October 26 is noted in the church calendar as the feast day of King Alfred the Great, although, great as Alf may have been, he gets only a black letter day, not a red.
Alfred was King of Wessex from 871 to 899, and accomplished a number of things justifying the tagline "the great," primarily getting rid of invading Danes, who were poised to take over the Anglo-Saxon island. But what most of us, of a certain age, remember from early school days, is the story of Alfred and the burned cakes.
Here it comes again: Alfred, in flight from a battle going the wrong way, sought refuge in a peasant woman's hut. She said okay, he could stay, if he watched the oven while she went about other farm duties.
But Alf, weary and battle-worn, fell asleep, and, with no functioning smoke alarm in the hut, allowed the small loaves to burn. The peasant woman, on return, was, understandably angry, and Alf was, like the cakes, almost toast. Those of us familiar with kitchen disasters can sympathize.
Somehow he talked his way out of the hut, went on to win the war, and had a glorious reign. We hope he remembered the woman in the hut and either pronounced her a Dame of the Kingdom, or at least sent her a sack of flour.