About J. G. Grasel
The legends

Grasel not only in legends

Apart from the numerous legends of the famous robber of our region, there are also a number of songs and even theatre plays about Grasel. This area of popular and ancestral creation has been very well documented mainly by our Austrian neighbors.
On the Czech side, which Grasel knew very well and in which he went around quickly and skillfully in his times, mostly legends were preserved. We will provide them to you gradually. In most of these legends, Grasel is described as a clever and gay fellow who actually took from the rich and the poor and did not make much difference between them.

Grasel and the old woman

At the beginning of October, on the feast of Saint Francis, there were autumn fairs in Dačice. People came from the surrounding areas and bought winter supplies. One old woman from Slavonice was cutting across the woods. At that time the famous highwayman Grázl (grasl) was wreaking havoc in the region. While walking, the old woman was thinking about her affairs and from time to time fear of meeting Grázl crossed her mind. That would crown it all! Suddenly, bushes were put aside and a tall square shouldered young man stood in front of her.
“Ugh, you scared me. I already thought it was Grázl. It would be my end. Young man could you escort me out of these woods?  At least I will have a protector.” Before Grázl could say anything, the old woman was blabbing away about her daughter, the neighbors’ dog, her grandson, her old man, Fanny Polly and all other sorts of things. Then she changed the topic and started to talk about Grázl: what an awful ruffian he was, stealing, even killing people. “Has he ever done something to you?” asked Grázl.
“That would be the last straw! What I hear from people is sufficient! This rascal deserves being hanged on the first tree!” They reached the end of the wood. The old woman thanked Grázl for his escorting and Grázl said: “My good woman, would you be so kind and buy me in town two Kreutzers of shoemaker nails?” “Of course!” she said. “What would I not do for such a well-mannered young man?” She took his money and went away. She wandered about the whole square, stopping at each stand, sometimes buying something and suddenly the tower bell rang “frejunk”, i.e. the end of the fair. Business men and craftsmen packed without delay and people lazily dispersed.
The old woman hurried up to get home early: At the edge of the wood she caught sight of her friend. “Here you are young man, I have your nails.” “Thank you very much my good woman.”
The old woman started again her idle chatter that passed unnoticed through Grasel’s ears. In the meantime he emptied the nails from the paper bag on a stump and carefully arranged them evenly on its surface, nail heads turned upwards. When he finished, he seized the old woman by her shoulder, picked her up and looked into her staring eyes. So you are going to curse Grázl? Here you go, so that next time you may have a good reason to do so! He then placed her with her full weight on the stump and held her firmly to prevent her from standing up. The old woman screamed so much that the birds left the tops of the trees. He then let her go and bowed to her while saying: “my humble respects, my good woman, Grázl bids you farewell!” He then disappeared in the dark.
The old woman lamenting run and fell in the dark, bumping on stamps and slipping in holes. She came back unusually late from the fair that day and next time preferred not to go on her own.
From the book of local legends “Srdnatý věžník”, written by V. Jindra - Dačice, MMGA, 1998

About Grázl

The robber Grázl supposedly often spent the night in the chapel graveyard in Slavonice. It is said that he also hid there the proceeds of his robberies. Grázl was a joyful young fellow and once he bet in a pub that he would took from the church of Slavonice the golden plated candlestick. Let’s bet that I not will enter the town through its gateway nor by climbing its fortifications tower but still will manage to get into the church!”
They all laughed and agreed that they could blindly rush into such a bet and indeed, they bet quite a large sum of money.   
However, they lost. Grázl entered the town by using a tunnel, which until then no one knew about. Apparently it led from the Austrian borders to the cellars of Slavonice. It is said that the jolly robber did not only take the candlestick from the church but also stole from one cellar lots of wine. 
Another time, he came to a party in Písečná. He was dressed as a hunter and it did not occur to anyone that there was a robber among them. He danced until morning. Since he had lots of money on him, he let himself see out with music. When they reached the wood he paid the musicians with golden ducats and asked them: “Do you have any idea whom you have been playing for?” They shrugged their shoulders. Suddenly he pulled out a gun from his pocket and shouted: “I am Grázl. If one of you wants to go after me, he will see!” And he disappeared into the wood. They all remained transfixed and of course no one dared to follow him.   
From the book “O stříbrné podkově”, written by E. Kilianová, Brno – Blok, 1986

About the burgled safe

In Český Rudolec, one day, a slim young person dressed as an ordinary peasant entered the brewery and ordered a beer. He stroke up a conversation, asked what was new in the region and suddenly dropped: do you know that Grázl the robber is in Stálková? Apparently is planning to burgle the safe of the manor.
“If this is true, said the brewer, he should be nicked and caught in this wood, so that we may be left in peace!
As soon as the young man left, the brewer’s son brought the news to the manor house of the earl Razumovský.
“Grázl is here? This is great news! Finally we will catch him and lock him up in the round house jail!”
He immediately called the shire reeve and servants and they encircled the woods so that even a hare could not have escaped. They looked behind each tree, bush, without success. At the same time, a well dressed nobleman entered the manor kitchen and with a refined style asked for the key of the safe. 
“The earl asked me to bring him from the safe an important document” he explained.
No one saw any harm in the request and trusting him, the servants gave him the keys of the safe: A short while after, the earl came back empty handed from the woods with his armed men. They found however that the safe had been burgled. 
From the book “O stříbrné podkově”, written by E. Kilianová, Brno – Blok, 1986


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