The Story of King Kaspar
King Kaspar had named himself: “Emperor of all the Indies and Supreme Sovereign of the World”. Therefore, when Sirius, the court astronomer, had told him that a new star had been born in the sky announcing the reign of the greatest king of the universe he flew into a rage.
“The greatest king! It is I, the true, the only one, the unique Supreme Sovereign of the World! Who dares steal my titles? Where does this wretched creature live, so that I may go to crush him?”
Kaspar made a proclamation announcing to his soldiers that the very next day he would lead them, at last, against an enemy worthy of them.
In the evening, at resting places, whether on the banks of rivers, streams, or around wells, Sirius, the astronomer, questioned the new star: “To the West, always to the West, still to the West, over there lives the greatest king of the world”. Kasper replied: No, it is here! I will have you know it! With one stroke of his gold saber, he cut off the head of the astronomer.
The next day, the star stopped above a poor, rocky country, and bowed down before a cave. Kaspar doubted that it was the dwelling of his vain rival, so he questioned a shepherd – as it happened our friend Angel, who answered him. “There, indeed, is born the greatest king of the world!”
“Aha”, said Kaspar, He doesn’t dare show himself, the coward! Well! dI will besiege him, stare him, smoke him out, trap him!”
As the army was deploying itself around the hill of Bethlehelm, Mary saw the silks shining the gold and steel glittering, the precious stones sparkling under the sun. She believed it was the soldiers of Herod, and alarmed, asked Joseph to close the door.
“He is fencing himself in with boards!” sneered King Kaspar.
When a large rampart of men and pikes had circled the hill, King Kaspar came forward to the cave alone on his elephant Mammoth. The elephant gave a fearful bray and knocked on the door of the cave with his trunk.
“Surrender!” cried the King, drawing his large gold saber, ” Or come out to fight, man to man!”
Then there occurred something more extraordinary than the majesty of this army, more beautiful that the silks more brilliant than the golds, more powerful that the elephant…. a blond and rosy newborn baby appeared in his mother’s arms. “Here is your King!” cried Mary. God has come as a little child to instruct the earth on the laws of heaven.He will reign only in the hearts of men yes, even in the hearts of Kings!”
The elephant knelt. Kaspar came down and offered his crown to the smiling child.
“Thank you!” said Mary, refusing the gift. “The crown of this King comes only from Heaven. It is not visible.”
“Of my crown, see its weight of gold alone, I pray!”
“If you wish to offer gold, then, give us your saber. King Jesus does not want any more killing.”
Holding their breaths, the soldiers next saw something unbelievable…. their king placing his saber before the frail woman and kissing the feet of the little child. Mammouth stretched out his trunk toward Jesus.
“Leave him” said Kaspar to the frightened Mary.
The elephant carefully took the child and lifting him in his trunk, presented him to the army. There ensued a violent burst of music, while the barbarous and magnificent soldiers, presented arms to the King of the World.
There were skins of leopards and tigers along with enormous elephant tusks. Peacocks, and cages in which multi-colored birds chattered, chirped, warbled, and cooed added a din to the parade. Delightful newborn gazelles pranced. Monkeys danced on on the top of the camels loads. Led by the halter, a tall, tall giraffe brought up the end of the long caravan.
So, through deserts and oasis, this caravan of three hundred camels and one giraffe wound its way along, leaving in the scorching air, strange perfumes of oils and spices…yes, those bales, bundles and cases, held cinnamon bark, ginger root, clove buds, aniseed and vanilla beans. From Arabia heavily scented balms of camphor crystals, aromatic resins, incense, Benjamin, and some all-pervading perfumes: jasmine oils from Persia, patchouli extract from Bengal; musk from Himalaya fawn, dried Ylang-ylang flowers from faraway islands; many dainties – rose preserves, licorice syrups, jellies stuffed with pistachio nuts, sugar cane…
At last Bethlehem comes into sight. Instead of the palaces he expected, Balthazar finds only humble dwellings. Astonished, he does not understand. Discovering the cave, he is disappointed and understands still less. But as he sees Jesus, he is moved and feels how beautiful is the poverty of a king who will reign over the hearts of men.
“Would you allow me to hold him?” he asks Mary. The large black hands, flittering with rings, lifted the rosy infant in his flowing swaddling clothes. The golden haired Jesus is so brilliant and his smile so brightly shining that he seems the richer of the two.
The poor king does not know what to do with all the marvels his retinue is unpacking before the cave. Obviously, it would be foolish to offer these material riches to the King of Heaven…
Then from the priceless load of his three hundred camels, Balthazar takes only three grains of incense; incense from Armenia…and offers Jesus only the light, fragrant effluence (smoke) from it. In his country this is used for divine rites.
After doing this, he gives away all his treasures to the people of of Bethlehem.