Life and Legend of Juro Jánošík,

How Jánošík Saved the Mill of Varín and a Miller


There was a mill in those days above the small town of Varín.

The wheels turned, everything worked, but there was not much grain to grind. For some years there had been poor harvests, so the local miller lived from hand to mouth. There eventually came one year when nobody came to the mill at all. The miller could not do anything but channel the water out of the milling room back to the river.

In the late autumn he went to see Count Lôwenburg in his mansion in Teplička and said, “This year there won’t be anything to pay you. Can you please postpone payment of the rent, Your Excellence?”

Count Lôwenburg was the kind of landlord that the valley of Terchová had never known before. Cruel and imperious, he did not know what forgiveness was.

He said, “I have already done so three times. Where do you get the courage to ask me again?”

He called a guard, who dragged the miller out to the courtyard and gave him five and twenty stokes of the stick then and there.

The next day another guard came to the mill and said, “You have to move out of the mill within three days. Our landlord has decided it so. If you don’t do this on time, you will be put on the rack and get three times more than you got yesterday.”

What could the miller do?

In the small town of Varín, he engaged a wagoner and wagon, put his family on it, loaded it with his scanty possessions, and set off towards žilina. He thought he might have better luck down there in the town.

Near Nededza, men suddenly encircled him, each one stronger than the next.

“Take everything, everything!” the miller cried in despair. “But please don’t touch my wife and children.”

The tallest and most handsomely dressed man stepped forward from among the men.

“Don‘t worry, my poor man, we are not going to rob you,” he said to him in a calm voice. “We only do that to those who need at least three wagons to carry their possessions. You surely aren’t one of them, are you?”

“Not at all, “the milled lamented. And, after the man asked, he told everything that had happened to him.

“Oh, that Lôwenburg! Too quickly has he forgot the lesson we gave him at the castle of Budatín,” said the man. And then he gave the order to the miller to turn the wagon about and go back to the mill where he worked.

“To the mill?” the miller was alarmed. ”I will be beaten to death on the rack tomorrow.”

“Don’t worry! Tell Lôwenburg that no one other than Jánošík has ordered it sol”

“Jánošík? So you are Jánošík?”

“You don’t believe me?” The large fellow beckoned, and two other men emerged from the dark, holding a coffer.

Jánošík opened it and said, “Come on, hold out your hat.” He tipped the coffer filling the hat to the brim. “This is for repairs to the mill, and mind that you do not pay a single ducat to the bloodsucker Lôwenburg. Tell him I will settle everything.”

Jánošík’s last words were already coming from the dark that soon obscured him completely. He disappeared the way he had appeared. No one knew where from, no one knew where too.

The miller stood for a moment, not knowing whether he had dreamt or if all of it had actually happened. But the hat full of ducats that he still held in his hand convinced him.

“Turn the horse around, wagoner!” he cried. “We are going back, for Jánošík is our guarantor.”


A book, Jánošík, Jánošík... written by Anton Marec, translated into English by Tatiana Strnadová and John Doyle and published in 1995 by Matica Slovenská, contains 33 tales of this famous outlaw captain. The information in this book was used to create this story. Check in the future for other stories.