A tale of philanthropy gone bad.
November 12, 2008 3:16 PM   Subscribe

Looking for the name of a classic short story about a person returning to their hometown and giving people gifts that unintentionally do more harm than good.

I remember reading a short story in junior high school about a person who returns to their hometown and gives the people there gifts that unintentionally cause harm. The only gift that I can remember is that the town drunk was given a bottle of very good booze and it caused alcohol poisoning because the local doctor had been watering down the drunk's booze for years. The rest of the gifts have similar consequences. I think that it is a classic American short story but it has been almost 40 years since I have read the story so I could be mistaken.
posted by calumet43 to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Can't track down the story, but it sounds like it could be O. Henry to me. Now I'm intrigued.
posted by hue at 9:18 PM on November 12, 2008

Is that Twain's "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg"? I haven't read it in twenty years, but that seems to ring a bell: http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/3251
posted by wenestvedt at 6:26 AM on November 13, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies. I know it is not O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" and it isn't "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg." The point of the story was more along the line of, just because you think that someone would enjoy a particular gift doesn't mean that it would be good for them or that they want it.
posted by calumet43 at 9:57 AM on November 13, 2008

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