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Cruel Jakubik

Punkt na szlaku: On the ruffians’ paths

The settlement Jakubik on the slopes of Jasiennik (765 m AMSL), a hill in Beskid Sądecki belongs to Krynica. Half a century ago, at its border, at the edge of the forest, there was an old fir tree growing, indicating the place of death of Jukubik (Jakubek) from whom the settlement took its name. read more

The settlement Jakubik on the slopes of Jasiennik (767 m AMSL), a hill in Beskid Sądecki belongs to Krynica. It is located in the eastern part of the Pasmo Jaworzyny Krynickiej. A vehicle road leads through the settlement from Krynica to Mochnaczka, as well as a tourist trail and paths for strolls. On the slopes of the hill an old fir forest is growing. From the upper part of the settlement we can see a broad panorama view on Krynica and surrounding it hills and the highest peaks of the Beskid Niski.

Half a century ago, at its border, at the edge of the forest, there was an old fir tree growing, indicating the place of shameful death of Jukubik (Jakubek) from whom the settlement took its name. It was allegedly cut down only in 1943, simply for fireplace wood.

Allegedly, the nickname Jakubik was given to the famous ruffian Jakub Czepiec who marauded in this vicinity in the 17th century. Czepiec is a historical person. He is mentioned in among others Acts of the criminal court of the Muszyny boundary (1647 – 1765) published in 1889 in Krakow in the 9th volume Ancient monuments of Polish law, edited by Franciszek Piekosiński. In the so-called Muszyna country ruffians faced the so-called wielki gajony court dealing in criminal cases. Staroste or vice-Staroste were heading the sittings. Due to a veritable plague of ruffians on this territory (more precisely: beskidnicy), special armed divisions of the so-called harniks were organized for fighting them.

It is unknown since when the ruffians’ business was conducted by J. Czepiec. He participated in the Kostka Napierski’s Uprising lasting from the 14th of June to the 24th of June 1651. According to tradition, the head of the peasant’s uprising saved the famous ruffian from the execution in Nowy Targ. J. Czepiec in the K. Napierski’s peasants’ army had the role of a head of a division of considerable size. During the siege of the castle in Czorsztyn, he is said to have betrayed the leader and he opened gates to the storming people in exchange of the possibility to leave the fortress with his people.

He came back to his family land. His base was the cave, or rather a crevice in a rock located on the slopes of Kotylnica, near Mochnaczka. He organized robberies there, mainly of travellers and merchants following the route leading here from Hungary. He also robbed Jewish shops and inns, and gentry mansions. Soon, he became famous for unusual cruelty. He cut throats of his victims, he took their eyes out, he cut tongues away, he nailed their hands and legs to doors of their houses, and he skinned them. His companions were not much better. At the same time he often distributed loot among poor people from neighbouring villages, which bought him their friendship and ruffians’ fame.

Allegedly, he was captured on Palm Sunday and delivered to the court in Muszyna. When on Good Friday he refused to go to confession, the executioner wanted to give him boiling tar before the execution (as the son of hell). When assistants tried to give him this delicacy he poured this boiling fluid on them and ran away.

After several months he reappeared, this time with new companions. The whole vicinity was terrified. The ruffian was vengeful towards everybody whom he suspected of betraying him; he murdered the secretary of court of Jewish origin. When violent muggings became again to harass travellers and local people, army was called to the rescue. Jakubik was surrounded together with his group in the cave – hiding place, and after a violent battle he was captured. Allegedly, he ran away from assisting him soldiers and as he didn’t want to face the executioner again he hanged himself on the old fir.

The legend says that the same night the hanged body disappeared without any trace; taken directly to hell for the crimes he committed. He is said to had hidden enormous treasures in his cave, but nobody managed to find them, as people were forced to run away by devils looking after the ruffians’ gold.

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