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[TIDBITS] The Rifle

The Rifle

There is a philosophy that says something to this effect: If we
were to go back in time–if we had the ability–and if we were to
disturb the slightest thing in that time we were in, like the
stepping on a blade of grass for instance, we would then,
conceivably, disturb the very lives we live today. For that very
blade of grass might have housed a poisonous insect, which, when
crushed with the grass blade, would then not kill the carnivore
then prowling the neighborhood, and that carnivore would then
spawn more of its kind–which it wouldn’t have had it died–and
it’s progeny would then multiply to such a degree that it would
devastate the land that would ultimately have become Rome, and
Caligula might have then never have risen to power, and we would
all have missed a spectacle of cruelty and depravedness that
stunned the world, and we would not have wanted to have missed
that, would we have? Eh wot, folks?

So…Benjamin…this has something to do with Jewelry, or
Precious stones, or anything like that? Hey?

Yup. It sure does, folks, in a slightly oblique way. And here’s
how it goes.

There was once, quite some time ago, circa 1500’s, in the
Russian village of Tula, an incredibly skilled blacksmith by the
name of Nikita Demidoff. He was a busy lad; his fame was known
far and wide. One day, Peter the Great, the then Czar, was
hunting in the area. Alas, Pete’s rifle was broken. Who oh who
could fix it? Boinggg! A light went on. Why, who else but Nikita.
So Peter brought his gun to Nikita and said he would return for

Not only did Nikita fix the gun folks, but he also made a
duplicate of it. When he showed the duplicate to Peter the Great,
Peter was so impressed that, out of pleasure and generosity, and
an urge to reward great craftsmanship…Peter was so impressed
that he awarded Nikita Demidoff the right to open ore mines in
the Urals.

The Demidoff family prospered. One of the descendants ultimately
owned the Sancy Diamond. The Demidoff sons became interested in
mineralogy. They invested their funds in the exploration of the
Urals. They found malachite, nephrite, jasper, emeralds, topaz,
amethysts, and tourmaline.

This led to have Catherine the Great–there were clearly a lot
of “Greats” in Russia in them there times–this led to Catherine
the Great opening gem cutting factory in 1755 in the city of

Cathy gave jewels from her factory to her friends. Field Marshal
Potemkin, had a hat so heavily laden with Catherine’s gems, that
it became the singular duty of an assistant to carry the hat for
Potemkin when the marshal could no longer bear the weight.

Potemkin, by the way, belonged to the Orloff family, which gave
its name, some time later, to the famous Orloff Diamond. And the
Romanovs, the ruling house of the time, had designs of making
Catherine’s gem cutting factory one of the wonders of the world.

And the Demidoffs…what happened to them? Well folks, for the
fixing of a rifle…they were raised to nobility and ruled over
the Urals.

So folks…for those of you who don’t believe in the
connectivity of time and space, and the relation of past to
present, I urge you to think again. Look what happened to the
Demidoffs. Ummm…anyone out there want to join my gun smithing
classes when I open them. Hey, you never know.

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark

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