Life and Legend of Juro Jánošík,

How The Lords Intended To Catch Jánošík 

There was a fair in the town of Kysucké Nové Mesto. There was hustle and bustle and hubbub everywhere and crowds of people from the areas of Kysuce, Bytča, and žilina, as well as Poland. But from Terchová, there was only Jánošík and, of course, his mountain boys.

They walked between the stalls, looked at the goods on display, bargained, but most of all they listened. At last they had been able to get away from the mountains and circulate among the people, because they were curious to know what the people were saying.

What did they learn? It was said that a meeting was to be held at the castle of Budatín to discuss how to entrap Jánošík. But it would not be a real meeting without a banquet, so the Lord’s men had been going round the surrounding villages for the last month, appropriating chickens, geese, and cattle. Nothing could be heard over the screams, cries, and laments, but what can a poor peasant do against the Lords of the manor?

The fair was not finished before Jánošík heard all about the meeting.

"A banquet? From the toils of the poor? I’ll teach those rogues a lesson.He gave the order and his men disappeared from town, one after the other. Near the ferry that carried people and goods across the Váh from žilina to Budatín, they chose a suitable place and hid themselves.

It was not long before a carriage appeared, that of the Baron Révai himself, from Turiec. As soon as it approached the place where the men were hiding, trees fell before and behind it in an instant. The baron could not move his carriage forward or backward.

Well, Jánošík certainly did not have a long talk with him. He pulled him out of the carriage, undressed him and dressed himself in the baron’s clothes. His companions did the same with the baron’s attendants.

 "Let’s go! ” someone shouted, and they all got into the carriage and up they went to Budatín Castle,

The meeting there was just culminating. The lords were all boasting, one after the other, that on the morrow they would give that rogue, Jánošík, a good going over, and soon there would be order in the country once and for all. One of them even did not hesitate to announce that he personally would force Jánošík to apologize for everything and what's more, to kiss his hand. Just at that moment the door swung open, and standing there was a large man wearing Baron Révai‘s clothes.

‘‘That possibly won’t do, my dear colleague. Jánošík may not kiss your hand. I am afraid that rather the contrary will more likely be true. I think you will soon apologize to all those from whose toil you live and give them back everything that you have stolen from them.

Everyone realized then that it was Jánošík.

"How did he get in here? There are so many guards around the castle. Of course! It must have been because of Révai‘s clothes..."

There was a big fuss and bustle, lords and their wives lost their heads and ran all around the room, looking for a way through which they could escape. But Jánošík’s boys stood in all the doors and, indeed, did not let anyone out.

"So, what now? You of noble birth! Don’t you really think it would be suitable to give back what you have stolen from the poor?"

There was silence.

“Well, I can see that I will have to collect it from you myself. How much would you like to contribute?”

Those he addressed still did not make themselves heard.

Jánošík did not wait anymore, he snatched a hat from one of the men and held it out to him.

“Everything in here! Rings, necklaces, and sparklers! Quickly, at once!”

What could the lords do? Could they try something on Jánošík when they had seen his men unbutton their coats, showing the barrels of their pistols gleaming underneath? They would have to have a regiment of their guards on hand. They could not do anything on their own, although there were four time as many of them as the men from the mountains.             

So obligingly, like good boys and girls, they gave everything that weighed upon their fingers or decorated their ears and necks. Jánošík neglected no one. He only had to look sharply into someone’s eyes and they immediately gave everything, even things Jánošík had not ever imagined. One hat was not enough. Neither two nor three. A dozen of them were filled.

“Well! You seem to have paid back a small part of your debt. By the way, someone here mentioned apologizing and the kissing of hands. This also will be, but we’ll have to change the roles…”

This affair was not at all to the lords’ liking. They turned up their noses and fidgeted, and a few cries of protest also sounded from somewhere in the back. But, when the men standing at the doors started to adjust their pistols again, the one who had been bragging stepped forward out of the group of lords and, shivering with fear and anger, knelt down and kissed Jánošík’s hand.

“Have a nice party, gentlemen!” Jánošík said taking his leave. “And if you happen to have the intention of following us, don’t even bother to go to the stables. We’re taking your horses with us.”

The same night Jánošík’s men went round the nearby villages and distributed among the serfs  what they had collected at the castle of Budatín. In that way they gave them back at least some small part of what the lords had been raking in from their labor for centuries.


 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.