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The Story of the Other Wise Man (1895)

by Henry Van Dyke

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1,3171914,500 (4.07)27
Story of Artaban, the "fourth wise man", who sold all he possessed and bought three jewels to present to the Christ-child. He could not have predicted how his eventful journey would end.

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» See also 27 mentions

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100.00 ( )
  Mary_Charlotte | Oct 4, 2023 |
What a wonderful little book. It has become one of my Christmas favorites, right along with "A Christmas Carol". ( )
  MickeyMole | Oct 2, 2023 |
A short, though dated prose is a quick read in the holiday season. ( )
  Huba.Library | Nov 1, 2022 |
I had forgotten how moving and perfect this short story was. It encapsulates Christmas and all of its original meaning, and it reminds us without doubt that we are meant to worship through service to others.

Artaban answers the call of the prophecy that a king is to be born. Before his departure, his father says to him, ”But it is better to follow even the shadow of the best than to remain content with the worst. And those who would see wonderful things must often be ready to travel alone.” And Artaban does find himself traveling alone and facing the dilemma of how best to serve his God.

He encounters three trials that force him to choose between seeing the King he seeks and helping a person in mortal danger. All three times, he choses to help the human being.

”Only God the merciful knows whether I shall not lose the sight of the King because I tarried to show mercy.”

“I have spent for man that which was meant for God.

“And is not love the light of the soul?”

Artaban feels he has missed seeing the King, but he has seen Him far more clearly than the three of his brethren who complete the journey at Bethlehem. He arrives a moment too late in Jerusalem, but with Christ we cannot be too late, for He is with us and our journey is His. That Artaban receives his reward as he does in the end brought me to absolute tears.

Artaban endures three trials, and students of the Bible know that three is a very significant number. Not just because of the trinity, but also at many other junctures. Daniel prayed three times a day, Satan tempted Christ three times and was rejected, Christ prayed three times at Gethsemane, He rose from the grave after three days. There are many more examples, but Van Dyke did not choose the three gems or the three trials meaninglessly, they are meant to reflect Christ’s story as much as Artaban’s.

What a wonderful story and how special to read it at Christmas and remember why this season has so much importance for me.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
Mrs. S. B. Williams, Onttanagan, MI
  struckwi | Mar 22, 2022 |
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Who seeks for heaven alone to save his soul
May keep the path, but will not reach the goal;
While he who walks in love may wander far,
Yet God will bring him where the blessed are.
Wise men seek Him still today,

  Coming from afar

Wisdom ever leads their way

  Leaves her gate ajar.

Seek Him, then, from far or near;

  Come this Child to see,

Wisdom Leads and draws you here,

  Who would wise men be.

   - H.M.H.
First words
In the days when Augustus Caesar was master of many kings and Herod reigned in Jerusalem, there lived in the city of Ecbatana, among the mountains of Persia, a certain man named Artaban, the Median.
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Story of Artaban, the "fourth wise man", who sold all he possessed and bought three jewels to present to the Christ-child. He could not have predicted how his eventful journey would end.

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