The Story of the Other Wise Man, by Henry Van Dyke
(Adapted for older children by LD McKenzie)
You all know the story of the three wise men from the east, who followed an unusual star to bring gifts to the baby Jesus
But have you ever heard the story of the other wise men, and his particular journey….?
Long ago when Herod ruled Jerusalem, there lived a wise man in a kingdom to the east called Persia. His name was Artaban.
Artaban was one of a group of scholars who studied the old books of wisdom and the stars. They were doctors as well. They
were called Magi, and people thought of them as wise men.
Artaban and three of his friends had seen a new star. The old books said the star meant a new king would come from the land
of Israel. They knew this was important. Artaban has sold the palace he lived in and everything he owned to purchase three
gifts fit for a king. The gifts were a beautiful blue sapphine, a radiant red ruby and a glistening white pearl.
His friends had begun the trip just before he did. Artaban stayed to say goodbye to his father, then he rode off on his favourite
horse to join them.
He rode very fast for many days to catch up with them at the meeting place. He had to stop when he saw a sick men lying in
the road. Even though he really wanted to see the King, Artaban knew that since he was a doctor, he just had to stay and
help this sick man.
After the sick man got better, Artaban finally made it to the meeting place. But his friends were gone. They had left a note
saying, “We can’t wait any longer. We have to find the King. Follow us across the desert.”
Artaban had to go back home and sell one of his jewels, the blue sapphire, to buy food and camels for the journey across the
desert. At least he still had his other two jewels for the King.
Finally he arrived in Bethlehem. He met a woman with a baby, who said three visitors had been there, they followed a star,
and had left precious gifts for another baby. But the baby’s family had been warned not to stay so they had left for
While Artaban and the lady talked, and her baby slept, soldiers caused a commotion in the street. The mother was worried
the soldiers would take her baby away. So Artaban met the soldiers at the door and gave them a ruby to make them go away.
They went away, and the baby was safe. And at least Artaban still had his pearl for the King.
Artaban searched for many more years for the King. So many years passed that Artaban became an old man with grey hair. He
traveled through many countries. Along the way he gave medicine and care to many people.
He found himself back in Israel. It was a sad time. People told him three robbers had died. One of them had been called “the
King of the Jews.”
Artaban wondered if this King might have been the one he was looking for. Artaban was sad them he had looked for so long and
might never get to see him.
While he stood wondering, soldiers were leading a woman to jail. Artaban threw his pearl to the soldiers, his last gift for
the King. It was still the right thing to do.
Then Artaban heard a quiet peaceful voice. The voice said:
“Artaban, every time you helped someone who was sick or scared, you helped me.”
Then Other Wise Man knew he had found the King, and given the King his precious gifts.