A boy living in a polluted area wanders down the Street of the Lifted Lorax and visits a strange, reclusive man known as the Once-ler. The boy pays the Once-ler fifteen cents, a nail, and the shell of a great-great-great-grandfather snail to hear the story of how the Lorax was lifted away. The Once-ler tells the boy that many years ago, he arrived in a beautiful valley containing a forest of Truffula Trees and a range of animals. Having long searched for such a tree as the Truffula, he cut one down and used its foliage to knit an incredibly versatile garment known as the Thneed. A strange creature known as the Lorax emerged from the tree’s stump and voiced his disapproval of the Once-ler’s actions. After a man bought the Th-need for $3.98, the Once-ler, ignoring the Lorax’s protests, phoned his relatives and asked them to come and help him with his new business. The Once-ler’s small shop soon grew into a large factory, and new vehicles were built to log the Truffula forest and ship out Thneeds. As time went on, the valley became choked with pollution, and the Lorax sent the animals away to find more hospitable habitats. The Once-ler was unrepentant and vowed to continue “biggering” his operations, but at that moment, one of his machines felled the last Truffula Tree. Without raw materials, the factory closed down and the Once-ler’s relatives left him. The Lorax sadly lifted himself into the air and disappeared through the smog, leaving behind a stone platform engraved with the word “UNLESS”. The distraught Once-ler punished himself with years of self-imposed exile, pondering the Lorax’s message. After finishing his story, the Once-ler realizes what the Lorax meant: unless somebody cares, the situation will not improve. He then gives the boy the last Truffula seed and urges him to grow a forest from it, hoping that the Lorax and the animals will return.