and Legend of Juro Jánošík,
Jánošík Gave a Lesson to a Dishonest Butcher.
There was a fair in Žilina.
One could buy everything there,
from a needle to a horse, as it is said, as well as oxen.
A farmer from the village
of Chlmec was also selling his produce and oxen there. He had not been standing
there for long, when the richest butcher of žilina
stopped to talk with him. They did not have to negotiate overly much. The
butcher found that the oxen were good, and the farmer liked the price.
They came to an agreement
and shook hands on it. The butcher paid and took the oxen, and the happy farmer
went to the nearby tavern to have a drink and celebrate the affair. He ordered a
brandy, but the keeper only shook his head.
“No one will even sell
you a cup of water for such money,” he said. The farmer looked at his money.
What was wrong with his
money? He had made it honestly for well-bred oxen.
“I believe you,” the
tavern keeper said. “You have surely bred your oxen honestly, but the one who
bought them gave you false money.”
“Really?” The farmer
was alarmed. He began to lament on the spot. “What will I do now? How will I
survive over the winter? The oxen were all I had in the world”
His thoughts were of the
worst kind. He even thought of killing himself, which would be better than going
home with empty hands. Suddenly a man stood beside him who seemed to be so tall
that his head touched the ceiling.
“What terrible thing has
happened to you, uncle?”
“Well! I was robbed and
I’m a poor man,” the farmer from Chlmec lamented, and in the same breath he
told the man how badly he had come off at the fair.
“I have heard about that
butcher,” was the large man’s reply. “More and more people are complaining
about him, maybe it is time to give him a lesson.”
He asked the farmer to give
him the false pieces of gold, saying he would give him two pieces of gold for
each one. Then he disappeared. The startled farmer did not even learn whom it
was he had talked to. Because Jánošík, he was the one who changed the false
pieces for good ones, did not have time to talk much. That same evening he sent
a message to the butcher, saying that he should redress the grievance. But the
butcher only laughed. He did not even finish reading the letter before he kicked
the messenger out the door.
“So, if it won’t be
coaxed, it’ll be forced,” Jánošík decided when he heard what had
happened. He sent another letter to say that he would collect the money
personally, exactly three days later at noon. But, that dirty conniving butcher
only laughed again. Why should he care about Jánošík? He had dealt with other
men. Moreover, he had trainees and apprentices there, all well built and well
nourished lads, and he would also call the town guards to help him… When all
of them stood together to defend his house, no one would get in, even if he
tried with a magic hatchet.
At the beginning it seemed
that Jánošík really would not dare come. The third day passed as well as
twelve o’clock and Jánošík, who wanted to change the false gold pieces for
genuine ones, was nowhere to be seen. He must have been frightened, he might
have completely disappeared from the area, and he may only pretend to be the
protector of the poor…
Later that afternoon a
smart carriage stopped outside the butcher’s house. A well-built officer got
down wearing an elegant uniform with epaulettes and buttons glittering.
He said, “I have been
sent by the lords of the castle of Bytča where there
is to be a wedding, and such a wonderful wedding nobody in the whole nation has
witnessed before. Also, the food will be such, as no one has ever tasted. And
where to buy meat for such a reception if not from the renowned butcher of žilina?”
The boys guarding the house
understood quickly that this sort of business did not happen every day and
showed the flamboyant officer in to meet the famous butcher. The greedy butcher
did not hesitate and showed the guest into his most luxurious salon and opened a
bottle of wine…
Suddenly, after the two men
were alone, the elegant messenger opened his coat, showing two shiny pistols.
“The gold pieces,” he
whispered. “All of them. The genuine and the false ones.”
Now the butcher got a
better picture of the visitor who was under his roof. But he did not become
frightened, and he jumped to the door to call the guards… Just at that moment
however, his back went cold, as he felt the steel barrels of Juro’s pistols
pressing against it.
“One word and you won’t
see tomorrow’s sunrise.”
All courage left the
butcher. He dragged himself to the opposite wall and took down the picture that
was hanging there, revealing the two coffers that were hidden in a niche. There
were genuine ducats in the first one and false ones in the other.
”Call your men and tell
them to load this into my carriage,” Jánošík ordered. “And tell the other
two to take the oxen out of the stable and take them back to the farmer you
cheated in Chlmec. Later I’ll verify if you have done as I say.”
You ask what Jánošík did
with the ducats after that?
He is said to have dumped
the false ones where the Kysuca and the Váh rivers
meet so that they would not get into anyone’s hands and evil would not be
spread among the people. That part of the river where the currents are still
swirling today has definitely never given them up to anyone. And the genuine
ones? Jánošík might have given them to someone who became destitute, or they
may be buried somewhere in the ground, waiting for someone who deserves them in
compensation for his deeds.
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.