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Re CHAT:Good King Wenceslas

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  • Martin Janda
    ... Wow! My family is saved from starvation! I don´t have to work the next week... ... Hard to say. I´m not sure whether Bohemian princes were expected to
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 27, 2000
      > P.S. Martin, your answer certainly makes more sense than that of the
      > Guardian reader who wrote in with a detailed analysis of land rights
      > in 9th century Bohemia. I think you might just get first prize: the
      > transfer of Simon's long-overdue debt to me, to wit, one bag of
      > peanuts.

      Wow! My family is saved from starvation! I don´t have to work the next
      week...

      >
      > BTW, Martin, does this in fact mean that far from being an act of
      > generosity and kindness on Wencleslas' part, this was in fact an
      > obvious case of gross neglect of his broader social responsibilities
      > and probably a blatant tax dodge as well?

      Hard to say. I´m not sure whether Bohemian princes were expected to have any
      social responsibilities at all. As Wenceslas was said to be a highly pious
      man, his (in)famous gesture could be attributed to an attempt to deal with
      pangs of his Christian conscience. As to tax evasion, it ´s an interesting
      legal paradigma: to evade a tax which I am supposed to pay to myself? ;-)
      >
    • Melvyn Clarke
      ... next week... ... interesting ... myself? ;-) ... Of course, so-called King Wenceslas was in reality being heavily leaned on by the East Franks (see
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 31, 2000
        --- In Czechlist@egroups.com, "Martin Janda" <martinjanda@v...> wrote:

        >
        > Wow! My family is saved from starvation! I don´t have to work
        next week...

        :)

        > As to tax evasion, it ´s an
        interesting
        > legal paradigma: to evade a tax which I am supposed to pay to
        myself? ;-)
        > >

        Of course, so-called "King" Wenceslas was in reality being heavily
        leaned on by the East Franks (see message #71) and was obliged to
        pay a regular "tax" to the local German protection racketeers. Such a
        tax was quite possibly calculated on the basis of the number of
        peasants on his lands.

        What else could account for the fact that all around the royal
        residence the snow "lay deep and crisp and even", i.e. without a trace
        of the hordes of destitute peasants one would normally expect to see
        clamouring around the palace of a king (AKA prince, duke or count)
        with a troubled liberal conscience? The local peasants doubtless had
        their orders to keep a low profile while the German tax inspectors
        were on the prowl.

        And when a lone peasant does heave into sight, why does Wenceslas go
        to such trouble to take these tax-deductible goods all the way to his
        dwelling? I mean it would have
        been the easiest thing in the world, normally, for the page to call
        out and invite the peasant up to
        the palace for a banquet or two rather than to go trekking a good
        league hence (4.83 km) in rapidly deteriorating weather conditions.

        There are some other things which just do not add up:

        Why did the peasant walk over 4.83 kilometres through one of the most
        densely forested
        areas in Central Europe allegedly in search of wood?

        And why did the "King" carry pine logs? Anybody who knows anything
        about wood would tell you that pine logs splutter and
        spit dreadfully when set alight. Ash and chestnut were traditionally
        used as fuel in Bohemia.

        Now what was inside those "pine logs" and just what was meant by the
        forest "fence"???

        The page-boy claims to know the peasant's permanent place of abode but
        there are in
        fact no historical records of this so-called "St Agnes' fountain".
        Just as well, really, because this and
        the heated sod of the saint's footprints would be clear evidence of
        local geothermal activity
        (making the 'gathering winter fuel' alibi even more dubious) and this
        would doubtless have
        constituted a further taxable supply in the eyes of the German tax
        inspectors had they been sober enough to notice it.

        So what was really going on? It all sounds like one of those lateral
        thinking puzzles, doesn't it?

        Highly suspicious,

        (hic)

        Melvyn
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