"After a brief smurf alone with the Psyche Master," the current Empath heard the current Papa Smurf say, "I was allowed to smurf you visit the village for a year, though it was under the condition that what I smurfed you about the Smurfs could not be smurfed back and expressed in any manner to the Psyches, and that I was never to smurf you the true nature of your relationship to me!"
"This smurf remembers making a similar agreement to the Psyche Master before this smurf left for the village on the day of my first encounter with you," Empath added.
"The rest of the story, you already know, but I do want you to hear from what I remembered experiencing, Empath!"
"This smurf will listen, Papa Smurf."
As the story continued, Empath now saw the young Papa Smurf taking the young Empath back to the Smurf Village on birdback, talking to him on the way.
"Why do you call this one a Smurf?" Empath asked.
"That is what you are, Empath," Papa Smurf answered. "You are more of a Smurf than you are a Psyche...you have just yet begun to realize that for yoursmurf!"
"This one is nothing like you," Empath insisted. "The Psyche Master has shown this one the true nature of himself already. This one speaks as a true Psyche, without the clutter of your backward language."
"The Psyche Master can't smurf you anything about what you are truly born as," Papa Smurf tried to explain. "He only wants you to believe that you are smurfed a Psyche. He can smurf you a lot about how to live as a Psyche, which is why I want you to smurf that there's more about you than you are led to believe yoursmurf to be."
"This one has difficulty understanding your words," Empath stated outright, "but there's nothing you or your savage race can do to change this one from believing that he is a true Psyche."
"Maybe not now, Empath," Papa Smurf said, "but you will find out!"
As the stork flew over the Smurf Village, Empath looked down and saw it for the first time. It looked more lively and colorful than Psychelia, though it also looked primitive and disordered. He also saw his fellow Smurfs down below, and noticed that like Papa Smurf they also weren't fully dressed.
"Do all of these Smurfs have no sense of modesty?" he asked Papa Smurf.
Instead of answering, Papa Smurf introduced Empath to his fellow Smurfs after they had landed. They greeted him back in their own ways, but Empath was confounded by how they sounded.
"Why does every Smurf seem to use that one word 'smurf' to mean anything besides who they are?" Empath asked Papa Smurf.
"It is also part of who they are," Papa Smurf gently answered. "It is the Smurf language, and in time you could smurf exactly what they mean and smurf how to say something in Smurf."
Empath shook his head. "That will not convince this one about what he is!"
Papa Smurf then took him into his house and gave him some clothes to change into -- a white cap and a white pair of pants. Upon trying them on, Empath had a hard time hiding his embarrassment when Papa Smurf saw him in those clothes.
"This one feels...underdressed," he managed to say.
"Well, why don't we see for oursmurfs how you look?" Papa Smurf suggested. He led Empath toward a mirror where he saw in his own reflection himself wearing Smurf clothes.
"Great Ancestors!" Empath gasped as he looked at himself. In that moment he felt all the doubts he had about himself fading away. He turned around and saw his own stubby blue tail for the first time. He even pinched it briefly to convince himself that it was for real.
"This one truly is...a Smurf! You have made it clear about what this smurf is...but honestly, this smurf doesn't feel like a Smurf!"
"That's where the other Smurfs as well as mysmurf will show you the rest," Papa Smurf said with a smile.
Over the course of the next few days, Empath was learning from Papa Smurf and the other Smurfs about how they live. Hefty showed Empath the various games they played, and Empath picked up on them so quickly and masterfully, Hefty thought he would have a worthy opponent. Greedy showed Empath the kinds of food they eat, including the one thing that Empath had never seen before -- smurfberries. Empath tried a smurfberry and found out how flavorful it was compared to the bland nutrient paste he ate with the Psyches. Harmony showed Empath the wonderful sounds of music, though he wasn't any good at playing any instruments, and Empath found himself continually humming over and over what he called the "smurfsong" -- a signature sound he heard all his fellow Smurfs humming. Brainy showed Empath the various works of fiction, history, and folklore in the library, and Empath went through almost every single book in those few days, even the first book that Brainy himself wrote.
Through what he read, saw, heard, tasted, and experienced, Empath was awestruck by what he learned about his own people. The Smurfs were truly an expressive group of people who were not afraid to share that side of themselves with anyone. Yet Empath still felt bound to being emotionless, not being able to express himself in any manner except as being like a Psyche.
That was until one day, Papa Smurf found Empath by himself crying. He went over to see what was wrong with him. "Papa, please don't leave me!" Empath called out.
"Empath, I'm right here!" Papa Smurf answered.
But Empath acted as if he couldn't hear Papa Smurf. And when Papa Smurf knelt down and turned him around, Empath somehow couldn't see him, either. He kept on crying, unaware of anything except what was going on in his mind.
Papa Smurf couldn't do anything to break him out of the crying trance, so he just held Empath to him and told him in a comforting voice that everything will be all right.
A while later, when Empath was back to his normal emotionless state, Papa Smurf asked him what had happened. "This smurf doesn't remember, but this smurf suddenly had an urge to cry," Empath answered. "This smurf shouldn't be able to show that side of himself. Psyches are not trained to show our feelings to anyone."
"Feelings are a natural thing that every Smurf has to show," Papa Smurf told him. "We can learn how to control our emotions, but we as Smurfs cannot hide all of what we feel all the time."
"But this smurf has no knowledge of all these emotions your people show," Empath pointed out.
So Papa Smurf took it upon himself to show Empath the full range of emotions that the Smurfs express. Whenever they saw a Smurf smiling as he was working or playing, Papa Smurf said that it was a sign of happiness. Whenever they saw a Smurf crying, Papa Smurf said that it meant sadness. Whenever they saw Jokey playing a joke on any Smurf, Papa Smurf said that it was a way of expressing humor. Whenever they saw a Smurf falling asleep through Brainy's lecturing, Papa Smurf said that it was an expression of boredom. Whenever they saw a Smurf with a mean glare in his eyes chasing Jokey for a joke he played on him, Papa Smurf said that it meant anger. And whenever they saw two Smurfs getting along with each other and laughing, Papa Smurf told Empath that they were expressing friendship.
Empath's learning about showing emotions took up a good part of that year. He had some trouble understanding all of what he saw and heard, but in time the many expressions began to make sense in Empath's mind, and he started to feel a little more comfortable about himself, even though he still never showed any emotion.
On the last day of his visit to the Smurf Village, when it was time for him to return to Psychelia, Empath was surrounded by all his fellow Smurfs who were gathered around the village square to see him off. After Empath made his individual goodbyes to his fellow Smurfs, he went over and thanked Papa Smurf for showing him the way that the Smurfs lived.
"This smurf understands now the true nature of himself, Papa Smurf," he explained, "but this smurf must still follow the way of the Psyches. Everything this smurf has learned about being a Smurf will not be of much use for this smurf in the presence of the Psyches because the Psyche Master forbids the expression of foreign ideas."
Papa Smurf sighed, feeling as if everything he had taught Empath was all for naught. "Well, if it means anything to you, we will miss smurfing you in the village, and you will always be welcome back to us should you ever visit us again. Just remember that you as a Smurf are no longer alone in this world, for you are one with us in our hearts, minds, and souls, and every one of us will always live inside of you."
Empath started to head for the stork who was waiting to fly him back to Psychelia, but then he suddenly turned around and embraced Papa Smurf, feeling as if he was never going to see him again.
"This is your way of expressing friendship, for this smurf will miss your presence as well," Empath said with a hint of sadness before he hopped onto a stork and flew away.
"Fortunately for us, Empath," the current Papa Smurf told the current Empath, "the Psyche Master didn't smurf us just this one chance of smurfing each other. He also allowed you to visit us for a full year once every ten years following that first visit, which was strangely generous of him consmurfering his strict condition of you not bringing anything of your being Smurf into his village."
"This smurf knows that, Papa Smurf," Empath said, "though this smurf does wonder how on all those following visits, this smurf managed to come home on this smurf's birthday. Not that this smurf didn't appreciate the effort of making this smurf feel more welcome in your village!"
"That was my smurfing, Empath," Papa Smurf confessed with a slight chuckle. "Anyway, as you got older, you became more knowledgeable about us as well more at ease with yoursmurf and your fellow Smurfs emotionally. They were so impressed, as was I, when you started to exhibit the various abilities you smurfed from the Psyches with each visit, even some that I never even thought you would possess."
"This smurf always claimed that this smurf never took pride in what this smurf learned, Papa Smurf," Empath said, "and yet being around all of you, this smurf couldn't help sharing the wealth of what I learned from the Psyches! But in all the years that this smurf wasn't here, this smurf wondered if anyone has forgotten about this smurf."
"I made sure that no Smurf here in the village had ever forgotten about you over the years!" Papa Smurf replied. "That statue I once had smurfed for you as a memorial for when I thought you died -- it became a memorial for your continued life outside the village!"
As Papa Smurf told Empath this, he looked into Papa Smurf's mind one more time and saw his father as he was eighty years ago, standing in front of the statue of Empath, telling his little Smurfs about it.
"Empath's smurfed back to Psychelia for now, my little Smurfs," he told them, "but he is here with us, in our hearts and in this park, as a reminder that he will return to us. Someday, when Empath is grown up like this statue's smurfness, he will return here for good. And on that day, we shall be free!"
Smurf to Part 11