‘Good old King Wencelas – Bohemian benefactor?’
I’m typing this post on 26th December, the feast of Stephen – otherwise known as Boxing Day. Traditionally this is the day where presents were opened by the needy – given by the privileged. Well I suppose we are either too needy now, or we just couldn’t wait, as the majority of us open our presents on Christmas day. I love the carol ‘Good King Wencelas’ because it is a narrative of a story, making it easy to imagine the page and Monarch going forth in search of the poor man, who is to be found under the mountain against the forest fence, just near St Agnes’s fountain.
It is such a beautiful carol that promises reward for helping people less fortunate than ourselves. But who was King Wencelas and did he really exist? The answer is yes he did and little did I know when I sang this carol as a child that one day I would be crossing a bridge that commemorates this saint amongst others.
King Wencelslaus was actually the Duke of Bohemia in the 10th Century as well as the Patron saint of the Czech republic. The bridge I am referring to is Charles bridge in Prague
Wencelas Square is a place of many historical happenings, uprising and celebrations all happen here, all overlooked by the statue of Wencelas on his horse. However all is not what it seems with Wencelas, who it is argued was not called Wencelas, was not a king and was far from good! You’ve heard of chestnuts roasting on an open fire? well, the old Duke/King liked to do this with non believers apparently…read all about it HERE
There is a lot of information about the legend of Wencelas HERE and other derivations of this saint, contrast and compare…….