Man Higher Up
Hostages to Momus

From Roads of Destiny (1909)
The Guardian of the Accolade
Phoebe
A Double-Dyed Deceiver
A Retrieved Reformation
Friends in San Rosario
The Emancipation of Billy
A Departmental Case
The Renaissance at Charleroi
Two Renegades

From Options (1909)
"The Rose of Dixie"
Schools and Schools
Thimble, Thimble
The Moment of Victory
No Story

From Strictly Business (1910)
The Gold That Glittered
The Day Resurgent
The Thing's the Play
A Municipal Report
Proof of the Pudding
The Venturers

From Whirligigs (1910)
The Theory and the Hound
The Ransom of Red Chief
The Whirligig of Life
The Roads We Take
A Blackjack Bargainer
One Dollar's Worth
Madame Bo-Peep, of the Ranches

From Sixes and Sevens (1911)
Witches' Loaves
The Duplicity of Hargraves
October and June
The Church with an Overshot-Wheel

From Rolling Stones (1912)
The Atavism of John Tom Little Bear
The Marquis and Miss Sally

From Waifs and Strays (1917)
Out of Nazareth
Hearts and Hands

Books for LGBTQIA+ Pride Month

In June we celebrate Pride Month, which honors the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan and highlights the accomplishments of those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual + (LGBTQIA+) community, while recognizing the ongoing struggles faced by many across the world who wish to live as their most authentic selves. Here is

Read more

PRH Education High School Collections

All reading communities should contain protected time for the sake of reading. Independent reading practices emphasize the process of making meaning through reading, not an end product. The school culture (teachers, administration, etc.) should affirm this daily practice time as inherently important instructional time for all readers. (NCTE, 2019)   The Penguin Random House High

Read more

PRH Education Translanguaging Collections

Translanguaging is a communicative practice of bilinguals and multilinguals, that is, it is a practice whereby bilinguals and multilinguals use their entire linguistic repertoire to communicate and make meaning (García, 2009; García, Ibarra Johnson, & Seltzer, 2017)   It is through that lens that we have partnered with teacher educators and bilingual education experts, Drs.

Read more

PRH Education Classroom Libraries

“Books are a students’ passport to entering and actively participating in a global society with the empathy, compassion, and knowledge it takes to become the problem solvers the world needs.” –Laura Robb   Research shows that reading and literacy directly impacts students’ academic success and personal growth. To help promote the importance of daily independent

Read more