''The Good Duke''

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  • Published: 2 Dec 2016
  • Updated: 2 Dec 2016
  • Status: Complete
It's a supernatural Christmas story. King Wenceslas was the Duke of Bohemia in the years 921-935. He is now patron Saint of the Czech Republic. He rose every night from his noble bed, with bare feet and only one chamberlain, went around to God’s churches and gave alms generously to widows, orphans, those in prison and afflicted by every difficulty, so much so that he was considered, not a prince, but the father of all the wretched.

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1. chapter one

On Christmas day, as was his custom on this special day every year, Duke Wenceslas visited each of the servants and soldiers in his castle, and pressed a gold coin into his or her hand.

The Duke walked through the cold stone passageways in the lower depths of his castle. As he stepped through the kitchen door, a fierce heat struck his face, and the smell of roast meat filled his nostrils. Two servants were turning swans on a giant spit over the fire. Elsewhere, men and women, young and old, were busy with fetching, rolling, shouting, stuffing, stirring, scouring, scraping, and all the other tasks of the kitchen. Those who saw him enter stopped their work and bowed deeply.

His page called out, “Line up, line up for the Duke.”

The kitchen staff scuffled around arranging themselves in order of rank, from the head cook to the young scullery maid who was just eleven years old.

Each of the servants received a gold coin from the hand of their ruler with the words; “May the Lord Jesus Christ, our saviour who was born on this day, bless you and watch over you.”

After the kitchen, the Duke proceeded to the guard house, and then to laundry, and then to the maids of the bed chambers, and to the stables. Last of all, he visited the dungeons. The jailers received his blessings and gold, and the prisoners received just his blessings.

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