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Listen to MTV's Official Challenge podcast on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you get your podcast. Are you a music fan? Do you need more music talk in your life than you should be listening to record store Society of Music talk show podcast on the radio network Record Store Society is a virtual trip to your local record store hosted by me, Terry Davis and me, Sir Nicholas Johnson.
Every Friday you'll find Seth and I behind the counter at your favorite record store, dispensing recommendations, making lists and talking to our customers about anything and everything music related. So listen to record store society on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Welcome to stuff you missed in History Class, A production of I Heart Radio. Hello and welcome to the podcast. I'm Tracy B. Wilson. And I'm Holly Frye. When I was a kid growing up in North Carolina, any time we had an O'Henry short story to read an English class, which was definitely more than once, the teacher would point out that he was from Greensboro.
I didn't live in Greensboro, but that was not too too far from where we lived. So it was just this kind of point of pride. So I was totally surprised recently when I stumbled over a passing reference to O'Henry, I think it might have been while I was researching the Joshua Slocum episode, like it was just something that came about randomly while researching something else. This passing reference to how O'Henry at that time had just gotten back from Honduras, where he had fled to avoid prosecution for embezzlement.
And I was like, excuse me, what O'Henry did? What now? My English teachers never said anything about this, so. Since one of Henry's most famous short stories is Gift of the Magi, which is all about Christmas and gift giving during hard times, and he also wrote some other lesser known Christmas stories as well. I thought that he might make an interesting addition to our winter holiday catalog this year.
Oh, Henry was born William Sidney Porter on September 11th, 1862, in Greensboro, North Carolina, just a couple of years before the end of the US civil war.
His parents, Algernon Sidney and Mary Virginia Swayne Porter, spelled his middle name Sidney S D and E. Y, and he changed the eye to a Y.
Later in his life in 1865, William's mother died of tuberculosis and his newborn baby brother also died not long after that. And this seems to have just really deeply affected Algernon Porter. I mean, that's not surprising, but this effect on him was really profound. He was a doctor, but in the years after this happened, he started to really struggle with alcohol abuse and he spent more and more of his time not practicing medicine, but trying to invent things, including a perpetual motion machine that he seemed absolutely sure that he could get working.
People described this as just a true fixation, as Algernon's medical practice crumbled. William and his older brother were placed in the care of their grandmother, Ruth Porter, and their aunt Evalina. Porter Evalina was known as Lena, and she ran a small school called Miss Limas. William started attending this school in 1867, and although he was an avid reader, his time at his aunt's school would be his only formal education. He left at 15 to start working so he could help support the family.
In 1879, he got a job at his uncle's drugstore, W.C. Porter and Company, and he started out as a bookkeeper. But over time he started getting experience in the pharmacy. In 1881, he became part of the first group of druggists to be licensed by the state of North Carolina after the state passed its first law requiring licensure.
In addition to his work at the pharmacy, Porter used his time at the drugstore to observe people and to hear and tell stories. And he developed a reputation as a practical joker. He also drew cartoons and caricatures and started writing short vignettes about the people he met at the store.
He also developed a chronic cough, and given that his mother and brother had both died of tuberculosis, people started to worry about his health. In 1882, Dr. James Hall, one of the regulars at the store, invited Porter to accompany the whole family to Texas, where they bought a ranch. The idea was that the Texas climate might be better for his lungs.
Porter spent the next couple of years working on a sheep ranch in Cotulla, Texas, but ranch life was a little too remote for him. So in 1884, he moved to Austin, where he worked at a series of assorted jobs, including another stint as a pharmacist, that time at Morley Drugstore. In his free time, he joined the Hill City Quartet, where he sang as a tenor and he learned Spanish and reportedly memorized a dictionary in 1885. Then 23 year old Porter met 17 year old Ethel Estes Roach.
Two years later, in July of 1887, they eloped. Also in 1887, Porter put his drawing skills to work as a draftsman at the Texas General Land Office in 1888. His wife gave birth to a baby boy who sadly died as a newborn. The porters had a daughter named Margaret about a year later, but Porter's presence in their lives was a little erratic. He had spent his first years in Austin as a bachelor, and after becoming a husband and a father, he still seemed to want to spend his time carousing and socializing.
He said that this worked as inspiration for his writing. He also started making his own absinthe.
A new time travel destinations included the part for Holly as a holiday. Treat her a gift for me in 1890, when Porter got a job at the First National Bank of Austin, when the family moved into the home that would eventually become the O'Henry Museum. He had kept writing and drawing during all of this. And in 1894, he started his own publication called The Rolling Stone. This paper satirized local people and events, and it became pretty popular with more than 1000 subscribers when Austin's population was only about 15000 people.
But Porter could not get it to turn a profit, and it folded within a year.
Also in 1894, federal bank examiner B.F. Gray inspected the books at First National Bank of Austin and found some problems, including discrepancies totaling more than four thousand seven hundred dollars. Porter's work as a teller made him the prime suspect in general. The way that the bank was handling money was incredibly sloppy. Often no one balance the books. At the end of the day, bank officers liked to lend themselves money from the registers, sometimes leaving an IOU, but sometimes not.
And random people would fill in for the tellers when they were at lunch or on another break. So with all of that in mind, at first a grand jury found that there just wasn't enough evidence to indict anybody. But Gray pushed for additional scrutiny at the bank that led to the discovery of other suspicious transactions and another thousand or so dollars of missing funds. After that discovery, William Sidney Porter was indicted for embezzling. By this point, though, he had already resigned from the position at the bank.
He had not been worked in there for several months and he had moved to Houston after being offered a job at the Houston Post, Porter's trial date was set for July 7th, 1896, and on July 6th, he boarded a train bound for Austin. But he only made about 50 miles of that journey in Hampstead, Texas. He left the train and instead boarded another one bound for New Orleans, Louisiana.
If Porter ever explains to anybody what he was thinking or why he decided to jump bail. They kept that information to themselves, given how haphazard the bank's bookkeeping had been. There's been some suggestion that he probably would have been acquitted if he had stood trial in 1896 like he was supposed to. It's possible that he was afraid that the bank's management was going to make him into a scapegoat or that he was just in crisis mode and really not thinking clearly. Really, though, this whole stretch of his story gets pretty murky.
And we'll talk about that after we pause for a sponsor break. Contact World is a technology and media company dedicated to improving public health because we're fed up with the way our country has ignored public health for so long.
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At some point, after getting to New Orleans, Williams Sidney Porter boarded a ship bound for Honduras, possibly because Honduras had no extradition treaty with the United States, according to Al Jenning's. When Porter got to Honduras, he stayed in the U.S. consulate in Trujillo, which is on the country's northeastern coast.
You can't exactly call Jennings a reliable source, though he had been an attorney in Oklahoma before he and his brother Frank decided they would become outlaws. They tried to rob trains, which they were not particularly good at. At one point they tried to dynamite open a safe, but instead blew the baggage car and everything in it to smithereens. I feel like there are a number of those stories in the train robbing era of the United States in particular.
Yeah, as I was writing that, I was like, have we talked about this train wreck on the show? Because it sounds very familiar. Yes. Eventually they made their way to Central America. According to the book that Jennings published in 1922, which was called Through the Shadows with O'Henry Porter and the Jennings brothers met in Trujillo, and then they got involved in a Fourth of July shootout the next day. And then they had to flee by boat before taking a wandering trek to San Francisco by way of Mexico City at one point in this book.
Jennings describes a plan to rob a bank in San Antonio so that he can afford to buy a ranch. He insists that Porter has, quote, neither recklessness nor the sangfroid of a lawbreaker, but tries to get him involved anyway after firing Jennings gun into the ground by accident. Porter says, quote, I think I would be a hindrance on this financial undertaking.
When Jennings suggests that Porter might just hold the horses while everyone else robs the bank, Porter says he doesn't think that he could even do that. And soon the men part ways. That's all a little far fetched, especially since Porter headed for New Orleans on July 6th, meaning that he could not have already been in Honduras for that July 4th gunfight.
Porter had been on the run for about six months when he got word that his wife was seriously ill. She had started business school with the hope of being able to support herself and their daughter. But she had tuberculosis like so many other people in the story, and it suddenly got much worse. Porter decided to return to the United States knowing that when he did, he would have to stand trial.
Federal prosecutor, are you? Culberson's seems to have viewed Porter with some sympathy. Initially, Culberson hadn't thought the case against him was even worth pursuing, but Gray had been insistent about it.
Culberson allowed the court proceedings to be postponed until after Ethel Porter's death on July 25th, 1897, at the age of 29.
Porter's trial started on February 15th, 1898. The original charges had been narrowed down to three. They covered an amount of money just shy of six hundred dollars. On February 17th, the jury found Porter guilty on all three counts. There is still some debate about all of this, though. As we said earlier, the bank's bookkeeping was frankly a mess. One of the charges was related to a transaction that had happened on November 12th, 1895, which was months after Porter left the bank and moved to Houston.
Documentation of the trial itself is also sketchy, but Porter reportedly seemed detached from the whole thing and barely even participated in his own defense. And this place and time, it was not common to just fully transcribe the entire trial. So there's no transcript of it, but that's how he's been described. So interpretations of all this run along kind of a big spectrum. At one end, Porter embezzled from the bank, possibly to try to get money to fund the Rolling Stone, and then his trial was handled fairly.
Then at the other end, either he took the blame for other bank employees actions or he was doing the same things that they were doing, but was the only one who got charged with a crime because of it. One of his friends, John Maxcy, later said he thought that Porter did take the money but intended to pay it back just like everybody else at the bank who kept helping themselves to unofficial loans. It just can't even imagine. Yeah, if you work at a bank today, you definitely cannot just take some money over that out of the till.
Right. Leave a little note there.
I just need this overnight. I swear I'm going to bring it back tomorrow. Outside of court, Porter maintained his innocence in a letter to his mother. He wrote, quote, I am absolutely innocent of wrongdoing in that bank matter. I care not so much for the opinion of the general public, but I would have a few of my friends still believe there is good in me. In a letter to JL Watson, business manager at the Houston Post, he said, quote, I want to state to you that the charges against me are not only unfounded, but are, I think, the work of spite as well.
Porter was sentenced to five years in prison and he started his incarceration at Ohio State Penitentiary on April 25th, 1898. He was profoundly ashamed about this. He desperately wanted to shield his daughter, Margaret, who at the time was eight years old. From the truth about what had happened, he got his mother in law to agree to send Margaret to live on a relative's farm in Tennessee to keep her out of the public eye and away from gossip. He was nearly despondent when his sentence started, and he used his letters to Margaret as a way to try to keep himself going.
Also incarcerated with him was dun dun dun. Al Jennings had been sentenced to life in prison in conjunction with the train robbery that we talked about earlier. Later on, he would be pardoned by President Theodore Roosevelt. Whether Jennings account of their earlier time together is true, it does seem that they were friends while incarcerated. The O'Henry story, holding up a train starts with a note that it's the words of an. Outlaw in the southwest, which was probably Al Jennings, both Porter and Jennings described conditions at the prison as deeply inhumane and letters to his in-laws.
Porter wrote about outbreaks of typhus, measles and tuberculosis, as well as frequent suicides among the incarcerated men. He also described overcrowding, frequent beatings and rancid and rotten food at the same time.
Porter was treated relatively leniently, becoming the overnight pharmacist at the prison's hospital. He was also credited with saving the warden's life after he was given an accidental overdose of Fowler's solution, which was an arsenic compound that was used as a general tonic. Porter reportedly mixed something in the pharmacy that acted as an antidote. If I had to guess, I would say it was charcoal. Eventually, Porter was given a clerical position working for the prison's steward, which allowed him to leave the prison unaccompanied and to be housed outside of it.
He and other men in similar situations formed what they called the reckless club.
I should have just asked you about the arsenic antidote, because I forgot that you've just been working on an entire podcast about poisoners, which is like 85 percent arsenic poisoning.
So gradually, while he was incarcerated, Porter got on somewhat better emotional footing and he started to write more. He always used a pen name and then he passed his stories through a series of intermediaries before they were sent into publishers to try to conceal his identity and his connection to the prison. This was when he published under the name O'Henry for the first time that was whistling Dixie Christmas Stocking, which appeared under that byline in McClure's in 1899. At first, Porter was using several pen names, and it's not clear why he eventually stuck with O'Henry or even where that name came from.
Biographers cite all kinds of possibilities. Maybe it came from the United States dispensary, which listed a French pharmacist named Etienne Ossian, Henry Orrie. Or maybe the family had a cat named Henry.
And they would call it by saying, Oh, Henry, yeah, you can find many biographers authoritatively and confidently saying completely different, contradictory stories.
I feel like that cat. And I want to be like, I hope you're wearing comfortable shoes, because that seems like a long walk.
Porter was released from prison with time off for good behavior on July 24th, 1981. He was too ashamed to go back to Texas, so he went to Pittsburgh. That's where his mother in law had moved with his daughter. He stayed with them for a while and he got a job at a newspaper. But eventually he moved into a boarding house, although he said this was because he had to keep erratic hours for his job and he didn't want to disturb everybody.
It also just seems like he wanted some space. He impresses me as a man that just like just didn't really want to be tied down ever. I think family life probably did not agree with his disposition. Yeah. In the spring of 1982, Porter moved to New York City. And when he got there, he started going by O'Henry all the time, not just as a byline. And we'll talk about that a little bit more after we have a sponsor break.
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Now, that is true. O'Henry loves New York City.
He seemed endlessly curious about its neighborhoods and the people who lived in them. He loved to talk to people about their lives with those conversations, informing his short stories. And as has always been the case, he loved to socialize, especially with women.
One of his favorite pastimes was to meet a young woman working in a shop somewhere, treat her to dinner, and then find out all about her life with tidbits of those lives making their way into his writing for his first couple of years in New York, most of O'Henry stories were mostly set in the Southwest and Central America.
His novel, Cabbages and Kings came out in 1984, although he described it not as a novel but as, quote, a few of my southamerican stories strung on a thread. Cabbages and Kings is set in a fictitious country called the Republic of Manchuria, but it is very clearly based on his time in Honduras.
Before long, though, New York City became a major focus of O'Henry writing. In 1995 and 1996, he wrote more than 110 new stories, and about 90 percent of them were set in New York. That is more than two stories a week. And at some points, Henry's output went even beyond that. In 1983, he signed a contract with the New York World to write a story every week for 100 dollars each. This contract was not exclusive, though, and he wrote for other publications, including Harper's, Ainsley's and McClure's.
At some points, he was writing a short story every single day, and these were not necessarily all day projects.
The Gift of the Magi, which is probably his most famous work today, reportedly went from idea to finished work in about two hours because he forgot that he had agreed to write a Christmas story for the New York Sun World.
Yeah, I love it that speed, though.
I mean, that's a lot of writing. It's so much. I mean, short stories are not easy necessarily to write.
They were for him that speed that he put to great use for a long time started to decline. By 1987, though, as he developed cirrhosis and diabetes on November 20th of that year at the age of 45. He also got married again to 39 year old Sarah Lindsay Coleman. They had known each other in North Carolina, and Sarah's mother had written to tell her that her old friend Will had been making a living as a writer in New York. They reconnected through letters and after they married, Sarah moved to New York to be with him.
He had really tried to keep anyone from finding out that short story. Writer O'Henry and convicted embezzler Williams Sidney Porter were the same person, including his daughter Margaret, who apparently only found out about all of this after his death. But he told Sarah the entire story before they got married off marriage had some ups and downs, though.
Sarah kept trying to get him to give up some of his drinking and carousing so that he could, she hoped, live a longer and healthier life. Eventually, though, she became disillusioned enough with this that she went back to western North Carolina. As his health deteriorated, she convinced him to travel there for several months in 1910, and while he spent some time in a sanitarium, he just found like the Asheville and surrounding area atmosphere, to be way too quiet.
He missed the bustle of New York and he did not stay in North Carolina for long.
Oh, Henry died of cirrhosis, complicated by diabetes and an enlarged heart. On June 5th, 1910, at the age of 47, Sarah had heard that he was seriously ill and had been on her way to New York when he died. His last words were reportedly said to the night nurse after she turned off the lights in his room. Turn on the light. I'm afraid to go home in the dark. Sarah brought his body back to North Carolina, where he was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Asheville.
When his daughter Margaret died of tuberculosis in 1927, she was cremated and her ashes were buried at his feet. O'Henry had been prolific and widely read, but it was really after his death that his popularity skyrocketed. His fame spread internationally during World War One as American soldiers took his work to Europe. As one reviewer described it, quote, O'Henry was our greatest literary discovery during the war. He was medicinal. He distracted us from intolerable things. His name is as familiar as Kipling, Conan Doyle or Jacobs.
That's just in case you did not know, W.W. Jacobs, author of the short story The Monkey's Paw. Yeah, I felt like Kipling and Conan Doyle, everybody now are still well-known enough to not need to clarify, but not necessarily Jacob. Yeah. Jacobs merits. Merits aside, O'Henry stories were published as collections, and one soldier described how any time someone got one in a package from home, it would be torn into its component story so that several people could read at once.
Porter's skill was also recognized by other writers. JM Barry wrote a letter to Sara Coleman Porter that read in part, quote, I have just been reading some of your late husband's books and I'm captivated. If I had discovered him before his death, I should have considered a trip to the United States well worthwhile to make his acquaintance.
As for why his works were so popular, O'Henry played with language writing short stories that packed in a lot of irony, dark humor, wit and wordplay. Most of the time, all of this came together in some kind of twist ending brought about by a coincidence or crossed wires or a missed connection. This kind of ending became synonymous with O'Henry. Often the main characters were working people, poor people, vagabonds, people down on their luck, people that readers, especially white readers, often identified with his entry in the Dictionary of American biography, dating back to the 30s, describes it this way.
Quote, His stories do not indicate a preference for great virtues or high intelligence or distinguished persons. They do not show him, preferring wit to dullness, beauty to plainness, industry to idleness, intensity to casualness. Anybody can be the hero of an O'Henry episode, provided the right events happened to him. Nobody reading the stories ever felt shut out from the world in which they happen. Though the plots may be fantastic, they are no more so than the little miracles which most men and women hope or fear will occur to them.
The characters are familiar and simple. They live, love, work, play and die with nothing demanded of them except to be decent and kind. The rest is accident. So it's not entirely accurate to say that nobody has ever felt shut out from O'Henry stories, though some of those stories hold up today and those that don't probably would not have raised eyebrows among most white readers when they were written. But many O'Henry stories uncritically incorporate racist characters, language or stereotypes in some of that's just casually thrown in in a way that doesn't have any bearing on the actual story.
One of his most well-known stories today is Ransom of Red Chief, which among other things uses the N-word as part of the description for a rock. The Red chief referenced in the title is A Little Boy, whose behavior is like a truly extreme version of Dennis the Menace, whose manner of quote, playing in the end is also heavily stereotyped.
And we definitely read Ransom of Red Chief in school. And when I reread it working on this episode, I was like, whoa, I did not remember the N-word being in this in school, which might have been expurgated from what we read.
But anyway, oh, Henry's depiction of women could also be troubling at best. For example, the story of a Harlem tragedy, which was written to be comedic romanticizes a physically abusive marriage with one of the characters forlornly wondering why her husband does not love her enough to beat her. And this is also a case where the setting of this story has different connotations now than it would have back when he wrote it. When Henry died in 1910, only about 10 percent of Harlem's population was black.
But within a decade, that was shifting dramatically with the Harlem Renaissance, which was also known as the new Negro Movement, stretching through the 1920s and 30s.
By the 1940s, O'Henry short stories were really starting to fall out of favor. This wasn't so much about changing attitudes related to the issues we just discussed, though it was really more about changing literary conventions and tastes. Critics started describing his writing as formulaic and overly discursive and embellished, writing him off as only inconsequential works of light humor meant for popular appeal.
Oh, Henry's legacy has continued, though. In 1952, five of his short stories were filmed and released as a film called O'Henry Full House. The stories were the cop and the anthem, the clarion call, the Last Leaf, the Ransom of Red Chief and the Gift of the Magi. The Cisco Kid, who is the character created by O'Henry, also made his way into a number of television shows and movies. There are also schools named after him and several of the places where he lived, as well as the O'Henry Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina.
And Henry's in Asheville, which is North Carolina's oldest gay bar. The Penn O'Henry Prize is an annual award for the best English language. Short stories published in the U.S. or Canada. The O'Henry candy bar. If you're wondering, is apparently not related to the writer of Henry at all and has similarly, incredibly mysterious name origins about who decided to name it that and why. There have also been various attempts to have O'Henry posthumously pardoned. None of those have been granted.
So I picked this topic for December, like I said, up at the top of the show, because of O'Henry Christmas stories and we have not really talked about them. So heads up, we are about to spoil the endings of some 100 plus year old short stories.
Spoiler alert. I think the the window is is closed at that point. You don't have to worry.
But as we mentioned earlier, whistling Dixie Christmas Stocking was the first story published under the name O'Henry. And in it, professional tramp and expert Whistler whistling Dixie is trying to make his way through a town that arrests vagrants on site. And after a stern warning from a police officer whose German accent rendered as text is very hard to read. Dick picks up a stocking that falls from a parcel in a passing wagon.
Yeah, in the story, O'Henry does the same thing that I talked about, not enjoying Bram Stoker doing great, I think, in our Dracula or our Bram Stoker behind the scenes. So then Dick happens upon some other itinerant people that he knows they are planning to rob a house. Dick refuses to get involved with this plan and tries to leave, but they are afraid he is going to blow their cover. So they force him to stay there at their camp until the job is done inside the house.
A young girl is sad that one of her newly bought stockings has gone missing. She needed to hang to by the fire, one for Santa and one for Miss your plan B, who she describes as a witch. Gentlemen, who will give you a Christmas payment for all the words you've said, good or ill. I think I like Mr Pourbaix very much.
Yes, I as far as I know, Mr. Bombay is not an actual piece of Cajun folklore, but is someone made up for this story? Yeah, at least based on what I was able to track down. So just then, she is expressing her sadness about all this. There is a crash and it is her missing stocking with a rock stuffed down in the toe. And the rock has a note of warning wrapped around it, written by whistling dick and then hurled through the window from out in the field.
The would be thieves are arrested and whistling. Dick is thanked with a hot Christmas Eve meal and a night in a warm bed before slipping out the window the next morning, just in time to hop on the next train in a Chaparral Christmas gift, which is the greediest of these stories, Rosita McMullin had courted two men, Madison Lane and Johnny McRoy.
She chose Madison and they married on Christmas Day. But Johnny showed up at the wedding and. Try to shoot up the place, yelling a number of threats, including, quote, I'll give you a Christmas present. Years later, Johnny McCurley has become known as the Frio Kid, and he is the region's most feared outlaw. It is Christmas time, and Rosita is worried, as she is every year, that he is coming for revenge.
But everything goes OK. Her husband surprises her dressed up as Santa.
The next morning, everyone learns that a local sheepherder shot the frocked dead in the night and that at the time he was running through the field dressed as Santa.
Christmas by injunction is about a prospector named Cherokee. There's really nothing in the story to indicate whether he is indigenous or whether that is just his name or his nickname. Cherokee had struck gold near the mining town of Yellow Hammer. When that pocket was mined out, he moved north and he struck a vein so rich that he was able to buy toys for all of the children of Yellow Hammer for Christmas. Except there aren't any children in Yellow Hammer. After hearing about this plan, yellow hammers residents go all over the surrounding area trying to find some kids.
Of course, parents are not really inclined to send their kids away with strange minors for Christmas. So the townspeople wind up with just Bobbit, a cigarette smoking, skeptical 10 year old from Granite Junction, whose mother seems flat out exhausted. Cherokee gets the yellow hammer with all these presents and is disappointed to find only this one sullen boy and also kind of embarrassed that it hadn't occurred to him that the town did not have any children. But during his conversation with Bobby, it becomes clear that Cherokee, by surprise to everyone involved, is Bobby's father.
The story ends with the two of them riding off together with Cherokee, saying, quote, half past nine, we'll hit the junction plumb on time with Christmas Day. Are you cold? Sit closer, son. And then, of course, there is the most famous, The Gift of the Magi. Della has only a dollar and 87 cents to buy her husband Jim a Christmas present. So she decides to sell her most prized possession. Her beautiful long hair in this earns her enough money to buy a simple but elegant chain to go with Jim's prized possession, a gold watch that has been passed down through his family when she opens her gift from him.
It is a set of jeweled hair combs, which she had been admiring in a shop window for so long but just couldn't afford. Jim got the money to buy the combs, of course, by selling his gold watch.
O'Henry ends the story this way. Quote, The Magi, as you know, were wise men, wonderfully wise men who brought gifts to the newborn Christ child. They were the first to give Christmas gifts. Being wise, their gifts were doubtless wise ones. And here I've told you the story of two children who were not wise. Each sold the most valuable thing he owned in order to buy a gift for the other. But let me speak a last word to the wise of these days.
Of all who give gifts, these two were the most wise of all, who give and receive gifts such as they are the most wise everywhere they are the wise ones. They are the magi. Not as O'Henry, do you also have a little bit of listener mail? I do. This is from Vaun. This is about quite a quite an older episode. Vonne says, hi, Tracey and Holly, first, I want to thank you for being an amazing resource for those history lovers like myself.
Your podcast has been a lifesaver not only during the last eight months, but during the many years before on Commute's Workout's and the regular three mile walk between my place and my partner's apartment notes. I got him into the podcast. I wanted to let you know that over the last few months, inspired by the podcast, I have tried to trace the travels of Ibn Battuta with food. After we realized travel was out of the question this year, I thought, well, there is one way to see and experience the world.
So after some digging, I found several maps that seemed to trace this journey and cobbled together a list of countries or regions, because, as we know, the current borders are sometimes not accurate. From the time of his travel and for the last four months or so, I have made dishes from about 27 countries for my boyfriend and me. I even did a little game on Instagram, posting photos of the dish and where it was from and ask people to guess what historical figures we were trying to travel with.
Only one person figured it out. It has been a joy, though not for our waistlines. Thank you so much for this inspiration. Coping mechanism, if you would like. I do have a spreadsheet with each country dish and recipe along with notes, because even living in a pretty diverse city like San Francisco, it was hard to find everything needed and I had to improvise a few times. Lastly, Attatched is a pic of my boyfriend and I on our first big trip together to Athens last year.
It was so cool to get back and within a few months here, your series on the Elgin Marbles. Thanks again, and I hope you both are staying safe and well fun. Thank you so much fun. We've gotten a lot of lovely emails lately and I found the whole idea of making like a food tour for yourself while also not traveling because of the ongoing pandemic. I found that to be quite lovely. Oh, so up my alley, like, yes, please do send us all of those marvelous new.
Yes. Oh, and this picture of them is wonderful. Oh, thank you so much. This is great. It warms my heart. Thank you again, Bon for sending this note. It it reminds me, how are you? You recently did a whole endeavor to cook every recipe in the Star Wars Galaxies Cookbook.
I did. I followed along on so many things, so delicious.
So, yeah, I love a little cooking challenge. Yeah. So that's. Yeah. When I say it's right up my alley, I mean it's so thank you again.
Bon. Thank you to everyone who has sent us so many lovely emails lately. If you would like to email us about this or any other podcast for history podcast that I heart radio dot com. We are all over social media at MTT in history. That's where you'll find our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. To be honest, we haven't been great about updating any of these things lately. But there there you can also subscribe to our show on the radio app and Apple podcasts and anywhere else you get your podcast.
Stuff you missed in history class is the production of I Heart Radio for more podcasts from My Heart radio visit by her radio app Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.
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