Life and Legend of Juro Jnok,

How Jnok Was Granted Absolution


Jnok was told that he should go to confession.

Why me? he was surprised. What sins should I confess? Let those do penance who hardly let the poor people breathe.

That was in the summer.

Then the winter came, and Jnok hid himself in seclusion in the region of Kysuce where the days and nights seemed endless. Full of melancholy, grievous thoughts, and memories.

Is it really so? Jnok considered more than often enough. Have I done no injustice to innocent persons, have I not hurt anyone, does anyone other than the lords had bad memories of me? Am I able to judge? Can I be sure that I really do not live a life of sin? Shouldnt someone else do so? Shouldnt I really go to confession?

He did try to go.

He knocked at the gate of the first parish, but they would not even open the door there when he told them his name. At another place, he was no sooner seen coming than the guards were sent for. At last he found a priest who was not afraid of the name of Jnok, simply because he had not yet heard it. But when Juro told him he was a highwayman, the priest refused to grant him absolution before he could confess.

Jnok tried everything, but in vain.

The spring passed and summer began.

One day the outlaws captured two lads in a ravine on Strečno Mountain.

Who are you? Where are you coming from and going to?

We are students, was their reply. We are studying for the priesthood in Bratislava, and now we are on our way home for vacation.

You are just the people who we are looking for! the robbers shouted. Our captain wants to make a confession. Are you able to hear it?

The students looked at each other, embarrassed. To grant absolution? They did not yet have the authority to do that, but you cant play around with highwaymen

The outlaws blindfolded the students and took them to their hiding-place and, once there, straight to the captain.

Jnok confirmed it, yes, he wanted to make a confession and, if the young gentlemen were willing, he would give them ample reward.

The startled students nodded acceptance.

So the three of them went aside and Jnok started speaking. He spoke about his entire life, from his boyhood to becoming the highwaymens captain.

The students were so thrilled they almost forgot to breathe.

Jnok waited with bated breath after he finished. Would he be granted absolution or not?

You were granted it, captain, a long time ago, the students said unhesitatingly. A kind of absolution we can never grant you. From God, as well as from the people you helped, who will never forget.

They did not say anything more. However, what else could they say? They could only have confirmed what was being said about Jnok all over the country.

Jnok felt such relief that he did not ask about anything else.

He just gave a bag of gold pieces to each of them as they were leaving the outlaws hiding place.

Here you are, boys, this is for your studies. Such priests, as you will grow into will really be needed one day.


A book, Jnok, Jnok... written by Anton Marec, translated into English by Tatiana Strnadov and John Doyle and published in 1995 by Matica Slovensk, 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.