Holiday Greetings! (of the pagan sort)
My good friend Susan Meier creates beautiful, one-of-a kind cards for the holidays. I do mean hand crafted, starting with the paper itself which is made from cloth pulp. This year’s theme is “Good Goats Wenceslas” with the Goat Queen on the front and her consort the reverse image inside.
Of course, once I received this treasure I had to find out more about the “Good King” of the carol. It turns out Wenceslaus I was Duke of Bohemia from 921 until his brother assassinated him (on a saint’s feast day, no less) in 935.
The royal family had a habit of banishing and/or offing each other in the name of either Christianity or Paganism … very spiritual bunch … but the Church declared Wenceslaus Heavenly winner, promoting him posthumously to king and naming him patron saint of the Czech State. Meanwhile, the assassin brother is called Boleslaus the Cruel, one of his greatest cruelties being the name Boleslaus gave a son unluckily born on the day of the fratricide. The poor kid was branded Strachkvas, “a dreadful feast.”
Wenceslaus also survives in legend, being the Czech version of a recurring Northern European folk tale, that ethnic heroes never die but sleep under mountains, primed to ride forth with an awakened army when the people need military might. Puts a gothic spin on the devastation of World Wars I and II. Perhaps Europe would have been better off if all those protective heroes had croaked the usual way.
I took considerable liberties with Susan’s delightful goats and created a little drama (link below) where the Goat Queen becomes Wenceslaus’ banished Queen Mother, Drahomira.