There once was a lumberjack named Jack Lumber. He was the best lumberjack ever – And he knew it.
The townspeople called him “B.J.” for Boastful Jack.
Every day he would go out to the forest and clear more lumber than any other logger.
Every evening, he would drink too much ale and talk about how great he was, and mock the other axemen and their paltry tree counts.
He’d even refer to himself in the third person.
Oh how his rival, Stewart “The Bear” Grilles, hated him.
One day BJ felled double the amount of trees than The Bear.
That night at the pub he was bragging about it, much too loudly, and The Bear got jealous. And drunk. Jealous and drunk.
When Stewart was getting ill (from the boasting, not the ale), he stumbled out of the pub with murder on his mind. On his way out, he nearly tripped over a little gypsy.
The gypsy could smell his jealousy and smiled – She could offer a much better revenge than murder.
He quickly accepted.
The little gypsy unscrewed the top of her cane and pulled out a little vial.
The Bear, not one for subtlety, went directly back into the pub and challenged Jack to drink it.
Jack, not one for intelligence, took the challenge. Took it and drank it down in one gulp.
The next day Jack went to work with a raging hangover.
Oddly, every tree he saw looked womanly. He couldn’t cut them down. He would just stare at them.
He tried moving on to the next tree, but it looked even more beautiful. He kept going from tree to tree. Each successive one became more and more attractive to him.
Until he came across the most divine specimen he had ever seen. A gorgeous birch tree, nestled in a cove.
He fell in love instantly.
Jack could no longer work, he would go out to the forest and spend all day there, gazing at his beloved birch.
Rumors began to spread in the village that he was becoming a “tree hugger.”
The Bear laughed, and laughed. He was now the village’s leading logger.
One night, more than slightly sloshed, Stewart went out to do some late night logging – to bump up his totals for tomorrow to really rub in Jack’s face.
The next morning Jack found Stewart asleep at the base of a tree stump. A birch tree stump. His lovely birch tree had been felled by The Bear.
In a fit of rage Jack grabbed a branch and impaled him on the spot, right up the spot in fact. His screams could be heard throughout the forest, even into town.
Coming to his senses – the gypsy spell now broken – Boastful Jack ran off into the forest, never to be heard from again.
From then on, the town would love to tell the story of BJ and The Bear – He had 99 problems, but a birch ain’t one.