Novels Elementary

The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry

Everything happened in Alabama. Bill Driscoll and Old Hank thought they needed more money. They decided to kidnap a child. People in small towns love their children very much. In such places you can find lazy fat sheriffs who do not like investigating crimes. They found a boy in one of the courtyards. First thing the child threw a stone in the Bill’s eye. With great difficulty, they managed to grab the boy, even though he fought like a bear. The child was taken to a cave, not far from the town. There was already a small supply of food. When Bill returned to the cave, he saw a fire in front of it and the boy with feathers in his hair. Old Hank said they were playing Indians. And that was just the beginning. Bill realized that this child could cause more problems than any adult.

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The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry

It looked like a good thing, but wait until I tell you. Bill Driscoll and I were in Alabama when he had the kidnapping idea. There is a town in Alabama called Summit. The inhabitants of the town were very normal people.

Bill and I had about six hundred dollars. We needed two thousand dollars more for our scheme in Illinois. We discussed everything in front of our hotel.

“Summit is the best place for kidnapping,” I said. “Parents love their children in small towns.”

“And Summit doesn’t have an important newspaper with curious reporters,” said Bill.

The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry

“You’re right. Summit probably has only one lazy sheriff. It looks like the perfect place for kidnapping,” I said.

We chose our victim carefully. He was the only child of an important man named Ebenezer Dorset. Mr Dorset was respectable and stingy. The kid was a boy of ten with red hair.

“I’m sure Ebenezer Dorset will pay the ransom of two thousand dollars for his little boy,” I said to Bill. But wait until I tell you.

About two miles from Summit there was a little mountain and a forest. We found a cave here. It was the perfect hiding place for us. We bought food and drink and put it in the cave.

One evening we passed by the Dorsets’ house with a horse and buggy. The kid was in the street. He was throwing stones at a little cat.

“Hey, little boy!” cried Bill.

The boy threw a stone at Bill’s eye.

“This will cost Mr Dorset five hundred dollars more!” said Bill angrily.

The boy fought like a bear but at last we put him in the buggy. We drove away quickly and took him to the cave. That evening I took the horse and buggy back to the village and then I returned to the cave.

When I arrived there was a camp fire at the entrance of the cave. Bill had some scratches on his face.

The boy had two big feathers in his red hair and said, “Ha! This is the camp of Red Chief, the great Indian warrior!”

“He’s all right now,” said Bill. He was examining some scratches on his legs. “We’re playing Indians. I’m a hunter called Old Hank and I’m Red Chief’s prisoner. He’s going to scalp me early tomorrow morning.”…

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