That night, it was Papa Smurf who couldn't sleep. He was tossing and turning around so much. He felt that there was something dreadfully important he needed to do that he desperately wanted to escape doing if it would give him any peace. A knock on his door prevented his last effort to fall asleep.
Papa Smurf answered the door. It was Empath, wearing a hat and a bathrobe, and looking like he had just been rudely awakened as well. "May this smurf talk to you?" he asked.
"Well, Empath, you smurfed me at the right time," Papa Smurf replied, allowing Empath to enter his house. "Is there something wrong?"
"This smurf just had a disturbing dream," Empath explained as he and Papa Smurf pulled some chairs together, "a reoccurring dream that this smurf just can't keep out of this smurf's mind."
"Well, if it's about Smurfette, rest assured that every adult Smurf here does have that kind of dream happening," Papa Smurf guessed before letting out a slight chuckle. "It's nothing you should be worried about. Every Smurf that I've ever known smurfs through that."
Empath felt a little relieved and yet a little sidetracked. "This smurf appreciates your explanation, Papa Smurf, but this reoccurring dream has nothing to do with the birds or the bees. In actuality, it is more like what you call a nightmare, and this has been happening long before Smurfette came along. In this nightmare, this smurf remembers being inside the Psyche Master's temple. You were there with this smurf, but your beard was brown and you were bigger than this smurf. You put this smurf down, looked at this smurf, and then walked away. This smurf called out to you, but you never turned back. And then came this incredible pain, and this smurf heard a scream before everything went black."
Papa Smurf listened to Empath's description of the nightmare, and found himself taken aback when the description matched something Papa Smurf remembered himself.
"Great Smurfness!" he finally said. "Empath, what you experienced wasn't a nightmare. You must have remembered something that happened to you the year you were born. I should have known because I was there as well."
"You were there?" Empath asked, puzzled. "How could that be? This smurf remembers first encountering you about eighty years ago in Psychelia, not anytime before then."
"Do you remember back at that first encounter with me that I told you that you were more Smurf than Psyche?" Papa Smurf asked.
"Very clearly, Papa Smurf," Empath answered.
"Well, Empath, there's a whole lot more to it than that," Papa Smurf added, heaving a sigh afterward. "I feared the day would come when I had to smurf you the real truth about yourself, but I owe it to you to tell you now."
As Papa Smurf began telling what was behind the memory Empath had experienced, Empath saw the events happening in his own mind as if he were there himself. He saw the Smurf Village as it was when he and his Smurf brothers were born.
"150 years ago," he heard Papa Smurf say, "all of my fellow Smurfs all had newborn children, and me and my wife wanted one of our own. It was very different back then. We didn't have any Smurf leading us except ourselves, and every Smurf wore their own colors -- it was how we could smurf each other apart, though only the children wore white. Anyway, that year we were blessed by nature, and nine months later the blessing became a reality."
As Empath continued to listen, he saw at that point a young version of Papa Smurf, wearing a brown beard and moustache, pacing around nervously outside a house until another Smurf wearing a green hat and pants, a thin graying beard, and a white smock came out smiling.
"Congratulations, Culliford, my Smurf," the older Smurf beamed, shaking Papa Smurf's hand. "Your wife just gave smurf to a bouncing baby boy."
The young Papa Smurf couldn't believe the news. "Smurfeka...I'm a Papa Smurf! I'm a Papa Smurf!" he cried out in excitement.
Empath figured out that Papa Smurf wasn't originally the name of the Smurf who would become the village leader he knew. The young version of Papa Smurf went inside the house less than a minute later, and saw his wife, a female Smurf with short brown hair wearing a red cap who looked almost as beautiful as Smurfette, holding their newborn child in her arms, smiling at both of them.
"We really made magic happen this time, Lillithina, my dear," he commented, kissing his wife on the forehead.
"I think you made most of the magic happen, Culliford," Lillithina remarked. "He smurfed his way into the world without any problem. If he's a special child, there's no doubt about whom he smurfs after."
"Then that must make you a special Mama Smurf," Culliford said with a slight tease in his voice.
"Could be," Lillithina laughed, holding the baby so that they could both examine him.
"Well, he's certainly got your eyes and your smile," Culliford pointed out.
"And he's got your ears," Lillithina added. "But I wonder who's hair color he'll smurf when he grows his first beard?"
"That we'd have to wait 300 years to find out," Culliford reminded her.
“Well, until then, I still have your handsome furry face to smurf at, my love,” Lillithina laughed as she stroked her husband’s beard lightly. "I'm sure that our little bundle of joy will smurf after his own Papa Smurf." Then she lifted the baby's hat and noticed something that surprised the both of them. "Well, I wonder who's smurf of the family he smurfed this from...a yellow smurfmark shaped like a star on his forehead!"
"Well, I'll be smurfed...!" Culliford exclaimed, noticing the smurfmark as well. The baby opened his eyes and saw his parents for the first time, smiling at them. "There's no doubt about it that he's a special baby!"
Empath at that point was surprised himself. Through Papa Smurf's thoughts he saw that their first child was Empath. Papa Smurf must truly be his real father.
Culliford was curious about the yellow star mark, though, and so he looked through many books in the village's archives house to find out something he only heard about as a Smurfling as just folklore. He found what he was looking for in a book about smurfmarks, written in ancient Smurf text: "He who is smurfed with the mark of a star is truly blessed by the stars, for it is this smurf who shall possess abilities beyond all imagining, beyond all the five known senses...abilities that only the strong of minds can harness."
Culliford was lost in thought, trying to figure out what that could mean. Could this mean that their child would be born a sorcerer with his own magical powers, he wondered. But Culliford knew that no Smurf except himself practiced sorcery for hundreds of years, and that his own knowledge of such arts came from a human wizard outside the village, not at birth. So what could these abilities "beyond all imagining", "beyond all the five known senses", and "that only the strong of minds can harness" actually be?
Over the following days, Culliford and Lillithina were showing their newborn child to their fellow Smurfs, and they were impressed. Culliford's friends toasted with him over brewed sarsaparilla, while Lillithina's friends gave her advice about baby care as well as recipes for baby foods and some clothing they thought would look good on her child.
Only thing was, neither Culliford nor Lillithina had any idea what they could name their child. Half their fellow Smurfs who had children were able to come up with names for them within a few days of their birth, while for others it took a month or so for them to draw any such inspiration, which for some certain others meant going as far as looking in the village dictionary. It was fortunate, however, that their parents could tell their children apart at all. For Culliford and Lillithina, having a child with a visible smurfmark on his forehead was more than enough of an indication.
In any case, Culliford and Lillithina took care of their child without any problem except for the occasional diaper change or feeding time. But even those times never felt too trying for this couple, and their child rarely raised a fuss at all.
It was about a month later, however, when Culliford came home from a hard day's work with his fellow Smurfs to his wife, when something strange started to happen. He saw Lillithina running to him, looking like she had seen a ghost...or worse.
"I can't believe what I just smurfed today," she blurted out. "Our son's just smurfing around and making things float around in midair, and he even made himself float around as well. It scared the smurf out of me!"
"There, there, my dear Lillithina," Culliford said gently, holding her in his arms. "You've probably been so busy today with Baby, that you're starting to smurf things!"
"What I told you is true!" Lillithina insisted, finding no comfort or belief in her husband's words.
Culliford decided to find out for himself. He looked into their child's room and saw the infant playing with his toys on the floor. Apparently he saw nothing out of the ordinary here. He told his wife not to worry, that he will take care of their son while she got some rest.
But after Culliford was left alone with the child, he started to notice it for himself. He reentered the child's room and saw all his toys floating around, moving as if they were planets in orbit, and his son in the center of the room, giggling as his watched. Culliford swore he could see his son's yellow smurfmark glow. Then before he knew it, Culliford found himself floating around the room as well, turning around upside down as his son watched on, squealing in delight.
Culliford was in a panic, unable to control his motion. "Smurf me down right now!" he yelled.
His son stopped squealing. Instantly, everything in the room that was floating around in orbit now dropped to the floor, including Culliford, who landed on his stomach.
Picking himself up, Culliford felt angry enough to scold his child when he realized that something incredible has happened, and his anger was replaced by curiosity.
"Now, son," he asked in a gentle voice, "can you show your Papa exactly how you made your toys smurf around like that? I promise that I won't be angry, but please can you show me how you smurfed it?"
His son looked at him as if he was willing to demonstrate. Culliford placed a smurf-in-the-box right in front of his son. "Okay, now, don't touch the toy, just show me how you smurf it in the air!" he encouraged.
His son sat there looking at the toy until, slowly and without him ever touching it, the smurf-in-the-box rose into the air high above Culliford's head.
"Amazing...simply amazing!" Culliford finally stated, excited by what he saw. "You certainly didn't inherit this ability from your Papa Smurf, and I'm not certain your Mama Smurf gave you that, either. You must truly have those of the legend, my son...the abilities beyond the five known senses!"
"I tested your newfound abilities even further, Empath," the current Papa Smurf's voice said, as the current Empath continued to see into his father's recollections, "even as far as smurfing your toys from plain sight, and you managed to perform each new test smurflessly. But even that didn't prepare me for the feats you managed to smurf around me."
Empath at that point saw his infant self, greeting his father at the door looking beaten from the day he had. His son wanted Culliford to play with him. "Not right now, my son...I don't feel very active!" he groaned.
The infant seemed to understand what his father was going through and crawled back to his bedroom. A while later, when Culliford entered the room ready to tuck the child into his crib, he saw his son painting on the walls with his fingers. Culliford picked up his son and was ready to scold him when he noticed the painting on the wall was a nearly professional-looking cartoon image of him, and above that, the words I LUV U POPPA with a heart next to it. He couldn't help feeling his anger disappearing again, replaced by amazement.
"Well, if I didn't smurf any better," he commented as he held his son up to him, messy paint and all, "I'd say that you're so full of empathy. Come to smurf of it, that's what I should name you -- my little Empathy!"
He told Lillithina about the name, and she agreed. She also let the child keep the painting of his father on the wall, despite having to expose him to another bath.
It was then, at this point in Papa Smurf's recollection, that Empath realized where his name -- now only missing one letter -- came from.
For the next few months afterward, Empathy became the center of attraction for the entire village as Culliford showed off his son's telekinetic abilities and whatever new abilities he began to perform. Culliford's fellow Smurfs were astounded, but Lillithina slowly began to feel estranged, as if her son and her husband no longer needed her in the world they inhabited. The other Baby Smurfs, both named and nameless, who saw Empathy displaying his abilities were either amazed by what they saw or just didn't care. Only a few of them cried out in disgust.
One night Lillithina couldn't contain her feelings about Culliford and Empathy anymore. She interrupted her husband as he was gently lullabying their child to sleep in his crib, and when they knew Empathy was soundly asleep, both of them went into the main room where they could talk without disturbing Empathy. Culliford knew Empathy could sleep soundly through anything, even through this talk which his wife started a little too loudly.
"I can smurf the feeling that Empathy is more your son than mine," she began, "and that you just want to smurf him off to the others as proof, but what I can't smurf is the feeling that you're just using Empathy as a smurfshow attraction, without even considering how'd he feel being smurfed to perform for you all the time!"
"I am not using Empathy like that," Culliford answered back as calmly as he could. "Besides, I do know what Empathy feels because he smurfs me how he feels with his thoughts. I don't make him smurf what he doesn't want to smurf."
"Okay, then, what about when Empathy grows up?" Lillithina asked. "He needs to learn how to use his abilities wisely, but more importantly, he has to be able to live with his fellow Smurfs. How do you think he's going to smurf that if you can't teach him anything other than those stupid mind tricks all the time?"
"You don't know how Empathy is going to smurf along with others anymore than I do," Culliford said. "I will make smurftain that Empathy does keep what he does learn of his abilities to himsmurf when the time comes."
"I can only hope so...for Empathy's sake as well as for yours," Lillithina finished before she headed off to bed.
Although Culliford said it with much confidence to his wife, the truth was that he had no idea how he could train Empathy how to use his abilities, let alone how to use them wisely. The next several days after that, Culliford spent some time thinking about his own experiences with having to fit in with his fellow Smurfs after spending thirty or so years of his childhood away from the village, raised by a human wizard named Palleadore who taught him the art of sorcery. Since the Smurfs had at that time put aside their age-old knowledge of sorcery in favor of technological advances they discovered over the years, Culliford was fearful that his exhibiting these abilities would make him worse than an outcast. So when he returned, he kept these abilities to himself and actively trained himself in other studies, including the creation of natural medicines. But nothing that Culliford had learned taught him how to deal with someone with abilities much different than his own.
One night, as Culliford was reading a book from the village archives house, he came across a story about another Smurf similar to Empathy who was born with incredible mind powers and was incredibly intelligent. However, this Smurf found himself to be too advanced and too dangerous to be accepted into the community of his fellow Smurfs, so he left the village to explore the world and find his own place in it. This Smurf had talked about creating a new race of people similar to his own but who would also share his mental capabilities and would be perfect in every way, since he considered the Smurfs were never really perfect enough.
Later on in the same book, Culliford found another story about how some Smurfs who ventured far beyond the village had discovered this other village with people that they described as "white-toned Smurfs", even going as far as including a name for their people -- the Psyches.
Culliford reread these stories over and over, thinking things over as he read. Could this Smurf actually have created this new race of people, these Psyches? Could these people be anything like the Smurfs besides their appearances? Eventually, Culliford was wondering: could these Psyches accept Empathy as one of their own long enough to train him how to use his powers wisely?
Smurf to Part 8