Book: Messer Marco Polo

“Thus far,” said Malachi of the Long Glen, “the story of Marco Polo.”

“That is a warm story, Malachi of the Glen, a warm and colored story, and great life to it, and Golden Bells is as alive to me as herself there by the fire, and I can see Marco Polo as plain as I can see my cousin Randall, and he playing with dogs. . .”

“If they weren’t real and live and warm, what would a story be, Brian Oge, but a jumble of dead words? A house with nobody in it, the poorest thing in the world.”

“But Marco Polo came back to Venice, Malachi, and fought in the sea-wars.”

“There’s more to tell, Brian Oge. But sometimes I wonder shouldn’t the best part of the story be kept to yourself. The people aren’t as wise as they used to be, brown lad. The end of a story now is a bit of kissing and courting and the kettle boiling to be making tea.

“But the older ones were wiser, Brian Donn. They knew that the rhythm of life is long and swinging, and that time doesn’t stop short as a clock. Sure, what is a kiss from the finest of women but a pleasant thing, like a long putt sunk, or the first salmon of the year caught like a trout, or the ball through the goal before the whistle blows? And there’s many a well-filled belly over a hungry soul.

“But a story is how destiny is interwoven, the fine and gallant and the tragic points of life. And you mustn’t look at them with the eyes of the body, but you must feel with the antennae of your being. Now, if you were to look at the Lord Jesus with physical eyes, what would it be but a kindly, crazy man and He coming to a hard and bitter end? Look at it simply, and what was the story of Troy but a dirty row over a woman?

“But often times the stories with endings that grocer’s daughters do not be liking are the stories that are worth while. And the worth while stories do be lasting. Never clip a story half-ways because Widow Robinson doesn’t like to have her mind disturbed, and she warming her breadth at the fire. The Widow Robinson may have a white coin to buy a book with, and think you’re the grand author entirely and you pleasing her. But Lord God, who gave you the stories, know you for a louse.

“I call to your mind the stories of great English writer — the plays of the Prince of Denmark, and the poor blind king on the cliff, and the Scottish chieftain and his terrible wife. The Widow Robinson will not like those stories, and she will be keeping her white coin . . .But those stories will endure forever. . .

Excerpt from Messer Marco Polo by Donn Byrne

Messer Marco Polo is a beautiful book. Short enough to be read in an afternoon with a nice cup of tea. It might be best read curled up on a winter morning with a cup of cocoa. There’s a warmth that emits from the story. A story that travels distances with Marco Polo. A story about love. A story that is worth while. A story that will last forever.

This is what classic fiction looks like. Stories that can transcend generations. The original was published in 1921 to critical acclaim. Although it isn’t well remember so many years later, I believe that it is a book that will be appreciated by those who read it. Besides it can easily be found on the internet.



I really enjoyed reading this short novel. It was sweet and poignant, idealistic and made me remember dreams that I once had. Impossible dreams that we used to believe in when we were younger. In essence it brought me back to the times when I was naive and innocent. Dreaming big dreams and living a carefree life. Not many books are able to do that so do give it a try, and tell me what you think!


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