That was a popular commonplace entry from the teens in our recent short story reading group. We finished off our reading group with Henry Van Dyke’s classic short story The Other Wise Man. It’s a favorite of mine and capped off the course on a hopeful, adventish note. It’s the fictionalized story of a fourth wise man, Artaban, who follows the star to Jerusalem with the three other wise men. He carries with him a ruby, sapphire, and pearl to bestow upon the new king.
Then I was in a small antique shop in Mountain Lake a few weeks ago and found this precious copy. (So many of Van Dyke’s works are in stunning, pocket-sized editions. I’m a fan.) The edition I have (Harper & Brothers Publishers, frontispiece from a painting by Cleveland L. Woodward) has an interesting preface where he describes how the story came to him.
I do not know where it came from- out of the air, perhaps. One thing is certain, it is not written in any other book, nor is it to be found among the ancient lore of the East. And yet I have never felt as if it were my own. It was a gift. It was sent to me; and it seemed as if I knew the Giver, though His name was not spoken.
It is an excellent read-aloud for Christmas and was meticulously researched by Van Dyke to be as authentic to the age as possible. Here is a stunning, illuminated copy for download – free!
For even more book recommendations, here are all my posts about Advent and Christmas books:
What to Read For Christmas
On Christmas Traditions and Books
Good King Wenceslas
The Canticle of the Bees
Longing and Waiting
Christmas Books 2014
Simple and Holy: Favorite Advent Readings