I recall a story which was told to me a long time ago over a few beers at a local "lounge" near Rumford, Maine. It sounded like one of those "urban legends" but actually not taking place in an urban setting. It stuck with me all these years like some profound life lesson absorbed.
"There were two single middle-aged men who lived across the road from each other in the sparsely populated woods of Maine. Abe and Bob would wave and say hello to each other almost every day. As was the norm, each neighbor heated his home by use of a wood burning stove. The winters get to be very snowy and bitterly cold up in Maine and as such provisions have to be made, early enough in the fall, to have sufficient fuel to burn. This is important because it is not very enjoyable to have to cut, split and stack wood when the temperature hovers way below the freezing mark. Wood tends to have the consistency of concrete when very cold.
Abe was very conscientious and spent several week-ends of hard labor to make sure he had plenty of firewood. Neighbor Bob, however, spent much less time and thought he could get by with a minimum supply hoping it would be a mild winter.
By February, Abe realized that for some strange reason, his supply was disappearing faster than he had planned. He immediately called the local supply house and at great expense had several cords delivered to ensure a sufficient supply. By the end of February, Abe was shocked to find that once again his supply was disappearing faster than should have been possible and came to the realization that there must be thievery in play.
Justice is hard to come by in the woods especially when it involves "petty" crime. The local constabulary would be insufficient to identify and stop this outrageous violation of property rights.
Abe would have to resolve this problem himself.
He went and retrieved a piece of firewood, shaved a piece off the surface and set it aside on his workbench. He then hollowed out a space inside the wood and cut a stick of dynamite , taking great care to insure that only a quarter of it was used. He placed the segment of dynamite into the wood and glued the surface shaving back into place. To ID this piece of firewood he rubbed one end into the dirt and re-positioned it on his stack.
A week later, sometime in the wee hours of the morning, Abe was awakened suddenly by a loud explosion from across the street which was followed by sirens from the local volunteer fire department.
Abe smiled, fluffed his pillow a couple of times with his fist, rolled over in his warm bed and went to sleep."