It was a calm quiet day in the place called the Crossroads Of The World, a place where all roads intersect that lead to various parts of the known world. It was here that two entertainers, a jester named Nimble and a minstrel named Cadence, had stopped in their travels.
"Which way should we go, Nimble?" Cadence asked, looking in all directions at the possible directions. "It's taken us a long time to reach this place, and I'm hungry."
"I see what you mean, Cadence," Nimble responded as he was juggling some balls in the air. He pulled out a water bag and opened it to shake out what contents it had left. "My stomach's as empty as our water bag."
Cadence watched as one of Nimble's juggling balls hit his partner on the head. "Not to mention your head," Cadence jested, laughing afterward. "It sure would be nice to find someplace we can go in the middle of nowhere where we can feast until we're full, but alas, I still can't figure out which road will take us there." Cadence then noticed that a breeze had started blowing. He looked up and soon the normally blue sky was shifting in all sorts of colors. The sight was so mesmerizing to both him and his partner that they didn't notice a thick dark cloud appearing behind them, and once the cloud disappeared, a huge castle with a moat that suddenly appeared.
"Have you ever seen such a sight before?" Cadence asked.
Nimble turned around and noticed the castle. "No...and I don't remember seeing that castle there, either!"
Cadence turned around and saw it for himself. For some reason, the place looked rather inviting, as if it was beckoning for them to enter. "A castle from nowhere...now that is strange!" he mused. "Well, let's not look a gift house in the moat, Nimble...let's go inside! With any luck, we'll be in time for lunch!"
Nimble decided to join his partner in entering the castle. As they approached the gate past the drawbridge, though, a pair of stone hands emerged from the outer walls of the castle and grabbed them both.
"Unhand us, you...you...whatever you are!" Nimble shouted as he uselessly struggled to break free of the stone hand's grip. Then suddenly the hands flung the two travelers inside as the gate shut behind them.
An ominous evil voice spoke from within the castle, and Cadence and Nimble could swear that they saw the door of the gate move as if it were a pair of lips, as if the entire castle had just come to life.
"Welcome to Castle Captor, where there is always room for one more!" the ominous voice spoke. "Stay awhile...stay forever!"
The entire castle shook as the voice bellowed out sinister laughter.
The strange color-shifting sky had reached all across the world, even over the forest of the Smurf Village. The Smurfs who saw this sky were perplexed and amazed by the sight of it. None of them had ever seen such a thing like this before.
"Why, it's the smurfect day to present my new smurfberry sponge cake surprise," Greedy said as he joined the crowd of Smurfs outside watching the sky. "All it needs is some of Tapper's sarsaparilla ale to smurf with a good slice."
"Indeed," Poet agreed, getting out a piece of paper and a quill. "And while we're at it, I shall compose a smurfable poem for the occasion called, 'An Ode To The Smurfed Sky'."
"And as long as the sky remains smurfed," Painter added, already at work with his paintbrush, "I shall capture its appearance in full detail upon the canvas for posmurfity!"
"Well, if you ask me, my fellow Smurfs," another voice broke in, "I think that the strange sky is a bad omen, and I believe Papa Smurf would agree with my opinion on that since he is always right."
Everyone in the crowd knew who that voice belonged to. "Great...here smurfs 'Empath's brother' Brainy!" one of the Smurfs said in utter disgust.
"I hate smurfing 'Empath's brother' Brainy," Grouchy remarked.
Brainy approached the crowd carrying a stack of books in his hands. "That's why I, Brainy Smurf, am going to smurf all my collected Quotations Of Brainy Smurf books in a safe place! There's just no smurfing what may besmurf us on such a day like this, and furthermore..."
At this point, Brainy wasn't looking where he was going and tripped over a rock, causing the stack of books to spill out of his hands. One of them tore through Painter's canvas, ruining the masterpiece he was working on. Another hit Greedy's cake, causing it to splatter all over Greedy and Poet. A third tore through Poet's sheet of paper, causing him to lose his work rather instantly.
All three of the Smurfs gathered around Brainy, who was too busy giving them a piece of his mind. "See? What did I tell you, Smurfs? That sky up there is definitely a bad omen of things to smurf, and..."
Meanwhile, inside Tapper's tavern, Tapper was watching Reporter Smurf doing a live broadcast on the window-vision with Sweepy and Barber sitting at the bar, enjoying a fresh cup of treebark brew while keeping their minds off the lack of work available for either of the two patrons.
"This is Reporter Smurf, smurfing to you live from the village square, reporting on the strange sky condition smurfing right above us, which just appeared no more than half an hour ago," Reporter said, as the cameraman panned the sky. "As you can smurf on your screen right now, the sky is rapidly smurfing various colors. This phenomenon also came with a moderate wind that's smurfing through the village. Nothing as we know of has been affected by either the sky or the winds." The camera then shifted to Reporter's face. "Tracker is currently monitoring the weather conditions right now. He has insmurfed me that, aside from the sky smurfing various colors and the moderate wind, there is nothing smurfing on that would be any cause for alarm for either the village or the surrounding forest area. Nevertheless, we'll continue to cover the event as it smurfs, so smurf tuned as we...wait a minute...I hear smurfthing...it's directly overhead...it's smurfing in our direction..."
Almost intuitively, the cameraman panned to the right of Reporter as Brainy fell out of the sky, seemingly a victim of being catapulted across the village for his usual annoying rants.
"This just in," Reporter continued. "In related news, we've just had Brainy smurf in from his usual flight over the village. We will smurf back to you after this."
Tapper simply looked at the screen in mild shock while Barber and Sweepy laughed at the sight. "See, mates, who smurfs that there isn't anything good to smurf on the window-vision anymore?" Sweepy jested.
"I don't like to think that this may be happening, my fellow Smurfs, but I feel in my spirit that this may be one of the signs that the Lord is coming soon," Tapper said as he turned his attention away from the window-vision.
"'One of those signs again, Tapper?" Barber said, sounding like he was in disbelief.
"Surely you can't be seriously smurfing that such a thing is that kind of a sign, mate," Sweepy said, also voicing disbelief.
"Look what it smurfs in the book by the prophet Joel," Tapper said as he opened up his holy book and turned to the pages where the words of the prophet were written. "'And I will show signs in the heavens and in the earth: blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of Jehovah. And it shall be, that whoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall escape. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as Jehovah has said, and among the survivors whom Jehovah shall call.'"
"Well, it doesn't smurf anything about the sky changing colors, Tapper," Barber said.
"There's more than just this part of Scripture, Barber," Tapper said, turning pages until he stopped at another place in the book. "The Almighty's Son smurfed in the book of Matthew: 'And immediately after the affliction of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the heavens, and then all the tribes of the earth will wail, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.'"
"You're still losing me and Barber, mate," Sweepy said.
"I don't expect either of you to fully agree with me on this, but I wouldn't be surprised if the coming of the Lord will smurf any day now, which is something I've been smurfing the whole village to prepare themselves for," Tapper said after he closed up his book.
"Does Duncan even believe any of this, Tapper?" Barber asked.
"Alas, even he would think that I may be smurfing this whole thing out of proportion, as much as he is trying to be a voice of reason for me, my good Barber," Tapper said. "I have a feeling that I'm going to be smurfing a lot of time in prayer to see what the Almighty has to smurf about it."
"Who knows, maybe this whole thing is just Mother Nature's light show for everyone to see, and we'd be fools to miss out on something this spectacular," Sweepy said.
"Thanks for the coffee, Tapper," Barber said as he and Sweepy got out of their seats. "We might as well join the others outside and smurf this whole thing live for ourselves."
"Take care and do be watchful for the things to smurf, my friends," Tapper said as he watched the two Smurfs leave the tavern.
Near the outskirts of the village, the Smurflings were keeping company with Grandpa Smurf as they were also watching the sky changing colors. "Colorful canaries, Grampy, why does the sky smurf like that?" Sassette asked.
"Yeah, Grandpa, what's smurfing on here?" Snappy also asked, curious.
"I honestly don't know, my young Smurflings," Grandpa Smurf answered. "But that sky reminds me of a day that smurfened long long ago, in the days before any of the adult Smurfs other than Papa were born."
"Smurfabunga! Grandpa's got a story to smurf us!" Snappy shouted, jumping for joy.
"Come on, Grampy, please smurf us the story!" Sassette chirped eagerly.
"I'm sorry, youngsters," Grandpa Smurf replied with a heavy sigh, "but I don't feel comfortable smurfing you! I'm afraid that this is one story that doesn't have a happy ending!"
"Aw, come on, Grandpa, smurf us the story!" Snappy whined, tugging at his cane.
"Yeah, please, Grampy, we want to hear it!" Sassette pleaded, tugging at Grandpa's left arm.
"Why don't you back off, Snappy?" Slouchy calmly spoke. "If Grandpa doesn't want to smurf his story, maybe he's got a good enough reason not to smurf it to us."
"Who asked you, Slouchy?" Snappy snarled, holding up a fist as if he was going to use it to Slouchy if he made any more objections. "If this story's so darn important, then I should have the right to hear it being smurfed."
Papa Smurf was busy walking with Polaris Psyche talking about what they have just seen Reporter talking about on the window-vision. "Quite the weather we're smurfing here today...a multi-colored sky and this wind. Not sure I have ever smurfed anything like this in my younger days!" Papa Smurf stated.
"If you say so, Papa Smurf," Polaris responded in a disinterested manner.
"Is there something wrong, my little Polaris?" Papa Smurf asked out of concern, noting Polaris' disinterest.
"This one is rather concerned about all these entertainments we have allowed to become part of our everyday living, Papa Smurf," Polaris answered. "We have the Imaginarium, the crystal disk smurfer, the Game Wand that Handy developed, and now this window-vision that at one time almost distracted the village to the point of being captured by Gargamel. This one fears that with all these entertainments on hand, the village may focus too much on everyone pleasing themselves and not enough on important community matters."
"I know what you mean, Polaris," Papa Smurf said. "I smurftainly don't want all my little Smurfs to smurf all their time on their own to not be able to smurf time smurfing things with each other as a family."
"This one is also concerned about what the Smurflings are taking in with these entertainments, Papa Smurf," Polaris continued. "Some of what's being shown on the window-vision are things that are just not suitable for them to be seeing."
"I'll smurf a talk with the Smurf in charge of window-vision broadsmurfing to make smurf that what's being smurfed on the screen is appropriate enough," Papa Smurf promised. "Of course, I'd like to smurf more of Brainy's who-smurfed-it mysteries because they tend to be the most challenging form of entertainment that I have ever smurfed on the window-vision."
"As this one is also intrigued by the mystery stories that he somehow manages to invent, Papa Smurf," Polaris seconded. Their discussion is soon interrupted by the sound of Snappy and Sassette pestering Grandpa Smurf as they reached the outskirts of the village. Papa Smurf decided to investigate the matter.
"What's all the commotion about, my little Smurflings?" Papa Smurf asked. "Empath has the day off, and you're already smurfing Grandpa Smurf a hard time!"
"Darn right we are!" Snappy answered. "Grandpa Smurf's got a great story about the strange sky, and yet he doesn't want to smurf it with us!"
"Well, I'm sure Grandpa has his reasons for not smurfing it, Snappy!" Papa Smurf said as he looked up to the sky. "This is truly odd weather that we're smurfing, and despite Tracker's predictions, I'm not sure it's going to smurf any better. Now I want you Smurflings to be nice and not bother Grandpa Smurf anymore today about storytelling. I also want you to smurf close to the village in case the weather smurfs for the worse." He then turned to face the Smurflings again in order to tell Grandpa Smurf something, only to find out that Grandpa Smurf was no longer standing with the Smurflings.
"Grandpa Smurf has just entered the forest, Papa Smurf," Polaris remarked.
Papa Smurf turned around and saw Grandpa Smurf leave the village. "Grandpa! Where are you smurfing?" Papa Smurf asked.
"Now how's a Smurf supposed to think with all this racket?" Grandpa Smurf muttered, not responding to Papa Smurf as he went deeper into the forest. "A day like this and all any Smurf really cares about is for me to smurf a story!"
"Grandpa! Is everything all right?" Papa Smurf called out after him with Polaris and the Smurflings beside him.
That caught Grandpa Smurf's attention long enough for him to turn around and shout back. "Smurfnabbit...I've just had it up to here with your confounded questions!" Then he continued into the forest and was gone.
"Chattering chipmunks, Pappy...I've never smurfed Grampy to be this upsmurfed over anything before!" Sassette said, feeling concerned.
"Me neither, Sassy!" Snappy added. "Maybe this just isn't the day for him to be smurfing a story for us!"
"There's something that's troubling Grandpa Smurf all right," Papa Smurf said, stroking his beard in thought. "I have a feeling it's the kind of day we're smurfing that's smurfing it."
"This one sensed that feeling in Grandpa Smurf as well, Papa Smurf," Polaris chimed in. "Maybe he would be better off telling this one what's troubling him."
"No, Polaris, we will not bother him about it," Papa Smurf warned. "If Grandpa Smurf doesn't feel comfortable smurfing it to anyone, then we won't try to smurf it out of him. Tell Empath to resmurf to the village immediately...we may need him to smurf things under control if this odd weather we're smurfing smurfs any worse."
"This one acknowledges, Papa Smurf," Polaris said in agreement.