"This one senses that you were not pleased with the idea of having to evacuate the village on the first year that you were a real Smurf, fellow Smurfette," Polaris surmised.
"I truly wasn't pleased at all, Polaris," Smurfette said. "I was just getting used to the Smurf Village being my home, and the thought of having to smurf out into the cold to look for food and shelter was just something I couldn't bear to smurf about."
"But that's what you ended up doing, Smurfette, if this smurf was not mistaken," Empath said.
"Yes, and it was during our travels that we smurfed upon this abandoned castle somewhere out beyond the forest, but we didn't know for sure if anybody was still smurfing in it or not, Empath," Smurfette said.
"And you and your fellow Smurfs had thought that this castle was haunted?" Polaris asked.
"It was really scary smurfing in there at first, not knowing what we would find, but we did think that it was being haunted by some ghost in a suit of armor, Polaris," Smurfette said.
"Let's start from when you and the Smurfs decided to leave the village and then go from there," Empath suggested.
And as Smurfette continued to tell her story, Empath and Smurfette saw that Papa Smurf had Harmony summon every Smurf together around the speaking mushroom for an important announcement...one that Papa Smurf wished he would never have to make.
"My little Smurfs, for our safety and our well-being, I have decided that we must evacuate the Smurf Village," Papa Smurf said woefully.
"Evacuate the village?" the Smurfs said in unison.
"But Papa Smurf, I don't want to leave the village," Smurfette said, sounding very sad. "This has been my home." And the other Smurfs also shared the same sentiments.
"I know how you feel, Smurfette, but we don't have any choice," Papa Smurf said. "It is very likely that by traveling south, we will be able to find food and shelter."
"We'll smurf back to the village when it's springtime, my dear Smurfette, I promise you," Tapper said.
"Now I want all of you to prepare for the journey ahead of you, and since we'll be traveling light, I will ask each and every one of you to only smurf what you need," Papa Smurf said.
"That's hardly a problem with us now, isn't it, Tapper?" Duncan said. "All we need to smurf is just the bare essentials, and we'll be underway."
"Smurf only what we need," Smurfette repeated to herself as she headed for her house.
A short while later, Papa Smurf had his backpack ready with only the things he needed to carry with him. He looked around his house as if he was wondering if he would ever see the village and everything in it again. He had to remind himself that, wherever he would go with his family, home will always be where his heart is, and after what he thought was the loss of one son, he was glad that fortune gave him a second chance to be a Papa Smurf by giving him nearly a hundred young Smurfs that he could call his sons...as well as a female Smurf that he could call his daughter.
He was lost in remembering that fact when he heard knocking on his door. "Uh, Papa Smurf, we're all ready to go, smurfing only the things we need," Clumsy said from the other side of the door.
"All right, Clumsy, I'll be there," Papa Smurf said. He opened the door and found himself surprised to see how the Smurfs had interpreted his instructions of "smurfing only what they need". Vanity had gathered together boxes full of his special flowered hats. Greedy had gathered together all his cookware and utensils. Handy had gathered together all his tools. Hefty had gathered together all his weights. Jokey had gathered together all his pranks and "surprises". Smurfette had gathered together all her dresses. And Lazy had dragged out his bed to sleep upon. Apparently, most of the Smurfs in the village except for Tapper and Duncan were not truly ready for the journey.
"Great Smurfs in heaven!" Papa Smurf exclaimed.
Soon, with the Smurfs stripped down to carrying nothing more than a few pairs of clothes in a backpack for each Smurf, they had set off from the village, leaving behind everything that they held dear to them in their hearts. Tapper was the last Smurf to follow the group, as he felt that he needed to say a prayer. "Lord God Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, I pray that you would be with us in our journeys and that you would safely return us here according to Your will for us, as You returned Your people Israel to their homeland from their exile and will smurf so again. In the name of Your only begotten Son, I pray. Amen."
The journey was rather quiet as the Smurfs traveled out of the forest and through the snowy tundra to the south. Meanwhile, the skies became dark and the wolves came out to howl at the moon after sunset. The Smurfs as a whole didn't like having to make such long journeys in the middle of the night during winter. Tapper himself didn't like the silence and the somber mood everybody was in, but he honestly didn't know how he could lighten things up.
After a long period of traveling, Smurfette cried out, "Oh, Papa Smurf, I can't keep smurfing anymore! I'm cold, I'm tired, and I'm hungry!"
"We have to keep smurfing, Smurfette, or else we'll all freeze to smurf," Papa Smurf called back.
"Smurfette is right, Papa Smurf," Brainy said, sounding like he was becoming exhausted. "I don't know how much more I can smurf if we can't find a place to smurf for the night soon."
"We can't give up yet, Brainy," Duncan said. "Papa Smurf will lead us to that place, even if we have to smurf all night through the snow."
"But it's so scary out here, with all the wolves and what-not ready to smurf on us if we're not careful," Scaredy said, looking around in fear of what he might see coming.
"Me and Gutsy will smurf care of those things before they attack us, Scaredy, trust us," Hefty said.
"I hate smurfing out here at night like this," Grouchy said.
"I knew that I shouldn't have smurfed all that smurfnip during a famine," Nabby groaned. "It's bad enough to be so hungry, but now it's only making me more hungry."
"Well, that's what you get for being so hooked on food all the time, Nabby," Chatty said. "Besides, you should know that smurfnip shouldn't be eaten during the winter."
"That just makes me smurf of sitting next to a warm cozy fire right about now, smurfing some smurfnip with a hot chocolate and a plate of gingersmurf cookies," Nosey said.
"Oh, please, Nosey, you're not helping me trying to not think of food," Nabby said.
"Sorry about that, Nabby," Nosey said. "But what else can I really think about, smurfing out here in the cold snowy winter with nothing in smurf? Of course, if we do find someplace warm, I do have a few smurfnip sticks that we can puff on."
"You know what they say, great minds smurf alike, because I have some smurfed in my pack with me," Chatty said.
"Oh, that's real smurfy," Nosey said. "Better not to smurf it near Papa Smurf or the others, though. They're going to find out about it real quick."
"We'll just find someplace real secluded and smurf up there, Nosey," Chatty said. "That's if we can find someplace that's a lot less cold than out here."
"Papa Smurf, I see what smurfs like a stone structure ahead of us," Tracker reported.
Papa Smurf pulled out his telescope to get a better look at the stone structure. "There it is, my little Smurfs...it's a castle," he called out. "Let's see if we can smurf inside to see if anybody is home."
"A castle?" Greedy said. "I wonder if whoever smurfs in it has any food for us to eat?"
"There's only one way for us to find out, my fellow Greedy," Tapper said as they followed Papa Smurf in the direction of the castle.
"Food! Oh boy, that's my favorite thing to hear!" Nabby said as he licked his lips in anticipation of finding it.
"At least the laddie's not hallucinating about food like he was when he ate that smurfnip, Tapper," Duncan said.
"Somehow I think smurfing food in that castle isn't going to be as easy as it smurfs, my fellow Duncan," Tapper said with some foreboding in his voice.
As soon as the Smurfs reached the front door of the castle, several of them stood on top of each other so that they would be high enough to reach the door knocker. Greedy pounded on the door a few times, but there was no response.
"I don't think there's anybody coming, my little Smurfs," Papa Smurf said.
"This place looks old, Papa Smurf," Smurfette said. "Maybe nobody has smurfed in it for years."
Greedy tried the knocker again, but after that he and the Smurfs below him lost their balance and fell down in a pile on top of each other.
"There's a smurf through the window, Papa Smurf," Tracker said as he came down from the window sill he was standing on. "We can smurf into the castle from there."
"I have a feeling in my spirit that somebody in this castle may not want us to smurf in there," Tapper said.
"We don't have any choice, Tapper," Papa Smurf said. "We either smurf inside to find food and shelter, or else we freeze to smurf out here."
"Well, I'm surely not going to smurf out there in the cold waiting for somebody or something to smurf us," Scaredy said as he joined the other Smurfs in climbing up to the window sill, where a crack in the window allowed them to enter.
They all looked inside the large room that they have just entered. "Michty me, this place sure smurfs like it's been deserted," Duncan said. "Whoever's been smurfing in here probably hasn't been smurfing here in a good long while."
"You can say that again, Duncan," Smurfette said as she looked in the room's condition in disgust. "Everything in this room looks so dirty."
"Not to mention so scary, like somebody's smurfing at us right now," Clumsy said as he looked around the room in fear.
"Oh, please, Clumsy, there's really nothing for us in here to worry about," Brainy said. "You know what they smurf, there's nothing we need to fear except for..." He was interrupted by a whooshing sound that made him leap into Clumsy's arms, very frightened. "What..what was that?"
"It's probably just the sound of the wind, Brainy," Papa Smurf said. "I say that we should look around and see if there's anybody in this old castle."
As the Smurfs started to head for the door at the other end of the large room, the whooshing sound repeated itself. "That...that sure doesn't sound like the wind to me, Papa Smurf," Brainy said.
"True, Brainy, but we didn't smurf all this way to be scared off by strange noises," Papa Smurf said.
As they ventured out into the hallway, Smurfette was briefly distracted by something before she turned and saw a spider had lowered itself right in front of her face. She screamed, and as she screamed, the spider squealed in response and raised itself back up to the ceiling.
"Smurfs like the spider is more scared of you than you are of it, Smurfette," Jokey said with a laugh.
"That's not very funny, Jokey Smurf," Smurfette hissed.
Then Brainy heard squeaking noises and saw a dark pair of eyes from behind a door. "What...what was that?" he said, looking toward the pair of eyes.
"Okay, whatever you are, come on out so that I can smurf you a good one," Hefty said, raising his fists as if expecting a fight. Then the pair of eyes disappeared back into the darkness. "Hmmph...probably thinks it wouldn't be a match for me, anyway," he muttered.
"Always trying to prove that you're stronger than anything else that smurfs your way, huh, laddie?" Duncan said.
"I'd like to see you smurf on whatever's in this castle all by yourself if you think you're stronger than me, Gutsy," Hefty said.
"That's Duncan to you, laddie," Duncan said.
Papa Smurf decided to look in the direction of that door, and as the Smurfs followed him, they tried to look inside the next room, but couldn't see much of anything because it was so dark. "I...I don't think that we should be smurfing in there, Papa Smurf," Brainy said.
Suddenly the door closed behind the Smurfs, trapping them inside the next room. And then they heard the whooshing sound again, only this time a bit louder than before, and now accompanied by a clanking sound.
"Papa Smurf, something's smurfing straight for us," Smurfette said.
"I knew it...I just knew it! This place really is haunted!" Scaredy said, sounding all panicky. "We should have smurfed our chances outside! We're all doomed...doomed!"
"Don't be ridiculous, Scaredy," Duncan said. "Whatever it is that's smurfing, I seriously doubt that it's a..."
"GHOST!" Brainy shouted, as soon as he saw a shadow forming on the only light source in the room that was getting bigger and bigger.
Most of the other Smurfs saw the shadow for themselves and became frightened by whatever it is that may be coming for them. They headed straight for another passageway to escape the shadow, leaving Papa Smurf to figure out what it was that was approaching.
"I know that there's no such thing as ghosts," Papa Smurf said to himself while pondering the situation. "On the other hand, I should check on my little Smurfs to see if they are safe."
And so Papa Smurf followed after the Smurfs and caught up to them just before the shadow caught up to any of them. Soon he found them at the other end of the passageway, all huddled together and trying to keep themselves as calm as possible.
"Papa Smurf, are you all right?" Tapper asked as soon as Papa Smurf caught up to them.
"What...what was that thing?" Brainy asked.
"I'm not sure what it was, Brainy," Papa Smurf said. "But I don't think that it was a ghost. We need to keep smurfing this place to see if there's anybody else in here, and if they may know something about what's smurfing on in here."
"Are you sure we're going to find somebody living in this castle after all these years, Papa Smurf?" Smurfette asked.
"That's the only way that we're going to smurf any answers, Smurfette," Papa Smurf said. "Follow me, my little Smurfs."
As his little Smurfs started to follow Papa Smurf in another direction, Smurfette said to Tapper, "I sure don't like what's been smurfing on here. First we lose our food for the winter, and now I'm afraid we're going to lose our lives."
"Don't be afraid, my dear Smurfette," Tapper said. "Even though this Christmas season isn't smurfing out the way we want it to, I doubt that the Almighty will leave us smurfing in this place to whatever it is that may be haunting it."
"I hate being smurfed in such a haunted place," Grouchy said.
"Aye, I understand how you feel, laddie," Duncan said. "But if anyone's going to smurf to the bottom of whatever's haunting this place, it will be Papa Smurf."