The Other Wise Man–Beth Trissel


His name is Artaban, and he may be the little known Fourth Wise Man.

One of my all time favorite Christmas stories is The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke.  I remember sitting in a family circle while my mom, tears in her eyes, read this timeless classic.  A soul-touching Christmas tradition. The Story of the Other Wise Man always makes me cry every time I read, or hear it. Hollywood, it’s high time for a well done, true to character, production of this timeless classic.

And I believe the story may even be true because of the amazing way it came to the author, as if sent by God. Makes me think maybe there really was another wise man.  Whether or not there was, The Magi have always intrigued me. I’d love to know more about them and suspect many of us would. “We Three Kings of Orient Are” is a most popular Christmas Carol. We could adapt that to We Four Kings…I also love the wonderful Christmas musical featuring the wise men, Amahl and the Night Visitors. Time for a remake of that one too. Again, and I can’t emphasize this enough, “Well done.”

But Back to story behind The Other Wise Man.

From Goodreads:

 “1895. American clergyman, educator, and author, Van Dyke explains the origins of the story of the Fourth Wise Man as having arrived suddenly and without labor. One night he saw him distinctly, moving through the shadows in a little circle of light.  His countenance was as clear as the memory of his father’s face. The narrative of his journeyings and trials and disappointments ran without a break. Even certain sentences came complete and unforgettable, clear-cut like a cameo. All that he had to do was to follow Artaban, step by step, as the tale went on, from the beginning to the end of his pilgrimage…”

From Classic Reader:

“You know the story of the Three Wise Men of the East, and how they traveled from far away to offer their gifts at the manger-cradle in Bethlehem. But have you ever heard the story of the Other Wise Man, who also saw the star in its rising, and set out to follow it, yet did not arrive with his brethren in the presence of the young child Jesus? Of the great desire of this fourth pilgrim, and how it was denied, yet accomplished in the denial; of his many wanderings and the probations of his soul; of the long way of his seeking and the strange way of his finding the One whom he sought–I would tell the tale as I have heard fragments of it in the Hall of Dreams, in the palace of the Heart of Man.”

Van Dyke goes on to weave the beautiful story of Artaban, the fourth Wise man, and how he sacrifices his every cherished gift for the Christ child in the service of mankind and, in doing so, ultimately for Christ, The message is profound and badly needed in this wounded world.~

11 responses to “The Other Wise Man–Beth Trissel

  1. One of the best Christmas stories out there.
    Thanks for the article.

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  2. Beth, you always give us such beauty. Thanks for sharing this with us.

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  3. That was very interesting. I have never heard of that story or read the book.
    Sue B

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  4. This sounds like just what we all need! I’ll look for it Beth. Great story!

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  5. Beth, I’ve owned an old copy for a long time. It is indeed a lovely story. And it was filmed some years ago, with Martin Sheen in the title role. Haven’t seen the movie though.
    Happy Christmas.

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  6. Pingback: The Greatest Gift: The Story of the Other Wise Man « hungarywolf

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