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By Courier

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By Courier

by O. Henry

Genre: Comedy
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length:

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising


“Give that letter to the lady,” he said, “and ask her to read it. Tell her that it should explain the situation. Tell her that, if she had mingled a little trust with her conception of the ideal, much heartache might have been avoided. Tell her that the loyalty she prizes so much has never wavered. Tell her I am waiting for an answer.”

The messenger stood before the lady.

“De gent says he’s had de ski-bunk put on him widout no cause. He says he’s no bum guy; and, lady, yer read dat letter, and I’ll bet yer he’s a white sport, all right.”


A one-joke story, but it’s a good joke. A couple is literally not on speaking terms, and they hire a courier to communicate their huffy conversation. The courier’s language is filled with slang and colorful paraphrasing, which is the point of the story, and a lot of fun. After a few (two?) translations, we get the gist, and the joke wears off. Perhaps there’s a trio or quartet of couples/translators you could create, representing various decades or cultures, and run the same story several times over in an evening?


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