One day Empath was taking a walk out into the forest with Tapper and the Smurflings, enjoying the bright sunny day and the peaceful scenery. "Smurfabunga! It sure is nice to be smurfing out here without having to worry about Gargamel and Azrael all the time," Snappy said.
"It is indeed a rare blessing from the Almighty, my fellow Snappy, though I do worry about where Gargamel is headed with his eternal destiny at smurf," Tapper said.
"Why are you so worried about that, Tapper?" Slouchy asked, sounding curious. "Isn't he the enemy of the Smurfs and deserves whatever he gets smurfed upon him for smurfing that?"
"Truth to tell, Slouchy, we all deserve the worst from the Almighty because we were all born as sinners in the world," Tapper said. "None of us deserve the grace that He so freely smurfs to us and all creation in the sacrifice of His only begotten Son."
"You believe that this human named Jesus died for everyone on this planet, Tapper?" Sassette asked.
"Jesus died for the sins of the world, not just for the sins of humans, Sassette," Tapper said. "When the first man the Almighty had created smurfed into sin, all of the world was affected by it, including all the animals that He had smurfed man to have dominion over. That's the reason that there's constant wars and fighting in this world, even among the creatures that were created to honor and worship the Almighty in everything that they do."
"But if this Jesus died for all the sins of the world, why is there still all this death and fighting that smurfs on in it, Tapper?" Nat asked.
"Because we still live in a fallen world, my fellow Nat," Tapper said. "Not everyone will believe that there is a single God that exists and that truly cares for them like a father does his child. Sadly, many will die before they would ever admit that they need the Almighty in their lives, and for that they will suffer greatly and needlessly for all eternity."
"That seems pretty harsh for the Almighty to make people suffer for all eternity for not believing in Him, Tapper," Sassette said.
"As the Good Book says, my dear Sassette, He doesn't delight in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked should turn from his way and live," Tapper said. "He doesn't want to make people suffer for all eternity, but He has to make sure that justice is met and that all sins have been paid for...whether it's with the blood of His Son or through the everlasting fire that never smurfs out."
"Nevertheless, it's great that you can put aside working in your tavern for one day of the week so you can relax and enjoy yourself, though the other Smurfs may not like you doing that on a regular basis, Tapper," Empath said.
"It's all part of the Almighty's commandment, my fellow Empath, that for six days I shall smurf my work, but on the seventh day I shall rest and smurf no work, for it is a Sabbath unto Him that shall be honored for all generations," Tapper said.
"Well, I can't smurf of a better place to rest than to smurf out here on a day like this, Tapper," Nat said, sounding like he was in agreement.
Suddenly the six of them could hear the sound of a kitten crying pitifully for help. "Great Smurfiny Crickets! It sounds like a kitten is in desperate need of a rescue!" Tapper said.
"A kitten in the forest? Papa Smurf warned us that cats are very dangerous to Smurfs, Tapper," Snappy said.
"It's just a kitten, Snap," Slouchy said. "What harm could a kitten do to any of us?"
"We might as well go and smurf if we can rescue the kitten from whatever it is he's so afraid of," Sassette said.
"This smurf agrees with you, Sassette," Empath said. "This smurf will direct us to the exact location of where the cry is coming from."
And so the five Smurfs followed Empath as he led them toward the sound of the kitten, until they stopped at a tree where they saw the kitten was perched high on a branch that he couldn't get down from.
"This doesn't look like much of a problem, my fellow Smurfs," Empath said as he saw the kitten on the branch, looking rather fearful. "Let this smurf handle trying to bring him down from the tree, and then we can try finding where it is that he came from."
"May the luck of the Smurfish be with you, Empath," Tapper said as he watched Empath leap into the air and hover near the branch where the kitten was perched. The kitten backed away somewhat fearfully, not liking having a mouse-sized creature being able to fly near him.
"Don't be afraid, little one," Empath said soothingly. "Everything will be all right. You're with friends who will help you find where it is you came from and will help you return home."
The kitten cautiously looked at Empath and saw that he was no threat. Empath then used his minds-eye abilities to lift the cat gently off the branch and lower him down to the ground next to the other five Smurfs.
The kitten mewed gratefully for his rescue, playfully licking Tapper's face. "I'm pleased to smurf you as well, my furry little friend," Tapper said with a laugh. "Now we just need to find your home and see if there's anybody that will come smurfing for you."
"It's too bad Azrael can't be anything like this kitten, Tapper," Sassette said as she watched the kitten roll around on the ground, looking happy again.
"I know how you feel, Sassette, but that doesn't mean that we should stop caring for all creatures just because some of them may smurf to be dangerous to us," Tapper said.
"Tapper is correct, Sassette," Empath said as soon as he joined them on the ground. "Whatever made Azrael become the creature that he was toward the Smurfs, we can't assume that all cats will become like him when they grow from being kittens, even though cats are helpful to humans because they can help get rid of mice."
"And it doesn't please me in the slightest that cats may smurf us as being nothing more than mice, my fellow Empath, but I would gladly smurf my life to save a creature like Azrael, as I'm sure that young Nat here would smurf the same," Tapper said.
"This smurf senses that you have a story to tell about a time that you had to rescue Azrael despite what your fellow Smurfs felt of him, Tapper," Empath said.
"Indeed I have, Empath," Tapper said. "This smurfed place a few years before you returned home for good, and some of the details of this story were smurfed from Narrator, who I will never know how he even smurfs them, but for the sake of smurfing you the complete story, here is how it happened."
As Tapper began his story, Empath saw in his recollections the Smurfs enjoying a day in the forest by the riverside, swimming, eating, resting, or just having fun in their own personal way. A few Smurfs were using a rope strung out over the river to leap into the water while Lazy was sleeping out on a raft.
"Hey, the water's great," Hefty said as soon as he leaped into the river. "You Smurfs should come in and enjoy yourselves."
"Brrrr...it's a little too cold for me," Sickly said as he stuck a toe into the water while standing by the shore and then quickly pulled it out.
"And I'm too afraid to smurf into the water," Scaredy said, standing next to Sickly and looking deathly afraid.
"Oh, don't be such a couple of scaredy-smurfs," Hefty said. "A little water from the river's not going to smurf you."
"Watch out, here I smurf," Clumsy said as he let go of the rope and fell into the water, spraying Sickly, Scaredy, and Grouchy as he landed.
"I hate being smurfing wet," Grouchy said.
"Well, it's just too bad that I have to be smurfing my glasses when I'm swimming because I can't smurf a thing without them," Brainy said as he briefly removed his glasses to shake the water off them before putting them back on.
"You can always have Smithy smurf you a pair of goggles so you won't have to worry about smurfing your glasses wet, Brainy," Smurfette suggested.
"Oh, please, Smurfette, I have much more dignity than that I should be smurfing anywhere smurfing a pair of silly goggles over my eyes," Brainy said. "You see how Orbit is, always having to smurf those shades over his eyes because he can't smurf out into the sunlight without them."
"Golly, I think Orbit looks real smurfy with those glasses of his," Clumsy said. "I think that you should try smurfing them on one of these days."
"Absosmurfly not, Clumsy Smurf," Brainy said. "Besides, I would rather be seen with my style of glasses rather than his, because it makes me look just as wise, brilliant, insightful, and intelligent as I really am around my fellow Smurfs."
"Well, smurf yourself, Brainy," Clumsy said.
Hefty saw that Tapper, although dressed in summer clothes, was busy working on fixing the wings of a grasshopper. "Hey, Tapper Smurf, aren't you going to smurf in?" Hefty asked.
"Aye, I'll be joining you just as soon as I finish smurfing the kink out of Mrs. Hopper's wing, my fellow Hefty," Tapper said with a friendly smile.
"Well, you'd better hurry up, Tapper Smurf," Brainy said. "You know how upset Greedy will be when anybody's late for..."
"Oh, Brainy, you know how Tapper Smurf is, especially when it's his day off from smurfing in the tavern," Smurfette said.
"Yeah, Tapper will be smurfing here all night if it smurfed that long just to fix the wing of a grasshopper," Hefty said.
"They're creatures of the Almighty, my fellow Brainy, and I would be remiss if I should let even a sparrow smurf from the nest without smurfing something about it," Tapper said. He then turned to the grasshopper that he was tending. "There you go, Mrs. Hopper...you should be smurfing all better in no time at all."
The grasshopper looked gratefully at Tapper before hopping away.
"Come on, Tapper, it's smurfing late," Brainy said as he also watched the grasshopper hopping away.
"Hold your horseflies, laddie, and let the dear boy smurf to his business first," Duncan McSmurf said before turning to Tapper. "You're not going to smurf in here wearing that tank top, are you?"
"You know me, my fellow Duncan, that though I'm not afraid to smurf myself in public, I would rather not be smurfed even on a sunny day without a vest or a tank top," Tapper said as he headed toward the water to join his friends.
Then suddenly a bluejay appeared before Tapper to tell him something important. "What's that...one of your babies smurfed out of the nest?" Tapper responded.
"Ah, michty me, here we smurf again," Duncan said with a shrug.
The bluejay continued to speak to Tapper in a language that he understood. "You mean the tree that is near Gargamel's castle?" Tapper responded.
"Gargamel?!?" some of his fellow Smurfs said in unison.
"Great Smurfiny Crickets, my fellow Smurfs, this sound very urgent," Tapper said. "Tell Papa Smurf that I will be smurfing late for lunch. I have to go save this bluejay's baby before it's too late."
"Just you wait, Tapper, when Papa Smurf hears that you're off on another mission of mercy," Brainy scolded as he and the other Smurfs watched Tapper go off into the forest. "He's going to..."
"Oh, Brainy, you know that Tapper wouldn't be able to smurf with himself if he didn't help that baby bird," Smurfette said.
Then suddenly they heard a growling noise that came from the forest. "Wh-wh-wh-wh-what was that?!?" Brainy asked fearfully as he leaped into Smurfette's arms.
"I have no clue what it is, Brainy, but I will make sure that it doesn't smurf anywhere near here," Duncan McSmurf said as he climbed out of the water to go into the forest, with the other Smurfs watching him.
"I don't know who I should be calling Gutsy in this situation...either him or his friend Tapper smurfing off to save a baby bird near Gargamel's castle," Hefty said as he watched Duncan go into the forest.
"You're sounding like you're jealous of them for smurfing that, Hefty Smurf," Smurfette said.
"I'm not jealous of either of them, Smurfette," Hefty said. "I think Tapper is silly for smurfing his faith in this imaginary God of his, and you know how I feel about Gutsy, that he's just a big showoff. They want to smurf something silly that smurfs them and the village into any danger, I'm not just going to smurf by and watch them."
"I think the both of them are very brave for what they smurf, Hefty," Smurfette said. "You could learn something from Tapper and Duncan, if you're only willing to smurf them a chance."
"The only thing either of them could teach me, Smurfette, is that I'm much better off being me instead of them," Hefty said.
Empath watched as Tapper followed the bluejay to the tree near Gargamel's castle where he saw the baby bird on the ground and another bluejay, its other parent, flying overhead. They told Tapper in bird language exactly what had happened.
"You don't say?" Tapper said as he continued to listen to the other bluejay parent. "Well, it's rather unfortunate this had to happen, but that's how cats will be. Now let's smurf a look at you, my little bluejay." He went over to pick up the baby bird and carry it with him back to the nest that it fell out of. "You're going to be fine, just fine."
Tapper then climbed up the tree with the baby bird clinging onto his back. "Hold on, Tweeter...I'll smurf you back home in a minute," he said encouragingly. Soon he was up on the branch where the bird's nest was, where he gently placed the baby bird inside. The babies looked at Tapper all happy and grateful for what he had done.
The mother bluejay arrived with a worm in its beak, seeming to invite Tapper to stay for a meal. "Oh, I would be delighted, but I'm expected to smurf back home for dinner," Tapper said.
"Tapper, I need you to help me smurf this bear," Duncan McSmurf's voice called out from within the forest.
"Great Smurfiny Crickets, it seems that Duncan has found another creature in need of my help," Tapper said, carefully jumping down from the tree branch.
"Meanwhile, Gargamel has been busy smurfing something while he was away from his castle during the day, and we wouldn't know what it is until later, but Narrator knew that Azrael would be the first to find out around nightfall," Tapper said to Empath as he continued his story.
Empath then watched as Azrael laid himself down to rest before the roaring fire in the evil wizard's hearth when he heard growling outside and the voice of his master calling, "Azrael, where are you?"
Azrael arose from the rug he was going to lie on and looked toward the door that was now open. He cringed in fear as he saw that his master had brought him a ferocious beast that was tied to a leash that the evil wizard was carrying to keep it back.
"Come out here, you sniveling cat...I have brought you a friend," Gargamel said with a malicious laugh as he allowed the creature to enter into the house, with Azrael backing fearfully away, not wishing for the creature to come any closer.
But the creature did come closer, and Azrael leaped up to the mantel on the hearth and then onto the chandelier for safety, out of the creature's reach.
"Good grief, Azrael, don't be such a coward," Gargamel said in a mocking tone. "If you weren't so stupid, you'd know that this fine specimen of a silver-fanged growler just wants to be friendly."
Azrael shook his head and backed himself away from looking down at the silver-fanged growler that was viciously growling at him.
"You might as well come down from there, Azrael," Gargamel said, sounding like he was at the end of his patience with his cat. "You two are going to be working together."
Azrael meowed what sounded like a total refusal.
Out in the forest, Empath watched Tapper and Duncan handling a bear that had something stuck in his teeth that Duncan pulled with all his might to get out, while Tapper stood by the bear's side to offer some comfort.
"Hold on there...I almost got it," Duncan said as he pulled out what appeared to be a small fish bone. He landed on the bear's belly just as soon as he pulled it out.
"There you are, my tall furry friend," Tapper said. "Your agony should be over right about now."
"Who figures that this fish bone would be smurfing you all this grief?" Duncan said, holding up what he had pulled out. "If I were you, I'd be smurfing to a diet of berries for a change."
"Now, now, my fellow Duncan, you know that fish is part of a bear's diet, even if it's not part of ours," Tapper said. He then turned to the bear. "You are such a brave creature to endure something this small and painful."
"Well, if you don't need me around for anything more, I'll be smurfing for you back in the village," Duncan said as he hopped off the bear's belly and headed back toward the village.
Tapper noticed that the sky is getting dark. "I fancy that I'd better be joining my friend if I'm going to be smurfing dinner," Tapper said to the bear. "Just smurf it easy and don't be smurfing any fish for a while until your mouth heals."
The bear nodded as he watched Tapper head off in the same direction as Duncan.
Sometime later back in the Smurf Village, the Smurfs were enjoying themselves with a dinner and a dance around the fire to celebrate the end of another perfect sunny day. Papa Smurf was sitting at the table with Duncan, Smurfette, and Baby Smurf talking to Greedy.
"Thank you for the delicious smurfberry pie, Greedy," Papa Smurf said. "It was the best one you have ever made."
"Aye, it was so satisfying, I couldn't even ask for more," Duncan said as he finished off his glass of root beer and wiped the foam from his mouth.
"I hope you saved a slice for Tapper Smurf," Smurfette said to Greedy.
"Well...not exactly, Smurfette," Greedy said as he let out a burp.
"Oh, that's okay, my fellow Greedy," Tapper said as soon as he arrived. "I'm sorry that I'm late, Papa Smurf, but between the grasshoppers, the birds, the bear, and the bunny, it's been another full day."
"You must be hungry, Tapper," Papa Smurf said, sounding concerned. "You have missed both lunch and dinner."
"Oh, it was worth it, Papa Smurf, just as long as the little lost bunny has smurfed his lesson," Tapper said as he picked up Baby Smurf and held him in his arms. "I can't wait to be smurfing back to working in the tavern tomorrow, but I'll have to be smurfing some sarsaparilla from the forest or else we won't have anymore ale for all of us to be smurfing."
"I honestly don't know how you could smurf what you did today as smurfing a break from any work when this is supposed to be your rest day, laddie," Duncan said.
"Smurfing a day of rest from my work in the tavern doesn't mean that I can smurf a break from doing anything for the Almighty and His creation, my fellow Duncan," Tapper said. "When you smurf your rest in Him, He will smurf you all the rest you will ever need."