This article was first published a few years ago on the old kingscalendar website under the title The Tale of the City Blacksmith.
Given the new American President’s desire to actually cause the USA to prosper, and given the number of calls for breaking the regulatory strangle hold that some political bodies have on business and the community, I thought it might be worthwhile republishing this litte tale.
The Tale of the City Blacksmith
In another time in a place far away there lived a busy blacksmith. He was the only blacksmith in his city. He had inherited the business from his father who had inherited it from his father and his father and his father before that. In fact, centuries before there was nothing but a blacksmith shop in that part of the country.
Over the years, businesses began to spring up around the blacksmith shop, attracted by the frequent flow of horsemen who needed shoes made for their horses or who required a sword or a shield to be made or fixed. First there was a little cafe to feed the hungry travelers, and before long a hotel to house the weary journeymen. Eventually a whole city sprang up. This story is not about how that happened, but how the blacksmith went out of business.
What started as an out of the way country road place, eventually turned into a thriving city with the blacksmith shop right smack dab in the middle of it. But there came a day when the smithy’s presence began to be an annoyance to those living nearby.
One day at the regular city council meeting, it was decided that the blacksmith’s presence in the city centre was no longer appropriate in such a prosperous place and so a letter was sent to him advising that he had 30 days to move his business. He was allowed to appeal the decision of course, but it didn’t do him any good.
“Your business creates a lot of unwelcome noise” they told him when he appealed their decision, “and the smell of the horses is not all that pleasant” they said.
“Who will pay the cost of my moving?” he asked, “And what about the loss of income during the transition?”
“This is not our responsibility!” replied the council members. “We are acting in the best interest of the whole population.”
And so it was that on a certain day at a certain time, he closed his business and moved to a far corner on the edge of the city.
It took time for people to get to discover the location of his new premises, and for a while the Smithy’s income dropped. But in time, business picked up. But as his business begun to flourish again, the locals began to become annoyed at his presence, and having heard of the city council’s previous decision to move him from the city center, they appealed to the council to have him moved from their presence as well.
When he got the notice informing that he needed to move far from residential sections of the city, he knew that he would be fighting a losing battle to contest the decision, and so it was that he packed up his belongings and moved outside into the rural areas.
This however did cause him considerable loss of business, for those living in the East of the city who used to come into the city center to have their horses shod, and made use of their time by shopping, thought it a waste of time to travel so far west to find him, unless of course they were headed in that direction in the first place.
And so it was that he lost a lot of clients from the East of the City. They preferred to have their horses shod when they traveled east to the next city. Nevertheless, the Smithy was still making ends meet.
One day however, he received notice from the county officials that complaints had been made that his new premises off the side of the main highway into town, was creating problems for local farmers who had complained that the noise from his business was scaring the livestock and affecting milk and egg supplies. Furthermore, some had complained that all the customers hanging about by the side of the road were an eyesore and that the Smithy should also have built a cafe or rest house for his clients. As it was, the county officials felt that they had no choice but to order his business closed.
The Smithy did not appeal the decision, he merely requested from the county officials, where he might best, and without disturbance to anyone, relocate his business. Eventually it was decided that he could set up his business on a barren hill three miles north of his then present location, and without further ado, he did just that.
Unfortunately, the move proved disastrous. Nobody could find him, and when he put up signs on the highway, county officials informed him that the signs were inappropriate to the location. Well as you can imagine, the blacksmith finally closed up shop, and moved back to the city to look for some gainful employment.
Once again, misfortune overtook him. You see while his business was declining, fewer and fewer people were getting their horses shod. The city’s only blacksmith was so far away that they stopped going to get their horses shod, and then finally when he was no longer in business, people were not able to get their horses shod.
Now I must point out here that this problem was not just restricted to this one city, for as it happened, other nearby cities had followed the example of our smithy’s city council and they too had banished the local blacksmiths.
Well, as I have pointed out, people began to forego shoeing their horses, which in and of itself meant nothing, but as time moved on, various people began to complain about the poor and possibly inhumane treatment of the horses. As you can imagine, many people became incensed at this poor treatment, and upon complaining to the city council, and after much deliberation, it was decided that unshod horses would not be allowed to be used in commercial ventures. People couldn’t ride horses for a living; salesman couldn’t load goods onto their horses; and horses could no longer pull carts.
While it all seemed quite logical and humane, the unforeseen consequence of the law was that the supply of goods into and out of the town began to dwindle, until in the end, business after business went bankrupt.
As time went by the whole city went bust until the only ones left were those who could not afford to move, and one of these was our blacksmith.
One day, considering that since the council itself was now gone, the blacksmith decided to restart his business. All he could hope for was a few pence from travelers occasionally passing through the dead city. Well, as strange as it might seem, it didn’t actually take him too long to establish a thriving business. You see, once it was known that there was a blacksmith operating there, people came from far and wide to get their horses shod and their swords, shields and sundry other items made or repaired and with so many people coming into the city, the blacksmith reached out to a few of those still left in the city, to help him set up a cafe and a motel for the weary travelers.
It didn’t take too long at all for the blacksmith to become a rich entrepreneur. He was soon opening grocery stores, clothing shops and leather goods stores. The more people who flocked back to this once dead city, the more money and opportunity there was for the blacksmith and those few stragglers with whom he had set about creating businesses.
Eventually, the city was restored to its former glory.
Then one day, someone complained that there shouldn’t be a blacksmith shop in the middle of the city, and …….. Well you can imagine it can’t you?
The Moral of this story?
But, in this day of massive government control over so much of our land, our economy, and our basic ability to live free lives, we must be cautious and look at the details of plans, no matter how innocent or well meaning they may seem. National Heritage Areas are such a concern.