Life and Legend of Juro Jnok,

Receiving Gifts from the Fairies.

 

After Juro Jnok buried his parents he left for the mountains. Wandering all night in the dense forests beneath Rozsutec Mountain, he thought about what had happened. In place of his warm home was a desolate wooden cottage and instead of his father and mother it was the cold mountain that welcomed him. He had no one to console him in his sorrow or to advise him what to do.

When dawn came he found himself back at his home village beneath Ppov Hill. He came upon a small lake just deep enough for a man to drown in. He thought about it. How could he continue and accomplish any of his dreams, if he had no one to help him.

Day was dawning; the mist that slowly rose from the lake moved and formed shapes. Then for a moment he saw a creature resembling a woman take form; a beauty with flaxen hair, blue eyes, pale cheeks and a slender body. A fairy?

She called him by name. How do you know me? he asked. I have known you for a long time. Do you remember the day you rescued a girl dressed in rags from a pack of wild dogs?  No, truly I dont. I often help people but usually forget about if afterwards. he answered. I have not forgotten. I can at least give you something in return. Come here to the lake in three days. she said and suddenly vanished into the mist.

The fairy and her companions worked making Jnok a magical shirt. Using flax that was picked, soaked, spun and sown all in the same night. She, herself, went to the top of the mountain and picked a root of wolfs bane. Three days later Jnok met her at the lake.

She said to him, Before you try to change the world, put on this shirt. It will protect you from every bullet, and from any sword, however strong the hand that wields it. Also, before you start to set the world aright, your hair must be braided. That will give you three times as much strength as you have now. One more thing, before you declare war against the landlords, eat this root of wolfs bane. It is bitter but will help you become lithe and courageous as a chamois. (A small goat-like antelope of Europe.) She braided his hair and left. He never saw her again.

Jnok did as the fairy said. He tried at once to see if she had spoken the truth. He stamped his foot and sure enough, his footprint remained in the stone. He shot himself in the sleeve and there was no hole. Yes, the fairy had not forgotten Jnok who once saved her life. She helped him to become a highwayman who was unique and without equal.

All the fairies fell in love with Jnok. They were attracted to him because he was as slender as a fir tree, tall and strong, and was determine to bring down the mountains of wealth that separated the rich from the poor and turn them into valleys of understanding and compassion. Most of them forgot him as soon as he was out of sight. However one who lived in the Podjavorina region, near the village of Makov, would never forget him. She dared to imagine that he would give up the life of a highwayman and come to her and stay by her side forever. Jnok had a mission so thoughts of love never entered his mind. She waited and yearned and hoped.

One day when Jnok was on the Moravian side of the Javornivy Mountain, he found the landlords men waiting for him. He saw them just at the last moment and quickly went down the steep hill on the Slovak side of the mountain. Yet he would not have escaped if

Suddenly a deep lake appeared in the meadow. A bridge appeared from   nowhere. Not knowing where it would lead he went across the bridge. His pursuers followed him and just as they reached the middle of the bridge it collapsed. They disappeared in the bottomless depths never to be seen again.

When the one who saved his life appeared before him, he offered his heartfelt gratitude. I dont know how to repay you. He said he would give her double what ever she wished. He would dress her in clothes and give her jewels like the fine ladies wear.

She only sighed because he could not give her what she wanted. In an instant she changed into a little wild duck and flew away disappearing forever. It is said that she sat and cried for weeks on end at the place which is now the source of the Kysuca river. Her tears formed a little well and with time it changed into a spring.

 

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.