The Green Horse Rustlers

Jiří Hájíček

Jiří Hájíček: The Green Horse Rustlers

Original title: Zloději zelených koní

Genre: novel


Host 2001, 2015

ISBN: 978-80-7491-604-5

Pages: 144

Foreign editions:

Hungarian (Mágus, 2003, Beke Márton)


Against the background of a dramatic story set in the recent past of the search for semi-precious moldavite – the illegal acquisition of which has become an uncontrollable passion – a no less dramatic tangle of human relations (friendship, love, betrayal and disappointment) is unravelled.


Pavel drops out his geology studies and moves to Hradec, to live with his girlfriend Karolína. He and his friend Kačmar occasionally go on digs with a group of friends, in search of moldavite. As Pavel’s interest in prospecting gradually develops into a gold-digger’s passion, he and Kačmar find themselves drawn into ever greater adventures, and these come to threaten his and Karolína’s relationship. Pavel pays a high price for his stubborn determination to live as he chooses; indeed, it nearly costs him his life . . . 

Jiří Hájíček introduced the phenomenon of the illegal of mining of moldavite to Czech literature in 2001, the year in which The Green Horse Rustlers was first published. A feature-film version of this short novel, directed by Dan Wlodarczyk, was premiered in the Czech Republic in September 2016. More here

Thanks to Jiří Hájíček I’ve discovered a world completely new to me. It may seem dusty, obscure and rooted in ancient, made-up stories, but it’s perfectly real! And it contains great passion, inner freedom and tension. The Wild South! — Pavel Liška, the actor who plays Kačmar

The stones are what it’s all about. I’d no idea people could go so crazy for little green rocks. Now I, too, can see their charm . . . — Jenovéfa Boková, the actor who plays Karolína

Jiří Hájíček has written a lyrical ballad which is also very physical. That’s a rare combination. For the film, we’ve drawn mostly on the physical and adventurous side of things, as today’s film demands, but we hope that something of the novel’s other layers comes through. — Dan Wlodarczyk, director and screenwriter

There are few areas of life that allow us to dream of amazing discoveries, but there are more and more that present us with a bill. Despite or perhaps because of this, our film is about love and hope.  — Viktor Schwarcz, producer


"If I write that the 'novel' has its external basis in moldavite, this is perhaps because in itself this is not so important. Above all The Green Horse Rustlers gets to grips with – or least attempts to get to grips with – that fault-line period we all lived through and by which all of us are marked. As such it can be classed among those prose works, of which there are quite a few, which investigate and appraise the time of the revolution [the so-called 'Velvet Revolution' of 1989, ed.]"                                                                                                                                                                                                         Jiří Staněk, Tvar

"For Pavel everything is destroyed by emotion – he leaves school, his relationship with Karolína breaks down, he refuses the help offered by his teacher. Hájíček's use of the matter-of-fact style of the documentarist serves to underline the hopelessness implicit to Pavel's fate." 
František Cinger, Právo

"It is possible to read this novella as a story about the blindness of passion or facing the world with teeth clenched – a story which, in spite of its relative hopelessness, gives the reader some slight cause for optimism, even if this optimism is to be found in the realization that there are those who do not walk 'our' assuredly shorter and more comfortable ways." 
Dora Kaprálová, MF Dnes

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