The Stories of Václav Čtvrtek

The Stories of Václav Čtvrtek


Rumcajs comes immediately to mind for most Czech people when Jičín gets mentioned - and for good reason: the story of the honest cobbler turned honest bandit is set in Jičín and the nearby forest of Řáholec. And this is not even the only story by Václav Čtvrtek set in the area, as his stories about water sprites, cobblers and Šejtroček the Coachman also take place here in Jičín.

Rumcajs the Bandit

The characters of Rumcajs, Manka and Cipísek have been an indivisible part of Jičín for more than 50 years. As such, it does not come as much of a surprise that there are a great many spots connected to this fairy-tale bandit family. In summer months, you might even bump into them in person: Manka and Rumcajs parade around the town, occasionally walking up the many stairs of the clocktower, where they enjoy the view and check up on their son Cipísek, who plays in the nearby Řáholec Forest. The stories about Rumcajs, Manka and Cipísek were written by the famous Czech author Václav Čtvrtek, with Radek Pilař providing animation.

The Cobblers’ Battle for the Red Skirt

Rumcajs was not the only famous fairy-tale shoemaker from Jičín; a cobbler called Kuba repaired the residents’ shoes as well. Václav Čtvrtek’s tale The Cobblers’ Battle for the Red Skirt follows the story of Stázina and Kuba’s struggle with Kolomajza, the arrogant steward of the Jičín palace. As it goes in fairy-tales, Kuba and Stázina have to overcome difficulties and danger in order for their love to triumph. Kuba has the help of the water sprites Čepeček, Česílko and Kebule and a fairy called Andulka.

Water Sprites

Česílko is the most well-known Jičín water sprite, thanks to Václav Čtvrtek, who set the story about this little green guy in a small pond in the fields near Jičín. He does not live there alone, as the massive carp Osmikiláč keeps him company. While on this subject, we cannot forget to mention the other water sprites from the pen of Václav Čtvrtek - Čepeček and Kebule. And where might these water sprites reside? The ponds Kníže, Šibeňák or Hádek could provide a nice spot to live: take a stroll around these ponds and you might discover them for yourself.

The Travels of Šejtroček the Coachman

How was it that Šejtroček become a coachman? This simple farmer was asked by the mayor to move the mayoral house three steps ahead of all other houses. Šejtroček feared he would not succeed in such a task, but still, he made the effort; calling in a favour owed by a water sprite, they managed to fulfil the task. Šejtroček became a coachman and married a well fairy. He had many an adventure on his travels.

Václav Čtvrtek

Václav Čtvrtek, born Cafourek, came to Jičín during the first world war, when he moved in with his grandfather after leaving Prague.  Beginning in 1960, he fully dedicated himself to literary writing, and mostly wrote fairy-tales set in the Jičín area. The books of stories which were adapted into short animated stories for children (Večerníček) became his most beloved among the readership. Animated series like Rumcajs the Bandit, Cipísek the Bandit Son, Fairy-tales of Moss and Fern, Poppy-Seed Girl and Butterfly Emanuel, and Fairy Amálka (O loupežníku Rumcajsovi, O loupežnickém synku Cipískovi, Pohádky z mechu a kapradí, O makové panence a motýlu Emanuelovi, Říkání o víle Amálce) were created with the cooperation of Czechoslovakian tv.