Chapter Eight: The Seed
Once-ler, as keen and eager as he was back then to answer supply and demand, was working morning till late at night knitting his thneeds. He would harvest, collect, work on them with the spinning wheels and then spend the rest of his time knitting away. Norma would sit up with him too, knitting in their bed together, wishing that they could be possibly doing something other than knitting. The young woman cast a glance towards her husband whose head was bowed as always, blue eyes narrowed, and concentrating on the work at hand that morning.
when your family arrives
" she started, "They'll be doing this work?" Norma asked, watching his face carefully.
"Huh?" Once-ler glanced up at her before looking back down at his precious knitting, the almost completed thneed spread out down his body. "Oh yeah sure that's the idea you know. They come in, they help me produce more of them to keep up with supply and demand and all that fun stuff." already the demand for the thneeds were bigger than he had ever thought they'd be.
"So does that mean we won't be having to do this any more because honestly Oncie, my finger joints are aching more each day." Norma said.
"That's just because you're not used to knitting so much; I keep telling you to take a break!" Once-ler insisted, looking down at her hands but mostly at the thneed she was knitting; half way done, and he's sure she's dropped a few stitches here and there too. Which, if she had, meant he would have to unpick the whole thing and start again fresh later. Not that he did that with EVERY thneed she knitted, no
just. Most of them
"I could take a break right now," Norma said with a playful, slightly wicked smile, as she tilted her glasses and gave her husband a good, long look.
Once-ler stared at her for a moment before his cheeks began to turn red, and he coughed. "Norma please not tonight
we need to make this shipment for tomorrow morning
She groaned and threw herself back dramatically on the bed. "Honestly! Normally it's the woman's job to reject the man, not the other way around!" she complained loudly, pouting out her bottom lip.
"Yeah well most women aren't knitting a world changing creation that's going to revolutionize the way everyone lives!" Once-ler pointed out. "The thneed
man, Norma. You know how great it is, what it's going to do for us! For everyone!" he held his prized possession in front of him, all but seeing sparkles fly off of it.
This was how most of their nights went, ever since the thneed had picked up in popularity. Once-ler would sit up knitting until late while Norma would either help, try to sleep, or lay there consumed by frustrations. You can only imagine how this part of the story reflected on young Ted, being told how his grandmother had been after such activities with her husband. But, as Once-ler saw it, was only fair for him to hear the whole story now instead of cutting and jumping around too much.
It was a few days later, on a bright sunny morning, when the swomee swans were singing, the humming fish were humming, and the bar-ba-loots were eating when things finally began to shift. The Once-ler was out fishing that morning down by the river, already he had caught a few humming fish which would make for a great meal that day for lunch. The fish around these wasters were always delicious, and had very few bones so there was a minimal risk of choking on one.
A good thing, since Once-ler had come up against some particularly bony fish in his life and had almost choked on fish bones a few times
but not only fish bones but chicken as well, and beef. It was kind of embarrassing but thankfully no such thing had happened here. Yet. Unfortunately the fish in this valley were strange, able to live out of the water so simply fishing them out of the water wasn't good enough.
He had to literally slam them down against the rocks, breaking their skulls, to kill them. A bloody process but when you had to eat, you had to eat and even if he could go and buy fish from the market in town he much rather them fresh from the stream.
That's when he heard the approaching roar of an engine; a familiar one, and when he got up he caught sight of something orange and yellow just vanishing into the undergrowth across the river when a large RV came rolling out from the trees. He knew it instantly, and a big grin broke out across Once-ler's face as he grabbed his fishing for the day and raced along the river, waving towards the vehicle as it continued along the way.
The driver spotted him and honked the horn, and La Cucaracha rang out noisily, sending more near by swomee swans flying. He pointed, and the van seemed to know to follow him and soon he had led it back towards his modest little cottage where the van parked not too far from. He, however, continued rushing into the cottage.
"Norma! My family's here!" he called as he dropped the fish into the ice box. "Come on, you got to meet them!"
"Oh gosh meeting the in-laws. I'm all excited." she smirked as she tugged her apron off since she had been in the middle of baking.
The meeting went as well, or as bad, as Once-ler had thought. His mother had been outraged to hear he had married such a 'homely' girl when he could have done much better now that he was rich. Griselda too voiced her interest in the place, saying the valley was a dump while his 'special' younger twin brothers went around tormenting the poor local animals.. in fact he's sure he saw one Bar-ba-loot go flying.
"So, now that
all this pleasantness is done with," Once-ler said as he rubbed his hands together once the introductions were done with, "you all work for me now. I got jobs worked out for each and every one of you. There'll be harvesters, collectors, spinners and finally knitters. Brett and Chett you'll be harvesting the tufts, Uncle Ubb you'll be transporting the harvested tufts to aunt Griselda and Ma who will be running the spools turning the tufts into knittable material and finally myself and Norma will be knitting. I know, I know. It's rough going at first but we all need to knuckle down, work hard, and I'm sure we can manage just fine!"
"What, but you said we wouldn't be
" Norma started.
"Hush now don't you go arguin' with your husband." his mother, Henrietta, snapped. "He's runnin' a business now aren't you sweetie?" she asked, her voice sickly sweet and painted on like the make up on her face. "You've made me so proud makin' it this far!"
Once-ler felt a great swell within his heart at hearing that. Finally; recognition. She finally realized how much guts it had taken for him to pack up his things and leave home, travelling for so long seeking out the right material. He had never felt so chuffed in his entire life. He turned his attention to Norma, and gently set his hand to her back. "Don't worry sweetie, soon we'll be living in the lap of luxury and you won't have to lift a finger."
And so things began off well enough. The twins did their parts, harvesting the tufts from the trees while his aunt and mother worked the spinning wheels turning the tufts into threads that would be capable of being knitted into thneeds by himself and Norma. Every now and then, Once-ler would spot the Lorax in the distance, watching over this with his ever ominous gaze but he never came too close to speak to him. Why, he didn't rightly know, but he was glad for it. He didn't want to be bothered by the Lorax, not now, with his family around. What if the creature only appeared to him, and nobody else, making it look as though he was crazy? No doubt Norma would say he was bending to the pressure but what pressure? He was managing just fine; as long as he could get away to do some hunting now and then to destress what little stress he had.
After the first few weeks though, it became apparent that the production line wasn't moving quick enough. Every time he went into town to sell his thneeds he was all but mobbed by people now, and when he ran out there were always cries for more, more, more. It was like trying to feed a village of starving children with one cracker impossible.
He was sat at his drawing board one afternoon, working away at the design of his thneed factory because honestly he had to face facts. The way they were doing things now wasn't going to work forever, so it was only right of him to design a place where the thneeds could be made automatically. Machines to do the knitting, the weaving, the washing and the loading into boxes because word had spread about the thneeds. Orders were coming in day after day from cities from across the country; why, one even came from across the world. It was insane, and no longer could they keep up with demands. And yet still he felt there were issues, things that could be fixed.
"Oncie," his mother's voice called to him from outside his window as he sat back observing his work on the factory design. "We got ourselves a little problem."
"Problem?" Once-ler asked, looking up at her.
"You see we're not making thneeds fast enough. The harvesting is taking Brett 'n Chet far too long, and with this factory here you're drawin' up well
don't you think it'd be mighty easier on everyone if instead of climbin' trees on ladders and such, we just chopped 'em on down?"
At this point, Ted's eyes had widened at learning it wasn't Once-ler who had thought up the plan of chopping down trees, but his mother. The boy stared at the aged, grey man for a long moment before shaking his head. "Your mother?"
"My Ma. But it was essentially my decision, wasn't it?" Once-ler asked as he began setting his leg supports back where they belonged, now that they were fixed again and operational. "I could have said yes, I could have hired on more people to help us but no. I didn't see it that way. I wanted things to be easier for us all, for everyone. I was sick of working hard and getting next to nothing in return so
so I agreed." he strapped the braces into place, hardly wincing as he did despite Ted saw some welts along his almost skeletal legs. "So we began chopping down the trees. We ended up hiring on more people to work with us, and that helped keep things going fairly regularly until the factory was finally finished and by then
The factory stood on its hill, and over shadowed Greenville like a monster climbing up out of the ground. There were rails that carried loads full of chopped down Trffula trees into the factory where the wood was chopped free of the precious tufts which went onto be washed, spooled, knitted, and then shipped in giant trucks that went on to ship them throughout Greenville, as well as the country and eventually the world. Every day Once-ler's wealth continued to grow, his influence blossomed, and he loved it. How could he not? All his life the man had been told he would be nothing, that his dreams and hopes would come to naught but look at him now. He was head of a growing company, he had his family's respect, and he showered Norma with all the grandest dresses, shiny jewels, and the grandest galas where they would dance and socialize and make their way onto the cover of fancy magazines.
Yes, life had gone exactly according to plan.
Until one day when he was sitting in his office, over looking the reports that day, he felt a presence behind him. The man didn't like the feel of this presence behind him, and it made his mustache prickle and stand on end. That, too, was another new addition to his appearance. He just felt it made him look awfully distinguished, he felt, even if Norma had laughed at it and called it a dead caterpillar when he had first grown it. Once-ler slowly turned in his big, red, leather chair and looked over his shoulder and standing upon the balcony was the Lorax.
He stood there on all fours, his yellow moustache and eyebrows wafting in the slow, lazy breeze. His green eyes lookwed darker, today, compared to the last time he saw him. The gleam and shine to his coat seemed to have lessened, and yet he was still very impressive standing there. Watching him.
"I was wondering what happened to you." Once-ler said, pushing his chair back as he got to his feet, adjusting the lapels of his green, pinstripe suit. He walked out to meet the deity, and a little voice in the back of his mind said he was smaller than he'd been last time he saw him but he ignored it. "So, been good?" he asked, sarcastically.
"I have come to make an announcement to you, Once-ler." the Lorax's voice echoed within the man's head, just like how it used to when Once-ler had first come to the valley all those years ago.
"An announcement. Great. What is it?" he asked sourly.
"I am the Lorax," the Lorax snapped as he took a step towards him and Once-ler couldn't help but notice the flowers that blossomed beneath his feet weren't as tall, or as grand, as they had once been. "Who speaks for the trees which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please. But I'm also in charge of the Brown Bar-ba-Loots who played in the shade in their Bar-ba-loot suits. And happily lived eating Truffula fruits
" the beast tilted his head and stared around Once-ler, his green, ageless yet innocent, eyes landing on the wall of the Once-ler's office where multiple mounted heads of bar-ba-loots and swomee swans were put on display. There was even an especially huge humming fish mounted on display. His attention returned to the Once-ler. "Now, thanks to your hacking my trees to the ground there's not enough Truffula fruit to go around."
The beast moved away from Once-ler and stood at the balcony before leaping up onto his fore legs, resting his massive paws on it as he stared out at the valley which was looking awful thinner now than it used to be. Slowly, Once-ler followed after him and stared down. There, beyond the machines that were hacking away, he saw the brown bar-ba-loots gathering in a group. There had to be thousands of them there, and instead of acting like the dumb animals he knew them to be they seemed to be moving with a single purpose.
"And my poor Bar-ba-loots are all getting the crummies because they have gas and no food in their tummies. They loved living here, but I can't let them stay." the Lorax's voice, within Once-ler's head, shoot with emotion as it watched the bears mournfully. "They'll have to find food and I hope that they may."
He stood there besides the guardian, the beast, the Lorax, and watched as the bears continued to walk. They were soon nothing more than specks on the horizon, and by then, the Lorax had long since departed his company. The man rested his hands on the balcony, hat tilted back slightly on his head and he felt a great
within him. Even if they were simple animals with simple pleasures in life who did nothing but eat and procreate and make good sport, this had been their home hadn't it? But regardless of crummies in their tummistomachs, business was business and business had to grow. He couldn't throw away what he had earned, what he had achieved, for animals that could survive happily anywhere else with enough food.
Of course there was some uproar around the bears going missing from some people but they were hardly worth Once-ler's attention. He had so many better things to worry about. He had a company, a wife, a family to support and he couldn't be bothered by every little thing. It was around this time, though, that the stress of things began to get to him, and he began to get awfully heavy bags under his eyes. His solution to this, when he went out to meet with the public and the press, was wearing blue sunglasses. Nobody could see the bags, and to help aleviate his stress the man turned to smoking. Being the rich, successful man that he was, he took to smoking Cuban cigars. They were thick, big, expensive and disgusting at first but soon became a wonderful thing for him to enjoy.
"I wish you would stop it's an awful habit." Norma whispered sometimes, "It smogs up the air around us something awful."
"Just open a window." he would mutter.
It had been months since the bears had vanished, it was late in the evening one day and Once-ler sat in his office once more. He had a cigar held tightly between his teeth as he stared down at the paperwork before him, feeling like a weight had tkaen up place within his heart. It had squeezed its way into his chest when the birds had vanished though he couldn't rightly explain it away. It wasn't guilt, surely. Why would he feel sorry? This was his company, his land, his domain now. He was entitled to it, just how his mother told him. He was giving everyone what they wanted, thneeds, so he should not feel bad. And yet
He turned in his seat and groaned as he rubbed his green gloved hand over his eyes, feeling sick. Getting to his feet he went outside to get some fresh air but that hardly helped, for the skies were clouded with thick, purplish black smoke that was being emitted by his thneed factory. It wasn't his fault that the machines operated on a lot of crude oil that had to be pumped somewhere; and he certainly wasn't aware of the oil being emptied out into the streams and rivers surrounding his company. Why would he know about such things? Not like he signed such paperwork while looking away, because doing so would save his company a bundle in fees that came with getting rid of grime and filth.
"I am the Lorax." the voice came to him, more like a whisper than before, and the Once-ler spun around on his heels to see the Lorax standing there before him again only this time he couldn't ignore the fact that the Lorax was smaller. Now, he barely came up to his knees when before he would easily dig his nose into his stomach if he were so inclined to do so. The beast paused to wheeze and cough, and splutter like an old engine slowly dying. His eyes were no longer bright, now. There was a darkness around them, and the flowing locks of his moustache, eyebrows and tail were wilted and droopy. The lustre of his coat was gone. He looked like he had just been used to dust up a filthy room. "Once-ler," his voice croaked in the man's mind, "You're making such smogulous smoke."
The Once-ler gritted his teeth tighter around his cigar, but said nothing. Lorax was sounding like his wife.
"My poor Swomee-Swans
why, they can't sing a note. No one can sing who has smog in their throat. And so," the weak, sickly looking guardian hobbled to the stairs that led form the balcony to the ground below, "Please pardon my cough but they cannot live here. So I'm sending them off."
As soon as those words had entered Once-ler's mind he heard a sudden, loud, rushing noise. The man turned and looked up at the skies and stared, eyes wide behind his sunglasses, as thousands of brids suddenly took up from the ground. There were so few trees now, just how many were there? Once-ler didn't know, he didn't know anything at this moment in time when he watched the golden birds take off into the skies. Feathers fell from the skies as they did, and it was almost like snow falling and yet it was heart breaking to witness rather then heart warming. He reached out and plucked one out of the air and stared down at it, heart doing strange things within his chest.
"What's more," snapped the sickly Lorax as he suddenly rushed up to Once-ler and bared his small, dull looking teeth at him now. "Let me say a few words about gluppity-glup!" he suddenly bit down onto the expensive coat tails of the Once-ler's coat and began to tug.
"Whoa what are you-stop that do you know how expensive this!!" Once-ler spluttered before yelping since the Lorax was all but dragging him down the stairs now. He felt his heart turn to stone when he saw where the guardian was leading him, taking him.
"Your machinery chugs on day and night without stop, making gluppity-glup and schloppity-schlopp," obviously the animal didn't know the words for grease, grime, oil or sludge. How would he? "And what do you do with this leftover goo?" the voice in his head demanded despie the weakness to it, "I'll show you, you dirty old Once-ler you
They were at the river, now. Once-ler wished they weren't, he wanted to be as far away from this scene as he could possibly be because the smell was horrendous. The filth in the water did not mix well, and the stench of the crude oil and the decaying fish that littered the edges of the river were disgusting. It crept up his nose, invaded his eyes, and made his stomach do horribly spinny, flip flop motions and he felt like he could throw up.
Letting go of his coat tails the small guardian staggered towards the water where he nosed at one of the dead fish whose scales were coated with thick black grime. "You're glumping the pond where the Humming fish hummed
" the beast whispered weakly in his mind, "No more can they hum for their gills are all gummed
so I'm sending them off." he lifted his head and turned to stare up at the man who stood there with no expression on his face. "Their future is dreary, they'll walk on their fins and get woefully weary in search of some water that isn't too smeary."
Once-ler said nothing, how could he, when he watched those Humming fish who were gifted with walking on land began to crawl out of the water. The oil and grime clung to their fins and scales as they did so, leaving their home. Just like every thing else. The brown bar-ba-loots, the swomme-swans, and now the humming fish. Each and everyone had been forced to leave. Was this his fault? Could it be his? But if they had wanted to stay they should have been stronger. They shouldn't have rolled over so willingly. Animals had to be strong to survive and these animals simply weren't. They were simple sport, good food, and made good pelts and trophies. There was no other purpose for their existance. Not like him, no. Not like him.
The guilt was burning away inside of him, it lit a fire, and like a fire being set on a dry day in a hot summer season it erupted into a fire that he could not control, not any more. "Now YOU listen to ME!" he suddenly screamed at the top of his lungs, making the Lorax suddenly step away from him, eyes wide. "I have done nothing wrong! I have my rights, I have my obligations! I have worked so HARD to get to where I am and here you are, all you do is nag nag nag well guess what? You, you are NOT the boss of me!" the man stormed over to the creature and grabbed the Lorax by the front of his throat and lifted him up off of the ground so they were now eye to eye, his blue eyes burning with an inensity and ferocity that the Lorax had never seen before. "I intend to go on doing just what I do! And for your information, Lorax, I'm figuring on biggering, and biggering, and biggering my company and turning more and more Truffula trees into thneeds!" he spat, snarling each word like a machine of anger buit up by guilt and rage, and drew the Lorax until their noses were practically touching. "And nothing is going to stop me!"
And he threw the Lorax. He threw the creature that had once been almost as big as him, buy now was small, frail, and sickly. The guardian made no noise as it hit the ground and rolled along the lifeless ground and came to a halt by one of the many, many tree stumps. "I should have killed you when I had the chance, I should have mounted your head on my wall to show everyone that progress is better, that progress is BEST and living in the past is only for idiots and stupid little guardians who don't have any powers at all! If you really had them, if you're really some powerful guardian then why didn't you use any of your, quote unquote, POWERS to stop me, huh?" he stormed after the beast as he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small hand gun.
Why a gun? He was a rich, and powerful man. There had been people lobbying against him, all pointless, weak cries of ants against a powerful boot and he'd paid them no mind but that didn't mean he couldn't protect himself. He spun the barrel, and aimed it down at the fallen Lorax's head, but did not pull the trigger yet. "TELL ME WHY." he screamed, ignoring the tears running down his face. "WHY DIDN'T YOU STOP ME?"
The Lorax did not move, not for a while, but finally his orange head turned and his sickly green eyes stared up at the Once-ler. "
I told you." the voice within his mind, now a whisper, said. "It doesn't work that way."
"You're a FRAUD!" Once-ler snarled, holding the gun in both hands now, trying to quell his shaking hands. "Y-you're nothing, you're nothing but a fake and you've done nothing to help anyone! They're just going to continue the way they are, and nothing
" he pressed the barrel against the animal's head, "is going to stop me."
And at that moment they heard a very loud whack from across the fields came a sickening sound that imbedded itself in Once-ler's memory, and heart, for the rest of his life. The sound of one of his pattented tree chopping machines doing its job, just like they did every single day of the year as they had been doing for years but now, now it had just chopped down a single, lone, pink Truffula Tree.
The last Truffula Tree of them all.
Once-ler lifted his gaze and stared, his tearful eyes wide as he watched the tree teeter like a falling ballerina, before it fell to the ground and lay there. It kicked up dust and filth as it landed, and it felt as though somebody had suddenly sucker punched him. It felt as if the whole world had suddenly shivered, and groaned, and mourned the last of a species and all of it focused on Once-ler. He suddenly felt eyes. Countless eyes. Engless eyes. The bar-ba-loots. The swomee-swans. The humming fish. His family. His wife. He dropped the gun and staggered away, eyes wide, whole frame shaking.
"That may stop you." the whisper of the Lorax in his mind said, which reminded him of the creature. He looked down at it, to see it still curled on the ground here he'd trown it. "That's it
" the beast whispered in his mind, sounding oddly at peace, and yet at the same time soul crushingly saddened it made the tears in Once-ler's eyes flow even faster.
"T-that. That's it?" Once-ler whispered. "No, that. That can't be it, you
there has to be more. There IS more!" Once-ler begged, falling to his knees besides the guardian.
"There is no more
" the Lorax murmured serenly, "I know because
they were my life force
was a part of me
"A part ofwhat?" stammered the man. "What do you
"There can't be
trees without me and
I can't be
without the trees
It all suddenly made sense to him. Why the beast had been looking sickly every time he had seen him from afar. Why he was smaller each time, why his fur was thinning, why it no longer glowed. Why his eyes looked so old and ancient now, aged, sickly and dark. He was dying. He had been dying ever since Once-ler had decided upon chopping down the trees of the valley and forest, ever since he broke his promise tot he guardian. "N-no you, you can't"
and I am
" his green, dead looking eyes, turned to look at Once-ler from where he lay on the ground. "This is your curse.."
" he whispered.
where no one else can
you breath this
no one else can
that is your curse, till your end of days
that you will live
with the crows
Once-ler clutched at his chest, heart racing within his chest. What did he mean? That the quality of air here was that bad that nothing could live here but himself? And birds? Is this what he was being given, what he was being handed? "No!" Once-ler grabbed the Lorax and lifted him off the ground and held him against his chest, "No please, I can fix this I can fix it! Y-you won't be dead I can do something I'll find the seeds I'll plant them all and it'll all grow and you'll be back and"
"One day." the Lorax's voice was small and tiny now, beneath a whisper. It was so quiet Once-ler had to strain to listen to his own thoughts. "One day
the air will
the time will
be right but
not for a long
know when it's
He wanted to beg, he wanted to plead, and yet Once-ler knew it was pointless and useless to do so. What he'd done all these yeas, chopping down each and every tree, could not be undone by wishes and pleads. The Lorax was dying, and it was his fault. The animals were gone, and it was his fault. The trees were gone, and with them, the guardian of it all. All of this was his fault. The guilt that had been growing up over time suddenly enveloped him and took him into his arms as tightly as he was holding the Lorax.
The tall man bent forward, pressing his forehead against the Lorax's, and could do nothing but sob. How long he sat there nursing the guardian he didn't know but he soon felt that warm, if but sickly, feeling he had from touching the beast finally fade into cold stillness. The wind that had been blowing all this time suddenly stopped. The whole world appeared to go silent, deathly, and still. Once-ler lifted his head and stared in utter regret and pain as the small body continued to shrink. The Lorax grew smaller, and smaller, until Once-ler was left kneeling in the dirt with a single, solitary Truffula tree seed in his hands.
Ted sat there in the Once-ler's house, now at the table, expression blank. Once-ler, again on his feet, was now standing, staring outside his window.
you did all of this. Like you said you had
" Ted whispered.
"Yes." Once-ler said quietly. "I killed everything. I had killed a God with my greed and made it so nothin else could live in this land. I
everyone who breathed the air got sick. Terribly sick. My twin brothers died within days. My mother a week later. My aunt, my uncle, dead after a month. Everyone had to wear masks and Norma
my poor Norma she. She was pregnant and almost lost the baby but they saved her, your mother, born too early and I almost had to bury my wife and my daughter along with the rest of my family and I couldn't. I simply couldn't. I was at rock bottom. My company emptied out and I let the first man though my doors take it off my hands and everyone hated me and despised me but could you blame them?" he turned his old, greyed head to look at Ted. "I brought about the biggest ecological disaster this world has ever seen. I allowed the madman to buy the town that I had been designing and turned it into a living Hell for everyone within. I made my wife live in that Hell, but every week she
managed to get away to see me. I missed my daughter growing. I missed my grandson being born. I've
missed out on so much. But I fight. I fight for the Lorax who will rise again. I fight for the trees who will grow again and
I think it's finally time."
He walked over to Ted. "That word, Unless. You've seen it, haven't you?"
"The rock? Yeah but"
"That was here. When I returned from the Lorax's death. Always that word, left here to stare at me every single day to remind me. To have me think. I've thought for years what it means and now I think I do. Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." he looked down at Ted, before reaching out and ran his thumb against the boy's forehead. "You're breathing the air and you're not sick. Normally just a few minutes would result in severe couging and death in a few days but you
you are thriving. You aren't sick. You're the sign. You're the one I've been waiting for, the one to show me the time is now. That the time is right."
"Time is right, for what?" he asksed.
The old man stood there for a moment before reaching within his jacket pocket. He pulled out a tightly wrapped bundle that was no bigger than a grape. He unwrapped it and handed Ted something he wouldn't think he'd see in his life. A seed. The seed. It was small, brown, round, with a small yellow swirl. Once-ler took Ted's hand, and gently placed the seed into it, and closed the boys hand around it. "Time for change to finally happen. Take the seed. Plant it. Give it fresh water, and clean air when you can. Grow a whole forrest of Truffula trees and protect them from axes."
"But what about O'Hare? What about mom and-and Grammy and Audrey and everyone else"
Once-ler grabbed his goggles from where they had been hanging around his neck and snapped them into place over his eyes. He also grabbed his black, dented hat. The same had he wore when everything went to Hell would be the same hat he wore when he fixes everyting, too.
"No more children will be buried under trees. No more people paying for air. No more families being ripped apart by a mad man in charge. No, Ted. Today is the day it all comes to an end. Today. The final battle takes place."