"The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry and "The Luck of Roaring Camp" by Bret Harte are inspirational short stories. "The Gift of the Magi" is set during Christmastime, while "The Luck of Roaring Camp" takes place in a California gold mining camp.
Published in 1905, "The Gift of the Magi" is about a poor, young, married couple and their struggle to purchase Christmas gifts for each other. Della sells her hair to pay for a watch chain for Jim, and Jim sells his watch to pay for hair accessories for Della. The story focuses on how much the couple loves each other and what they are willing to sacrifice to make the other happy. The author compares their selfless gifts to the gifts that the wise men gave Jesus at his birth.
"The Luck of Roaring Camp", published in 1868, is about a boy born in a gold mining camp located in the foothills of the California mountains. The boy's mother dies, and the miners raise the child. They believe that he is a good luck charm. The miners stop gambling and fighting, and they even make plans to build a hotel to attract outsiders to the camp. Although the plot ends with the child's death in a flood, the story shows how a child can influence adults to improve their lives.