Katrin Prentice Катрин Прентис, Accredited Senior Coach (IIC&M), DipNMC ICR LogoУправяващ директор на Палитри Интернешънъл ООД t/a Noble Manhattan Bulgaria Greece and MacedoniaТМ Катрин е първият български ‘Старши Коуч’, акредитиран от Международния Институт по Коучинг и Менторинг (International Institute of Coaching and Mentoring), с над 1000 часа опит работа с индивидуални клиенти. Като коуч преди всичко специализира в областта на житейската динамика и помага на клиентите си с казуси, свързни с баланса работа/живот, избора на кариера, взаимоотношенията с други хора, управлението на времето, постигането на успех на работното място, благосъстоянието на духа, ума и здавето, вземането на важни решения, и т.н. Катрин има осем годишен опит като коуч на екипи в неправителствени организации в 9 страни на Източна Европа. Живяла е 7 години в Унгария и 12 години в Румъния. Пътеката на нейния личен и професионален живот води през 22 различни държави, давайки й богат опит с работа в международна и много-национална среда. Участвала е в организирането и провеждането на обучения в няколко държави, сред които Румъния, Хърватска, Албания, Унгария, Германия, Украйна и др, на теми като личностно консултиране, развитие на човешкия потенциал, P.R., вътрешно-организационен коучинг и мениджмънт на екипи по проекти с идеална цел. През 2011 инициира дейността на Noble Manhattan Ltd в България и в момента е управляващ директор на Нобъл Манхатан България. Катрин е ментор-коуч, както и един от тренерите от преподавателският екип на Noble Manhattan Coaching. Тя е мотивиращ лектор, с вътрешен заряд и енергия, който лесно грабва и въодушевява аудиторията. Съ-автор е на e-книгата „21 Affirmations for Attracting Abundance” http://www.coachingreallyworks.com/gift. Катрин е също така Регионален Директор на The ALPHA Group в София. The Alpha Group is the most effective business growth tool available to Owners and Managing Directors of Small and Medium Enterprises. If you are serious about dominating your market and tripling your Value in two years, The Alpha Group is the right place for you. ** What Does Joining The Alpha Group give me as an SME Owner? 10 benefits you can get as a start out of your monthly mastermind meetings and your new extended board: 1. Enjoy support to help develop and crystallize your company vision 2. Brainstorm strategies and sharpen your focus for long-term benefits 3. Tackle hairy current issues with advice from experienced, like-minded business leaders 4. Learn new techniques and skills for creative problem-solving leading to a broader perspective 5. Open your eyes to new alternative management methods 6. Acknowledge that your issues need not be faced alone and decisions have been fully investigated 7. Revel in your new board of advisers who will become friends and mentors but most importantly, they will hold you accountable 8. Accept the help you can get to make decisions necessary to lead your business to where you want it 9. Thrive on renewed optimism and motivation 10. Keep on learning, giving and growing ALPHA-logoThe Alpha Group in Sofia meets every second Wednesday of the month, starting with November 12, 2014. To find out more information about the ALPHA Group and join the Alpha Launch on Nov 12 at preferential conditions, contact Katrin NOW at katrin.prentice@the-alpha-group.biz       Click here to BOOK Your Session NOW BENEFITS of coaching: To the individual: • clearer goals and objectives • greater self-awareness • improved ability to deal with change • increased confidence and self-reliance • improved ability to work independently • greater inner joy from living in alignment with one’s values • increased motivation and commitment To an organisation As far as the organization is concerned, there are obvious advantages in having motivated employees, committed to achieving clear goals and improving performance. Coaching can be used to complement other training and development initiatives. For example, it can be used to follow up training courses and help people to implement what they have learned. Since much learning which takes place on courses can dissipate as soon as the person gets back to work, using coaching to ensure the transfer of learning can greatly increase the Return on Investment in training.

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Christmas is for love. It is for joy, for giving and for sharing, for laughter, for reuniting with family and old friends, for tinsel and brightly decorated packages. But mostly it is for love. I had not believed this until a small elf-like student with wide, innocent eyes and soft rosy cheeks gave me a wondrous gift one Christmas.

Mark was an 11-year-old orphan who lived with his aunt—a bitter middle-aged woman greatly annoyed with the burden of caring for her dead sister’s small son. She never failed to remind young Mark that, but for her generosity, he would be a vagrant homeless waif. Still, with all the scolding and chilliness at home, he was a sweet and gentle child.

I had not noticed Mark particularly until he began staying after class each day (at the risk of arousing his aunt’s anger, I later found) to help me straighten up the classroom. We did this quietly and comfortably, not speaking much, but enjoying the solitude for that hour of the day. When we did talk, Mark spoke mostly about his mother. Though he was quite small when she died, he remembered a kind, gentle, loving woman, who always spent much time with him.

As Christmas grew nearer, however, Mark failed to stay after school each day. I looked forward to his coming, and when, as the days passed, he continued to scamper hurriedly from the room after class, I stopped him one afternoon and asked why he no longer helped me in the room.

“I miss being with you, Mark. Is something wrong at home?”

Those large gray eyes eagerly lit up. “Did you really miss me?”

“Yes, of course. You’re my best helper.”

“I was making you a surprise for Christmas,” he whispered confidentially.

With that, he became embarrassed and dashed from the room. He didn’t stay after school anymore after that.

Finally came the last day of school before the holidays. Mark crept slowly into the room late that afternoon with his hands concealing something behind his back.

“I have your present,” He said timidly when I looked up. “I hope you like it.”

He held out his hands, and there lying in his small palm was a tiny wooden chest.

“It’s beautiful, Mark. Is there something in it?” I asked, opening the top and looking in.

“Oh, you can’t see what’s in it,” he replied, “and you can’t touch it or taste it, but Mother always said it makes you feel good all the time, and warm on cold nights, and safe when you’re all alone.”

I gazed into the empty box. “What is it, Mark?” I asked gently. “What will make me feel so good?”

“It’s love,” he whispered softly,” and Mother always said it’s best when you give it away.” And he turned and quietly left the room.

So now I keep a small toy chest, crudely made of scraps of wood, on the piano in my living room, and only smile as inquiring friends raise quizzical eyebrows when I explain to them there is love in it.

Yes, Christmas is for gaiety and mirth and song, for rich food and wondrous gifts. But mostly, Christmas is for love.—Laurie

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In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket. Their father was gone.

The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two. Their dad had never been much more than a presence they feared. Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway, they would scramble to hide under their beds. He did manage to leave 15 dollars a week to buy groceries. Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either. If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it.

I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand-new and then put on my best homemade dress. I loaded them into the rusty old ’51 Chevy and drove off to find a job. The seven of us went to every factory, store, and restaurant in our small town. No luck. The kids stayed, crammed into the car, and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince whoever would listen that I was willing to learn or do anything. I had to have a job. Still no luck.

The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop. It was called the Big Wheel.

An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids. She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning. She paid 65 cents an hour and I could start that night.

I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people. I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night. She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep. This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal.

That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers, we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I started at the Big Wheel. When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money—fully half of what I averaged every night.

As the weeks went by, heating bills added another strain to my meager wage. The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home.

One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires! There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand-new tires.

“Had angels taken up residence in Indiana?” I wondered.

I made a deal with the owner of the local service station. In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office. I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires.

I was now working six nights instead of five, and it still wasn’t enough. Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids. I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some old toys.

Then I hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning. Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boys’ pants, and soon they would be too far gone to repair.

On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. These were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe. A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were dropping nickels in the pinball machine. The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up. When it was time for me to go home at seven o’clock on Christmas morning, I hurried to the car.

I was hoping the kids wouldn’t wake up before I managed to get home and get the presents from the basement and place them under the tree. (We had cut down a small cedar tree by the side of the road down by the dump.)

It was still dark and I couldn’t see much, but there appeared to be some dark shadows in the car—or was that just a trick of the night? Something certainly looked different, but it was hard to tell what. When I reached the car I peered warily into one of the side windows. Then my jaw dropped in amazement. My old battered Chevy was full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes.

I quickly opened the driver’s side door, scrambled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat. Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box. Inside was a whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2–10! I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans. Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes: There were candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes. There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was a whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items. And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll.

As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude. And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning. Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop.—Barb Irwin

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It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas—oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it—overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma, the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties, and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended, and shortly before Christmas there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. As each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.”

Mike loved kids—all kids—and he knew them, having coached Little League football, baseball, and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done, and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.

For each Christmas, I followed the tradition—one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure.

The story doesn’t end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more.

Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown, and some day will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the season.—Marilyn Jensen


Hello! My name is Katrin Prentice, I am a life and executive coach, I am an Accredited Senior Coach (IIC) with over 700 hours of coach practice. I am inviting you to give yourself a Christmas present of a coaching session, and experience the power and benefit of personal coaching.

What is Coaching? Coaching is about performing at your best through the individual and private assistance of someone who will challenge, stimulate and guide you to keep growing. Coaching has officially been available with both a personal focus and a business orientation.

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Did you know that in Germany a coaching session goes for over 200 EUR an hour? In England about 120 EUR? In Bulgaria or Romania a session goes for an average of 65 EUR an hour? Well, my Christmas present for you is the opportunity to benefit from personal coaching for only 25 EUR an hour! This Limited Holiday Offer will last till January 17th 2013.

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Click here to BOOK Your Session NOW Wishing you a very Merry Christmas! ** ** ** If you have any questions, feel free to contact me – my contact information is below. email: katrin.prentice@europe-ce.net skype:katrin.prentice BG GSM: +359-884419867; blog: http://coachingreallyworks.com


Заповядайте на първото за Пловдив “Introduction to Coaching” обучение, водено лично от Г-н Джерард О’Донован, СЕО и основател на Ноубъл Манхатан Коучинг.

КЪДЕ: Парк хотел Имериал, ул Лев Толстой 6, / ул. Арх. Камен Петков, 1A

КОГА: понеделник, 12-ти ноември 2012, от 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Какво ще научите по време на обучението?

Чуйте го лично от Джерард:

Ще научите също:

• Дефиницията на коучингa
• Четирите основи на коучинга
• Ползата от прилагане на коучинг умения и в домашна, и в работна среда
• Разликата между коучинг, консултация, терапия и обучение
• Какво означава коучинг по изпълнителско дело – и как се прилага и пр.

Важно: Обучението ще се води на английски език!

Семинарът е акредитиран тренинг по коучинг, за който участниците ще получат съответен сертификат.




При закупуване на 1 билет до 31-ви октомври, промоцията 2-за-1 ви позволяава да доведете втори човек безплатно! Заповядайте!

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Имате невероятната възможност да се запознаете с един от доайените на коучинг професията в Европа.

Г-н Джерард О’Донован е не само пленителен лектор, но е известен и като водещият коуч на Европа.

Той е основателят на най-дълго съществуващата компания предлагаща обучение по коучинг – Noble Manhattan Ltd

И също така е и президентът на Международния Институт по Коучинг, основният европейски орган, акредитиращ специалисти и тренировачни програми по коучинг.

**Подарък:5 задълбочени публикации, разкриващи света на коучинга:http://www.coaching-reports.com/?Refer=Bulgaria

The Coaching Fundamentals accredited Certificate program run by Noble Manhattan Coaching provides all successful participants with an internationally recognized coaching qualification.

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Spend a life changing three days with our senior training faculty and students from many parts of Europe.

Build lasting relationships and friendships with coaches from all over the continent.

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Bulgaria: +359 88 44 19 867 or email: katrin.prentice@europe-ce.net

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Registration is open till the end of April 2012!


Happy New Year! – Puzzle Pieces

On 02/01/2012, in Miscelaneous, by admin

When everyone lit fireworks at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, did you celebrate in vibrant cheer? Or did the clock’s chime bring a kind of melancholy as you silently pondered the future?

As the shouts of “Happy New Year” rang out, was it a joyful moment for you? Or was it tinged with anxiety about the future?

Last year, it was all a little hazy to me. We clinked our glasses and toasted one another with the usual buzz of a New Year’s celebration, but as I tossed in my bed later, I wondered what was in store for me.

I was excited about many future prospects; I knew that change was in the air. I was on a high and a low at the same time, and while on the verge of making decisions, couldn’t quite come to any.

The following days of uncertainty stretched into a week, then two. I pondered, procrastinated, and prayed. A lot. To no avail.

Then one day, a package arrived in the mail. Along with clothes and chocolates, my aunt had sent me a child’s puzzle. Amused, I laid it aside to give to my little brother.

When four-year-old RJ saw it, he excitedly took the box into another room to open. Soon, though, he was back—and he was in a frenzy.

“The puzzle has no picture!” he exclaimed. “You have to draw the picture!”


“The puzzle has no picture!” RJ repeated.

Looking closer, I realized it was one of those do-it-yourself puzzles, and so, at RJ’s insistence, I drew a picture on the not-yet-disassembled puzzle. He was overjoyed.

Just when I thought he would leave me alone, RJ said, “Now you have to help me do it!”

He scattered the pieces on the floor, raked them into a pile, spread them out again, and sat there, arms crossed, cheerfully confident that I would do the work for him.

I hesitated, but eventually gave in. “Okay, we’ll do it together,” I said. “It’s easy!”

I had intended for RJ to color the picture before he took the puzzle apart, but he hadn’t. The pieces were a mess of black and white lines that didn’t seem to fit together. But RJ wouldn’t be deterred.

I showed him how to find the corner pieces first, then the edges, and then to hunt for pieces where elements of the picture were recognizable—eye pieces over here with nose pieces, leaf pieces with flower pieces, etc.

Bit by bit, it started to come together.

I watched as RJ slowly found and fitted each puzzle piece into its proper place. He sometimes shook his head in frustration. Other times he threw up his hands in exasperation and said aloud, “Aw, that doesn’t go here!”

And each time he was convinced there was something wrong with the puzzle itself. Time and again I had to reassure him that the pieces would indeed all fit together once he had each one in the right place.

“It’s all part of the same picture,” I would say. “We just need to find where it goes.”

It took a half hour before the picture of a cat playing in a garden was completed, but when it finally was, a look of smug satisfaction spread across RJ’s face.

I was smiling too, because right then I understood that I was like a little child, trying to sort out the puzzle pieces of my life, getting confused and frustrated, wanting to say I couldn’t do it.

All those pieces are part of the same puzzle, whispered a gentle inner voice that I have come to recognize as my Creator’s. We just need to find where they go.

Just as I had sat with my little brother, hinting where pieces would fit, Jesus would sit with me as I sorted out this pile called my future.

There I was, trying to get rid of parts that didn’t seem to make sense, crying out in a fit of frustration that I didn’t know what went where. And there He was, all the time reassuring me that it was going to be okay, that all the pieces would come together. He could be certain of that because He was the artist who had drawn it. It would take time and I would have to be patient, but when all the pieces were finally in place, I too would smile with satisfaction.

And that’s just what happened. With a few more heavenly hints, a few days before I sat down to write this story, the pieces all came together.

Today I look at the puzzle of the next year, and I am excited! Things are already beginning to fall into place. I’m sorting the corners and the edges. I’m seeing something unfold before my eyes. I have learned that all the pieces are needed.

And yes, it’s going to be a beautiful picture.

- by Nyx Martinez, reprint from the Activated magazine.


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Each year at Christmastime we delight to follow the wise men as they came out of the East and made their way to Bethlehem, where they worshipped the newborn King and laid their treasures at His feet. But Henry Van Dyke has told us about another wise man who also followed the star not only to Bethlehem but throughout his life, and yet he never found the King.

This other wise man’s name was Artaban. He was like an unknown soldier who didn’t quite make the headlines. He was also one of the Magi and lived in Persia, a man of great wealth, great learning and great faith. With his learned companions he had searched the Scriptures as to the time that the Savior should be born. They knew that a new star would appear and it was agreed between them that Artaban would watch from Persia and the others would observe the sky from Babylon.

* * *

On the night that the sign was to be given, Artaban was speaking to nine of his Magi friends in his home. He said to them, *My three brethren are watching at the ancient temple of the Seven Spheres, at Borsippa, in Babylon and I am watching here. If the star appears, they will wait for me ten days, then we will all set out together for Jerusalem. I believe the sign will come tonight. I have made ready for the journey by selling all of my possessions and have bought these three jewels–a sapphire, a ruby, and a pearl. I intend to present them as my tribute to the King.* He said, *I invite you to make the pilgrimage with us that we may worship the newborn King together.*

While he was speaking he thrust his hand into the innermost fold of his girdle and drew out three great gems–one blue as a fragment of the night sky, one redder than a ray of the sunrise, and one as pure as the peak of a snow mountain at twilight. He would give them all to the King.

Then one of Artaban’s friends said, *Artaban, this is a vain dream. No King will ever rise from the broken race of Israel. He who looks for Him is a chaser of shadows.* Then he bid Artaban farewell and left his dwelling.

Each in turn offered his own particular excuse, and finally only his oldest and truest friend remained. He said, *Artaban, I am too old for this quest, but my heart goes with thee.* Then with a hand on Artaban’s shoulder he said, *Those who would see wonderful things must often be willing to travel alone.*

Left to himself, Artaban put his jewels back into his girdle. Then he parted the curtains and went out onto the roof to again take up his vigil watching the night sky.

As Jupiter and Saturn rolled together like drops of lambent flame about to blend into one, an azure spark was born out of the darkness beneath them, rounding itself with purple splendor into a crimson sphere.

Artaban bowed his head. *It is the sign,* he said. *The King is coming, and I will go to meet him.*

All night long Vasda, the swiftest of Artaban’s horses, had been waiting saddled and bridled in her stall, pawing the ground impatiently and shaking her bit as if she shared the eagerness of her master’s purpose. As Artaban placed himself upon her back, he said, *God bless us both. Keep our feet from falling and our souls from death.*

Under this encouragement, each day his faithful horse measured off the allotted proportion of the distance, and at nightfall of the tenth day, they approached the outskirts of Babylon. In a little island of desert palm trees, Vasda scented difficulty and slackened her pace. Then with quick pant of anxiety, she stood stock-still, quivering in every muscle.

Artaban dismounted. The dim starlight revealed the form of a man lying in the roadway. His humble dress and haggard face showed him to be one of the poor Hebrew exiles who still dwelt in Babylon. His pallid skin bore the mark of the deadly fever that ravished the marshlands of Babylon at this season of the year. The chill of death was in his lean hand.

As Artaban turned to go, a sigh came from the sick man’s lips, and the brown bony fingers closed convulsively upon the Magi’s robe. Artaban felt sorry that he could not stay to minister to this dying stranger, but this was the hour toward which his entire life had been directed. He could not forfeit the reward of his years of study and faith to do a single deed of human mercy. But then, how could he leave his fellow man alone to die?

*God of truth and mercy,* prayed Artaban, *direct me in the holy path of wisdom which only Thou knowest.* Then he knew that he could not go on. The Magi were physicians as well as astronomers. He took off his robe and began his work of healing. Several hours later, the patient regained consciousness.

Then Artaban gave him all he had left of his bread and wine. He left a potion of healing herbs and instructions for his care.

Though Artaban rode with the greatest haste the rest of the way, it was after dawn when he arrived at the designated meeting place. His friends were nowhere to be seen. Finally his eyes caught a piece of parchment arranged to attract his attention. He caught it up and read. It said, *We have waited till past the midnight, and can delay no longer. We go to find the King. Follow us across the desert.*

Artaban sat down upon the ground in despair and covered his face with his hands. *How can I cross the desert with no food and with a spent horse? I must return to Babylon, sell my sapphire, and buy a train of camels and provisions for the journey. I may never overtake my friends. Only God the merciful knows whether or not I shall lose my purpose because I tarried to show mercy.*

Several days later when Artaban’s train arrived in Bethlehem, the streets were deserted. It was rumored that Herod was sending soldiers, presumably to enforce some new tax, and the men had taken their flocks and herds back into the hills beyond his reach.

The door of one dwelling was open, and Artaban could hear a mother singing a lullaby to her child. He entered and introduced himself. The woman told him that it was now the third day since the three wise men had appeared in Bethlehem. They had found Joseph and Mary and the young Child, and had laid their gifts at His feet. Then they had disappeared as mysteriously as they had come.

Joseph had also taken his wife and child and secretly fled. It was whispered that they were going far away into Egypt.

As Artaban listened, the baby reached up its dimpled hand and touched his cheek and smiled. His heart warmed at the touch. Then suddenly outside there arose a wild confusion of sounds. Women were shrieking. A desperate cry said, *The soldiers of Herod are killing the male children.*

Artaban went to the doorway. A band of soldiers came hurrying down the street with dripping swords and bloody hands. The captain approached the door to thrust Artaban aside, but Artaban did not stir. His face was as calm as though he were still watching the stars. Finally his outstretched hand revealed the giant ruby. He said, *I am waiting to give this jewel to the prudent captain who will go on his way and leave this house alone.* The captain, amazed at the splendor of the gem, took it and said to his men, *March on! There are no children here.*

Then Artaban prayed, *Oh, God, forgive me my sin. I have spent for men that which was meant for God. Shall I ever be worthy to see the face of the King?*

But the woman who was weeping for joy in the shadows behind him said softly, *Because thou hast saved the life of my little one, may the Lord bless thee and keep thee. May the Lord make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace.*

Then Artaban, still following the King, went on into Egypt, seeking everywhere for traces of the little family that had fled before him from Bethlehem. For many years we follow Artaban in his search. We see him at the pyramids. We see him in an obscure house in Alexandria, taking counsel with a Hebrew rabbi who told him to seek the King not among the rich but among the poor. Then we follow him from place to place.

He passed through countries where famine lay heavy upon the land, and the poor were crying for bread. He made his dwelling in plague-stricken cities where the sick were languishing in the bitter companionship of helpless misery. He visited the oppressed and the afflicted in the gloom of subterranean prisons. He searched the crowded wretchedness of slave markets. Though he found no one to worship, he found many to serve. As the years passed he fed the hungry, clothed the naked, healed the sick and comforted the captive.

Once we see Artaban for a moment as he stood alone at sunrise, waiting at the gate of a Roman prison. From its secret resting place in his bosom he had taken the last of the jewels that he was saving for the king. Shifting gleams of azure and rose trembled upon its surface. It seemed to have absorbed some of the colors of the lost sapphire and ruby. Just as a noble life draws into itself its profound purpose, so that all that has helped it is transfused into its very essence, so the pearl had become more precious because it had long been carried close to the warmth of a beating human heart.

Thirty-three years had now passed away since Artaban began his search. He was still a pilgrim, and his hair was now white as snow. He knew his life’s end was near but he was still desperate with hope that he would find the King. He had come for the last time to Jerusalem.

It was the season of the Passover and the city was thronged with strangers. There was a singular agitation visible in the multitude. A secret human tide was sweeping them toward the Damascus Gate.

Artaban inquired where they were going. One answered, *We are going to the execution on Golgotha, outside the city walls. Two robbers are to be crucified, and with them another called Jesus of Nazareth, a Man who has done many wonderful works among the people. But the priests and elders have said that He must die, because He claims to be the Son of God. Pilate was persuaded by them to send Him to the cross, because He said that He was the `King of the Jews.’*

How strangely these familiar words fell upon the tired heart of Artaban. They had led him for a lifetime over land and sea. And now they came to him darkly and mysteriously like a message of despair. The King had been denied and cast out. He was now about to perish. Perhaps He was already dying. Could this be the same One for whom the star had appeared thirty-three long years ago?

Artaban’s heart beat loudly within him. He thought, *The ways of God are stranger than the thoughts of men, and it may be that I shall yet find the King, and be able to ransom Him from death by giving my treasure to His enemies.*

But as Artaban started toward Calvary he saw a troop of soldiers coming down the street, dragging a sobbing young woman with torn dress and disheveled hair. As Artaban paused, she broke away from her tormentors and threw herself at his feet, her arms clasping his knees.

*Have pity on me! * she cried. *Save me, for the sake of the God of purity! My father was also of the Magi but he is dead, and I am to be sold as a slave to pay his debts.*

Artaban trembled as he again felt the old conflict arising in his soul. It was the same that he had experienced in the palm grove of Babylon and in the cottage at Bethlehem. Twice the gift which he had consecrated to the King had been drawn from his hand to the service of humanity. Would he now fail again? One thing was clear: He must rescue this helpless child from evil.

He took the pearl from his bosom. Never had it seemed so luminous, so radiant, so full of tender, living luster. He laid it in the hand of the slave and said, *Daughter, this is the ransom. It is the last of my treasures which I had hoped to keep for the King.*

While he yet spoke, the darkness of the sky thickened and the shuddering tremors of an earthquake ran through the ground. The houses rocked. The soldiers fled in terror.

Artaban sank beside a protecting wall. What had he to fear? What had he to hope for? He had given away the last remnant of his tribute to the King. The quest was over and he had failed. What else mattered? As one lingering pulsation of the earthquake quivered beneath him, a heavy tile, shaken from the roof, fell and struck him on the temple. He lay breathless and pale.

The rescued girl leaned over him, fearing that he was dead. Then there came a still, small voice through the twilight. It was like distant music. The notes were clear, but the girl could not understand the words.

Then the lips of Artaban began to move, as if in answer to this voice, and she heard him say, *Not so, my Lord; for when saw I Thee hungered and fed Thee? Or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw I Thee a stranger and took Thee in? Or naked, and clothed Thee? When saw I Thee sick or in prison, and came unto Thee? Thirty-three years have I looked for Thee, but I have never seen Thy face, nor ministered unto Thee, my King.*

As he ceased, the sweet voice came again. And again the maid heard it, very faintly and far away. But now she understood the words, which said, *Verily, I say unto thee, that inasmuch as thou hast done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, thou hast done it unto Me.*

–Adapted from a story by Henry Van Dyke

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