"Holy hickory nuts, I wouldn't think that you'd be such a friend to the animals like myself or Tracker, Tapper," Nat said. "Hearing you smurf of that makes me feel that I should have been there smurfing those things with you."
"If you had been around during that time, my fellow Nat, I would have invited you to smurf along with me," Tapper said.
"Yeah, but we were too busy wondering where Baby Smurf went when we were still smurfing on Smurfling Island," Snappy said.
"And Nat had his hands full with smurfing the wildlife over there," Slouchy said.
"I only wish that I could be there on Smurfling Island to smurf it for myself," Sassette said with a wistful sigh. "The more these boy Smurflings talk about it, the more it makes me interested in visiting that place just to see what it smurfs like."
"Yeah, right, like we'd ever take you smurfing to that island if we ever decide to smurf back there someday," Snappy said.
"This smurf would be curious to visit that place, if it were possible for this smurf, Snappy," Empath said. "You three have had the enviable privilege of experiencing firsthand all the adventures you have lived through with Smurfling Pan."
"You dream of smurfing to that fantastical place, Empath, but my dream is smurfing to the place that the Almighty has prepared for those who will love and follow Him until the day that He calls His believers home," Tapper said. "Now that will be a place worth visiting."
"That shining city called New Jerusalem," Empath said, realizing what Tapper was talking about. "That indeed would be a sight to behold."
"So tell us what else happened in your story, Tapper," Slouchy said. "How did you end up having to smurf with Azrael when he was helpless in the forest like this kitten?"
"A little patience is all I ask, my fellow Slouchy, because I'm getting there," Tapper said. "It was on the following day that me and my fellow Smurfs have smurfed out into the forest to collect sarsaparilla when Azrael smurfed into something that was set up in the forest to catch us or the other animals, but let me smurf this straight from the beginning of the day..."
As Tapper continued his story, Empath saw in the unfolding of events Tapper sitting at the breakfast table with his friend Duncan and a few other Smurfs.
"You need me to help smurf in the sarsaparilla for brewing more of your ale, right, laddie?" Duncan asked.
"I was hoping that you would offer your services, Duncan," Tapper said. "You sound a bit cautious of wanting to join me and some of my fellow Smurfs."
"There isn't anywhere that I wouldn't want to smurf with you, Tapper," Duncan said. "It's just that I have a smurfing in my gut that where you're smurfing in the forest to get the sarsaparilla may be dangerous."
"Oh, Duncan, you should know by now that I do not need to fear for myself or for my fellow Smurfs as long as the Almighty is with me," Tapper said. "I can always feel His protective hand smurfing around me at all times, and as long as that's the case, I know that there's no danger that can ever besmurf me."
"I don't think I can fully understand this faith you have in this Almighty that you've been smurfing about for years, laddie," Duncan said.
"You don't need to fully understand the Almighty...you only need to trust Him and believe in Him," Tapper said. "His Son says that if you have faith the grain of a mustard seed, you can go tell a mountain to go smurf itself into the sea, and it will be done for you."
"I can only wonder how many times you have ever smurfed that about Gargamel," Duncan said. "He seems to be one of those mountains that refuses to be smurfed into the sea no matter how many times you try to smurf at him to do so."
"I have a feeling that the Almighty is smurfing something about Gargamel that will either bring about his redemption or his removal, one or the other," Tapper said. "If it takes his being smurfed out of the forest for good for the redemption to smurf place, I will leave it in the hands of the Almighty to perform it."
"It's too bad Jokey's attempt to redeem Gargamel by making him think he's being smurfed to his final judgment didn't last," Duncan said.
"Such trickery will never bring about the actual change of heart that the everlasting love of the Almighty is capable of smurfing, my good Duncan," Tapper said. "Somewhere in that heart of stone that Gargamel has is a broken soul that's just crying out to be loved without any judgment, and I hope to someday be able to smurf into that place where he can see that the Smurfs are not his enemies, and neither is the Almighty."
"Well, if you need somebody to help smurf in the sarsaparilla, you can count on me to be there with you," Duncan said.
Tapper smiled. "I knew that you wouldn't smurf me down, Duncan. May the Almighty bless you in your deeds."
"Meanwhile, Gargamel was in the middle of teaching his newfound pet, the silver-fanged growler, how to catch Smurfs, and apparently he's finding his student rather hard to control, at least according to what Narrator was able to smurf me," Tapper said to Empath.
Empath watched as Tapper told this part of the story from Narrator's recollections. He saw Gargamel in his hovel using some charts he pinned to the wall that would help the silver-fanged growler learn some important lessons.
"All right, my growling slobbering friend, here are some important lessons that we will cover today," Gargamel said as he pointed to the pictures on the wall with a pointer. "Lesson number one: this is a Smurf. These creatures are only three apples tall, they are blue, and they are the most disgustingly happy creatures in the entire forest. You should be able to spot them quite easily. Lesson number two: this is a smurfberry bush, and where there are smurfberries, there are bound to be Smurfs. Lesson number three: sit!"
The silver-fanged growler growled at Gargamel, refusing to obey that command.
"I said sit!" Gargamel demanded.
But the silver-fanged growler still refused to obey.
Gargamel realized that he wasn't going to get that pet to obey that command. "All right, then, moving on to lesson number four..."
Tapper went out into the forest soon after breakfast with Duncan and a few other Smurfs. On his way to finding a field of sarsaparilla, Tapper saw that Tracker was teaching his fellow forest animal friends some important lessons.
"Lesson number five: you should always be careful to beware of human traps, especially those made of iron, because they hurt the most," Tracker said.
"Smurf o' the morning to you, my fellow Tracker," Tapper greeted. "It seems that you have quite the audience smurfed around you today."
"And a jolly good morning to you too, Tapper," Tracker said. "It's so good to know that a fellow brother Smurf has been watching over my friends yesterday while I was busy smurfing some rare important herbs for Papa Smurf."
"Any friend of yours is a friend of mine, I must say," Tapper said. "Of course, if it weren't for your nature lessons, I wouldn't know how to smurf with your animal friends."
"It is a special gift indeed to have an empathetic nature for animals, Tapper," Tracker said. He then turned to his animal friends. "Well, it appears that I will have to get smurfing on my errands for my fellow Smurfs, but I will be watching over you in the forest should you ever need me."
"Perhaps I could relieve part of your burdens for a spell while me and my fellow Smurfs are out there gathering sarsaparilla, my fellow Tracker," Tapper suggested.
"I would be grateful for that, Tapper, as I'm sure that our friends will be," Tracker said as he hopped onto the back of Feathers the crane and then waved to both Tapper and the animals. "Ta-ta for now."
Tapper and the animals waved back at Tracker as he flew off before Duncan joined him. "So what was that all about, laddie?" he asked.
"Oh, it was just Tracker teaching the forest animals important lessons as usual, my good Duncan," Tapper said. "It does smurf my heart good to know that my fellow Smurf also watches over the animals like he does his own friends."
"He's a fine Smurf for that, I tell you," Duncan said. "Now let's get smurfing on finding that sarsaparilla field."
Meanwhile, Tapper's story turned to telling about Gargamel and his continued efforts to tame and train his new pet. At this point, the evil wizard has brought the silver-fanged growler out into the forest in order to track down Smurfs and to see if he is able to learn his previous lessons.
"The subject of lesson number six is enthusiasm, Azrael, of which you are showing very little...very little indeed," Gargamel said to his cat, who was trailing behind, not wishing to be anywhere near the silver-fanged growler.
Suddenly the silver-fanged growler started to pick up speed and raced on ahead of his master, dragging him along on his leash. "Hey, slow down, you stupid beast," Gargamel shouted. "I want you to be enthusiastic, not reckless in your pursuit."
The silver-fanged growler wasn't interested in listening to Gargamel. And neither was Azrael, who just simply went off in his own direction to leave his master to deal with his new pet.
Gargamel continued to try reining in his new pet as the silver-fanged growler continued to drag his master along on whatever path it was now following. "Uh, don't you think that...wouldn't it be more advisable if...perhaps if we slowed down and..."
But the silver-fanged growler just continued to rush on and on while dragging his master along until they both entered a cave, and then they both ran for their lives out of the cave as they found a dragon inside that they have awakened from its sleep and was now chasing after them.
Empath laughed at that part of the story. "This smurf sees that Gargamel's new pet was so uncontrollable that it was willing to rush right into danger along with his master."
"How unfortunate it was for Gargamel," Tapper said, agreeing with Empath's sentiment. "Not that I would want his new pet to come smurfing after us, mind you, but all the same he just didn't have the same luck of smurfing control of his animals like he did Azrael. Which smurfs me to the point in the story where I did smurf into Azrael when he was smurfing off on his own after departing from his master."
As Tapper's story continued, Empath saw that his friend and a few other Smurfs were now in a sarsaparilla field gathering as much sarsaparilla as they could carry to bring into the village. Tapper was by himself when he started to hear an animal cry painfully for help.
"Great Smurfiny Crickets, that sounds like a cat that got smurfed in one of those iron traps," Tapper said. "I might as well go and smurf what has happened."
Leaving behind his basket of sarsaparilla, Tapper followed in the direction that the painful meowing was coming from. He saw that inside the bush was Azrael, who got one of his front paws caught in a bear trap.
"Oh, my poor Azrael," Tapper said. "How in the world did this happen to you?"
Azrael cried out an answer that Tapper seemed to understand.
"There, there, everything will be all right," Tapper said. "This iron trap is too strong for me to smurf it off your paw. I'll see if I can smurf some help from the other Smurfs in the village. Just don't smurf anywhere...I'll be right back."
Azrael meowed in agreement as he watched Tapper head off toward the village.
Duncan met with Tapper just as he saw him pass by the field. "Ho there, laddie, where are you be smurfing off to now?" he asked his friend.
"Azrael has his paw smurfed in one of those traps that has been smurfed in the forest, my good Duncan," Tapper said. "I need to get some other Smurfs to bring out a wagon to help deliver the cat to the village where we can smurf him some first aid."
"Hold it right there, Tapper," Duncan said. "Now I know that you want to help our forest animal friends and smurf after them like you would smurf us, but this cat is no friend of ours. You smurf that thing into the village, there's no telling what kind of danger you will smurf us into."
"I know what I'm doing, Duncan, and I know that the Almighty will never smurf us into any danger that He can't smurf us out of," Tapper said. "I also know that if we don't smurf any aid to Azrael, that he could die out in the forest, and I wouldn't want to have that be smurfing on my conscience, knowing that I could have helped but didn't."
"Hmmm...well, I trust you enough to know that your word is good enough for me," Duncan said after giving the matter some thought. "However, the other Smurfs may not be quite as understanding as I am, and I'm not sure how Papa Smurf would react to you smurfing this kind of decision. Go now and let the others know what they may be expecting if this is your desire. I'll watch over the boys here while you smurf this mission of mercy to our dear adversary."
"May the luck of the Smurfish be with you, my fellow Duncan," Tapper said before he continued on his way toward the village.
"And may the same be smurfed to you and all of us," Duncan said as he saw Tapper depart.
"And so when I reached the village, I brought with me Hefty, Brainy, and Smurfette as Hefty smurfed a wagon along to help bring Azrael into the village while Smurfette brought a cloth to smurf around the cat's eyes so he wouldn't know where the location of our village is," Tapper said. "Needless to smurf, none of the three Smurfs were very happy about it."
Empath watched this part of Tapper's story unfold, as Tapper led the way for the three other Smurfs with Hefty carrying the large wagon with him.
"Well, Tapper, I say that we let the smurfing cat lie, because it smurfs him right for smurfing after us these past few years," Brainy said.
"Azrael is a mean cat, Tapper," Smurfette said. "Why should we bother to help him?"
"Because I know in my spirit that it is the right thing to do, Smurfette," Tapper said. "Besides, Azrael will die if we don't smurf him any help."
"It's more likely that we'll die if we do smurf him any help, Tapper," Hefty said.
"The Almighty will protect us and keep us safe, Hefty, I promise you, which is what I believe," Tapper said. "He loves us enough to not let a single hair smurf from our heads."
"You and this foolish belief in that imaginary God of yours is going to smurf us into trouble one of these days, and you're going to regret it," Hefty said.
"Oh dear, I wish Papa Smurf were here so that he would know just what we would do," Smurfette said, sounding very worried.
"Well, if you ask me, the wisest decision we could ever smurf in this situation is that we smurf out of here before Azrael smurfs any of us," Brainy said.
"Now that's the only wisest thing you have ever smurfed that I can agree on, Brainy," Hefty said.
Soon they reached the smurfberry bush where Azrael was hiding behind, and they could hear his cries of pain as he struggled to get his paw free of the bear trap. Smurfette winced as the three of them saw Azrael in this terrible state.
"Please listen to me, my fellow Smurfs," Tapper said. "I know Azrael is our enemy, and it's likely that he will not return the favor if we do help him, but right now he's no different from any of the other animals in the forest. And right now we're the only creatures in the forest that can smurf anything for him. If we smurf nothing for Azrael, then we're no better than our own enemies, and I wouldn't want to smurf you being held accountable for not smurfing the good that we could have smurfed today at this very moment."
"Well, I can certainly live without smurfing anything for Azrael, and I certainly don't have any fear of this Almighty of yours, Tapper," Hefty said.
"Well, I don't think that I can live with myself knowing this, Hefty Smurf," Smurfette said, sounding very sad. "I don't want to find myself smurfing in Hades for not smurfing anything for Azrael when he's suffering like this."
"This iron trap looks very strong, so it's very doubtful that even Hefty by himself can smurf it open if we're going to smurf Azrael out of it before we bother trying to smurf him into the village," Brainy said as he observed the bear trap that Azrael's paw was caught in. "Perhaps if we could get Duncan over here to..."
"You keep Gutsy out of this, Brainy Smurf," Hefty said. "No iron trap's too strong for me to try smurfing open if I can help it." He went over to the bear trap and tried with all his might to open its claws, even by using a strong stick as a lever, but the trap proved itself to be too strong. "Well, Brainy, are you just going to smurf here, or are you going to help me?"
"Papa Smurf is not going to like this at all, not one bit," Brainy said, just simply standing there to lecture to his fellow Smurfs.
After a while of struggling and straining, Hefty finally gave up trying to open the trap by himself. "Well, it's going to take more muscle than I can smurf with this thing. We might as well blindfold Azrael to make sure he doesn't know where our village is before we smurf him there and get Gutsy and Tuffy to help me smurf the trap open."
"Don't worry, my fellow Azrael," Tapper said consolingly. "We'll smurf you the best care and make sure that you're smurfing back on your feet in no time."