When I was in High School, a fellow classmate was studying piano and would practice this piece before class because she didn't have a piano at home. Little did I know at the time that Knecht Rupert (see illustration at left) was a legendary character who accompanies St. Nicholas in Germany. Bearded and hooded, he carries a sack in which he puts naughty children. Quite a bit scarier than coal in one's stocking!
"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark