Quoted from the author's "Prolegomena."
"AMID the fantastic Apocryphal fables one poetictal has found its way into the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy. "And it came to pass when Jesus the Lord was born at Bethlehem of Judah, in the time of Herod the King, behold Wise Men came from the East to Jerusalem, as Zoroaster had predicted; and they had with them gifts, gold, incense, and myrrh; and they worshipped him and offered unto him their gifts. Then lady Mary took one of his swaddling bands and gave it to them as a little reward, and they received it from her with great honour. And the same hour there appeared unto them an angel in the form of the star which had been the guide of their way before; and following the leading of its light they departed into their own country."
" And there the kings and their princes came to them asking what they had seen or done, how they had gone and returned, what they had brought with them. And they showed them the swaddling band which lady Mary had given them; wherefore they celebrated a festival, and
kindled fire according to their custom and worshipped it, and cast the swaddling band into it, and the fire seized it and absorbed it into itself. But when the fire went out, they drew forth the swaddling band just as it was at first, as if the fire had not touched it. Therefore they began to kiss it, and to place it on their heads and eyes, saying, Verily this is undoubted truth; it is indeed a great thing that the fire could not burn nor destroy it. They took it thence and with the greatest honour deposited it among their treasures."
It is evident from the context that this little tale has been inserted from some foreign source. The next sentence begins, "Now when Herod saw that the Wise Men had departed and not returned to him, " but nothing is said of their having seen Herod at all. Their star-angel is Zoroaster himself, who shines through this legend of primitive pilgrims from Persia treasuring even the smallest new truth which their flame could absorb but not consume."