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"Sometimes short stories are brought together like parcels in a basket. Sometimes they grow together like blossoms on a bush. Then, of course, they really belong to one another, because they have the same life in them. The stories in this book have been growing together for a long time. It is at least ten years since the first of them, the story of The Other Wise Man, came to me; and all the others I knew quite well by heart a good while before I could find the time, in a hard-worked life, to write them down and try to make them clear and true to others. It has been a slow task, because the right word has not always been easy to find, and I wanted to keep free from conventionality in the thought and close to nature in the picture. It is enough to cause a man no little shame to see how small is the fruit of so long labor..." -- From Henry Van Dyke's preface to The Blue Flower
Henry Jackson van Dyke Jr. (1852 - 1933) was an American author, educator and clergyman. He was born on November 10, 1852, in Germantown, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Henry Jackson van Dyke Sr. (1822-1891), a prominent Brooklyn Presbyterian clergyman known in the antebellum years for his anti-abolitionist views. The family traced its roots to Jan Thomasse van Dijk, who emigrated from Holland to the North America in 1652. One of van Dyke's best-known poems is titled "Time Is" (Music and Other Poems, 1904), also known as "For Katrina's Sundial" because it was composed to be an inscription on a sundial in the garden of an estate owned by his friends Spencer and Katrina Trask. The second section of the poem, which was read at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, reads as follows: "Time is Too slow for those who Wait, Too swift for those who Fear, Too long for those who Grieve, Too short for those who Rejoice, But for those who Love, Time is not."