The Story of Other Wise Man

by Henry Van Dyke

Hardcover, 2008



Call number

813 VAN



Call number

813 VAN




Because he is helping others, a fourth Wise Man delays journeying with the other Magi to see the newborn Jesus, but thirty-three years later he has an unusual opportunity to meet his Savior.


Paraclete Press (2008), Edition: Revised ed., 48 pages

Original publication date



1557256101 / 9781557256102


(66 ratings; 4)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Jean_Sexton
I don't know how I missed this short novel/long short story until now. The legend was mentioned in a Christmas special I was watching and I searched it to see if there were more. I found this and I am so glad I did.

The version I read was the original one, transcribed through Project Gutenberg. It definitely shows its Victorian roots in its flowery language. I think sometimes I am a misplaced Victorian spinster, so I loved it. The descriptions transported me to an earlier time.

This is certainly a Christmas story and as such it does have a message, but it far transcends finding the baby Jesus. Would that we could all live the life Artaban lived. I did need a tissue at the end, but I get emotional easily.

Who would like it? Anyone who loves Christmas. It isn't that long and could easily be read to your family, should you wish to start a tradition.
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LibraryThing member Homeschoolbookreview
Nearly everyone is familiar with the story of the Wise Men who brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus. Tradition numbers them at three and names them Caspar, Melchoir, and Balthazar. But did you know the story of “The Other Wise Man”? Artaban, a leader of the Persian Magi, learns from heavenly signs that the time is at hand for the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy about the birth among the Hebrews of a holy Prince and Deliverer of Man. Hastening to join three fellow Magi for the long journey into Judaea, he pauses to help a dying man in Babylon and is left behind. And so Artaban begins his pilgrimage alone.
Artaban then makes it to Bethlehem but finds that he has just missed both his friends and the young child. But before he can hope to catch up with Joseph, Mary, and their child on their way to Egypt, he stops to assist a mother whose child is in danger of being killed by Herod’s troops. After searching for His quest in Egypt and not finding it, he then travels from place to place, visiting the oppressed, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, tending the sick, and comforting the captive. After 33 years, he ends up, an aged, white-haired man, in Jerusalem on the day of the Passover. Just as he thinks that he might find the object of his search who is being led away to be crucified, he is beseeched by a young girl from his native Parthia who is being sold into slavery to pay her father’s debts. Will he ever see the King for whom He has looked these many years?
Henry Jackson van Dyke (1852–1933) was a Presbyterian minister, professor at Princeton University, President Woodrow Wilson’s ambassador to the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and a noted author who wrote the hymn, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” set to the “Ode to Joy” theme from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Van Dyke said, "I do not know where this little story 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, and it seemed to me as if I knew the Giver." He first read The Story of The Other Wise Man aloud to his New York congregation after writing it and then had it published in written form. It is, in essence, a parable that shows what seeking for Jesus in life is really all about. We did it as a family read aloud, and everyone was moved by the story.
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
A wonderful and heartwarming story. It examines our hearts and motives and those which God values.
I expected this to be a sappy, sentimental story. Instead, I discovered a touching parable. So glad I found it in the hotel to read (the Weaverville Hotel, in Weaverville, CA, has an exceptional bookshelf to borrow from). Two thoughts from the book which deserve pondering:
"Who seeks for heaven alone to save his soul
May keep the path, but not reach the goal;
While he who walks in love may wander far,
Yet God will bring him where the blessed are."
"Is a lie ever justifiable? Perhaps not. But may it not sometimes seem inevitable? And if it were a sin, might not a man confess it, and be pardoned for it more easily than for the greater sin of spiritual
selfishness, or indifference, or the betrayal of innocent blood?"
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LibraryThing member rscotts
A marvelously told tale of the other wiseman who was too late to travel with his friends to find the baby Jesus; he ended up finding what he was searching for in an unexpected way.
LibraryThing member TerriS
I read this short book/story for a challenge "a book set during Christmas." But it turned out to have a deeper and really nice message :)
LibraryThing member wichitafriendsschool
This title is suitable for ages 4 to 8 years. Henry Van Dyke wrote "The Other Wise Man" in 1896, and since that time, this enduring classic has woven its mystical appeal for countless children and adults. Here Pamela Kennedy retells the story for the young reader, making it easy to understand, while retaining the magic of Van Dyke's words. Robert Barrett's rich oil paintings create a tapestry of colour that adds to the mystery of the ancient world.… (more)
LibraryThing member NadineC.Keels
"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."

Artaban is all prepared to join three of his Magi companions to go and present gifts to a new King whose coming is declared by the heavens. But Artaban's trip encounters delays, profoundly altering his quest in The Story of the Other Wise Man by author Henry van Dyke.

I'd never heard of this classic before I came across it some weeks ago. No, it didn't hold groundbreaking revelations or unimaginable surprises for me.

But even having a good idea ahead of time about where such a tale would go didn't stop the tale from being beautiful to me. Beautiful in its atmospheric detail as well as in its compelling message about what's important to the King. Yes, the story has some old-fashioned quirks, like the fact that some of the characters speak in "King James" now and then, but the message itself is timeless.

Not at all hard to see why this tale is indeed a classic.
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LibraryThing member mhatchett
Can't say enough about this book. It is the truth about living a good, meaningful life.


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