"The Ransom of Red Chief" is a short story by O. Henry first published in the July 6, 1907 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. It follows two men who kidnap, and demand a ransom for, a wealthy Alabamian's son. Eventually, the men are driven crazy by the boy's spoiled and hyperactive behavior, and they pay the boy's father to take him back.
The story and its main idea have become a part of popular culture, with many children's television programs depicting versions of the story as one of their episodes. It has also been often used as a classic example of two ultimate comic ironies – a supposed "hostage" actually liking his abductors and enjoying being captured, and his captors getting their just deserts by having the tables turned on them, and being compelled to pay to be rid of him.
Among the most significant works O. Henry: "The Duplicity of Hargraves", "A Retrieved Reformation", "The Cop and the Anthem", "The Gift of the Magi", "The Skylight Room", "After Twenty Years", "Conscience in Art", "The Caballero's Way", "The Last Leaf", "The Third Ingredient", "Makes the Whole World Kin".