The Other Wise Man

The Other Wise Man

The Other Wise Man

During this week of Epiphany (Three Kings Day) perhaps you will also think of The Other Wise Man.  This story was written by Rev. Henry Van Dyke. Ordained in 1879 as a Presbyterian minister he spent his first four years in ministry as pastor at the United Congregational Church of Newport, RI.

Van Dyke explains in the preface to his book that after experiencing a year that had been full of sickness and sorrow "It was a gift. It was sent to me; and it seemed as if I knew the Giver, though His name was not spoken".   In the past 120 years the story has been translated into countless languages and is known around the world.

A brief synopsis:    A Magi named Artaban sold his house and all that he owned to buy three jewels to give to the newborn King of the Jews.   However, a stop to help a dying man prevented him from meeting three fellow Maji before they left to follow the star.

For 33 years, Artaban continued to look for the King of the Jews so he could honor him with the jewels he had brought. As he searched he fed the hungry, clothed the naked, healed the sick, and comforted the imprisoned. Unsuccessful in his quest, now old and discouraged he returned to Jerusalem during Passover.

As he moved with the crowd toward Golgotha to see Jesus he is again is forced to make a decision. Should his third and remaining gift for the King of the Jews be given to help a young girl instead? His decision brings “a calm radiance of wonder and joy lighted the pale face of Artaban” (H.V. Dyke, 1895)

A free copy of The Other Wise Man is available at

This story by Henry Van Dyke has been retold for children by Pamela Kennedy with beautiful illustrations by Robert Barrett.

To learn more about Rev. Henry Van Dyke, preacher, teacher and writer go to:  
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