Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login


Submitted on
October 11, 2005
Image Size
79.1 KB


14,627 (1 today)
206 (who?)
The Significant Tree by ursulav The Significant Tree by ursulav
Throughout the width of the Empirical Hills, a traveller may be awakened in the early morning by the sounds of tramping feet and the tinkling of chimes. Suspecting a group of monks, or a troupe of entertainers, he will be surprised to see instead a small forest marching towards him on the backs of short, stocky figures. The figures are the treebearers, and on their backs they carry the Significant Trees.

While they travel most often in groups known as groves, the treebearers and their trees will also occasionally be found alone--but never apart. The treebearers sleep sitting up, still attached to their trees. While the rootballs are wrapped in burlap and strapped to the backs of the bearers, it's rumored that the roots themselves extend into the body of the treebearers, and that the two are literally one being. Regardless, the bearers travel with the seasons, to give their carefully bonsai-ed Significant Trees the very best light, temperature, and carefully chosen spadefuls of soil. Bright or pleasant sounding objects are tied into the branches of the trees, chosen, the treebearers claim, according to the whim of the trees.

How the Significant Trees--or the treebearers themselves--reproduce is a mystery. In age, they range from solemn youngsters bearing saplings to ancients bent under the weight of gnarled forest giants, but no one is quite sure where they come from, or for that matter, what's so Significant about them. (The treebearers themselves treat the question as if the questioner is an idiot--anybody can see they're significant, they're Significant Trees! Attempts to follow this circular line of questioning last until the treebearer gets bored or the questioner gives up, which generally takes about five minutes either way.)

This little guy and his tree showed up in my sketchbook, and while I couldn't quite figure out a painting, he seemed to merit at least a fairly refined sketch. (Looks a bit like a relative of Sings-to-Trees. Maybe I just like guys with white hair and long noses.) 9 x 12 on Bristol, original for sale, prints available for $10, drop a note or visit [link] to order.
Add a Comment:
PanPanMomo Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2007
Is this inspired by the book "The Voyage of the Basset"? Because some of your art really reminds me of that style! I love that book so much... If this is inspired by it, good show! If you don't know what I'm talking about you really ought to read the book. :heart:
Heiko Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2006
it could be argued that the act of straping a sappling to your back, carefully caring for it and tying oddments into its branches makes it significant. I mean you wouldn't have asked the guy the question if the tree didn't stand out to you!
apeman505 Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2006
That's such a cool concept. I wonder how they get the new dirt into the root bundles without taking the tree off their backs...? Other treebearers must help each other. Heehee, I can just imagine this guy wandering around slowly, and if you talk to him he'd have a slow, deepish voice and an aloof state of mind. So awesome!
Inkerbel Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2006
Oh, my gods. I'm writing a fantasy/science fiction/cyberpunk thing (Dwarves build motorcycles, one brand/model: The Clanghammer Troll. I would love to put some of these fellows in my story, may I?
RookinherRookery Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2006
It is killing me to read your descriptions while I'm high. I think literally, I'm wheezing for breath. I have long meant to tell you, while I fell in glee with your art ages ago, I find your writing so hilarious, so *just right* it can be even more compelling than a painting.

You're so damn cool!
why does it seem that this guy is really tiny, like a gnome or dwarf, even though he is carrying a big tree on his back? now I know it is a bonsai tree, but the aspect of perception is so funny to think about...

:clap: great job anyway! I'm your biggest fan, I like your anthro art the most.
oh yeah, and could I have a try at coloring it? I'm not amazingly good at it, but I would like to try...
sweetie-smile Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2005   Traditional Artist
lol.....all ur works are just sooooooooo creative...soo good....i just can't find any fault or any mistakes in ur's just perfect!!
theblackwillow Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2005  Hobbyist Photographer
wow how kool, great idea!
Reaper-of-Xaviera Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2005
Ya know...This one is really interesting. I would like to see one of the elders with one of those ancient "gnarled forest giants" It would be so amazing. Keep up the great work.
Add a Comment: