Meanwhile, out in the forest, Tracker was leading Nat, Snappy, and Slouchy around on his own personal mission for the Harvest Feast day.
"Be careful, Smurflings," Tracker warned. "There are hunters out in the forest smurfing for game around this time of year, and if we're not careful, we could smurf up as dead as any of the poor animals they are hunting for."
"It's just unfortunate that people have to smurf after animals for their food, Tracker," Nat said. "I just wonder why they can't be vegetarians like us Smurfs. There's plenty of food for everyone in the forest without having to harm anyone."
"I wonder about that myself, Nat," Tracker said. "I don't fully understand just what it is about humans that they have to devour other creatures in order to survive. But we can't let what they smurf in their lives how we define the way we should smurf ours, or be the judge of how they smurf theirs."
"Well, if the humans aren't harming us, why should we worry about it?" Snappy said.
"The animals of this forest are part of us, whether we like it or not, Snap," Nat said. "When one of them dies, it makes me feel sad that a precious creation of Mother Nature is lost."
"Tapper says that it's his Almighty that has created all things, Nat, and that everything in this world belongs to Him," Slouchy calmly pointed out.
"So that means the humans can smurf whatever they want in it without consequence?" Nat said, not liking what he was hearing. "Well, excuse me, but I believe that there's a consequence for every action when it comes to harming things in nature, and if humans won't smurf any lessons from the harm they smurf upon living creatures, then they will smurf the price for it somehow."
"Don't smurf angry with me, Nat," Slouchy said, sounding a bit defensive. "I'm just telling you what Tapper believes in, that's all."
"I believe we should be smurfing home right now, watching the football game until the Harvest Feast is ready," Snappy said. "What we're smurfing out there on this day just seems like a..."
Suddenly Tracker stopped walking, motioning the three Smurflings to stop as well. "Shhh, quiet, Snappy," Tracker interrupted. "I'm hearing something smurfing in the forest nearby."
"What are you hearing, Tracker?" Nat asked in a whisper.
"Could it be the hunters?" Slouchy asked, also whispering.
"This is certainly getting interesting," Snappy said in a low voice, sounding bored.
Tracker shushed the three Smurflings again and listened carefully to what his ears were picking up. It sounded like something running through the forest, and it was coming straight towards them.
"Quick, Smurflings, duck!" Tracker cried out. He and the three Smurflings ducked out of the way as a pheasant with gold wings and feathers came rushing by, running for its life, looking rather scared.
"Whoa, now that was very close," Slouchy said as Tracker and the other two Smurflings picked themselves up from the ground after the pheasant passed by.
"Did you see the pheasant as it smurfed by us?" Nat said, sounding awestruck. "It seemed to be smurfing golden feathers. Maybe it's a special kind of bird that..."
"Quiet, Smurflings, I'm hearing something else coming," Tracker interrupted.
"What is it, Tracker?" Nat asked, sounding curious.
Tracker listened carefully in silence before he responded. "Hunters! They must be smurfing after the bird with hunting weapons."
"Then we must smurf after the bird before they can smurf it," Nat said.
"What do you mean, 'we'?" Snappy said. "If it's the hunters, we should let them smurf after their food."
"That's not the way of the Smurfs, Snap," Nat admonished. "We protect life that smurfs in this forest. We don't let life be smurfed harm by anyone else."
"Well, let's just smurf something before the hunters do," Slouchy said, sounding disinterested.
"Follow me, Smurflings," Tracker said. The three Smurflings followed after Tracker as he ran in the direction that he could smell the pheasant heading for.
Suddenly the four Smurfs could hear what sounded like gunshots. "What in the smurf was that?" Snappy asked.
"It's probably those new weapons called muskets," Nat said. "It's what humans use to hunt after wild animals."
"I don't care what they're called," Slouchy said. "I just don't want to be its target."
"Just keep running, my little Smurflings," Tracker said. "If we can smurf out of range of the hunters, we'll be safe."
Meanwhile, the hunters stopped in their tracks, still wielding their muskets. "Any sign of the pheasant that Lord Balthazar was after?" one of them asked.
"No, it must have disappeared into the forest," a second one answered.
"Uhhh, we were so close," the first hunter said, sounding irritated. "That bird must be worth a fortune if Balthazar wants it so badly."
"I don't know why we're hunting it with these guns if Balthazar wants it alive," the second hunter said.
"These are special muskets that the old sorcerer had crafted, you idiot," the first hunter said. "They are not meant to kill, they are just to knock whatever it is hit by its projectiles unconscious so that they can be collected."
"That must be a special bird for Balthazar to give us these kind of weapons, that's for sure," the second hunter said.
Suddenly the first hunter's locket began to glow. He touched it and suddenly he could hear the voice of his master, Lord Balthazar. "So have you two gotten my special magic bird yet?" he asked in a demanding voice.
"Not yet, Lord," the first hunter answered. "The prey is very elusive. We're doing our best with your weapons to bring it back to you alive."
"You'd better get that bird before sundown, or else not being paid for your services will be the least of your problems," Balthazar said. "Do I make myself clear?"
The first hunter gulped. "Yes, very clear, my lord." He touched the locket hanging around his neck to put it back into silent mode. "Okay, you heard him. Let's get a move on and see if we can't capture our prey before sundown."
"It better be worth the reward we're getting," the second hunter said as they started to move again.
Tracker and the three Smurflings stopped to catch their breath. "I didn't think I'd be smurfing for my life on Harvest Feast Day," Snappy said.
"I just wouldn't want to be one of those birds that hunters are smurfing after on this day either," Slouchy said.
"Are the hunters gone, Tracker?" Nat asked.
Tracker listened carefully. "I'm not hearing a sound from them, so I think we're safe for the time smurfing. But we should keep moving if we want to smurf that golden pheasant that they're after."
"I don't see what's so special about that pheasant that we have to protect it, Tracker," Snappy said as the four of them got up and started walking.
"I'm not sure I know either, Snap, but it's got to be worth something to them," Nat said.
"You think this could be a magic bird, Nat?" Slouchy asked.
"Who knows?" Nat replied. "Anyway, we're not going to let it be killed by those hunters no matter what."
"We're smurfing close to the bird, so whatever you do, don't try to spook it," Tracker warned.
They stopped as Tracker could see the golden pheasant by itself, looking as if it was trying to find food to eat out in the forest.
"Smurfabunga, that's a really beautiful bird," Snappy said as he got a look for himself.
"Yeah, too beautiful to belong on anyone's dinner plate," Slouchy said.
"That bird looks hungry, Tracker," Nat observed. "I hope we brought something that it can feed on."
"Don't worry, Nat, I came prepared," Tracker said. He reached into the pack he was carrying and pulled out a handful of birdseed. "Let's attract its attention to see if it is hungry." He whistled gently out to the bird, capturing its attention. The bird looked around to see where the whistling was coming from, and then turned and saw Tracker slowly approaching with birdseed in his hands.
"It's okay, pretty bird, we're not going to harm you," Tracker said as he moved slowly toward the bird. "Here's some seed that you can smurf on if you're hungry."
The bird turned around and looked carefully at the birdseed Tracker was holding, seeing if it was safe to eat. Then it started gobbling the seed until it was all gone. The bird spread its tail feathers out and began to sing joyfully.
"Well, the bird sure seems happy to have smurfed some birdseed, Tracker," Slouchy said.
"Yeah, but I still wonder what's so special about the bird in the first place," Snappy said. "I mean, it's beautiful and all, but why were the hunters after it?"
"I honestly don't know, Snap," Nat said. "Maybe if we bring it home to the village, Papa Smurf might know what kind of bird this is."
"It's certainly worth having Papa Smurf finding out, my little Smurflings," Tracker said, before he suddenly turned his head and heard something. "Uh-oh. The hunters are getting close to the bird again."
"We've got to smurf this bird safely home if we want to smurf it safe from the hunters that are after it," Nat said.
"I only wish we were home right now," Snappy said.
And then in an instant, the bird and the four Smurfs disappeared. Shortly after, the two hunters arrived at the spot to find nothing waiting for them.
"I swear I could hear the bird singing for a moment," the first hunter said, sounding greatly annoyed. "It was right here."
"Maybe that bird is faster than we thought," the second hunter said. "We're going to need something to be able to track down that bird no matter where it goes."
"We might as well inform Lord Balthazar about our progress," the first hunter said, sighing with frustration.
Back in the village, Brainy and Clumsy were in Printer's shop, patiently waiting for the village printer to finish his work printing up the first copy of Brainy's latest work. Finally, with his hands carefully cleansed of the printing ink he used, Printer presented Brainy with the finished work. "Here you smurf, Brainy," Printer said. "I only hope it was worth my missing out on the football game to smurf it ready."
"As always, Printer, you smurf an excellent job publishing all my wonderful works and smurfing them together in volumes that I'm sure many Smurfs will be reading for years to smurf," Brainy said proudly as he briefly looked through the contents.
"Well, you enjoy your reading, and I'll be happy knowing that I won't have to smurf together any more copies of your works until you are ready to publish your next one," Printer said, eager to have Brainy leave the shop.
"Oh, don't be silly, Printer," Brainy said. "I might just have you smurf me an extra copy so I could have one to carry with me wherever I smurf in the village, and another to read when I'm at home, resting or smurfing any of my private activities. Which reminds me, when soon are you going to be ready to..."
Brainy soon found himself thrown out of Printer's shop along with his book. Clumsy calmly walked out and joined Brainy at the place he landed. "Uh, Brainy, what's so special about the book you just published?" Clumsy asked.
"Well, it's my latest book, The Many Things Brainy Smurf Is Thankful For, and I want to share it with my fellow Smurfs at the Harvest Feast that we will be smurfing today," Brainy answered, picking up the book and showing Clumsy its cover. "I think it's appropriate for this season to share the many wonderful blessings that I, Brainy Smurf, enjoy each and every day of my life."
"Golly, Brainy, you need a whole book just to smurf what you're thankful for?" Clumsy asked.
"As humiliating as it may sound, Clumsy, I am indeed grateful for the many blessings that most Smurfs take for granted," Brainy said. "However, the greatest blessing that I am thankful for is that I have been gifted with an incredibly intelligent mind that I can fill every day with knowledge and wisdom that can smurf in handy for me and my fellow Smurfs in the days to smurf."
"Well, at least I'm grateful to have so many friends in the village, Brainy, but most of all I'm grateful to have you as my very best friend in the whole world," Clumsy said. "I would smurf anywhere you go in this world."
Brainy sighed. "I know that you would, Clumsy, believe me."
Suddenly Tracker, Nat, Snappy, Slouchy, and the golden pheasant appeared right out of nowhere in the middle of the village.
"Smurfabunga, Tracker, how did we smurf home so quickly?" Snappy asked as the four of them looked around at their surroundings.
"I'm beginning to wonder the same thing myself," Tracker said, also equally puzzled.
"Uh, hi, Tracker, Nat, Snappy, Slouchy," Clumsy greeted. "We weren't expecting you to smurf home so quickly, but Brainy just had his new book published. Isn't it amazing?"
"Yes, it's very amazing," Tracker said, sounding disinterested. "Have any of you seen Papa Smurf?"
"He and most of the other Smurfs are at the stadium smurfing that football game, Tracker," Brainy answered. "Me and Clumsy were busy at Printer's shop smurfing my new book together to be printed."
"Just what we need, another doorstop from Brainy Smurf," Snappy jested.
"I wonder how anyone can find the time to smurf such 'heavy material' together, Snap," Slouchy said, as the two of them laughed.
"We need to protect this bird from the hunters that are out to smurf after it for whatever reason they are interested in it, Brainy," Tracker said.
"But we also need to feed it some more birdseed, if we have any," Nat added.
"I'm sure we can smurf after the bird while Papa Smurf is indisposed of at this moment, since I know a thing about how to smurf care of birds," Brainy said confidently. "Come, Clumsy, let's smurf him over to Feathers' stable and see if we can't smurf something for our feathered friend."
"Uh, coming, Brainy," Clumsy said. "Hey, birdie, come with us. You'll be safe here."
Tracker and the three Smurflings watched as the golden pheasant followed Brainy and Clumsy. "Not that I trust Brainy to know what he's smurfing, but at least the hunters won't find the bird as long as it is in this village," Tracker said.
"But still, how did we manage to smurf home just like that?" Slouchy asked.
"I don't know, Slouchy," Snappy answered. "I just said I wished we were home, and then suddenly here we are."
"Do you think the bird magically caused us to appear in the village by what Snappy had said, Tracker?" Nat asked.
"It's possible, Nat," Tracker replied. "For now, though, I want Papa Smurf to examine the bird to see what we're dealing with here."