Stone: A Persian Legend of the Magi

Stone: A Persian Legend of the Magi

by Hofmeyr
     
 

An inspired retelling of the story popularized by Marco Polo.

In the ancient Persian town of Saveh, three wise men see a star like no other. Discovering in their scrolls that it marks the birth of a child destined to bring peace to the world, they set off to find him - Jasper bearing gold for a king; Melchior, myrrh for a healer; and old Balthasar, incense for a

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Overview

An inspired retelling of the story popularized by Marco Polo.

In the ancient Persian town of Saveh, three wise men see a star like no other. Discovering in their scrolls that it marks the birth of a child destined to bring peace to the world, they set off to find him - Jasper bearing gold for a king; Melchior, myrrh for a healer; and old Balthasar, incense for a holy man. After a long journey, they present their gifts to the child and are given a small sealed box. The box contains a stone, and the three men are mystified, until the gift's incredible power is revealed.

Dianne Hofmeyr's story is retold from an account in the thirteenth-century journal of Marco Polo. Matched with Jude Daly's atmospheric watercolors, it is a moving new rendition of a legendary tale.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Attributed to a retelling by Marco Polo, this story is a Persian legend of the Magi. As the tale goes, Balthasar, Melchior and Jasper did indeed follow a star to see the baby, a king who would bring "justice and healing and peace to the world." Jasper wanted to present his gift first, and he was astonished to find that the child was a young man like himself. As the others entered, they also found the child to be like themselves-until they entered together and saw that they had all been wrong, there was only a child. He gives them a single gift in return which they later share with the world.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-6--According to the source notes, this story of the three Magi is based on versions of the tale heard by Marco Polo on his travels. The wise men are amazed by the beautiful star that appears in the night sky. Jasper thinks it's a planet; Melchior, a comet; Balthasar says, "It's a mystery. We must consult our charts and scrolls." They discover the legend of a "baby whose birth would be announced by a star" and decide to find him and honor him with gifts. They give him gold (for a king), myrrh (for a healer), and holy incense (for a holy man). He accepts the gifts and offers one in return. When they discover that it is only a stone, Jasper throws it into a well in disgust. Up bursts a tower of flame--indicating to the Magi that the child is all things: a true king, a healer, and a holy one. The fire will "bring justice and healing and peace into the world." This variant of the Biblical tale of Jesus's birth includes unusual details such as Magi who are more comical than wise, never agreeing about anything, and a baby (unnamed here) who is old enough to return a gift of his own. The message, however, is strong and just right for the season. Daly's luminous watercolors capture the sweep of the desert, the beauty of the night sky, and the gracefully stylized characters. An interesting enhancement to Christmas collections.--AC
Kirkus Reviews
This exquisitely illustrated story spins anew the famous tale of the Magi. It is a retelling of the Persian legend, as told to Marco Polo in the 13th century, whereupon three astronomers, Jasper, Melchior, and Balthasar, who are also healers and holy men, follow a bright star in the sky to witness the birth of a king. Upon greeting the child, the three men present gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh. The child accepts their gifts, but also endows the three men with his own offering, a stone. It proves to be a solid symbol of belief that gives off a fervor of fire. Daly's illustrations perfectly capture the arid landscapes and the starry night sky, and her intriguing perspectives and inventive use of the page combine ancient, simplified forms with more elegant lines. The book has broad appeal, giving a fresh new shape and texture to a familiar story.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780711213203
Publisher:
Lincoln, Frances Limited
Publication date:
09/02/1999
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.02(h) x 0.15(d)

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