Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Dried Peas

For audio click here 
Juraj smiled and produced yet another precious stone from his waistcoat pocket. 
“For you my darling Marie,” he said with a wink. Marie smiled and kissed her man’s stubbly chin. 
“You're so wonderful Juraj,” she said. 
“Juraj, come on! Let’s go.” Tomas leaned over him, his fists on the table. 
“Come and see me tonight, Juraj,” Marie said, “I'll be at the tavern.” 
“You just keep me away,” Juraj got to his feet and blew the fair maiden a kiss. 
“She'll be the death of you!” Tomas said, as they walked out of the bar. “And if not her, one of the other ones. They get jealous you know.” 
“Never,” Juraj smiled. “I keep them sweet with jewellery and Juraj loving.” 
“Mark my words,” Tomas said. “A jealous woman is more dangerous than one hundred militiamen. You need to be more careful.”. 
“You're always worrying,” Juraj said. “And what's the rush.” Tomas was striding ahead, Juraj struggling to keep up.
“We just got word that a nobleman and his squire are riding this way. Time for a little action.” 
Juraj’s eyes lit up. If there was one thing he loved more than an hour with Marie, it was a little bit of robbery. 
“Let’s get to it then,” he said. 

Juraj pushed open the door of the tavern like a returning hero coming home from the war. The warm welcoming smell of sweat and boiled turnip hit him. The hubbub of conversation died to a murmur as people realised who the newcomer was. He blew out a lungful of smoke and took another long drag on his pipe, standing in the doorway to allow everyone a long look at him.
“A beer please,” he said and looked around for Marie. He couldn't see her buxom figure anywhere; she must be upstairs with someone. He could wait. Slowly, he realised something wasn’t quite right. Not only was there no Marie, but none of the other women were there. The room was full of men, far too many men, far too many strangers. He turned to leave, one step, two steps, then into a jog. 
“Get out of the way wench,” Juraj said to an old woman standing near the doorway. She smiled and moved, but as she did so, she scattered a handful of dried peas in his path. Juraj couldn’t keep his footing and crashed to the ground. The bar erupted. Men trying to reach Juraj and others trying to stop them. Beers were spilled and punches thrown.  Juraj tried to get back to his feet, but before he could he was pounced on by two men and then surrounded by five or six others. The game was up. He’d been betrayed and annoyingly Tomas had been right. 

This is based on a true story about a Slovak outlaw Juraj Janonšik, who was captured on 17th March 1713. 


  1. It´s complete fiction, Gareth!:-)He couldn´t have had any pro, he couldn´t have robbed for pleasure. He raised money for the uprising against the Habsburg. After his death some money were found that shows that he didn´t want the money for himself.
    On Czech and Slovak wikipedia you also wouldn´t find any mention about the pea capture. This legend was created later and everybody here knows it. But yes, it´s a great story topic:-).

    I think that the form of execution was also a proof that he was a thorn in sides of many people...

    1. When I searched for him in English I found plenty of accounts of his life but no stories. So I decided to fictionalise the accounts. :)