Epiphany is celebrated one week after Christmas to commemorate the coming of the three Kings or three Wise Men to Bethlehem. In many places, this is a feast day and a day for children to receive gifts from the three Kings like the Baby Jesus did.
Somewhere far from here, a little boy receives an early Christmas gift. It’s a little drummer boy. The boy loves the little drummer boy and listens to his song everyday. Then one day the dog’s tail accidentally knocks the little drummer boy into the trash. The little drummer boy faces a rat in the dump, an owl and her owlets, a dog, a frozen snowman, a raccoon and the cold wind. Everywhere he goes, the little drummer boy plays his music for all to hear. Eventually, he ends up in a cemetery. Then on Christmas morning, someone comes to where the little drummer boy is covered by snow… it’s the boy who lost him. The boy is there laying poinsettias at his grandfather’s grave. The boy takes the little drummer boy home and sets him on the mantel with the three wise men so he can play his music for the baby in the manger. And the little drummer boy’s heart felt warm.
Small Camel Follows the Star written by Rachel W.N. Brown and illustrated by Giuliano Ferri (2007)
Small Camel wanted to travel with his mother and Balthazar to follow the star more than anything. While all the other camels were groomed, his stomach hurt from wanting to go on such an important journey. Just as Balthazar prepared to leave, he tied a small bundle on Small Camel’s back. Small Camel was so excited, he shook all over. Soon they headed out following the star which shone so brightly in the sky. When Balthazar met up with two other kings, Melchior and Gaspar, Small Camel overheard them talking about a baby king. That evening two more bundles were tied to his back and the load was heavier, but it felt just right to Small Camel. They traveled for many nights and finally they arrived where the star was shining directly above a village. When the kings found the child, Small Camel himself dropped to his knees just as he had been trained and the kings presented the child with the three bundles Small Camel had been carrying. Balthazar, Melchior, and Gaspar had brought gold, frankincense and myrrh for the Baby Jesus. Small Camel knew this was the Child King, and he had never been so happy!
The Legend of Old Befana written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola (1980)
Old Befana lived in Italy a very long time ago. She was all alone and not very friendly. Every day she baked delicious smelling treats and swept her house and her front walk, but never had time to talk to her neighbors. One night, Old Befana was awaked by a bright light shining through her window. The next morning she baked and swept as usual, but then she heard something unusual. Over the hill, she saw a glorious procession of camels, horses, elephants, and people. Three royal kings approached and asked if she had seen the child they were searching for. She had not, but she had seen the star they were following, it had kept her up all night. The kings asked Old Befana to join them, but she was too busy sweeping. Later that night she had second thoughts and packed a basket of cakes, cookies, and candies. She grabbed her broom and swept her way out of the house. When she had finished she began to run but soon ran out of breath. When she stopped to rest, the sky filled with angels and the night wind picked her up. She was running through the sky. She never found the three kings or the baby, but every year on January 6th, she runs across the sky delivering sweets and gifts to all the children she sees. After all, you never know which child might be the Baby King of Bethlehem.