The Blue Flower Is a Happy Story Collection

Henry Van Dyke’s 1902 bestselling fiction book is a collection of stories about the inward happiness, symbolized by The Blue Flower. Van Dyke’s opalescent prose is a misty and mystical swirl of fairy tale and fables, chivalry and Christianity.

About half the stories have a religious theme. The most famous of these is the fable of “The Other Wise Man” who missed seeing the Christ Child because he stopped to care for those in need.

However, the best of the religious stories in the volume isn’t “The Other Wise Man” but  “The Source.”  Although clearly a moral tale, “The Source.” has a clear-sighted realism that makes the Wise Man seem maudlin.

“The Mill” and “Wood-Magic” are charming in different ways. “The Mill, ” drawing on the legends of Camelot, has a rugged, adventureous character, while “Wood-Magic” has a summer siesta dreaminess that feels both fantastic and familiar.

The best—and least typical—of the stories is “Spy Rock.” Set in the New York’s rugged Catskills Mountains in the nineteenth century, it solves the mystery of the moodiness and frequent of teacher Edward Keene from the presence of his fiancee, the lovely Dorothy Ward. The Blue Flower is worth reading just for “Spy Rock” alone.

The Blue Flower
By Henry Van Dyke
1902 Bestseller #9
Project Gutenberg EBook #1603
© 2012 Linda Gorton Aragoni
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Linda Aragoni

I read. I write. I think. I make big ideas simple. I help teachers teach expository writing to teens and adults. In my free time, I read and review old novels.

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