Finally, I decided to go farther, a lot farther, to the years around 1460 - 1490 when the biggest King of Hungary, born in the same town as me a few century later, reigned. Weather it is true or not, this story going on, for many hundred years from people to people, arrived to me, when I was 6 in my first book of Hungarian folk tales and was my preferred one, from that time on.
King Matthias and the judge from Kolozsvar
According to the legend, the biggest king of Hungary, Matthias, who reigned in the second half of the 14th century, sometimes dressed in simple clothes went through the country to understand better the people's problems and to correct them, punishing the too authoritarian and unjust peers.
Once upon a time, in my birth town, Kolozsvàr, also king Mathias birth town, long long time ago , there was a cruel judge. King Matthias, heard about his injustices against the people of the town and the villagers around it.
To uncover the truth, King Mathias decided to visit his birth town, where he had not been for so long, but to be sure to uncover what is really happening, he decided to go first in disguise,
Dressed in rages and he sat down near a shop..across the judge's house. He did not have time to look or listen a lot, as the Judge’s servant come and roared:
- Why do you steal the time without doing anything, you with that huge Nose? Do not you know that how much work is it in the Judge’s courtyard?
He beat Matthias with his stick.
- How much it pays? - Mathias asks.
- Come to the judge’s courtyard, he will explain you!
In the judge's court serfs and free peasants who had come to city that Friday to sell their goods, worked without stopping for a minute, cutting and assembling tree logs, carrying timber.
The judge's lounging on the porch, looked out as the work got on.
- What is the pay, Lord judge, to carry the lumber? Mathias asked.
- You'll see soon, the judge snarled, Give him two strong sticks on his his crocked shoulders to learn how to behave!
And his servants hit Matias again.
- Go immediately and to cut and assemble the wood !
What could the king do?
Throughout the day he worked with the timber in the judge's court. But meanwhile, the engraved his name on the three of the logs:
Matthias! Matthias! King Matthias!
In the evening, tired and hungry once again he stood before the judge:
- Lord Judge! Please pay us for the whole day's work!
- Old dog, you! Bastard with long nose! I’ll pay you! Give him twenty-five more! the judge issued the order to his servants to beat the man daring to ask money for his day’s work.
At once they grabbed his Majesty, and the pay was measured with twenty-five sticks on his back . Matthias pressed his teeth, and vowed to return to the judge tenfold, what he got.
Finally, he left the city, united with his soldiers, and the returned he next morning, with his knights on horses and dressed in all King’s regalia.
The judge bowed humbly before him.
- Hail the glorious King! It is so glorious the King! Welcome all the big KING;
Matthias tolerated for a moment, that kind of speak, but his eyes flashed:
- So how are the people are fairing in this beautiful city?
- They are happy to live here, they all are.
- And how you treat the peasants coming to sell their faire?.
- They are also all happy to come, any time.
- Show me the city, Mathias ordered then.
When they arrived before the Judge's courtyard, he asked:
- For those logs so well arranged, where did you got help?
- Gift from the villagers that came to the market, answered the judge.
- What did you pay the for it?
- They were happy to do it for free.
- Happy? For free? Asked again Matias the king;
The judge began to feel uncomfortable, and said:
- Yes, the peasants did it joyfully.
- Let us look at the logs, told then Matias, ordering his soldiers to take apart the logs.
- I wrote my name on three logs, yesterday, when you forced me to work for free and even made beat my back because I asked for payment. Even now, my back is blue from your servants beating.
The soldiers found then on three logs where he had carved his name. Matthias! Matthias! Matthias!
Then the judge fall on his knees:
- Grace my head, Your Majesty! Grace!: Oh, Grace.
- No mercy! Vile worm! I was hit, then beaten because I asked for a just payment.. My people were obliged to work for you under menace, who knows how many times! - Gallows would be worthy reward for your deeds! But I will be satisfied to disposes you of everything. Go out immediately from this city. Go out of this country. So no one can even hear of you any more.
Soon the word got around the country of what happened in Kolozsvar, the actions of the evil Judge and his punishment. The wicked officials were terrified hearing it and lay low, no more demanding too much from the poor for free.
At least, while the king of Hungary, was King Matthias, until the end of the 14th century. After him, there was no more a big and good king in Hungary, but in the villages the story goes on from one mouth to the other, still to today.
That is how, one day, it arrived to me, when I was living in Kolozsvàr, his and mine birth town, and only six years old, seventy years ago.
This is the story as I translated and very slightly adapted it. Now, I'll have to learn it, tell it, often, and then, play it out. This is my last assignment for the toastmaster's Storytelling manual. I hope, I'll be able to tell it well. Mathias king and his dealing with the ordinary people and helping them are famous, so this is not the only one that still goes around in the Hungarian villages. But this one is the one close to my heart.