The legend of King Wenceslas takes place on the 26th of December, which is also the Feast of Saint Stephen (and Kwanzaa and Boxing Day!)
The real life Wenceslas was a Duke of Bohemia in the 10th century. Legend has it that on one particularly cold December 26th, he looked out his palace window and happened to see a peasant gathering firewood. Taken aback, Wenceslas realized that while he himself feasted in the luxury of his palace, the poor peasant lived in abject poverty and had little to be festive about.
Wenceslas questioned his young Page as to where the peasant might live. The Page knew immediately, “Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes fountain.” Wenceslas then insisted the two go out in the cold winter night, bringing meat and wine to the peasant so he too could have a good dinner.
Unfortunately, the little Page was not built very sturdily. Halfway through the journey his body went numb and his pulse weak. “Fails my heart, I know not why, I can go no longer,” he told his master. Wenceslas instructed the Page to walk behind him in his footsteps as he trudged the snow. When the Page did so, the cold miraculously left his body.
Wenceslas and the Page completed their journey, brought food to the peasant and did indeed see him dine. Ever after that, Wenceslas (who also became a saint) reminded his subjects that “You who now shall bless the poor, shall yourself find blessings.”
‘Good King Wenceslas’ is one of my favorite carols, performed here by the Mediaeval Baebes. Hope you like it and hope you are having a fantastic Feast of Stephen, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day and day after Christmas!