Deep in a forest, not too far from here, there lived a forester by the name of Pen. Pen had moved into the wild a few years back, when there were less security cameras to catch him stealing vegetables from neighboring gardens. Of course, this was only until Pen could grow his own crops, and for the third year in a row, his tomatoes were ripe and ready.
He stepped out of his shanty to gather them up when he saw a ground squirrel hanging around the trunk of a birch tree. Sidling up to the small creature, Pen extended his hand to try and pet it, but naturally the rodent sped off as soon as Pen moved his arm.
Disappointed, and rather disheartened, Pen plucked his tomatoes and put them in a basket next to the fire-pit in the center of the hut. To try and cheer himself up, the forester gathered up his extensive wood collection and went through the pieces, feeling the texture of the bark and naming the tree by memory.
Feeling significantly better, Pen lit the fire and hung an iron pot over it, supported by a tripod he had built when he had first settled to the area. Adding ingredients, he let his supper simmer and went out and about to collect twigs.
Twig-collecting was an arduous process, and Pen found himself a good ten-minute walk from his shanty before he smelled smoke. Smoke along would have been fine, but the bright orange flames that flared up around the settlement bode ill for Pen’s supper. And his house.
Frantically sprinting back to the shack, Pen saw that the basket of tomatoes had caught aflame and spread it to the wood-lined interior. Then the whole thing lit up like a greased pig with a pack of firecrackers on its back jumping through a ring of fire.
Pen, desperately trying to save his wood collection, gather as many as he could and hurried out of the shack. He dropped one, but lacking the flexibility to bend over and the heat-resistance to stay any longer, Pen tore his gaze away from the log and trudged on, crying all the while.
His tears stopped abruptly, as did the crackling of the flames. The scent of smoke lingered, and as Pen threw his logs in a heap and turned around to see what had happened, all that remained of the flames were a few sparks hopping around the dropped log.
To this day Pen has traveled the world, educating Park Rangers on fire protection and its important role. He recommended that each and every one of them keep a wood collection, like himself, in case an untimely disaster occurred.
And when he retells this story, the youngest of the Rangers always asks him his secret. Just how on earth did a piece of wood keep the forest from burning down?
And Pen always grins, and says “Only Yew can prevent forest fires.”