"There's too many men, too many people, making too many problems, and there's not much love to go 'round...can't you see this is a land of confusion?"
It was the year 2005. A lone small blue figure flew around a town in the outskirts of Belgium looking at all the houses that were built in the country since humans have increased in population and the forests have dwindled to make room for humans. He remembered a time when there weren't so many humans living near the forest, when the air, the land, and the water were still relatively clean compared to what has happened up until the present time, when factories and wars such as the two World Wars that the nation had lived through ravaged the land and made the once majestic forest of his ancestors look like a pale imitation of its former beauty.
And yet for some strange reason, the blue figure saw that the humans were knowing who they were, although in a form that he didn't expect them to remember them by. It started off as a cartoon by some obscure artist who was dabbling in the stories of a young teenage knight and a boy who was his companion. He intended for them to be the main stars, not the creatures that they would meet in one of their stories about a magic flute they discovered.
The blue figure felt that his great-grandfather would be at least proud to know that the humans now know of them by the name the creator of the cartoon had given them -- the Schtroumpfs, as they were called in the French language that was used, though it was the more popular Dutch name, the Smurfs, that everybody knew them by. Yet there was a sadness about the whole thing, that among all the stories that would appear both in books and in a form called animation, his great-grandfather would never be mentioned. It felt as if history has denied him any chance to be known by anyone in this strange era he was now living in.
The blue figure stopped to watch in a window a boy who was watching a cartoon that had the likeness of the Schtroumpfs, living out one of their adventures -- an adventure that the blue figure wished he could be living out right at this moment, instead of running errands for his great-grandfather in the way that he used to do them for people who are now memorialized in cartoons. Something in the cartoon made the boy laugh, which was something he himself wished he could do more often.
The blue figure returned to the forest where he had come from. He felt great sorrow for what it had become over the years, and that very few of his kind existed to stop it from becoming what it is now. They cared for the forest as if it were their very own lives, because the forest was their life. There was a village in that forest that was the center of their lives, and now it doesn't exist anymore.
He flew into a hole at the bottom of a tree stump, where he knew that his great-grandfather was waiting for him. He had to take care of him for the past hundred years, seeing that he has gotten weaker and sick from how much the forest has changed. There were no smurfberries left to eat, and sarsaparilla leaves were very hard to find. How could they manage to continue surviving in such a world that was becoming increasingly hostile towards them -- and not just towards them, but towards all creatures, including other humans?
Through the hole he had seen that everything inside was different. There was a village that was thriving with more of his kind -- the people that he called the Smurfs. Everything was as if the young man had stepped back in time to a world that existed when what seemed like fantasy to the modern world was more real than they could ever imagine. All the Smurfs in that village greeted the blue figure, referring to him as Polaris Smurf -- a name that was given to him in memory of his other great-grandfather Polaris Psyche.
Polaris knew that nothing in this village was real. It was all being recreated by his great-grandfather as the last living memory of a world that he was proud to call his home -- the Smurf Village.
He entered a place that his great-grandfather called Tapper's Tavern, which was his favorite place operated by a friend of his that has now become a memory, hopefully to be in a place called heaven with the being called the Almighty. There he saw his great-grandfather sitting at the counter talking to a being that looked like he hadn't aged a day over 150 years old.
"Greetings, my good Polaris," the being behind the counter pleasantly greeted. "I hope you're here because of the smurfday celebration of your great-grandfather."
"This one wouldn't miss it for the world, Tapper," Polaris said.
Polaris' great-grandfather wore a purple robe and a black star-patterned hat that looked rather worn and tattered. His face was covered with a long beard and the back of his head was crowned with white hair growing along the sides underneath his hat.
"This day is very special to me, Polaris," his great-grandfather said. "Not only is it my 1,150th smurfday, but it also happens to be the thousand-year anniversary of my leaving the place called Psychelia."
"This one knows of the place you've been talking about, Great-Grandfather Smurf," Polaris said. "This one only wishes to have seen it for myself like all the other places in this forest that used to exist years ago."
"You will see them, Polaris, I promise you," Great-Grandfather Smurf said. "And please, call me Empath. That's a name that I taught you so that you will remember who I am when I am gone from this earth to join my fellow Smurfs in the hereafter."
Just then, a Smurf wearing a chef's hat, whom Polaris remembered as being Greedy, came into the tavern carrying a birthday cake with lighted candles on it. "Okay, Empath, it's time for you to smurf out the candles and make a wish," Greedy announced.
"What to wish for...what to wish for," Great-Grandfather Smurf muttered, wondering what he could ever hope to wish for in an age where it seemed that there was no hope left. "Hmmmm...there is just one thing I could wish for..."
"Whatever it is, Empath, you don't need to say it, and you shouldn't say it, or else the smurfday wish wouldn't come true," Tapper reminded him.
Great-Grandfather Smurf took in a deep breath and then blew out all the candles of the cake that was set before him. The other Smurfs in the tavern cheered together.
And then suddenly everything but Great-Grandfather Smurf and Polaris Smurf vanished from sight, replaced by the bare surroundings of being inside a tree stump, which has become their home.
"Great-Grandfather, you should know not to exert your energies to create these fantasy worlds of yours," Polaris said. "The more you create these worlds of yours to live in, the weaker they make you become. In fact, I had to gather as much food as I could from the forest to keep you alive and healthy from all the times you keep creating these worlds."
"That's quite all right, Polaris," Great-Grandfather Smurf said. "Today was a very special day for me to create this world. It is the day that I now relieve you of the burden of taking care of me for the years that I have taken care of you in a world that I wish you never had to live in."
"You're speaking of joining your fellow Smurfs in the hereafter, Great-Grandfather," Polaris said. "This one doesn't wish it would take such a thing as your death to ever be reunited with the fellow Smurfs that you loved."
"Our time in the world as living beings is finished, Polaris," Great-Grandfather Smurf said. "People are not interested in the things of yesterday being in their world today. They must live for the times that are ahead of them. Your role, however, is to help preserve our history so that the others will know who we are and how important we once were in anybody's lives."
"But haven't we already achieved that, Great-Grandfather?" Polaris said. "That boy we found in the forest years ago...by the name of Pierrot...we were the ones who gave him that amulet that contained all the memory of our history. He's made a good deal of that history be known to the rest of the world, even if parts of it were fabricated for the entertainment of humans."
"And that he has done a good job of, Polaris, even if there are things that he has and will never mention of us," Great-Grandfather Smurf said.
"This one knows that you are never mentioned by any of the humans," Polaris said. "In fact, some think that you go by the name of Alchemist or Magician Smurf or something."
Great-Grandfather Smurf laughed. "I can't blame them for thinking that way, Polaris. Still, whether I am mentioned or not doesn't matter to me, as long as I am confident that we will always be remembered in some way or another."
"That still leaves the mystery of how this one will be important in preserving the history of our people, Great-Grandfather," Polaris said. "If our task of handing over the amulet of memories has been accomplished, then what more does this one need to do?"
"It's time for you to know of a day that I haven't told you about, which happened when I was still a young adult Smurf barely having time enough to enjoy the freedom of living outside of Psychelia," Great-Grandfather Smurf said.
As Polaris listened to his great-grandfather telling him of that event, he found himself transported into the world of the Smurf Village as it had existed a thousand years ago according to his great-grandfather's memory.
"It was four months after I had left Psychelia, and the Smurfs were preparing for the change of seasons, doing things that are normally associated with the season of autumn," Great-Grandfather Smurf said. "I was asleep in my bed back in my old house when I heard something awakening me in the middle of the night."
Polaris saw his great-grandfather at the young age of 150 years asleep in his bed, thinking of nothing but what the coming day will bring him, when suddenly he heard a voice calling out his name. "Empath Smurf."
Empath awoke from his sleep and saw what appeared to be a Smurf who had on a purple robe and a long white beard, wearing the same kind of hat that he himself wore. "Great Ancestors...who are you?" he asked.
"I am your future self, Empath," the Smurf in his room answered. "Do not be frightened, for I have come to show you things in your future that will and must happen."
"What things do you need to show this smurf?" Empath asked, sounding curious with a bit of fear in his voice.
"What you will see will explain everything, and what you will need to do," Empath's future self said, as he reached over to the bed and touched Empath's forehead.
"And that night, I saw everything that would happen in the future, Polaris," Great-Grandfather Smurf said. "And then the next thing I knew, I was out like a light."
"But how is this possible, that you will visit yourself in the past to make yourself see all that you have seen in the years that you have lived?" Polaris asked, sounding incredulous.
"I really didn't know who it was, if it was really myself from the future, my young boy," Great-Grandfather Smurf said. "All I knew was that the vision of things to come had caused me to oversleep, and also made my fellow Smurfs rather fearful that something terrible has happened to me."
As Polaris continued to look into the unfolding of the story, Tapper and Duncan McSmurf were waiting outside Empath's house, with Tapper knocking on the door. "Empath, please wake up...it is time for our breakfast," Tapper called out.
"Aye, I'm beginning to wonder if it's one of those Smurfette dreams he's been having, laddie," Duncan said.
"I'm not sure if a Smurfette dream would ever cause a male Smurf to oversleep unless it happens to be Lazy, my good Duncan, but I am beginning to worry about Empath not answering," Tapper said.
"Then perhaps we should smurf inside and see what's smurfing on with the boy, to make sure that he's all right," Duncan suggested.
"Smurfing into another Smurf's house without their permission isn't the thing that I am wont to do, Duncan, but it seems that we have very little choice," Tapper said. He opened the door and went inside with Duncan following him. There they found Empath, still in his underwear and fast asleep in his bed.
"Empath, it is your good friend Tapper, and Duncan McSmurf is with me," Tapper said as he spoke gently into Empath's ear. "It is time for you to wake up and smurf the brand new day."
Duncan McSmurf watched for Empath's reaction. "I don't think that he's smurfing a word that you've said, laddie."
Tapper tried to turn Empath over to see if he's alive. "I could hear breathing, and he does seem to smurf a pulse, so he hasn't smurfed off into the hereafter," Tapper said after checking Empath's wrist. "Other than that, I'm not sure what has happened to him to make him this sound asleep."
"You have a feeling that this is some sort of a magic spell that was smurfed on him?" Duncan asked.
"I don't sense in my spirit that it was a magic spell, Duncan, but all the same we should smurf him to Papa Smurf and see what's wrong with him," Tapper said.
"Here, let me help you smurf some clothes on the boy, make sure that he isn't smurfing on a show like Nudie Smurf," Duncan said as he reached for the Smurf hat and pants that were sitting by Empath's chair.
Tapper helped Empath out of bed so that they could get some clothes on him. "Hang on, my fellow Empath...we're going to smurf you some help," Tapper said to the still-sleeping Empath.
"And so I was brought over to Papa Smurf's laboratory...your great-great-grandfather, mind you...where they could find out what was wrong with me, why I wasn't able to wake up when Tapper and Duncan called for me," Great-Grandfather Smurf said.
And as Polaris listened, he saw Empath in Papa Smurf's laboratory being given an examination by the village leader while Tapper and Duncan were with him.
"From what I can tell, this doesn't appear to be anything other than a magic spell at work...but the only thing is, who or what could have caused Empath to remain sleeping?" Papa Smurf said after his examination.
"That's the one thing that I didn't sense in my spirit, Papa Smurf," Tapper said.
"Empath was all right the night before, only smurfing his one glass of sarsaparilla ale like he usually does with his fellow Smurfs at the tavern," Duncan said. "He didn't seem like he was oversmurfing himself with too much work or anything. We also found no evidence that he was even smurfing himself a Smurfette dream."
"Hmmmm...now this is becoming even more curious," Papa Smurf said while stroking his beard. "It looks like we're going to have to smurf him to the infirmary and smurf a couple of physical tests to rule out anything else that would make him this sleepy."
Just then, Smurfette had entered Papa Smurf's laboratory. "Great Smurfness...I have heard that Empath wasn't able to awaken this morning," Smurfette said. "Is he all right?"
"That's what we're trying to figure out, my dear Smurfette," Tapper said. "So far, all we can tell of him is that he's still asleep."
"There's nothing you need to worry about yet, Smurfette," Papa Smurf said consolingly. "Just relax and let us take care of Empath. We'll let you know if there are any changes to his condition."
Smurfette went over to the chair was Empath was propped up on and held his hand in hers. She felt her heart going out to him. "Empath, I only hope that you would awaken soon and tell me what's smurfing on with you," Smurfette said.
Soon Empath was starting to awaken. He slowly opened his eyes and saw the first Smurf standing next to him. "Smurfette, is that you?" he asked.
Smurfette smiled. "Papa Smurf! Tapper! Duncan! He's awake!"
Empath sat himself up in the chair and noticed that he was wearing only a hat and pants when he was brought into the laboratory. He could feel his body turning a bit purplish-red from embarrassment. "Guess someone had to dress this smurf in a hurry in order to get somewhere," he said to himself.
Papa Smurf, Tapper, and Duncan gathered around the chair Empath was sitting in. "Smurf o' the morning to you, Empath," Tapper greeted. "You certainly have smurfed us quite a scare when you didn't awaken."
"How are you feeling, Empath?" Papa Smurf asked.
"Other than waking up feeling a bit naked, this smurf seems to be still functional, Papa Smurf," Empath answered. "It was as if this smurf has lived a thousand years all in the space of a single night's sleep."
"A thousand years in a night's sleep?" Duncan said. "I bet you must have been dreaming of the future."
"It seems more real than a dream, Duncan," Empath said. "It was like the entire future of everything concerning us has been revealed to this smurf...what will happen to us, to our village...seeing new Smurfs being born, seeing old Smurfs passing away. It was more than this smurf could ever hope to recall in any vivid detail, and yet this smurf was there experiencing every last minute detail."
"You mean that you can see our future, Empath, like Papa Smurf says is one of your abilities?" Smurfette asked, sounding eager to know.
"This smurf cannot actively see into anyone's future, Smurfette," Empath said. "Seeing future events happening just happens to be one of those random events that this smurf has no real control over. This smurf only wishes you knew exactly what this experience is like. It's almost like it's traveling through time, but somehow this smurf is the same age as all of this smurf's fellow Smurfs at whatever point in these visions of the future that this smurf happens to see into."
"Let's try to start from the beginning, my good Empath," Tapper said. "What was the first thing you remembered seeing as far as our future?"
Empath thought about that for a moment. "The first thing this smurf remembered seeing...was a wedding. It was taking place about ten years from now, right here in our village. There were two Smurfs being married, and one of them was Smurfette." Then he realized something. "Great Ancestors...the Smurf that I saw Smurfette marrying...was this smurf!"
"I was marrying you, Empath?!?" Smurfette exclaimed.
"Hold on there, Smurfette," Papa Smurf advised. "We're still trying to figure out what it is Empath saw in his dream."
"That was exactly what this smurf saw, Papa Smurf...this smurf was going to marry Smurfette ten years from now," Empath said. "The experience was so real, this smurf could remember everything about the wedding...there was Hefty and Handy and Duncan as the ushers...there was Brainy as the escort who brought Smurfette to the altar...there was a woodnymph named Flowerbell, who was Smurfette's matron of honor...and there were a few other females, this smurf believes they were called the Pussywillow Pixies...they were her bridesmaids."
"That sounds like a dream that every Smurf has of Smurfette, laddie," Duncan said. "Even I find myself smurfing at the altar with Smurfette, with Hefty of all Smurfs being one of my ushers and Tapper as the best man."
"Oooh, that just sounds so romantic, Empath...you and I get to smurf together ten years from now as husband and wife," Smurfette said as she held Empath's hand in hers.
"That will certainly go well with Hefty if he ever smurfs about this, Smurfette," Duncan said.
"Still, I would advise a bit of caution when it comes to smurfing these visions of the future, Empath," Papa Smurf said. "It's most likely that this is just one possibility of how things will smurf with you or any of your fellow Smurfs in the future. What's most important is that we do not lose sight of smurfing for today the things that we need to get smurfed."
"This smurf understands the need for caution, Papa Smurf," Empath said. "This smurf is going to need some time to sort out everything this smurf has seen in that vision to make sense of everything that was seen and experienced."
"That's probably a good idea, Empath," Tapper said. "We'll help you stay smurfed in the present in case there's something in your vision that suddenly smurfs to mind."
"Other than that, Empath, I don't see a need to smurf you in here any longer," Papa Smurf said. "You are free to smurf with your friends, but I will be here to talk with you in case there's something in your vision you need me to be aware of."
Empath sighed. "Well, this smurf does feel the need to stop at this smurf's house to get a shirt on, since this smurf isn't going to go through the rest of the day feeling only half-dressed."
"Whatever you need, laddie, we'll help you smurf it," Duncan said, as he, Tapper, and Smurfette left the laboratory with Empath.