SantaSearch  |  Operation SantaSearch  |  Contact Us  |  Site Map
.ORG
Thursday, October 23, 2014  |  63 Days Until Christmas
   
holly holly and candycane bar holly
Stories, Poems and Humor
Left Book The Three Travellers
by Hoch, Edward D.
Right Book

Cast Your Vote!


Current Rating
Not Rated

» Rate this resource «
on a scale of 1 to 5,
with 5 being best.


Statistics


Hits: 825
Group: Stories
Language: English



Send some Christmas spirit through your computer with our fun, free e-cards.
Something for everyone from interactive games to crafts and coloring, there's always something to do in our Kids area.



Now the three had journeyed several days when at last they came upon the Oasis of Ziza, and Gaspar who was the wisest of them said, "We will rest our horses here this night. It will be safe."
"Safe for horses and men," Melchior agreed. "But what of the gold?"
"Safe for the gold also. No one knows we carry it."
The sun was low in the western sky as they approached, and Gaspar held up a hand to shield his eyes. It would be night soon.

A young herdsman came out to meet them and take their horses. And he said, "Welcome to the Oasis of Ziza. Have you ridden far?"
"A full moon's journey," Gaspar replied, speaking in the nomadic tongue. "What is your name?"
And the herdsman answered, "They call me Ramoth, sire."
"Here is a gold coin for you, Ramoth. Feed and water our mounts for the journey and another will be yours on the morrow."
"Which way do you travel, sire?"
"Towards the west," Gaspar said, purposely vague.
When the young herdsman had departed with the horses fat Balthazar said, "I am not pleased, Gaspar. You lead us, it is true, but the keeping of the gold is my responsibility. And travellers guided by the heavens would do well to journey by night."
"The desert is cold by night, my friend. Let us cease this bickering and settle ourselves here till the dawn."
Then Melchior and Balthazar went off to put up their tent, and Gaspar was much relieved. It had been a long journey, not yet ended, and he treasured these moments alone. Presently he set off to inspect the oasis where they would spend the night, and he came upon a stranger who wore a sword at his waist.
"Greetings, traveller," the man said. "I am Nevar, of the northern tribe. Do you journey this route often?"
"Not often, no. My name is Gaspar and I come with my two companions from the east."
Nevar nodded, and stroked his great growth of beard. "Later, when the sun is gone, there a are games of chance--and women for those who have the gold to pay."
"That does not interest me," Gaspar said.
"You will find the companionship warming," Nevar said. "Come to the fire near the well. That is where we will be."
Gaspar went on, pausing to look at the beads and trinkets the nomad traders offered. When he reached the well at the far end of the oasis, he saw a woman lifting a great earthen jar to her shoulder. She was little more than a child, and as he watched, the jar slipped from her grasp and shattered against the stones, splashing her with water. She burst into tears.
"Come, child," Gaspar said, comforting her. "There is always another jar to be had."
And she turned her wide brown eyes to him, revealing a beauty he had not seen before. "My father will beat me," she said.
"Here is a gold coin for him. Tell him a stranger named Gaspar bumped you and made the jar break."
"That would not be true."
"But it is true that I am Gaspar. Who are you?"
"Thantia, daughter of Nevar."
"Yes, I have met your father. You are very lovely, my child."
But his words seemed to frighten her, and she ran from him.

Then he returned to the place where Melchior had erected their tent. They had learned from past encampments to leave nothing of value with the horses, and Gaspar immediately asked the location of the gold.
"It is safe," Balthazar told him. "Hidden in the bottom of this grain bag."
"Good. And the perfume?"
"With our regular supplies. No one would steal that."
Melchior chuckled. "If they did, we could smell out the culprits quickly enough!"
And then Balthazar said, "There is gaming tonight, near the well."
"I know," Gaspar replied. "But it is not for us."
The fat man held out his hands in a gesture of innocence. "We could but look," he said.
And Gaspar reluctantly agreed. "Very well."
Later, when the fire had been kindled and the people of Ziza came forth from their tents to mingle, the three travellers joined them. Almost at once Gaspar was sought out by a village elder, a man with wrinkled skin and rotting teeth. "I am Dibon," he said, choosing a seat next to Gaspar. "Do you come from the east?"
"Yes, from Persia."
"A long journey. What brings you this far?"
Gaspar did not wish to answer. Instead, he motioned towards a group of men with small smooth stones before them. "What manner of sport is this?"
"It is learned from the Egyptians, as are most things sinful." Then the old man leaned closer, and Gaspar could smell the foul odour of his breath. "Some say you are a magus."
"I have studied the teachings of Zoroaster, as have my companions. In truth some would consider me a magus."
"Then you journey in search of Mazda?"
"In search of truth," Gaspar replied.

Then he felt the presence of someone towering over him, and saw it was the figure of Nevar. His right hand rested on the sword at his waist. "I would have words with you, Gaspar."
"What troubles you?"
"My only daughter Thantia, a virgin not yet twenty, tells me you gave her a gold coin today."
"Only because I feared the broken water jug was my fault."
"No stranger approaches Thantia! You will leave Ziza this night!"
"We leave in the morning," Gaspar said quietly.
Nevar drew his sword, and Gaspar waited no longer. He flung himself at the big man and they tumbled towards the fire as the game-players scattered. Gaspar pulled Nevar's sword from his grip.
Then Thantia broke from the crowd, running to her father.
"This stranger did me no harm!" she cried out.
"Silence, daughter!" Nevar reached for a piece of burning firewood and hurled it at Gaspar, but it went wide of its mark and landed on a low straw roof nearby.
"The stable!" someone shouted, and Gaspar saw it was the herdsman Ramoth hurrying to rescue the horses. The others helped to quench the flames with water from the well, but not before a quantity of feed and supplies had been destroyed.
Then Gaspar and Melchior went in search of fat Balthazar, who had disappeared during the commotion. They found him behind the row of tents, playing the Egyptian stone game with a half dozen desert-riders. He had a small pile of gold coins before him.
"This must cease!" Gaspar commanded.
The nomads ran at his words, and Balthazar struggled to his feet. "It was merely a game."
"Our task is far more important than mere gaming," Gaspar reminded him, and the fat man looked sheepish. "While you idled I was near killed by the swordsman Nevar."
"A trouble-maker," Balthazar agreed. "I will not rest easy until Ziza is behind us on our journey."
Then as they passed the burned stable on the way to their tent, old Dibon approached them saying, "This ruin is your fault, Gaspar. Yours and Nevar's."
"That is true, old man. We will stay here tomorrow and help rebuild the stable."
Dibon bowed his head. "A generous offer. We thank you."
But when they were alone, Balthazar complained, "This will delay us an entire day!"
"We will travel a distance by night, as you wished."

Now another surprise was waiting at their tent. As Melchior raised the flap to enter, there was a whimper from within. Gaspar pushed past his hesitating companion and lit the oil lamp. By its glow they saw the girl Thantia crouched behind a pile of robes.
"Please!" she gasped. "Please hide me. My father has beaten me and I fear for my life!"
"I fear for ours if he finds you here," Melchior said.
Gaspar held the oil lamp closer and saw the bruises on her face and arms. "We cannot send you back to him. Remain here with Melchior and Balthazar. I will return shortly."
Then he made his way to the place where old Dibon rested, and he told the elder what had happened. Dibon nodded and said, "My daughter and her husband will find room for Thantia until Nevar regains his senses. You were wise to come to me."
Gaspar and his companions delivered the girl to Dibon, and went with them to the dwelling place of Dibon's daughter. Later, in their tent, Balthazar grumbled again about the delayed departure. But they settled down at last to sleep, as the fires of the encampment burned low around them.
In the morning, by the first rays of the rising sun, Gaspar was awakened by Balthazar's panic-filled voice. "Wake quickly, Gaspar!" he pleaded, shaking him. "Someone has stolen our gold!"

Gaspar saw at once that the words were true.
The leather sack of grain contained only grain now. Though the tent showed no sign of forced entry, and though their regular supplies were untouched, the gold had vanished.
"I cannot believe it!" Melchior gasped. "How could a thief have entered while we slept? "
Gaspar agreed such a thing was impossible. "The gold was stolen before we retired last night," he reasoned. "We were away from the tent during the gaming and fire, and again while escorting Thantia. A thief could have entered at either time."
"What of the perfume and incense? " Melchior asked.
"Untouched," Balthazar said. "My special knot is still in place on the other bags."
"Only the gold," Gaspar mused.
"It is truly as if someone knew where to look."
"The girl!" Balthazar exclaimed. "We found her in here! She could have searched for the gold and found it."
"Possible," Gaspar admitted. "But I cannot bring myself to believe it."
"We cannot leave Ziza without the gold," Melchior said.
"Let us put our minds to the problem while we work at the stable," Gaspar said.

Now another surprise was waiting at their tent. As Melchior raised the flap to enter, there was a whimper from within. Gaspar pushed past his hesitating companion and lit the oil lamp. By its glow they saw the girl Thantia crouched behind a pile of robes.
"Please!" she gasped. "Please hide me. My father has beaten me and I fear for my life!"
"I fear for ours if he finds you here," Melchior said.
Gaspar held the oil lamp closer and saw the bruises on her face and arms. "We cannot send you back to him. Remain here with Melchior and Balthazar. I will return shortly."
Then he made his way to the place where old Dibon rested, and he told the elder what had happened. Dibon nodded and said, "My daughter and her husband will find room for Thantia until Nevar regains his senses. You were wise to come to me."
Gaspar and his companions delivered the girl to Dibon, and went with them to the dwelling place of Dibon's daughter. Later, in their tent, Balthazar grumbled again about the delayed departure. But they settled down at last to sleep, as the fires of the encampment burned low around them.
In the morning, by the first rays of the rising sun, Gaspar was awakened by Balthazar's panic-filled voice. "Wake quickly, Gaspar!" he pleaded, shaking him. "Someone has stolen our gold!"

Gaspar saw at once that the words were true.
The leather sack of grain contained only grain now. Though the tent showed no sign of forced entry, and though their regular supplies were untouched, the gold had vanished.
"I cannot believe it!" Melchior gasped. "How could a thief have entered while we slept? "
Gaspar agreed such a thing was impossible. "The gold was stolen before we retired last night," he reasoned. "We were away from the tent during the gaming and fire, and again while escorting Thantia. A thief could have entered at either time."
"What of the perfume and incense? " Melchior asked.
"Untouched," Balthazar said. "My special knot is still in place on the other bags."
"Only the gold," Gaspar mused.
"It is truly as if someone knew where to look."
"The girl!" Balthazar exclaimed. "We found her in here! She could have searched for the gold and found it."
"Possible," Gaspar admitted. "But I cannot bring myself to believe it."
"We cannot leave Ziza without the gold," Melchior said.
"Let us put our minds to the problem while we work at the stable," Gaspar said.

Now when they reached the stable Nevar was already there, toiling with the others. He paused in his labours when he saw the three, and shot an accusing finger at Gaspar. "You have stolen away my daughter. I will revenge myself!"
"Your daughter is safe, in the care of Dibon and his family."
His words quieted Nevar, but Melchior asked, "If he was so concerned, why did he not come after us in the night?"
Balthazar agreed. "Or did he come, and steal our gold away?"
Then presently old Dibon appeared, with the girl Thantia at his side. She cast not a glance in her father's direction, and he went about his work ignoring her. Gaspar laboured diligently through the morning, instructing Dibon and the others in Persian building techniques. He too ignored Nevar, not wanting more trouble.
Once, while Balthazar was off to the well for water, Melchior whispered, "Is it possible that our companion betrays us, Gaspar? Might he have stolen the gold himself to cover his losses at the stone game?"
But Gaspar would hear none of it. "We must never doubt each other, Melchior. In my heart I know Balthazar is innocent, as I know you are innocent. And I remember the scene at the stone game. There were gold coins in front of him. He was winning, not losing."
"How will we recover the gold, Gaspar?"
"Through the power of our minds, Melchior. We are wise men, and we must use our minds to determine the thief's identity."
"But there is no clue to his identity!"
"Sometimes the lack of a clue can be one."
Balthazar returned with the water and they drank eagerly. Later as they ate of their supplies, Thantia came to them. "I thank you for helping me," she said. "The elders have spoken to my father and he has promised never again to beat me. I will return to him now."
"We need no thanks," Gaspar assured her.
Then old Dibon came to join them. "How may we repay you for your work on the stable?"
"You may recover our stolen gold," Balthazar blurted out.
"Gold? Stolen gold?"
"It was stolen from our tent," Balthazar hurried on, before Gaspar could silence him.
"There are no thieves in Ziza!"
"There is one."
"I will summon the elders. We will search for your gold."
"No, no," said Gaspar. "We will recover it."
"But how?"
"By finding the thief. It is best to say nothing and catch him off guard."
Old Dibon bowed his head. "I will do as you suggest."
"One favour. Could you ask that our horses be brought to us? We must appear to be leaving."
Then, as they waited, Balthazar gathered their supplies. And Melchior said, "I have put my mind to the problem, Gaspar. But there are too many possibilities. The girl Thantia could be the thief, or her father Nevar. Or any of the game players."
"Or old Dibon himself, " Balthazar added. "There are too many to suspect."
Gaspar nodded. "What is needed is an oracle."
"You mean to kill a beast as the Romans do?"
Gaspar shook his head. "My oracle will be a living animal." He saw the herdsman Ramoth leading their horses. "My steed will tell me who has our gold."
"Your horse?" fat Balthazar laughed. "Who learns anything from a dumb animal?"
Gaspar held out some grain for the horse. "You see how he eats? He is hungry."
"What does that tell us?" Melchior asked.
"That our gold was stolen by Ramoth!"

It was after Dibon spoke to Ramoth that the young herdsman confessed his crime and begged forgiveness. When the missing gold had been returned to Gaspar's hands, the others questioned him.
"How did you know it was Ramoth?" Melchior asked. "We barely spoke to the youth. "
"My horse told me, as I told you he would. The horse was hungry, so had not been fed. You see, the thief never touched our other supplies, never unfastened Balthazar's special knot. How could he have found the gold so easily, without searching for it? But the gold was hidden in a sack of grain, and after the fire destroyed the stable, Ramoth came in search of feed for our horses. He came while we were away, and looked in only one place--the grain bag. Feeling the weight of it, his fingers reached through the grain and came upon the gold. He stole it, but then could not take the grain lest we realize he was the thief. So the horses went hungry."
"You are a wise man, Gaspar," Balthazar conceded.
"As we all are. Come, let us mount."
"It will be dark soon," Melchior said.
Gaspar nodded. "We will get bearings from the star."
Dibon was by the well to wish them farewell. "Ramoth will be punished," he promised.
"Show mercy," Gaspar said.
"Do you ride west with your gold?"
"West with gifts for a King. Gold and frankincense and myrrh."
"Good journey," Dibon said.
He watched them for a long time, until the three vanished from sight over the desert wastes.



Printer Friendly Page




If you suspect a misspelling, omission or other error in the above, please contact us describing the suspected error so that we can correct it.

If you're seeking help with locating a Holiday favorite, we invite you to join our Christmas Community Forums, where you can post a request for assistance in Christmas Stories, Poetry and Humor.

More resources can be found under Stories & Poetry and Humor in our Christmas Directory.




Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

Like this site? Share it.
Share |

holly holly and candycane bar holly
Like this site?
Share it.

Santa's Library

Browse by Title
A B C D E F G
H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U
V W X Y Z    
Browse by Author
A B C D E F G
H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U
V W X Y Z    
Our Favorite Links
More resources can be found under Stories & Poetry and Humor in our Christmas Directory.

Grab a parent and write your letter to Santa!
Click here to browse Christmas music, songs and lyrics.



All external sites will open in a new browser. SantaSearch does not endorse external sites.

© Copyright 1996 - 2014 SantaSearch. All Rights Reserved.
All Toon images are copyright © 1997 - 2014 Ron Leishman.
No images may be resold or redistributed without prior written permission from Ron Leishman and SantaSearch.
Terms under which this service is provided to you. Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
v2.3