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Arboreal Abode

Some characters live in trees. Not in a tree house, but actually inside a hollow tree trunk. Usually there will be a doorway in one side of the trunk, and a substantial space inside. More elaborate arboreal abodes may have front steps, windows, back doors, and even chimneys visible from the outside. The nicest ones have several fully-furnished rooms inside.

This usually leads to a lot of Fridge Logic if one starts to seriously think about it. How is the tree alive and green if it's been hollowed out? (While dead trees are an option, they are usually shown as green and vibrant.) How can you fit an entire two-bedroom apartment on the inside of a tree? How are there windows in the upper leaves that should logically only have the thin ends of branches behind them? Don't expect any of these questions to be answered.

The use of this trope often shows that the characters are woodsy or in a nature-based setting. For the trope to be in effect the tree actually has to be converted in some manner to serve as a house. A squirrel living in a hole in a tree doesn't count because that's just what squirrels do.

See also Tree Top Town.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • The Keebler elves (mascot of Keebler, an American cookie and cracker maker) live inside a tree, which is used as part of the company logo.

    Comic Books 
  • The Wolfriders in ElfQuest live in a "Father Tree" that's subdivided into several homes. Fully justified because their tree-shapers can keep a tree alive and well while sculpting it into the required shape.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live Action 
  • Home Tree in Avatar is honeycombed with natural spaces where the Na'vi live.
  • In Tall Tale (a 90s Disney live-action feature) Paul Bunyan is living in a Californian Sequoia forest. (In this version, he's a very large guy but not a giant as he was in the original tall tales.) He's converted the trunk of a single felled Sequoia into a spacious house.

    Literature 
  • In My Side of the Mountain Sam makes his home in a tree. Probably one of the more realistic examples you're likely to find.
  • The Berenstain Bears live in a beautifully furnished tree, complete with windows in the crown.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger series. The turtle wizard Clothahump's home is inside a massive oak tree.
  • Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic has the useless wizard Rincewind captured by classical Graecian tree-spirits, the Dryads. They have resolved the "we live in a tree but the tree is still green and flourishes, indeed we and the tree need each other to thrive" paradox by being multi-dimensional - indeed their Tree shares many attributes of a TARDIS of Doctor Who fame, by being far larger on the inside than on the outside. The Tree of the Dryads and the great forest tree they seemingly inhabit may not occupy exactly the same dimension of space-time...
  • Larry Niven's The Integral Trees has an example of this In Space: a neutron star orbited by a ring-shaped cloud of breathable gas, where huge, multi-kilometer-long "integral trees" orbited within and provided shelter, nourishment, and raw materials for humans who colonized the system.
  • Many of the characters in Winnie the Pooh, Piglet and Pooh himself most notably.
  • In Bored of the Rings, the elves of Lornadoon live inside hollowed out dead trees.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Mister Rogers' Neighborhood of Make Believe, X the Owl lived behind a door on the trunk of a tree. (Henrietta Pussycat lived in the same tree, but in a small house attached to a branch, so that doesn't count.)

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • In the Dragon magazine #73 module "Forest of Doom," the Drow have hollowed out part of a gigantic tree and built a fortress inside of it.
    • The Horde boxed set. In the forests of the Ama Basin can be found Panjuis, the Pixie Fortress. It consists of three giant trees grown together and hollowed out.
    • Module UK1 Beyond the Crystal Cavern. A group of 5 leprechauns lives inside a giant hollow oak tree, and two dryads each live inside two other oak trees.
  • Traveller Classic supplement Alien Module 8 - Darrians: Secret of the Star Trigger. When the Darrians were first brought to their new planet they lived inside large hollowed out trees. The trees grew nutritious fruits for them to eat.
  • Encounter Critical supplement Asteroid 1618. In the Domed City a number of elves live inside a giant staroak tree.
  • Legendary Lives. Elven communities live inside the hollowed-out trunks of giant trees.

    Theater 
  • Ariel, from Shakespeare's The Tempest, is found by the sorceror Prospero inside a tree, though whether the spirit lives there or is merely caught is sometimes debated.

    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • The SNES RPG Sailor Moon: Another Story has the Sailor Senshi splitting up and going around the world. Sailor Jupiter visits the exotic, mysterious land of Canada where people live inside trees.
  • The residents of Fortree City in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire.
  • The citizens of Cleyra in Final Fantasy IX live in a giant tree that is protected by a sandstorm.
  • Telvanni wizards from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind live in humongous tree-like fungi.
  • Xenoblade has Frontier Village, home of the Nopon. It's a massive monstrosity of a hollow tree that borders on Layered Metropolis, with its 9 levels connected by stairs and rope bridges. Oh, it also has a small lake on its top and a massive floating sea above it.
  • In Touhou series, the side materials reveal that fairies live inside trees, flowers, and any parts of nature. These fairy houses are invisible to humans, who see them as normal trees.
  • The home base in Secret Paths in the Forest could manifest as a hollowed-out and decorated old tree. In this example, the hollow tree was actually dead, making more sense than most — if you ignore the whole "shapeshifting to be a log cabin or a treehouse depending on the player's preference" thing.

    Web Comics 
  • Fairly common in Kevin & Kell: The title characters and the recently married Lindesfarne and Fenton have residences in large hollowed-out trees.
  • Daisy Owl and her family live in one, which probably isn't up to code.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, the Anwyn of Gillitie Wood use magic to shape trees into structural supports for their houses. This is mainly shown in the side comic "Annie in the Forest".

    Western Animation 
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Twilight Sparkle lives in a tree which has room not only for living quarters, but for an entire library.
  • Bugs Bunny lives in a tree in at least one cartoon, "The Case of the Missing Hare".
  • Parodied on The Simpsons. In "Saddlesore Galactica", horse racing jockeys are revealed to actually be subterranean elf-like creatures who live in "a fibreglass tree".
  • Finn and Jake from Adventure Time live in one.
  • Chip and Dale lived in a furnished base in Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door The Kids Next Door have their Home Base in a tree; they all have regular houses to go back to but they spend all day there anyway.
  • Slappy Squirrel from Animaniacs lived in a tree, one with electricity so she could watch TV in there.
  • Attempted with The Smurfs in the episode "Skyscraper Smurfs" when Architect and Handy build a smurfominium inside a hollowed-out tree. After a fire destroyed it, the Smurfs preferred living in their village over living in a tree together.
  • In the Columbia Fox and Crow cartoons, Crawford Crow has a home in a tree with an elevator to ground level.
  • The 'Raccoondominium' is one of these. Justified somewhat by one of the specials, which states that the trees are big enough for this sort of thing. In the later episodes, we find out that Bentley and Lisa's home is one as well. However, interior wise, it's much closer to a suburban home than the hollowed out look of the 'Raccoondominium'. (It even has a garage!)


    Tree TropesBridge Logic
Alphabet ArchitectureBuilding TropesArcology
The Berenstain BearsImageSource/LiteratureFantastic Racism
Arachnid Appearance and AttireAdded Alliterative AppealArcher Archetype

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