Monday, 7 December 2015

G is for...

Good King Wenceslas. 
What do we know about him apart from the fact that he went for a tromp in the snow on Boxing Day?

Good king wenceslas crop
By Good_King_Wenceslas_10a.gif: Brothers Dalziel
derivative work: Victuallers (Good_King_Wenceslas_10a.gif) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The song was composed by a Victorian, the Rev. John Mason Neale in 1853. But the Good King Wenceslas was actually born centuries earlier. He was the Duke of Bohemia in the years 921-935, born and raised a Christian but with a Pagan mother who he exiled after she led a revolt in which his Christian Grandmother was murdered. The revolt was unsuccessful and he remained a Christian for the rest of his life. He was murdered by his brother on his way to Mass on morning.
He is better known for his alleged practise of giving alms to the poor and needy. It is also said that every Christmas day he would visit each of the servants and soldiers in his castle and press a gold coin into his or her hand.

And it is from this reputation rather than the battle between Christian and Pagan or his bloody end that the ‘Good’ King (who was really a Duke) is most well known. 

Kindness to the poor and needy, not just at Christmas, but all year round. Not a bad legacy to leave.