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The Grouchiest Friendship/Part 2

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Several young Smurfs were playing in an empty area between some houses with a red ball when Papa Smurf passed by their area with Empath alongside him.

"You see, Empath, one of the things that makes us Smurfs is our love for doing things with each other," Papa Smurf explained, trying to control his use of the word smurf so Empath could clearly understand. "Right now, Hefty and some other Smurfs are getting ready to play a game of smurfball."

"What is the purpose of this activity, Papa Smurf?" Empath asked, unsure of what Papa Smurf was trying to teach him.

"The whole purpose of this is to have fun, Empath," Papa Smurf answered. "I'm sure you already know about the importance of work from the Psyches, but here we also know the importance of doing things to take your mind off work."

Empath shook his head. "This activity does not seem to provide any useful function to this smurf," he said flatly.

"That's because you haven't tried playing smurfball yet," Papa Smurf responded. He decided that it was time to engage Empath with the other Smurfs. He saw Hefty out among the other young Smurfs and called out to him. "Hefty, I want you to teach Empath how to play smurfball so that he knows how to have fun."

"Yes, sir, Papa Smurf," Hefty responded, sounding eager to please.

"Another thing I want you to do is to watch how you say 'smurf' since Empath does not know how to speak in Smurf yet." Papa Smurf added.

Hefty looked at Papa Smurf and Empath a bit uneasily. Somehow he felt that any Smurf that didn't know how to speak Smurf wasn't a real Smurf at all, and he didn't want to waste time teaching a game to somebody who couldn't understand Smurf. Then again, this was Papa Smurf making the request. "Yes, Papa Smurf," he answered with a little less enthusiasm.

Papa Smurf stood and watched as Empath went over to where Hefty was standing to explain the rules of smurfball.

"You see, the rules are very simple. You can hit it with your arms or your head, you can even kick the ball, but you can never let it land, or else it will cost your team a point. Do you understand?"

Empath nodded. "This smurf seems to understand, Hefty."

"Good," Hefty beamed. "You can go over to the other team, where Grouchy is."

Empath saw Grouchy on the other team, again with his arms folded and looking like he was somewhere he didn't want to be. He looked at Empath again but said nothing as Empath went over to where the other team was.

Hefty served the ball, volleying it over a line marked in the dirt that separated the two teams. Empath watched as the Smurf in front of him bounced the ball toward another Smurf, who then bounced it toward Empath. He tried to deflect it back toward the other team, but instead it rebounded in Grouchy's direction.

"Grouchy! Smurf the ball back over!" one of the Smurfs shouted.

But Grouchy didn't make any move. He just stood there with his arms still folded and his face still scowling. The ball landed in the dirt and bounced away.

"Our point!" Hefty shouted. "This is going to be an interesting game. We've got the newcomer Smurf and the grouchy smurf-nothing on the other team!"

Empath paid no attention to Hefty's comments. He just tried to play the game as best as he could. The next time the ball went over in his direction, Empath sent it bouncing back over the line and toward Hefty's team, giving them something to worry about.

As the game progressed, Empath found himself feeling more comfortable playing it. The whole thing seemed like a training exercise, and yet, as Papa Smurf had told him earlier, it never even seemed like work. But still, he couldn't help noticing that Grouchy had stood there throughout the entire game, never making any attempt to do what his teammates were doing with the ball. Every time the ball went in Grouchy's direction, it just kept landing on the ground near him. And Hefty's team kept winning a point.

One of Empath's teammates got furious with Grouchy after their team found themselves losing to Hefty's by a dozen points. "Smurf it, Grouchy, how come you won't smurf the game like the rest of us?" he groused. "Look at Empath -- he barely even knows the game and he's already smurfing his best out here!"

"I hate playing this game!" Grouchy shouted angrily, walking away from the playing area without anybody stopping him.

Empath looked at Grouchy with some concern and puzzlement. He had no idea why Grouchy would not wish to cooperate with his fellow Smurfs. But right now, he was too busy thinking of Papa Smurf, who was watching Empath throughout the entire game. They resumed playing without any further comments except from Hefty.

When the game was over and Hefty was gloating over his team's victory, Empath went over to where Papa Smurf was standing the whole time. "So how did playing smurfball feel to you, Empath?" he asked.

Empath wasn't sure how to answer that one. So much had happened in that game, and yet he still didn't feel any more like a Smurf than he did when he first started playing.

"It was...very educational, Papa Smurf," Empath replied, again very flatly. "Though this smurf does admit that this smurf now feels…hungry." He felt his stomach rumble and clutched it. It was something that he never felt before.

Papa Smurf tried not to sound discouraged. "You'll find it to be a very fun-filled activity to do one of these days, Empath," he said with a smile as he put his arm around Empath, who immediately shook it away.


The next thing Empath learned about the Smurfs was the kind of foods they eat. Greedy and a few other Smurfs were busy in the kitchen preparing the day's lunch when Papa Smurf and Empath entered. Already Empath could smell an aroma emanating from the foods being prepared in the kitchen that was making his mouth water…yet another new experience for him.

"Another thing that makes us Smurfs, Empath, is our love for food, which Greedy masterfully prepares for us three smurfs a day," Papa Smurf lectured, also inhaling the aromas. "Smells like it's going to be a very smurfy lunch today, now, doesn't it?"

"This smurf is not unfamiliar with the concept of sustenance, Papa Smurf," Empath responded, "though the form of sustenance that a Psyche requires has no need for extraneous things such as aromas or flavors. We get our sustenance from a nutrient paste that is given to a Psyche at least once a day, with no more or no less given to each one of us." He saw a whole bushel full of ripe red berries sitting in a wicker basket next to some baskets full of other types of fruits and vegetables. He went closer to examine them, realizing that one of the smells he picked up came from these berries. "This smurf does not recognize this type of berry before!"

"That's called a smurfberry, Empath," Greedy answered, coming over to see what he was examining. "They are the smurfiest things that a Smurf has ever eaten before, and believe me, you won't find another berry anywhere that smurfs just like those! Here, try one and see for yoursmurf just how smurfy they taste!"

Empath decided to do just that. He took a smurfberry from the basket and popped it into his mouth. His eyes suddenly grew wider as he tasted its juice in his mouth, noting its unique flavor and sweetness. "Great Ancestors!" he exclaimed, looking up at Papa Smurf who was smiling at Empath's reaction. "This smurf never knew how flavorful food could be, particularly these smurfberries!" Suddenly, Empath found himself instinctively grabbing for more berries, shoving them inside his mouth and devouring them with reckless abandon.

Greedy was happy to see Empath enjoying a smurfberry, but despite his sharing the same sense of avarice over eating a handful of them, he started feeling fearful. "Okay, Empath, I think we've smurfed enough berries for now," Greedy declared, trying to politely separate Empath from his food supply. "We need to save the rest of the smurfberries for the other Smurfs in the village or we won't have enough for smurfberry jam or smurfberry pie or even…hey!"

But Empath didn't feel like he was finished eating yet. He pushed past Greedy and dove headfirst into the basket of smurfberries, continuing to ingest them like they were going out of style, totally indulging himself in the taste.

Greedy looked on in shock at his basket of smurfberries rapidly being emptied by Empath, then he looked at Papa Smurf and was mortified by the fact that the village leader just stood and watched in amusement at the scene unfolding.

"Aren't you going to smurf anything to Empath, Papa Smurf?" Greedy demanded, really sounding worried. "He's smurfing himself before others and he's going to smurf our entire supply of smurfberries before any other Smurf has a chance of smurfing them!"

Papa Smurf chuckled, not sounding like he needed to worry about Empath at all.

"I'm sure that Empath will learn about smurfing things for others first, Greedy, if he hasn't already smurfed that lesson in Psychelia," he assured. "For now, we should let Empath smurf up on all that he missed out on in the Smurf Village, even if that means smurfing up an entire bushel of smurfberries!"

Soon enough, Papa Smurf and Greedy saw Empath at the end of his smurfberry-eating binge, lying on his back at the bottom of the basket in a pile of mushy berries, clutching his now-bloated stomach, feeling how full he became. His entire self was stained in smurfberry red, and Papa Smurf could see a glimmer of a smile on Empath's face as he slowly finished off the last berry he popped into his mouth. He looked up at the both of them, seemingly unashamed at what he had done with the smurfberries.

"So how did you like eating smurfberries for the first time, Empath?" Papa Smurf asked.

Empath answered Papa Smurf with a very loud and satisfied burp.

"I guess that means he enjoyed them, all right!" Greedy said a bit woefully.


"This smurf must apologize to Greedy for having eaten the village's supply of smurfberries, Papa Smurf," Empath said after he cleaned himself and his white suit of the berry stains. "This smurf found them to be…irresistible!"

Papa Smurf still didn't look worried or angry with Empath. "I'm smurftain that he has forgotten about it by now, Empath, for if there's one thing Smurfs are very good at, it's forgiving and forgetting another's mistakes! However, it is very important to obsmurf that we as Smurfs should consider the other person before oursmurfs and that we all must share the food that is smurfed to the table so that everyone gets their smurf." He noticed that Empath was still clutching his stomach. "Are you still feeling how full you are?"

"This smurf still senses the discomfort in this smurf's stomach, Papa Smurf," Empath replied, sounding as if it were nothing more than a minor pain. "Nonetheless, this smurf will manage as long as this smurf does not ingest any additional forms of your nutrition."

"Well," Papa Smurf considered, "maybe we should smurf something else about the Smurfs that doesn't smurf a lot of physical activity, just to let your smurfberries settle."

They walked over to one of the houses that was currently being used as an arts and crafts center, where they saw four Smurfs busy at work on some projects. Painter was doing a watercolor painting of a still-life image of various objects. Poet was busy scrawling away on a piece of parchment with his quill, occasionally sounding out phrases and words at random just to see how they sound. Sculptor was getting messy as he molded something out of clay with his hands. And Harmony was trying to play a trumpet, reading notes from a sheet of music.

"What useful function do these activities serve, Papa Smurf?" Empath asked, looking around and seeming puzzled by the whole scene.

"These Smurfs are producing works of art, Empath," Papa Smurf answered. "Our need to create something from our minds as well as from our hands is what also makes us Smurfs. It makes the world we live in more interesting and beautiful, and it helps us see what another Smurf sees in his own mind."

Just then Empath heard Harmony play through his trumpet a series of notes that every Smurf except Empath could recognize. "Yessirree…I think I got it!" Harmony chirped.

"Just what is it that 'you got' with that instrument, Harmony?" Empath asked.

"I got the smurfsong down pat on my trumpet, Empath!" Harmony replied.

"Smurfsong?" Empath repeated, having no idea what Harmony was talking about.

"The song that every Smurf sings," Harmony explained. "You can't be a Smurf if you can't smurf out the tune of a Smurf. Don't you even know how it smurfs?"

Empath shook his head. "This smurf is very unfamiliar with that, Harmony!"

"Why, that's very simple to learn," Harmony continued, not seeming displeased that another Smurf wouldn't know how to sing it. "It even has words to smurf along with it."

As Harmony began to play his trumpet, the other Smurfs in the room except for Empath began to sing:

La, la, la la la la, sing the smurfy song.
La, la, la la la la, smurf it all day long.
La, la, la la la la, smurf along with me.
La, la, la la la la, simple as can be.
The next time you're feeling blue,
Just let this song begin.
Smurfy things can come to you,
So smurf yourself a grin.

As Empath heard the "smurfsong" being sung out, he noticed another Smurf among them who also wasn't singing along. It was Grouchy. He was trying to work on a project of his own and was now holding his hands over his ears, seeming as if he really did not want to hear the "smurfsong", let alone want to sing it.

"Hey, Grouchy, why aren't you smurfing along with us?" Harmony asked as soon as he finished the bridge section of the song. "You're not a Smurf unless you really smurf yourself into singing along with the rest of us!"

"I hate singing along with the rest of you!" Grouchy shouted. He threw his project onto the floor and just walked out of the house, apparently very irritated.

"Well," Poet fumed, "that Smurf just has no appreciation for the fine art of music and poetry smurfed together in perfect harmony."

"And he doesn't even finish what he smurfs on, either," Sculptor added.

"Mon ami, everyone's a critic when it comes to smurfing a true artist's masteurpiesa," Painter responded in a very cultivated French accent. "M'sieu Grouchy is perhaps the worst critic of all because he can't even smurf a masteurpiesa."

Harmony decided to continue playing.

La, la, la la la la, now you know the tune,
La, la, la la la la, you'll be smurfing soon.

Empath listened as the rest of the "smurfsong" was played and sang along to, but as much as he tried to get himself into the music, he couldn't help again noticing Grouchy's reaction and its effect on every Smurf present. It seemed that Grouchy would rather be anywhere than actually doing anything with his fellow Smurfs, even if the activity had no purpose other than to expend time and energy on trivial pursuits.


Jokey had just ran into Empath and Papa Smurf as they left the arts and crafts center, seeming like he had something urgent to tell either of them. "Thank smurfness I finally smurfed up with you, Empath," he announced, stopping briefly to catch his breath. "Since you're the new Smurf around here, I thought I might as well smurf you a present."

Empath noticed that Jokey's package looked like the same one he was carrying since they greeted Empath hours ago. He wasn't sure what was so important about the package that Jokey wanted to give him. He looked at Papa Smurf as if to ask.

"Smurfing presents to one another is one of the things that makes us Smurfs," Papa Smurf answered. "It shows how much we care about others."

Empath seemed to understand that. "This smurf would be honored to accept your present, Jokey," Empath responded, sounding curious about the whole thing. "Of course, this smurf wishes to know what it is inside the package that you are willing to give this smurf."

"Oh, I can't tell you what's inside," Jokey told him, looking like he was hiding a secret. "It's a surprise, Empath. You have to open it to smurf out."

Empath looked at Papa Smurf, who inexplicably took a step back from Empath, as if he knew what was inside the package but also wasn't going to tell Empath. Whatever that meant, Empath knew there was only one way to clear up the mystery of this package.

He took off the ribbon and opened the lid of the package to see what was inside, when all of a sudden it exploded on him. He was left holding the remains of the box, his face smudged up and wearing a slight expression of shock. "Great Ancestors!" Empath exclaimed. "What happened? Did this smurf accidentally destroy your gift?"

Jokey finally burst out laughing, enjoying the look on Empath's face. "I told you, Empath," he said between laughs. "It was a surprise, and you fell for it!"

After Jokey had walked away, Empath turned to Papa Smurf, puzzled. "This smurf does not understand why Jokey would give somebody a present that would explode when it is opened," Empath stated.

Papa Smurf had to restrain himself from laughing at Empath before he answered. "That would be humor, Empath -- one of the many things that makes us Smurfs. Sometimes we need the gift of laughter to make sure we don't smurf things in our lives too seriously."

Empath still looked puzzled. Somehow at that moment he couldn't make the connection between what he saw as an outright deception and the act of laughing at it.

Papa Smurf realized Empath wasn't ready to understand that concept. He gently took what was left of Jokey's present out of Empath's hands and discarded it. Off in the distance, they could hear Jokey attempting to lure another Smurf to open another gift box, followed by yet another explosion. But this time Jokey wasn't laughing afterward.

"I just can't stand a Smurf that has no sense of humor," he snarled, sounding as if the gift box exploded on him instead. "That's the last time I try to smurf a joke on Grouchy!"

Smurf to Part 3...

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