Good King Wenceslas
traditional carol lyrics by John Mason Neale
illustrated by John Wallner
New York: Philomel Books, 1990
Interests: Christmas, Christmas carols, music, history, saints, stories of charity
Sometimes we wonder how to infuse the crazy Christmas season with a little more meaning… but in a way that’s not too heavy or preachy. I think one good approach might simply be to give more background to the familiar carols we hear (over and over) at this time of year.
Here’s a good example. A simple rendering, to the original carol lyrics, of the story of King Wenceslas, who travels through a blizzard to take food to a poor man. The illustrations are reminiscent of medieval art, and depict the story in a lively manner.
While I would have liked to see the saint help his poor page carry the sack on his back, it is still a fine, historical story of generosity and pausing to think of those less fortunate during the busy Christmas rush.
(Unfortunately this edition doesn’t seem to be in print any longer. Hopefully you can find it at your local library. Or find other versions of the same carol.)