Life and Legend of Juro Jánošík

  How Jánošík Took Charge of the Ducats of Kremnica

Jánošík learned that silver coins would be carried in wagons from Kremnica to the Emperor’s court. They were said to be for the war against Germany.

“What?” he shouted. “The serfs do not have anything to buy a piece of bread with here but full coffers go there so that people can be destroyed? Oh no! That’s too much! This is something that we have to look at the other way around”

He ordered his band to move into the mountains of Kremnica during the night.

“Has he lost his senses?” his companions muttered. “We can’t do that! Such a load will be guarded by at least a regiment of soldiers and there are still no more than a dozen of us.”

But Jánošík only smiled and did not forget to remind the mountain boys to take the uniforms of the Emperor’s soldiers with them, taking one, which had a colonel’s epaulettes for himself.

Two days later the heavily loaded wagons moved from Kremnica, accompanied by two regiments of hussars. They went down the valley without difficulties, but when they turned into the main road, toward the villages of Svätý Kríž and Honský Benadik, a small detachment of fast riders emerged in front of them. At their head was a colonel - a mountain of a man. He asked for the transport commander.

From among the group of soldiers a little man stepped forward. He was only a common captain and two heads shorter than the large colonel, who handed him a letter.

The hussars’ commander could not believe his eyes. He read it once and then twice but only after the third reading understood that, according to the letter, he should, without delay turn over the wagons to the protection of this small detachment.

“Why?” he protested, “I got an explicit order not to move one step sway from this precious cargo.”

“Because the Emperor needs to have the silver at his court tomorrow, and this regiment is too slow to arrive there in the given time…”

“It can’t be true! The Emperor has chosen this kind of protection precisely because the cargo is of immense value. So much silver has never been transported in one load from Kremnica before.”

“The captain is saying he doesn’t believe a letter with the Emperor’s seal?” roared the colonel (who, of course, was really Jánošík in disguise). “He doesn’t believe the words of the emperor’s colonel? He says he refuses to obey the order given by the supreme commander?”

“I would never be so bold as to do that!”  The hussars’ captain stuttered. “On the contrary, I am willing to lay down my life for the protection of His Majesty, the Emperor’s, possessions. That is why colonel, please allow my soldiers to protect the transport together with yours.”

“I appreciate your devotion, captain” was the colonel’s reply. “I’m sorry but your offer is inconsistent with the intention of His Majesty the Emperor, who does not want a big procession to attract attention. You know, the country is now full of all kinds of outlaw bands, and if Jánošík, the Lord forbid, came upon our way…”

“Jánošík!” As soon as the hussars’ captain heard the name, and as soon as it had been repeated among the hussars, the atmosphere changed noticeably. There was anxiety, muttering, fear...

It was the opinion of the majority that it would be better indeed to get rid of that dangerous cargo and come unscathed back to Kremnica.

The captain quickly noticed what his hussars thought of all that, and he did not feel like matching his strength with the outlaw who was spreading fear and terror all over the country.

“All right, colonel,” he said, “I’ll turn over the wagons to your protection. I only want you to let me keep this letter so that I have something to show as proof to the Count in Kremnica.”

After the assumed colonel, his eleven soldiers, and the carriages with silver passed the first curve of the road, they all threw off their disguises and, in their underclothes, Jánošík and his men roared with laughter.

“I’d even write you two dozen receipts for such a load, “Jánošík laughed.

 

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.