"A Wild Winter Solstice" is a story that takes place in the EMPATH: The Luckiest Smurf story series.
It is early December during Empath's first visit to the Smurf Village, and Empath is curious to see that his fellow Smurfs have abandoned work so that they could have fun outside after the first snowfall of the season. Papa Smurf tells Empath that the celebration of the Winter Solstice is coming, where they thank Mother Nature and Father Time for the arrival of winter and where each and every Smurf gives presents to one another.
While Empath is busy with a group of his fellow Smurfs collecting firewood and some other things for the Winter Solstice out in the forest, he slips down into a deep hole and loses consciousness. The other Smurfs who were with Empath look for him and then return to the village to tell Papa Smurf that he is gone when they couldn't find him.
|Empath recoils in fright as he sees...|
|...a hatless young Smurf wearing a bush.|
When Empath comes to, he finds himself being cared for by a mysterious being resembling a Smurf his age wearing almost no clothes. While Empath is initially scared of this being due to his ingrained Psychelian taboos of nudity, he eventually becomes friends with what turned out to be a young Smurf living out in the wilds who has no ability to speak at all except in squirrel chatter. The young Smurf becomes curious of the strange hat Empath wears, and so Empath makes for him a similar hat made of dried leaves that he ends up wearing.
Meanwhile, Papa Smurf spends days trying to search the entire forest for Empath, despite his little Smurfs slowly starting to give up hope that they will ever find him. Tapper has a feeling that Empath is being watched over by an angel, and even Papa Smurf has the sense that Empath is still alive in the forest, which encourages them to never give up hope.
By around the day of the Winter Solstice, as a group of Smurfs make one last search in the forest for Empath, he and the mysterious Smurf he had found also see them from high atop a tree near the home of the wayward Smurf. Empath tells his new friend that the other Smurfs are looking for him and that he must join them. The wayward Smurf is both fearful of the other Smurfs and fearful of losing Empath, the only friend of his kind he has ever met. Empath offers his friend to come with him to meet the other Smurfs in the village, but he refuses to go with him, deciding to remain in the forest. Empath realizes his friend's fear and promises to him that he will never reveal his friend's presence, giving each other a hug before they both depart from each other.
The other Smurfs are glad to see Empath still alive and ask what's happened to him. He simply answers that he was able to survive in the forest with the help of his Psychelian training techniques. Nevertheless, they return to the village where Empath is glad to be back in the presence of all his fellow Smurfs, yet Tapper notices something of Empath that makes the Irish-brogued Smurf wonder about his friend's "guardian angel". The story closes with the Smurfs joining in a merry circle dance around the bonfire at night, singing a special Smurf song in celebration of the Winter Solstice.
- Empath's first meeting with the character that will in later years be known as Wild Smurf.