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The Lorax: Re-Written
“Here I go! Off to change the world with my Thnead!” cried the Once-ler.
“Okay, but remember Once-y, when you fail, we will be waiting for you to come back home!” replied his mother.
“Oh, I won’t fail. You’ll see! The world needs Thneads!”
So off he went, with his cart and mule the only company. The Once-ler didn’t know where he was going, only that he needed to find the perfect material for his Thnead. Many long days passed with no luck. Was he ever going to find what he needed? The Once-ler started to think his mother might be right.
Just as he was about to turn his cart around, his mule stopped. “Whoa! What are you doing?” he asked the creature. The Once-ler peered at his animal to see what was going on. The mule was looking around at his surroundings. Following his lead, the Once-ler peeked out of his wagon. “No way! This is exactly what I need!”
As far as the eye could see, there were rows and rows of Truffula trees. The fluffy, colorful tops could be used for his Thnead. It was the perfect place to set up his camp and begin his surely prosperous business. Nothing could stop him now.
The Once-ler hopped out of the wagon and grabbed his tent. He set to work on pitching it so he could have some shelter. It didn’t take him very long to unfold the tent and drive its stakes into the ground. Soon, it was all set up so he could focus on getting his Thnead made. The Once-ler grabbed his axe and set out to find the best Truffula tree.
It didn’t take long before he saw it. It was one of the taller trees, 15 feet tall, at least. The red, feathery top was thick and voluminous, just what he would need for his Thnead. He drove the axe into the trunk of the Truffula tree. Crack! The bark split. Crack! The next swing left a dent. The Once-ler kept at it until the tree could take no more. It toppled and fell with a crash.
Humming, the Once-ler picked up the end of the tree and slowly dragged it to his camp. Behind him, dark clouds rolled in and lightning cracked. The Once-ler didn’t notice a thing. He was too focused on getting back to his new home. The tree wasn’t very light and was becoming difficult to carry.
The Once-ler didn’t make it halfway to his campsite before he felt a tap on his leg. When he looked down, the Once-ler saw a strange orange creature with a large yellow mustache. “Ahh!” the Once-ler screamed. He jumped back and dropped the Truffula tree.
“What do you think you’re doing?” the creature asked. It stood on two legs and spoke like a human.
“W-who are you?” The Once-ler managed.
“I’m the Lorax. I speak for the trees. Did you not see the thunder and lightning that brought me? How could you miss that?” The Lorax asked.
“No. I didn’t see anything. Can you do it again?” The Once-ler questioned.
“It doesn’t work that way. And, you never answered my question. What do you think you’re doing?”
“Well, I’m making a Thnead. It does the job of a thousand! The Truffula trees make wonderful material. I’m going to sell my Thnead and become rich!” explained Once-ler.
“You can’t cut down these trees. There are animals that use them for a home. Do you really want to hurt them? Just look at their cute little faces.” As the Lorax stepped to the right, a baby bear appeared from behind him. The cub had big round eyes that pleaded with the Once-ler.
“It’s just one tree. What can it hurt?”
“Today, it’s one tree, tomorrow two, and then what? No more Truffula trees. It will all be your fault.”
“I won’t take the whole forest. Now leave me alone. I have a Thnead to make!” With that, the Once-ler picked the end of the tree up again and began pulling.
When the Truffula tree made it to his door, he collected the fluff from the top. The Once-ler filled his basket with the fluffy stuff and carried the basket inside. He found his knitting needles and sat on his bed with the basket next to him. Finally, he began to turn the tree’s fuzz into a Thnead.
The next morning, when the Once-ler woke up, the Lorax was by his bed. The Once-ler yelled in surprise. “What on Earth are you doing here? Don’t scare me like that!”
“I speak for the trees and yesterday you didn’t listen. Now, we get to do this again. You can’t cut down the Truffula trees. Do you understand me?” The Lorax cut straight to the point.
“You are ignoring the seriousness of this situation!”
“You know what? I’m going to go sell my Thnead. When I get back, we can have a nice long conversation about it,” the Once-ler said sarcastically.
“Fine, but I hope you feel guilty the whole time. You sir, are a tree killer.” With that, the Lorax walked out of the large tent and went to mingle with the animals.
Rolling his eyes, the Once-ler got out of bed and changed his clothes. Then, he made himself some pancakes that he ate on his way to a nearby town. Surely, everyone there would love his Thnead! It could keep you warm, it could be a hat, and it could even clean! His trusty guitar would help bring in the customers. Everyone loved a good jingle. The Once-ler thought there was no way he could fail.
It should be mentioned that the Once-ler could not predict the future. No one liked his Thnead that day. They laughed and booed and threw tomatoes. One child even broke his guitar. Everyone said that the Thnead was useless, a waste of money. The Once-ler went back home, disappointed.
“How’d it go?” the Lorax greeted him.
“It went horribly. No one was interested. Spare me your talk for now. I won’t be using any more trees at this rate.” Discouraged, the Once-ler turned in for the night. He had decided to try again tomorrow anyways. It was worth a shot. He had to prove his mother wrong.
The next day went much the same way. As a matter of fact, so did the third, fourth and fifth day. When he made it home after the fifth day, the Lorax was playing cards with a few of the animals. “Did you sell it?” he asked. The Once-ler wasn’t carrying it with him, so the Lorax assumed that was a good thing.
“No. They still hate it. So, I tossed it out of my cart on the way home.”
“I’m sorry, Beanpole.” The Lorax had taken to calling the Once-ler this since he was so tall and skinny. “Do you want to play cards? We can deal you in.”
“What are you playing?” The Once-ler sat down at the stump that was being used for a table.
“I’m playing Poker, he’s playing Go Fish, she’s playing Crazy 8s, and I’m pretty sure he’s just hungry.” This earned a confused look from the Once-ler. He shook his head and declined the invitation.
Suddenly, they all looked towards the horizon as a strange noise floated in on the breeze. It sounded like thousands of footsteps… because it was. The whole town that the Once-ler had presented the Thnead to had followed him home! Even better, they were singing a song – a happy song – about his Thnead!
“That woman, the one with my Thnead, must’ve liked it and now so does everybody else!” the Once-ler cried. “I’m rich!” The people started handing him money, requesting their own Thnead. There were questions and offers to buy his company, but the only thing the Once-ler could think about was how he had been right. Everybody did need a Thnead!
The Lorax waited until the last satisfied customer had put in their order. As soon as they all left, he approached the Once-ler. This had to be dealt with. No more Truffula trees could be harmed. “Hey, Beanpole. I’m happy for you, really, but now what are you going to do? You can’t cut down any more trees. I won’t stand for it!”
“I won’t, I won’t. Would it be okay if I harvest they furry stuff off of the tops? Not all at once, but a little from each tree?” The Once-ler knew that it really would be a problem to cut down the trees. He had so many requests that he couldn’t possibly fill them all without making a dent in the Truffula tree population.
“Hmm… I guess that’ll work. If you cut down another tree though, I will be forced to take action. Understood?” The serious look on the Lorax’s face was pretty convincing.
“Yes. I promise you, no more trees will be cut down.” They shook on it and the Lorax went on his way. Apparently, there was an important card game that required his attention.
When he was alone, the Once-ler picked up his phone and called his family. “Mom, you won’t believe it! I sold a bunch of Thneads!”
“Oh, Once-y, I always knew you could!” His mother gave her approval and promised to bring the whole family to help him start his business up.
“Thanks Mom. You’re the best!”
“No, honey. You are! We’re rich! I never doubted you.”
“Really? You didn’t sound very supportive when I left home…” The Once-ler loved his mother, but he knew that she loved money more. He began to wonder if that’s the only reason she was proud.
“Oh, that was just to get you motivated!” His mother sounded genuine.
“Okay, well, thanks for clarifying that because it actually kind of hurt my feelings.”
“That’s nice. Now, how much money did you say you collected again?”
“What? You’re breaking up, Mom. I can’t hear you. Bye.” The Once-ler was a little upset. His mother really did care more about the money. Oh, well. He wasn’t going to let that stop him.
The whole family really did show up. The Once-ler was greeted by his brothers, his mom, his dad, and his aunt. They were all a little crazy, but that didn’t matter. What family is normal, after all? Everyone set to work right away. Orders were lined up and had to be filled quickly.
“Sweetie, I know you don’t want to cut down any more trees, but collecting the fluff is taking too long. Can we cut down a few?” The Once-ler’s mom was not a patient person. Neither was the rest of his family for that matter.
“No, that won’t be necessary. I have invented this cool machine. Cue dramatic music!” The Once-ler grabbed his guitar and strummed a few notes. “It will take a good amount of fuzz from each tree, but leave enough for the tree to be unaffected. It only takes a few seconds to work.”
“If you think it’ll work, you can try it. It doesn’t look too promising.”
“It will work. I guarantee it!” Sure enough, the new machine increased the amount of furry stuff the Once-ler could collect from each tree. It also cut down the time it took to get it. Production was soaring. The Lorax was fairly happy with the Once-ler. He at least appreciated the fact that no more Truffula trees were being cut down.
In an effort to make the Lorax even happier, the Once-ler also began planting new Truffula trees. All the seeds that got gathered with the fluff were planted in the forest and taken care of until they sprouted. Business boomed and so did the Truffula tree forest.
“Kid, I’m proud of you. You did a good thing here,” said the Lorax to the Once-ler. “I was really afraid that you might take all of the trees. Then the animals would have had to leave, the air would be polluted, and who knows what else. Maybe, trees would be made of plastic!”
“That would be a sad world to live in. Thanks, by the way.”
“For what?” The Lorax had no idea what he had done.
“For teaching me to care about the environment. I really might have killed all the trees. Then, who knows where we’d be. And, I really do love these Truffula trees.” The Once-ler tried to imagine life without them. It wasn’t pretty.
“Well, Beanpole, thank you, too. Thanks for caring, because unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to change. It’s not.”