"This one can see that Tapper would have suspicions about the Smurf called Snorty if that Smurf was really Hogatha in disguise, given how spiritually attuned he is toward anything evil being present among the Smurfs," Polaris said.
"It's one of the reasons we wished Empath would have returned home soon, Polaris," Narrator said. "Anyway, Hogatha continued to act like a normal Smurf among us, smurfing for her opportunity to strike against us in some way that we wouldn't suspect."
And as Narrator continued his story, Polaris saw in his mind Hogatha walking around the village, talking to herself. I've got to find something I can use against those rotten little Smurfs, something they wouldn't suspect came from little old me, she said quietly while looking around.
And then she saw steam coming from inside a Smurf house. She stepped inside and saw a kettle boiling in the fireplace, probably full of whatever the Smurfs may be eating. She took the cover off the pot and took a whiff of the steam coming from the boiling pot. Hmmm, not bad, but I have just the thing that would spice things up considerably, she said to herself as she reached into her hat and pulled out a small piece of root rot. She dropped it into the pot and covered it up again, watching as the bubbling froth turned black. A bit of poison in the day's soup and the Smurfs will be dropping like flies when they eat it, she said to herself, laughing and snorting as she sneaked away without anybody noticing.
A little later on, Greedy was ringing the dinner bell. "Soup's ready!" he called out "Everybody come and eat!"
All the Smurfs gathered together in the dining hall and waited eagerly for Greedy to serve the soup. "Ooooh, I'm just hungry for the day's meal," Smurfette said as she and the others sat down at the table.
"Me more than anybody, except for Greedy, of course," Nabby said.
"What can we expect from you, Nabby? You're always hungry, and one of these days that hunger is going to smurf the better of you when you smurf something that you shouldn't be smurfing," Brainy said.
"Oh Lord God Almighty, please bless the food that we are about to receive, that it may be as nourishing to our body as Your Word is to my spirit," Tapper quietly prayed. "I give you thanks and praise in the name of Your only begotten Son. Amen."
Duncan laughed. "I'd be grateful just for the meal to be always as smurfy as Greedy smurfs it, laddie."
"If all we have to smurf from day to day is manna and water, Duncan, I'd still be grateful for the wonderful provision that the Almighty smurfs us," Tapper said as he tucked the napkin in over his tie.
"Say, I've never smurfed you around here before, fellow Smurf," Clumsy said as he addressed Hogatha sitting across from him. "What's your name?"
"Oh, uh...Snorty Smurf," Hogatha replied with a snort. "I don't smurf around here much during the day."
"Don't worry about that, Snorty," Clumsy said. "Some Smurfs tend to get lost in the crowd around here. We can still be friends with each other even if we don't smurf with one another every day, right?"
"Oh, uh, right you are," Hogatha said.
"You sure have a strange voice for a Smurf there, Snorty," Hefty said. "If I didn't know better, I would say that it smurfed a bit...feminine."
"Oh, my voice," Hogatha said with a few snorts. "Well, that's just how I smurfed into this world when I was a little Smurf. You think I can't smurf my weight as one of you?"
"I'd like to think that you can, Snorty," Hefty said.
"Don't mind Hefty, laddie," Duncan said. "He thinks he alone truly knows what being a real true Smurf is like. Just be yourself and you'll be fine around here."
"Duncan is right, my fellow Snorty," Tapper said. "You don't need to change for anybody but yourself if you want to be a Smurf in this world. And I'd be happy to have you smurfing just the way you are."
"Oh, uh, thank you, fellow Smurf," Hogatha said, not knowing what to say.
"I hope you don't mind if I smurf next to you at the table, Snorty Smurf," Smurfette said, casting her eyes on Hogatha, though completely unaware of who that Smurf really was.
"Uh, sure, my sweetie," Hogatha said, finding herself a bit uncomfortable with the way Smurfette was looking at her.
Soon Greedy came out of the kitchen, carrying the kettle that contained the day's soup. He ladled it out into the bowls of each Smurf sitting at the table, beginning with Papa Smurf and going down the line to the Smurf sitting in the farthest seat.
"Eat hearty, my little Smurfs," Papa Smurf encouraged before he started eating the soup.
Hogatha just sat and watched while the Smurfs began eating. She was hoping that any minute, the Smurfs would be dropping dead from the soup that she had poisoned with the root rot.
"Aren't you having any, Snorty?" Smurfette asked, sounding a bit concerned when she noticed her fellow Smurf wasn't eating any of his soup.
"Oh, uh, no thanks...I'm not very hungry," Hogatha responded. She noticed that the Smurfs weren't dropping dead as soon as she was expecting. It must be a slow-working poison, she said quietly to herself. She reached out and felt the foreheads of Hefty and Smurfette as they were sitting right next to her at the table. "Are you sure you're all feeling okay?"
"Feeling okay? Why, are we supposed to be sick or something?" Clumsy asked.
"I've never felt any healthier, even since we started smurfing, laddie," Duncan answered.
"But frankly, Snorty Smurf, we were wondering about you," Hefty added.
"You seem so jittery around us here at the table," Smurfette commented.
"And besides that, you're not even eating," Brainy noted.
"It's nothing that a little of my home smurfing can't fix," Greedy said as he came over to where Hogatha was sitting and scooped up some of the soup in a spoon. "Now don't be shy and open wide."
Hogatha backed away from Greedy when he tried to force-feed her. "No, uh, please, I'm on a low-poison diet...ooh, I mean, uh, I think I need to smurf outside for a bit of stale air."
The Smurfs sat and watched puzzled, even as Papa Smurf was, as Hogatha got up from the table and headed out of the dining hall. "I could only wonder what's wrong with that little Smurf," Papa Smurf finally said after Hogatha left.
"Gee, I don't know, Papa Smurf," Greedy replied. "He's probably just allergic to my home smurfing, but I don't see how anybody could be."
"There's something really strange about him, like he's not a real Smurf at all," Hefty said.
"He may be strange, my fellow Hefty, but that in itself doesn't mean that he's not a real Smurf," Tapper said.
"Well, how often do you see that Smurf smurfing around here, Tapper?" Hefty asked. "Do you see him smurfing at the tavern and ordering up a glass of sarsaparilla ale like everyone else?"
"I'm sure that he must have a place in this village somewhere, Hefty," Smurfette said. "It's not like I personally know every single Smurf I meet in a single day. Besides, you don't drink sarsaparilla ale."
"Gosh, Brainy, if Snorty isn't a real Smurf, who do you think he really is?" Clumsy asked.
"I honestly don't know, Clumsy," Brainy answered. "But Hefty is right...there is something definitely strange about that Smurf, and I'm going to find out just what it is."
Meanwhile, Hogatha was running back to the house where she found the boiling kettle. I must find out what went wrong, she said to herself.
She entered the house, took the lid off the kettle, and reached into it with a spoon to find out what was in the kettle when she fished out a pair of white pants. "Dirty laundry?" Hogatha cried out as she saw what she fished out before dumping it back in. She was on the floor having a tantrum when she realized her plan didn't work.
"Ooooh, what a washout!" she ranted. "Those Smurfs have deceived me! But I'll get them yet! I will, I will!"
"This one would find that revelation amusing if this one could feel any emotion to express amusement with, fellow Narrator," Polaris said.
"I'm sure that it amused the other Smurfs when they found out about it, Polaris," Narrator said. "Anyway, Hogatha was still in the village looking for a way to destroy the Smurfs when she came across us smurfing at the bridge over the River Smurf, making sure that it would be finished in time for its opening the following day."
And as Narrator continued his story, Polaris saw in his mind Hogatha standing near the bridge, watching the Smurfs work together in building it: bringing the wood, tying it together with rope, making sure everything was sturdy. How could I make this a bridge over troubled waters? she pondered as she continued to observe all the activity going on around her.
"Hey, Snorty Smurf, I've got a little surprise for you," Jokey said as he approached Hogatha with one of his gift boxes.
"For me? Oh, you shouldn't have!" Hogatha said, sounding pleased to receive it.
"Just wait until you open it," Jokey said snickering. "You'll get a real bang out of it."
Sure enough, as soon as Hogatha opened the box and looked inside, it exploded, leaving her face coated in soot while Jokey watched.
"See? I told you that it was a surprise," Jokey said, laughing before he ran off.
Hogatha was furious. "Ooooh, why, you little blue smurf aleck, just wait until I..." She started to chase after him before she realized something. "Wait a minute, he just gave me a brilliant idea."
Duncan came over to where Hogatha was standing after he finished working. "Say, laddie, you look like you smurfed victim to one of Jokey's pranks," he commented. "You've got to be careful around that little trickster, because you never know what he's smurfing up to around here."
"Yes, well, I'm sure to remember that the next time I'm around him," Hogatha said.
"Why don't you smurf with us at the tavern tonight, just so we can know each other better?" Duncan invited. "I'd sure like to find out what my fellow laddies have been smurfing lately."
"Oh, uh, I can't...not tonight anyway," Hogatha said. "I...uh, am looking for a place to sleep, and I don't want to smurf advantage of my fellow Smurfs or anything, but...you see, uh..."
"You can smurf at my house tonight, at least until we can smurf to Papa Smurf about getting you a new house to smurf in," Duncan said, putting his hand on her shoulder as a friendly gesture. "I'm sure that you won't be much trouble while we're smurfing together."
Not as much trouble as you're going to be in, you furry-faced buffoon, Hogatha said quietly to herself, laughing and snorting. "Oh, I am ever so grateful to you, my fellow Smurf."
"And so that night, while the other Smurfs slept in their beds, Hogatha was up smurfing around through the village, quietly smurfing into Jokey's house to find as many of his surprises that she could to sabotage the bridge with," Narrator said.
And as Polaris watched in his mind, he saw Hogatha creep into Jokey's house, stealthily looking around to find where Jokey had stashed his surprises until she found a pile sitting next to a table, along with a mixture of ingredients he used to make each one explode.
This should do me nicely, she said quietly to herself as she grabbed a few and headed for the door. On her way out, Jokey had a brief burst of laughter that made Hogatha think he had just awakened from his sleep, but then he just settled back to sleep again, making her sigh in relief before she left the house.
Hogatha was gone out of Duncan's house for a few hours, but later on in the night he woke up and felt that he needed to check up on his house guest. He went downstairs and saw that Snorty was asleep on the training mat, curled up with a pillow and blanket.
Duncan snorted. "I could have smurfed that he must have smurfed out for something...maybe to answer nature's call, I guess." He shrugged his shoulders and headed back upstairs to his bed.