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The Ransom of Red Chief

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  5,293 ratings  ·  173 reviews
Starters are an introductory level to the new Oxford Bookworms Library, suitable for readers in their first or second years of learning English. The Starters series are original stories in a variety of formats: narrative, interactive, and comic strip. They contain glossaries and exercises and are carefully graded in structure and vocabulary. Cassettes are available for som ...more
32 pages
Published February 8th 2001 (first published January 1st 1907)
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,293 ratings  ·  173 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
It has been a long time since I have read a short by O. Henry. Reading this reminded me of how much I enjoyed this author. His writing is both literary and amusing. In this one s kidnapping for random goes awry, but not through the fault of the kidnappers. Too funny.

Another web freebie
Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈
December buddy read with my non-crunchy pantsless group of crazies.
I have a very temperamental relationship with this author. At times, I read things he's written and I'm like:

And other times I'm like

With Ransom of Red Chief I was like

O. Henry is notorious for writing short stories with a twist ending. Sometimes the twist is satirical, sometimes comical, sometimes ironic. In this case it was flat out hysterical. Two men decide to kidnap the son of a weal
Oziel Bispo
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dois homens na pindaíba resolvem sequestrar um garoto para conseguirem algum dinheiro....Pra que! O garotinho é uma peste! Agora vcs podem imaginar o que vai acontecer a esses pobres sequestradores... muito divertido. Assistam também o filme aqui
Kathy Kaylor
Apr 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I know this kid! Wait, I married him.
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Chrissie by: Diane S ☔
Shelves: linked, usa, short, classics, kids
Free online link to the story here:

More for a kid than an adult. Read it to your son or grandchild maybe.
Jason Koivu
Jun 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Two men kidnap a kid, but before they can ransom him the men are driven crazy by the boy's antics and adhd level of energy, and end up paying the boy's father to take him back. Good solid humor in the Twain vein.
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, to-own
So funny!! It was a short fresh story, I loved it :D
Sep 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This short story is quick and to the point, and absolutely hilarious! Red Chief is such a cruel little boy, but you can't help but pity him because he's so distant from his father. How O. Henry came up with such an evil little boy and yet straight forward theme is beyond my understanding.
Feb 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
Loved this story as a kid when my Dad would read it aloud on family trips. Even better as a parent. Read this one!
John Yelverton
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A hilarious story that is fun for every child and parent who reads this.
May 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry

You Must Read This: it is short, but packed full with fabulous, uproarious moments!!
This is hilarious and one of the funniest short stories I have read in quite a while.
“It looked like a good thing: but wait till I tell you. “
You are warned from the start and the plot is revealed in the next couple of sentences: Bill Driscoll and the narrator plan to kidnap a boy, who turns out to be Winnetou, Old Shatterhand and Dracula all mixed into one.
This brought to my m
Sep 08, 2016 rated it liked it
This was nice and well-written. Plus it was funny! I would say the humor compelled me to add another star to the rating.
The certain descriptions of the little boy the two men kidnapped and his numerous role-playing games he wanted to play eventually weakened the men, which was funny!
Our mains Sam and Bill create an enjoyable dynamic commonly found in stories much like this. Sam was the small, mellow "brain" of the duo and Bill is the big fat brute, albeit easily scared by a ten year-old kid. It
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
The idea of two kidnappers snatching a 10-year-old (who turns the tables on them) is the kind of hilarity HOME ALONE took full advantage of. But this farce, short as it is at 15 pages, runs out of gas very very soon. The boy is just pure evil and it boggles the mind that, unlike Joe Pesci, none of these bumbling criminals attempt to cause their "victim" actual harm. O. Henry's famous for his twist endings—in this case neither the story nor the ending make much sense. Yet it is hard not to enjoy ...more
Oct 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is one of my favorite short stories. Anyone who has children can appreciate this because I think that there hasn't been a time when we haven't thought like the father in this story. It is one of the funniest stories I have ever read.
Daisy Paquet
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had to read this for school... this is possibly the best school reading I have ever had.


This is hilarious and I recommend you all read it straightaway- no delaying, now, my minions. Humor me, mortals!
Alexis Russell
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, classics
I really loved this short story! It was very humorous. It was different than the movie but that's to be expected from a 90 minute movie and a 9 page story. Regardless, I love them both and I'm happy that I gave this a go for my AP Literature course!
Jithin James
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing

An outright 5*!! :)
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite short story and a must read for anyone who works with children!
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious! Having two sons of my own, it's not even that far fetched!
Sequan Dozier
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
im still reading but so far so good
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Saqui for the recommendation!!
Mar 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This story is hilarious!!!!
Avery Joy
Jul 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: school-15-16
I just read this poem for school...I really liked it! (I didn't actually read this exact book at just was handed a print out of the poem)
Anne (w/ an E)
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story :D
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really loved this short story! Probably true for many a rambunctious child, some of I think of in my own home.
Cyndi Goodgame
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love and laugh at this story.
Marshall Wayne Lee
"The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry receives 4 stars based on the delightful story, and excellent writing.

It is worth the short time to read it!
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it
It was a good enjoyable story, but I would not put it at par with other O'Henry books I've read. The ending was predictable, which to me was the main downfall of this short story. This story, unlike other O'Henry stories failed to surprise me with the ending. But it was still an enjoyable ,humorous read.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Title: The Ransom of Red Chief

Author: O. Henry

Published: 1910

Genre: Short Story, Fiction

Summary: Sam and Bill had a good idea to make some quick cash. At least they thought it was a good idea at first. They soon learn of their foolishness. It goes like this, they are con men and they need some more money for one of their schemes so they decided to kidnap the son of a wealthy man in a small town in Alabama. This seems to work fine until they learn what a terror the child is. He is 10 and all bu
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William Sydney Porter lends the pen name "O. Henry" to surprise endings signed officially as Sydney Porter. His biography shows where he found inspiration for his characters. Their voices and his language were products of his era.

He was born 1862 Greensboro, North Carolina. When he was three years old, his mother died from tuberculosis. He left school at fifteen, worked five years in his uncle's d