Short Stories About Giving

Giving and a desire to give are an important part of the plots of these stories.

They also feature characters who have a generous spirit or show generosity to others.

A Work of Art | Anton Chekhov

A doctor saves the life of a boy, the only son of his mother. They are poor bronze dealers, so they have no money to pay. To express their deep gratitude, the boy presents the doctor with an antique bronze work of art. It’s not to the doctor’s taste.

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The Gift of the Magi | O. Henry

A poor, married couple tries to figure out how to get each other a nice Christmas present.

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The Spirit of Giving | Maxine Chernoff

A woman sends her anthropologist sister an Eskimo calendar which she doesn’t like.

A Christmas Memory | Truman Capote

A young boy, “Buddy”, lives with various relatives including his elderly, distant cousin who is his best friend. The family is poor, but “Buddy” and his cousin save their pennies each year for some special holiday food and to buy a present for each other.

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If Not Higher | I. L. Peretz

Rabbi Nemirov disappears every Friday morning, causing concern and curiosity among his followers. One of them decides to find out what the rabbi is doing by hiding in his room and then following him.

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Christmas Gift | Robert Penn Warren

A ten-year-old boy has to go into town to find a doctor for his sister, who is having a baby.

“Christmas Gift”

Baker’s Helper | Cynthia Anderson

A young woman goes to Jimmy’s bakery every day to look at the freshly-made products. She is very thin and never eats anything.

Read “Baker’s Helper”

The Son from America | Isaac Bashevis Singer

A Jewish man who went to America when he was fifteen returns to his home village in Poland forty years later. He has become a millionaire and has been sending his parents money every month and now plans on helping them more.

Read “The Son from America”

The Rocking-Horse Winner | D. H. Lawrence

A middle-class woman, successful but perpetually short of money, lives with her two children. She is unlucky, but her son isn’t: when he rides his rocking-horse, he’s able to work himself into a state where he can pick the winner of a horse race. He willingly gives his earnings to his mother.

Read “The Rocking-Horse Winner”

Neighbour Rosicky | Willa Cather

Anton Rosicky is a sixty-five-year old Nebraska farmer. He is told by his doctor that he has to stop doing heavy farm labor. Anton reflects on his life of hard work and his family.

Read “Neighbour Rosicky”