The Stranger

Once upon a time, when the earth was new and young...two spirits came to the valley. The Lorax, guardian of the trees for they cannot speak for themselves. And the forest sprite, Fiora, who brought forth life and tended the flora and fauna of the Truffula valley.

Soon, a stranger came to the Truffula valley...destroying the once peaceful, uninhabited forest...


Fiora was old as time itself, yet young and beautiful as the spring. Her long flowing hair was multicolored like all the Truffula trees, adorned with flowers; sometimes it changed depending on her mood. Her pale green skin had thick and thin vines with tiny leaves embedded all over her body. Her cheeks glittered with silvery specks. Her eyes were mossy green with earthen speckles, filled with life, innocence and love. Her ears were pointed. She wore a long flowing dress of dark green. Her voice was soft like a whispering wind with a silvery lilt. With a touch or a step, plants would grow: anything from a flower to a small Truffula tree...depending on how she felt. Her touch could also heal anything.

The animals of the Truffula forest adored Fiora, following her everywhere. She would play and sing with them in a soprano voice: she harmonized with the humming-fish, serenaded with the bar-ba-loots and sang with the swomee-swans. Fiora enjoyed the peaceful valley: the fresh air, clean water, the animals...and mostly the Truffula trees.

Yes, it was blissful in the Truffula forest.

On a particularly beautiful day, Fiora lay on the grass, feeling sleepy; her eyes fluttered shut, enjoying the atmosphere: the summer breeze, the sweet aroma of the trees, the sounds of the woodland creatures. Just as she was about to drift off into a blissful sleep, there was a strange noise in the distance. Fiora raised her head and looked in the direction of where it came from.

What was this? She looked to her animal friends who were just as confused and curious as she. Fiora hid in the bushes, getting closer to see this new thing. It was the strangest thing ever: it was a rectangular box on two circles with a soft white cave, being pulled by some kind of unusual beast.

Soon, the strangest creature stepped out...something she had never seen before. Everything about this creature was unusual: tall and slender like a Truffula tree trunk. It had hair like a starless night. It wore the strangest clothes, mostly grey...and on its feet, what were those? On its head, what was that? It held something in its hands: a unusual object with a long tree trunk and shiny vines that made extraordinary sounds when it brushed them...oh! It was a tree that made music! It had to be magic! So foreign and new...so interesting!

"This is it!" the creature spoke, looking around full of amazement. "This is the place!"

The animals ventured forth while Fiora stayed hidden in the bushes. Soon, the creature started singing! Fiora listened to the creature sing as it stroked the shiny vines on the music tree.

It's bound to have just what I need
I wanna hold it all in one big embrace
But first...
Let's find the stuff to make my Thneed

The animals: the humming-fish, the bar-ba-loots, and the swomee-swans began to sing and dance with the creature. Na na na na...

Soon, the singing creature began to toss things out of the box on circles all over the place: an odd assortment of objects she had never seen before. Some were shiny, hard, sharp...Fiora didn't like any of these things. They looked dangerous. She didn't know if she should approach this creature.

Next the creature carrying something in its arms, laid it on the ground, and then pulled on some brown vines and drove sharp wooden sticks into the ground with a very strange object made of wood. As the creature pulled on each vine, a unusual thing sprang up from the ground: a yellow and green cave with holes! There were markings on the front of the cave; she couldn't understand them at all.

After setting up this cave, the creature wiped its sweaty forehead and began to look around for a moment. It approached a Truffula tree, plucking a tuft off and continued to sing.

This is it! These Truffula trees
All my life I've searched for trees, such trees as these
The touch of their tufts is softer than silk
And they have the sweet smell of butterfly milk

Soon, the animals scowled at the intrusive creature; it was not welcome in this forest...to them. Surely, they would take care of getting rid of it. The bar-ba-loots growled, a swomee-swan tapped a branch in its wing with a menacing look. Then, the creature pulled out a two giant, shiny rectangles. An angry bar-ba-loot leaped on it, biting it until it ripped and white objects rained down like snow. Ooh! Fiora examined the white thing: it was small and round, very soft, squishy. It tasted sweet...like the Truffula fruit, too sweet in fact, but nonetheless, pleasing.

Perhaps this creature wasn't so bad.

Soon, the creature carried everything into the cave, which was established as the creature's home. Fiora watched in wonder and fascination at all these curious objects.

Once it was finished putting everything inside the home, the creature pulled on some green hands and picked up a shiny, sharp-looking object on a long trunk, slinging it over its shoulder. It approached one of the Truffula trees, looking up at the pink fluffy tufts that swayed in the afternoon breeze. Then, the creature swung the object over its head and struck the tree in a loud, wood-splintering crack. It echoed throughout the forest, making it tremble. The animals gasped in horror and then retreated.

"OW!" Fiora cried out.

A gruesome wound began to form on her leg; blood trickled down towards her foot. For as the sprite of the forest, Fiora always felt what the trees felt: happy, sadness...their pain when they were sick and old. But this was something she never experienced before. Whatever the creature had used on the tree, it hurt so much!

The creature suddenly stopped, leaving the sharp object stuck in the tree trunk. It looked around confused: it heard Fiora's cry!

"Huh?" it said. "Who said that?"

Fiora clapped a hand to her mouth; she had to stay hidden. She couldn't let the creature find her. With a shrug, the creature went back to striking the tree; Fiora heard its anguished cries. With each blow, it was worse as the next.

Soon, the Truffula tree tipped over in a wood-splitting creak and moan until it crashed to the ground with a sickening thud. Fiora's eyes widened, horrified at such a sight: the creature killed the tree! Then it dragged the tree towards its home in a brutal and degrading manner!

Once the creature left, she limped painfully towards the stump. She touched it and felt the weak heartbeat until it was no more. A teardrop fell on splintered stump as she mourned its death.

It was always sad whenever a tree died. Many times the trees became sick and she could heal them with her magic...and sometimes, they were too old to be saved. Fiora accepted it when a tree's time had come. Once a tree died, it was irreversible to her magic. Yet, that didn't mean it was the end...new trees would come. But to see this tree brutally murdered in its prime was monstrous!

With her animals friends, they gathered stones and made a circle around the stump. She heard the trees singing their mournful song and sorrowful weeping for one of their fallen.


Once-ler was excited. After weeks of searching the globe, he finally found the perfect place! The soft tufts of the Truffula trees proved to be the perfect material to make his new invention, the Thneed. He couldn't wait to get started!

He was just about to gather the foliage when he heard weeping from a few feet away. He went to investigate and found a girl kneeling next to the stump where he had cut down the tree. He had never seen anything like her before! Wild-looking, yet very beautiful: green skin with vines all over her and flowing purple hair adorned with flowers.

But why was the she crying?

"Um...hey," Once-ler said gently, leaning forward.

The girl looked up with eyes that reminded him of dewy moss. Fiora turned to see the creature was staring at her in wonder. Her sadness was immediately replaced by disgusted outrage.

"HOW DARE YOU!" Fiora shrieked; her hair changed to a frightening red. "You MONSTER!"

Startled, Once-ler jolted away from the shrieking girl, nearly tripping on his feet. Never had he been expected to be spoken to like that.

"Wha...?" he said confused. "Wait, did you just call me a monster? What did I do?"

"You killed this tree!" she yelled, pointing to the stump.

He fumbled to explain himself. "What...no, no! I cut it down. There's no need to get upset. It was one tree..."

"I don't care! Tell me, creature, how would you like it if someone cut you down in your prime?"

He raised his eyebrows. "What are you talking about?"

"This tree was the same age as you when you killed it! I suggest you leave this place before the Lorax gets here!"

"The Lorax? What's that?" He was really confused now.

"He is the guardian of the forest and he will not be very happy when he finds out what you have done. Leave now, creature!"

Once-ler stared dumbfounded. This girl was crazy!

"But...who..." he said slowly, then he saw blood on her dress. "Oh! You're hurt!"

The poor girl! She must be in a lot of pain. He got down on a knee and leaned in, only for Fiora to shrink away, huddling against the stump. The creature was so close! Once-ler reached towards her...

"Stay back!" she barked. "Don't come any closer, creature!"

"Calm down," he said placating. "Let me see it."

He just touched the hem of her dress only to get slapped hard across the face; it stung and throbbed. A red hand print began to form.

"OW!" he cried, rubbing his sore cheek in annoyance.

"How dare you touch me!" she spat.

"Hey! I'm trying to help you here! There's no need to get so aggressive!" Once-ler replied.

"I do not need any help!"

"Well, you're bleeding and you're hurt! Let me bandage your wound. And don't worry, I won't look up your dress."

Bandage? What was this creature talking about? She looked at her animal friends, who shrugged as well.

Fiora watched as the creature gently moved the hem of her dress up, examined her wound with wide eyes and then grimaced. It took out what looked like a strange white...cloth out of its...pouch and it patted her leg; she recoiled at the shock of the touch. Fiora was not used to this.

Once-ler cleaned up the blood gently and bandaged her leg: it was graceful, covered in vines and tiny leaves with a very gruesome wound like she was struck by an axe. Her bare foot was dainty and elegant. He was able to get a little better look at the girl: she was strange looking, but quite beautiful and young, her cheeks glittered in the sun. Her face expressed strong indignation and confusion, her eyes were wet.

"There," Once-ler said tenderly. "Much better, right?"

She got a brief look at this strange creature: it had pale skin; the face was round and youthful, shaded by the grey object on its head. The starless night hair was swept to the side, hanging in its sky blue eyes that were filled with a mixture of concern and wonder. It had an adorable, upturned nose and a mouth with pouty lips that smiled wide serenely. Fiora had to admit there was an air of gentleness and compassion in the creature. Yet, why would a creature who committed a cruel act be so...kind? It didn't make any sense!

"I...suppose," Fiora said hesitant, touching her leg curiously.

"That was a nasty wound you got there," Once-ler said, straightening up. "How did you get it?"

"You did it, creature...when you cut down the tree. You see, the trees are a part of me. And I am a part of them. I feel what the trees feel..."

"Uh...right," Once-ler said cynical. "And what are you exactly?"

"I'm a sprite. I tend this forest. You should leave, creature! The Lorax will be here any minute now."

OK...this girl isn't just weird, but off-her-rocker nuts! Once-ler thought incredulous.

"Uh huh. And why are you calling me a 'creature'?" he asked.

"I don't know what you are. But I don't care either. Just get out of here!" she replied brusquely.

Once-ler frowned. "A thank you would've been nice for tending your wounds. You're an ungrateful bitch."

Fiora looked at her animal friends at what this strange word the creature had uttered only to be met with more shrugs of confusion. Fiora didn't know what that word meant, but she didn't like it either.

"Well, fine! Don't come crying to me when the Lorax appears," she said warningly.

"Fine. Just so you know, I have no intention of leaving," he replied stubbornly.

"Fine!" she huffed, putting her nose in the air.

The two of them turned away in childish annoyance; she swished her head and he stormed away towards his home.

Soon, the sky darkened and thunder rolled. The forest creatures and the sprite retreated in fear. Lightning flashed in the sky and then a white bolt struck the tree stump where the creature had chopped down the tree...

Soon the storm calmed and with a pop...the Lorax appeared. Slowly standing up, dusting himself off he found a dead stump. He was horrified! Who would dare do such a cruel act? He touched it, mourning the loss. Fiora and the animals slowly came out of hiding.

"Wha...what happened here, Fiora?" he asked, gesturing to the stump.

"A monstrous creature did this!" she said, outraged. "It murdered the tree!"

The Lorax furrowed his brows. "Creature? What creature?"

She pointed to the creature that was yanking Truffula tufts by the handful. The Lorax felt his rage and disgust rising, glaring with slitted green eyes at the one responsible for this heinous crime.

"Don't worry," the Lorax said, marching towards the creature. "I'll get rid of him."


Once-ler grumbled as he went back. The green girl was so weird...not to mention very ungrateful and rude. She just kept warning him some guardian of the forest would be here soon if he didn't leave.

No way! He wasn't going anywhere. He found the place where he could make his new invention, the Thneed. His family laughed at him, saying he was nothing more than a failure. Ha! He'd show them! And now this strange looking green girl wanted him to leave? Nope! Not leaving.

Right. Guardian of the forest! he laughed to himself. Sounded like a bunch of craziness. Obviously she has lived in the woods for a long time and was making stuff up.

Still, the green girl was interesting. He wanted to see her again...well, maybe when she calmed down. When she told him she was a sprite, he couldn't believe it! A real sprite! How cool was that! He had heard about these magical beings in stories. Well, the sprite was not exactly welcoming...she was angry at him for chopping down the tree. What was the big deal? It was JUST a tree!

His cheek stung from the slap he had gotten.

Well, that's the thanks I get for helping someone! Once-ler thought bitterly.

He decided to push his negative thoughts aside and go back to work. He began to pull off the Truffula's tufts in handfuls, tossing them in a burlap sack, whistling and humming to himself.

When Once-ler tugged on the next handful, it was heavier. He looked down, only for a diminutive orange creature with a bushy yellow mustache and matching eyebrows to pop up with an sharp...

"HEY!"

Once-ler let out a startled yell, stumbling on his clumsy feet and fell backwards. The orange creature marched towards the end of the tree where it had been cut.

"Did you chop down this tree?" it asked, arms akimbo and furrowed eyebrows.

"Uh...no," Once-ler lied, shaking his head slowly.

"Well, Fiora said you did."

"Fiora?"

"Yea. Fiora...the green girl..." the Lorax answered. When he saw the red handprint on Once-ler's face, he chuckled. "Ah! I see you've met her already."

"Fiora?" Once-ler said dumbly. "That's who slapped me? That's her thanks for tending her injury."

"Serves you right, Beanpole," he laughed. Then, returned to the subject at hand. "So, did you chop down this tree?"

"What's that?!" he gasped in surprise, pointing in the opposite direction.

The orange creature turned around and Once-ler dropped his axe upon the smallest bar-ba-loot, Pipsqueak, who grunted with an 'oy'.

"I think he did it," he said, pointing a blaming finger at the baby bar-ba-loot.

The Lorax groaned, obviously not fooled.

"Leave!" he shouted, flapping its hand dismissively. "Vacate the premises! Take your axe and get out!"

"Yea...and who are you?" Once-ler smirked, poking the furry creature in the ribs.

"Wha...I'm the Lorax. Didn't Fiora tell you? Guardian of the forest. I speak for the trees."

Lorax stared at him with raised eyebrows like 'hello? you know what I'm talking about'. Once-ler shrugged, perplexed.

"What?" the Lorax continued incredulous. "You didn't just see me magically appear out of that stump with all the lightning and thunder and stuff? You didn't see any of that?"

"No. But that sounds amazing. Can I see some of that?" Once-ler replied, excited.

"Um...yea. I could show you. But that's not how it works."

"OK...um, didn't really happen," said Once-ler with condescending disbelief.

Then, he lit up as he recalled how he won over the forest animals.

"Oh! I know what you want!" he said, poking the Lorax's nose. Then pulled out a marshmallow out of his pocket and squished it between his fingers, cooing at the Lorax. "I got one of these for the cutest little guy I ever saw! Yummy! Yum yum!"

"How dare you!" the Lorax exclaimed in outraged. "Gimme that!"

He snatched this thing that was shoved in his face out of Once-ler's fingers, then sniffed it for a moment, pleased by the smell of this object.

"I'm gonna eat this, but I'm highly offended by it."

He popped it in his mouth, munching on it, very pleased by the taste. Then the Lorax took a little hop off the tree and started to kick the wooden stakes that held up Once-ler's cottage. Once-ler chased him around, hammering them back. Fiora watched from the bushes, sniggering.

"Whoa! Hey! Hold it there, Mustache! What's your deal, man?!" he shouted, hammering the stakes back in the ground.

"Time for you to go, Beanpole!" the Lorax said.

This chase went on for a few minutes, going faster and faster...

"Pull 'em right out and I'm just gonna put 'em right back in," Once-ler complained, hammering the stakes back in. "I can do this all day. Unbelievable!"

...until turning a corner, he grabbed Pipsqueak, who was caught in one of the ropes...

"Whoa! Stop right there! Stop it!" the Lorax exclaimed, holding up a hand. He freed the baby bar-ba-loot, patting his head. "So, you would hammer one of nature's innocent creatures?"

"What?! No, I would never hit this little guy," Once-ler exclaimed horrified. Then shouted threateningly, brandishing his mallet to Lorax. "But you, on the other hand, I would gladly pound you and your mustache into the ground!"

"Behold!" Lorax said to the animals, holding his hands up. "The intruder and his violent ways."

Sheepishly, Once-ler dropped his mallet on the ground and tried to hide it behind his feet. Then Lorax turned to Once-ler, wagging a fuzzy orange finger at him.

"Shame on you! For shame!"

The creatures behind him scowled and nodded in agreement. Really? First a weird green girl told him to leave...and now this?!

"Alright, you know what? That's it!" Once-ler asserted. "You listen to me, you furry meatloaf! I'm gonna chop down as many trees as I need. Newsflash! Not goin' anywhere!" Once-ler turned and stormed towards his cottage. "End of story."

He stuck out his tongue and blew a raspberry in petulance, then slammed the door...

...Only to find the Lorax right there behind the door!

"Then you leave me no choice," the Lorax said in a grim voice. "If you are not gone before the sun sets on this valley...all the forces of nature will be unleashed upon you...and CURSE you until the end of your days! You have been warned."

The Lorax reached for the doorknob, only to find he couldn't...with a few frustrated hops.

Wow! Some guardian of the forest! Once-ler laughed to himself with an eye roll as he opened the door for the Lorax.

"Thanks," the Lorax said with embarrassment. Then finally, "You have been warned!"

Once-ler slammed the door in his face. He shook his head in disbelief. What a weird encounter!


Fiora waited in the bushes for the Lorax to return after witnessing the entire scene.

"Well, how did it go?" she asked. "Is the intruder leaving?"

"I don't think so," he said. "He's a stubborn one."

"What is that creature?" she asked, pointing to Once-ler.

"It's a man...you know, a human."

"A...human?" she said, curiously.

The Lorax sighed. Yet, he knew he had to be patient since Fiora had never seen humans before. She seriously needed to get out of the forest once in a while. Not that she ever would. No. Fiora was content just being in the forest.

"Yea. They're strange creatures with round ears that are noisy, invasive pests," Lorax explained. "And they're all shapes and sizes too, males and females. If there's one, there's more to follow."

"So...what should we do? How do we get rid of the human?" she asked.

"Well, I might have an idea..." the Lorax replied with a sly look.

The guardian huddled up with the forest sprite and the animals, coming up with a plan to get rid of this pest...giggling...