Last Leaf

Pages: 8 (1416 words) Published: October 21, 2012
In the 1890s, many artists lived in Greenwich Village, in

One morning, the doctor spoke quietly to Sue outside
Johnsy’s room.

New York City.
Sue and Johnsy were artists. The two girls met each

‘I can’t help her,’ the doctor said. ‘She is very sad. She

other in the month of May, at a restaurant in Greenwich

doesn’t want to live. Someone must make her happy again.


What is she interested in?’

‘I’m from the State of Maine,’ Sue said to Johnsy. ‘I draw

‘She’s an artist,’ Sue replied. ‘She wants to paint a picture of the Bay of Naples.’

pictures for stories in magazines.’
‘I’m from California,’ Johnsy said to Sue. ‘But I want to go to Italy. I want to paint a picture of the Bay of Naples!’ The two girls talked happily for an hour – about art, about

‘Painting!’ said the doctor. ‘That won’t help her!’ The doctor left the apartment.
Sue went into her own room and she cried quietly for a
few minutes. Then she picked up her drawing board and

clothes, about food.
Soon after their first meeting, Sue and Johnsy moved
into a studio apartment together. Their rooms were at the
top of an old brick house in Greenwich Village.
In December, it was very cold in New York. Snow fell

some pencils. She started to sing a happy song and walked
into Johnsy’s room.
Johnsy lay silently in her bed. Her face was thin and
white. She was looking towards the window.

and there was ice in the ground. Many people in the city

‘Johnsy is asleep,’ Sue thought.

became ill. The illness was called pneumonia. The doctors

She stopped singing and she sat down in a corner of the

tried to help the sick people, but many of them died.

room. Then she started to draw a picture for a magazine.

That month, Johnsy had pneumonia. She was very ill.

Suddenly, Sue heard a quiet sound. She went quickly to the

She lay in her bed and she did not move. A doctor visited

side of the bed. Johnsy’s eyes were open. She was looking

her every day. But Johnsy was not getting better.

out of the window and she was speaking quietly.


O. Henry, The Last Leaf and Other Stories. ISBN 3-19-002712-9

‘Twelve,’ Johnsy said. A little later, she said ‘eleven’. Then

Johnsy was still looking at the vine. ‘There are only four

she said ‘ten’. Then ‘nine’. And then she said ‘eight’ and

leaves now,’ she said. ‘I don’t want any soup. The last leaf

‘seven’ almost together. She was counting backwards.

will fall soon.’

What was Johnsy looking at? What was she counting?
Sue looked out of the window.

‘Johnsy, dear,’ Sue said. ‘Please close your eyes and go to sleep. I have to finish this drawing by tomorrow. And I

Outside the window, Sue saw the brick wall of the next
house. An old vine grew against the wall. There were very
few leaves on its branches.

don’t want you to look at those leaves any more.’
Johnsy closed her eyes. ‘But I want to watch the last
leaf,’ she said again. ‘It will fall soon. The leaves are tired.

‘Six,’ Johnsy said. ‘They’re falling faster. Three days ago, there was almost a hundred. Ah, there goes another! There
are only five now.’

I’m tired too. I want to die.’
‘Please try to sleep,’ Sue said. ‘I’m going to talk to Behrman for a minute. I must have a model for my drawing.

‘Five? What are you talking about, Johnsy?’ Sue asked.
‘Please tell me.’

Behrman will be my model.’
Old Behrman lived downstairs. He was also an artist, but

‘There are only five leaves on the vine now,’ said Johnsy. ‘The last leaf will fall soon and then I’ll die. Didn’t the doctor tell you about the leaves?’

he had never painted a good picture. He was sad about this
and he was angry about it too.
‘One day, I will paint a wonderful picture,’ Behrman often

‘Don’t say that! You’re not going to die!’ Sue said. ‘You’re going to get better. The doctor told me that this...
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