"So you were of a mindset that it's possible for Gargamel to change and become a good person if it would benefit him in the long run, Tapper," Polaris said.
"I believe that it's possible for the Almighty to change the evil wizard into a good person, my fellow Polaris," Tapper said. "Of course, it's also possible that God simply created Gargamel to be a vessel of dishonor smurfed unto destruction that He may smurf the riches of His mercy unto those who are made to be vessels of honor. We may never know for sure on this side of eternity."
"And I thought that this Almighty wants nobody to perish, but for all to smurf to repentance and be saved," Duncan said.
"That's still very much true, my fellow Duncan," Tapper said. "But for those God had forsmurfed in His infinite wisdom that would never smurf to the full knowledge of the truth to be saved, He lets them smurf on their way to destruction without any interference, though not without witness that they have smurfed their backs unto Him that loved them enough to offer the gift of salvation unto all."
"As you have said, Tapper, we will never know for sure on this side of eternity," Empath said. "Anyway, getting back to the story, Papa Smurf and Smurfette came back with the news that Gargamel had polluted his muck pond, which was in turn polluting the River Smurf. So what happens next?"
"From what Narrator had smurfed me, Gargamel truly wasn't smurfing all that good when he smurfed out of the polluted muck pond," Tapper said.
And as Tapper continued his story, Empath and Polaris saw that Gargamel was standing in front of a mirror that was on his table, examining himself. His tongue was a different color, and his eyes looked rather shot, as if he had stayed up all night working on an experiment for several nights.
"Ooh, I feel terrible, just terrible," Gargamel groaned as he clutched his stomach. "Swallowing that pond water has made me nauseous. It's worse than the swill Mummy would boil for dinner when I was young. Just thinking about it now is only making me feel worse than I already am."
Gargamel headed for his bedroom, walking carefully so that he wouldn't collapse and hit his head on anything before he got to his bed. "Just wait until I get my hands on that no-good feline furball," he fussed. "He's going to have one less life of the nine lives he has when I'm through with him." He clutched his stomach again, feeling the sharp acute pain like somebody had shoved a knife into it from the inside out. "Yo-oh, I'm so sick. I'd better get some rest. Hopefully I will feel so much better if I laid down for a while."
And so the wizard gently laid himself down on the bed and closed his eyes, feeling like he wanted to just drift off into a neverending sleep so he could no longer feel any pain.
"Meanwhile, back in the village, Papa Smurf was working on his anti-pollution solution, hoping that the foul mixture Gargamel had smurfed into his muck pond hasn't affected any living creatures," Tapper said.
Then Empath and Polaris saw Papa Smurf in his laboratory working on the solution, making calculations on a sheet of paper. "Pi R squared...no, no, no, that's not it. Pis are round," he said to himself before making the necessary corrections.
Just then, Brainy and Clumsy appeared at Papa Smurf's door, with Brainy carrying Baby Smurf. "So, uh, Papa Smurf, can I help you with your anti-pollution solution?" Brainy asked.
"Uh, no thank you, Brainy," Papa Smurf said, not turning away from his work.
"But you always say that two Smurfs are better than one, Papa Smurf," Brainy said as he and Clumsy entered the laboratory together. "And since I have enough intelligence and knowledge to help you out with any problem, I was figuring..."
"Yes, you can help me out right now, Brainy," Papa Smurf said, briefly turning away from his work. "Why don't you and Clumsy take Baby Smurf out for a walk in the forest?"
"Me and Clumsy take Baby out for a walk?" Brainy said, sounding incredulous. "It would seem to me, Papa Smurf, that Clumsy could smurf that simple task alone. Why would you need me to..."
"As you have said, Brainy, 'two Smurfs are better than one,'" Papa Smurf said, interrupting Brainy before he went any further with his explanation.
"Uh, yeah, Brainy, you just said that a minute ago," Clumsy added.
Baby Smurf laughed, as if he had heard the best joke told in the village that rivaled anything Jokey would tell his fellow Smurfs.
"Oh, very well, Papa Smurf," Brainy said with a sigh. "If I said it, then it must be true. Come along then, Clumsy."
As Brainy and Clumsy both left the laboratory, Papa Smurf turned his attention again to his work. "Let's see now...hmmm...yes...well, no," he said to himself while continuing to write things down.
Smurfette met the two Smurfs after they have left the laboratory. "How's Papa Smurf doing with his anti-pollution solution, Brainy?" she asked.
"He's still rather busy smurfing it together, Smurfette, so it should be a while before it's even ready to smurf," Brainy answered.
"But you're not going to help him with the solution?" Smurfette asked, sounding a bit puzzled.
"Of course not, Smurfette," Brainy answered, sounding a bit frustrated. "Papa Smurf's got it all under control. Why would he need me for anything that he can handle by himself? It's not like I could smurf anything for him besides take care of Baby, which to him is more important than needing any of my help for figuring out solutions."
"I'm sorry if that's how you feel right now, Brainy," Smurfette said. "If you want to, I can take care of Baby while you take care of other important things."
"I'll be all right, Smurfette," Brainy said. "Baby Smurf is just as much my responsibility as he is everybody else's in the village. Besides, he needs to learn for himself from somebody who could smurf him life's important lessons that he's going to need someday when he grows into a Smurf like us."
"Uh, yeah, what Brainy had said, Smurfette," Clumsy said, sounding very eager to agree.
"Very well, Brainy," Smurfette said. "But just remember that I care about you, even if you annoy me to no end at times."
Brainy looked at Smurfette as if he didn't deserve her saying anything nice to him at all, but appreciated it nonetheless.
Gargamel was still in his hovel, peacefully resting, when he heard scratching and yowling at the door, coming from outside. He suddenly woke up and sat bolt upright in bed, realizing who it was. "What, uh...ooooh, that stupid cat!" he grumbled, feeling a bit angry before again realizing that he was still sick. "Oh...oh, I feel rotten," he muttered as he felt his forehead.
The yowling got worse as Azrael continued to wait impatiently for his master to let him inside. "I'm coming, you howling bit of buzzard-bait," Gargamel said as he got up from his bed and headed for the door. "I've got a score to settle with you."
Azrael let out mews of total indifference when his master opened the door and let him inside.
"Don't try to be friendly with me," Gargamel said, his hands clenched as he was preparing to unleash his fury on his pet while Azrael was lapping water from his bowl. "It won't work with me, you little fuzzball. Because of you, I fell into the muck pond. And now I've caught cold or even worse."
Gargamel picked up a book from the table and threw it at Azrael, causing him to flee when it nearly struck him. Then the wizard felt a tingling sensation as he noticed that the laboratory started to become bigger somehow. As he looked at himself, he realized that the room wasn't getting bigger. "Egad! I...I'm shrinking!" he cried out.
Azrael looked at his master, as if he either couldn't believe what he himself was seeing or could care less about what was happening to his master.
"It's all your fault, you miserable flea-bitten wretch," Gargamel said, still angry enough and tall enough to grab a broom handle and chase his cat around the room with it. Azrael fled as Gargamel struck him again and again with the broom. "That's it! Run! Run, you bit of a coward!"
But as Gargamel chased Azrael around, the wizard became smaller and smaller until he stopped and found himself no bigger than a Smurf. "Wait a minute! This is impossible!" he gasped as he stopped and looked at himself in his current condition. "What am I going to do? I can't even reach my potions to cure myself!"
Azrael was hiding up on the rafters when he saw that his master was now small enough to be chased after by him. He snickered before he came down right behind Gargamel to give him the scare of his life.
Gargamel looked at Azrael and realized that he was in deep trouble. "And you, you fur...fur...friendly little kitty," he said, trying to keep the peace between himself and his cat. "Now, now...nice kitty."
Azrael growled as he swiped at his master, causing Gargamel to flee before him. The wizard headed for the hearth and climbed up the chimney as quickly as he could to escape. It felt like a very long climb to safety, but finally he reached the top and saw that it was going to be a long drop down to the ground.
"Here goes nothing," he gulped before he jumped down from the top of the chimney, landed on the thatching of the roof, and slid down until he landed in the rain water that collected inside the barrel outside his hovel. He coughed as he climbed back out and then dropped to the ground.
Gargamel knew it wouldn't be long before Azrael would find a way to get outside and chase after him there. So he ran as fast as he could into the forest. "Oh, I must find someone who can help me return to my normal size," he said to himself as he ran. "But who among the wizards and witches can I turn to? My godfather Balthazar despises me, and Hogatha is just so repulsive that I never want to set foot in her castle as long as I live."
He stopped running long enough so he could think of who might be able to help him. And then it hit him. "I know, there's only one wizard that might have the solution. I never thought I would hear myself saying this, but I don't have any choice, so..." With a loud voice, he cried out, "PAPA SMURF, HELP ME! PAPA SMURF, ANY SMURF, HELP! HELP!"
"And there I was in the forest helping to keep the animals safe from the polluted water in the river when I felt something in my spirit that was smurfing out to me," Tapper said.
And Empath and Polaris saw in the story that Tapper was indeed doing what he had said with his friend Duncan when suddenly he just stopped. "Duncan, I can feel something, like somebody smurfing out for help in the forest," Tapper said.
"What do you mean, you can feel it, laddie?" Duncan asked.
"It's like somebody is desperately crying out for help because of something that had smurfed wrong to them, and they have no one else to smurf to," Tapper explained.
"You mean somebody was smurfed in one of Gargamel's traps?" Duncan asked, trying to clarify the matter.
"Rather that the evil wizard himself is ensmurfed in one of his own devices, and I can't smurf by and do nothing about it," Tapper answered.
"Hold your horseflies, laddie," Duncan said. "How do you know for sure that this smurfs from your Almighty? What if this whole thing was a trick?"
"Please, Duncan, the Almighty would never smurf me wrong when it comes to these things that I can sense in my spirit," Tapper said. "Though he may be evil, that wizard may need our help more than we may need to protect ourselves from him."
"I don't want to fight with you or with your Almighty, but you got to understand what you're facing here, laddie," Duncan said. "If the Almighty is indeed as powerful as you smurf Him to be, would He not be able to smurf Gargamel the help he needs without us smurfing ourselves into any danger we can't smurf out of?"
"I do not fear Gargamel or any of the giants of the land, Duncan," Tapper said. "But I feel that if I do not help, I may be sinning against the Almighty."
"You can help through your prayers, Tapper," Duncan said. "You smurfed time and again that the effectual fervent prayers of a righteous person avails much. Why not prove it by practicing what you preach?"
Tapper sighed. "I see your point, Duncan. I do not wish to endanger anyone else through actions that may smurf to be rash and reckless." He then got down on his knees and prayed. "Oh, Heavenly Father, the Lord God Almighty, I pray for the sake of our adversary Gargamel that You would guide him safely to those who will help him in his desperate situation, and if it's Your will that we are to help, let us be the ones who are able to smurf it with willing hands and a willing heart. In the name of Your only begotten Son, I pray. Amen."
"Amen," Duncan said as the prayer had ended.
Out in the forest, Gargamel looked around to see if he could find a Smurf that would lead him to the Smurf Village, although he realized that because of his reputation, no Smurf would be willing to just go out of their way to simply help him out of the goodness of their heart. Unfortunately, as the wizards and witches that he knew of would be of no use to him in restoring him to his normal size, he was left to cast his lot with the Smurfs, wherever he may find them.
After a while of aimless wandering, Gargamel sat down on a twig with his hands cradling his head and let out a frustrated sigh. "This is so pointless," he grumbled to himself. "How could I be so stupid?"
"Hoo hoo," an owl hanging overhead on a nearby tree hooted, drawing Gargamel's attention.
"Me, me, me, you feather-brained idiot," Gargamel shot back angrily. "If I was back to my normal size, you wouldn't dare question me when I'm this miserable with myself." He realized that getting angry with a bird that was now bigger than he was would get him nowhere, and so he got up and continued on his way to find the Smurfs.
"I should have disposed of my chemicals more carefully," he said to himself as he continued onward. "Who knows if some silly harmless bird drank of that filthy water and became some kind of freak monster that terrorizes people."
Just then, Gargamel ran into a smurfberry bird that was sitting perched on the branch of a small low-hanging tree. It greeted the wizard with a friendly song, but Gargamel clearly wasn't in the mood to be cheered up.
"Go lay an egg, you blabber-beak," Gargamel hissed, picking up a pebble to throw at the smurfberry bird, which then started to spread its wings and flutter away before the rock was thrown. But after the rock throw, Gargamel felt himself getting smaller again.
"Oh no, it's happened again!" Gargamel cried out as he looked at himself now. "Now I'm the size of a field mouse."
The owl looked at Gargamel in his new size, ready to make the evil wizard its prey. It leaped up from his perch and now started to fly straight towards Gargamel to pick him up and carry him away.
Gargamel yelped in fear as he saw the owl now approaching him. He ran as fast as he could to escape being captured, but the owl was gaining on him. He saw a hole in the ground and dove into it for safety just before the owl captured him.
Gargamel looked toward the outside of the hole, feeling a bit relieved. "I'll be safe in here," he said to himself.
But then he heard a hissing noise coming from the dark recesses of the tunnel he had entered. Gargamel turned and saw the vague features of an angry ferret ready to make him its next meal. He screamed as he ran out of the hole to escape the ferret that was now chasing after him.
"If this is what being a Smurf is like, I swear that I would rather not be anywhere near their size at all," Gargamel said to himself as he ran.
Sometime later, Papa Smurf called Smurfette into his laboratory to show her something important. "Eureka! I found it, Smurfette, I found it," he said very excitedly, holding up a vial full of a blue formula in his hand.
"Oh, thank smurfness, Papa Smurf," Smurfette said, also sounding excited at the completion of the formula.
"We must get my anti-pollution solution into the River Smurf immediately," Papa Smurf said. "The sooner we can clean up the river of that foul magic mixture, the better."
"At least Tracker and Tapper would be happy to know that, Papa Smurf," Smurfette said, sounding a bit less enthusiastic than she was a moment before.
"Is there something wrong, Smurfette?" Papa Smurf asked as they headed out of the laboratory together, the village leader noticing the change in Smurfette's emotions.
"I was just thinking of Brainy, Papa Smurf, of how much he wanted to help you smurf the formula together, and you had him and Clumsy take care of Baby Smurf for you," Smurfette answered.
"I know what Brainy must be feeling, Smurfette," Papa Smurf said. "I was like that myself when I was younger than Brainy was and eager to help my former mentor Paladore with an important experiment, only to be told that he can smurf it together himself."
"But how is Brainy supposed to be a great sorcerer like you someday if you won't let him help you in important matters, Papa Smurf?" Smurfette asked.
"The thing is, Smurfette, we must learn to be patient with our mentors the same way that we must learn to smurf so with those who annoy us the most," Papa Smurf answered. "Someday he will come to undersmurf just how valuable and important his learning patience for himself really is."
"I think I understand, Papa Smurf," Smurfette said. "I just want what is best for Brainy in whatever role he will smurf on in his later years."
"There's nothing wrong in wanting the best for all your friends, Smurfette," Papa Smurf said. "There's nothing much that I want the most than for all my little Smurfs, including you, to smurf the best things for yourselves so that you can be better Smurfs when my time in this world is finished."