Rasputin © wood engraving (ed. 40) image: 7 x 5 in. $100.00 (go to "Hi There" for purchase information)
Sometimes, no matter how devout and pious a person might be, his good works are just never appreciated. The Russian Orthodox peasant priest, Grigori Rasputin was devout to the extreme. His mystical curative powers eventually landed him in the Imperial household of Czar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra whose only son and heir, Alexei, suffered from hemophilia. When the boy was near death and the doctors had given up, Nick and his wife turned to Rasputin whose holy works saved the boy. This was Rasputin's ticket to ride and it didn't take him long to gain a seat at the Imperial table. He was always surrounded by adoring women and stories circulated about his sexual adventures within the Imperial household. Eventually many of the Czar's advisors and relatives became jealous of his power and influence and a plot was hatched to get rid of him. He was lured one evening to a dinner in the basement of Prince Yusupov's house, where his wine was laced with cyanide. He kept drinking the poisoned wine all evening and only got drunk , so the prince finally gave up when the supply of cyanide ran low and shot him. Some accounts include an attempt to drown him in the river when the poison, followed by bullets, didn't finish him off.

If old Grigori had held on just a little longer his assailants would have suddenly become serious believers in his mystical powers.

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