Life and Legend of Juro Jnok,

How Jnok Gave a Lesson to a Dishonest Butcher.

 

There was a fair in ilina. 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 ilina 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 Im 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 mans 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 Jnok, 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 wont be coaxed, itll be forced, Jnok 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 Jnok? 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 Jnok really would not dare come. The third day passed as well as twelve oclock and Jnok, 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 butchers 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 ilina?

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 Juros pistols pressing against it.

One word and you wont see tomorrows 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, Jnok 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 Ill verify if you have done as I say.

You ask what Jnok did with the ducats after that?

He is said to have dumped the false ones where the Kysuca and the Vh rivers meet so that they would not get into anyones 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? Jnok 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, 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.