Pushback sighed. "I'm sorry, you smurfs. This story should be about me, and I got sidesmurfed and started talking about Smurfette. But then again, who couldn't talk about Smurfette in their stories...besides maybe Grouchy?"
"That's perfectly understandable, Pushback," Empath said. "Given that she's the only adult female Smurf in the village that about every adult male Smurf is in love with, why wouldn't they want to talk about her at all?"
"Fortunately, this one does not have a need to talk about Smurfette as if this one actually has an infatuation with her as do most of your fellow Smurfs, Empath," Polaris said.
"Are you so sure about that, Polaris?" Empath said with a suggestive wink toward his friend.
"You're implying that this one is withholding vital information about this one that you assume that this one is not comfortable sharing with anyone else, including you, Empath," Polaris said, sounding a bit defensive.
"The Psyche Master isn't controlling your thoughts anymore, Polaris," Empath said. "You're pretty much free to express how you personally feel about people like Smurfette, since she is the first female Smurf that you have met."
"Smurfette is a friendly female Smurf that this one considers a very valuable associate to this one, Empath," Polaris said with a hint of anger in his voice. "This one will not allow the fellowship this one has with Smurfette to be misconstrued as anything other than a fellowship."
"Okay, Polaris, you don't have to get so touchy about it," Empath said, sounding like he had offended his friend. "Anyway, getting back to the story..."
"Well, it was finally the first night of the Firefly Festival, and every Smurf seemed to be in good spirits for dancing and partying and just smurfing a good time," Pushback said, pausing before he added, "Almost every Smurf."
And as Pushback continued the story, Empath and Polaris both saw that it was now nighttime in the Smurf Village, as the first night of the Firefly Festival commenced. Smurfette was in her house making final preparations for herself when there was a knock on her door. "Who is it?" she asked.
"It's your friends, Tapper and Duncan, Smurfette," an Irish-accented voice answered from the other side of the door.
"We've come to escort you to the first night of the festival," a Scottish-accented voice added.
"Oh, you've smurfed just in time," Smurfette said, putting aside her hairbrush and getting up from being in front of her mirror to answer the door. She saw that Tapper and Duncan were waiting right there, just as they have promised.
"My dear Smurfette, you've certainly smurfed quite beautiful tonight, if I must smurf so myself," Tapper complimented.
"Would you like either of us to smurf your hand, my fair lassie?" Duncan asked.
Tapper snickered. "I won't be offended if you choose my fellow Smurf here, Smurfette."
Smurfette seemed flattered. "How about I let you both have the honors?" she answered, positioning her arms so that either Smurf could loop their arm around hers.
"It would be my pleasure," Duncan said as both he and Tapper reciprocated the gesture by looping their arm around hers on either side.
Hefty watched as Smurfette arrived at the festival with the two Smurfs. "Well, well, well, if it isn't Gospel and Gutsy Smurf as Smurfette's two escorts," he mused. "What's the matter...one Smurf not smurfy enough to smurf her to the festival?"
"You just wish that you were a Smurf like me, laddie," Duncan shot back.
"Whoever Smurfette chooses to be her escort, I will not begrudge that honor, my fellow Hefty," Tapper said.
"Yoohoo, Smurfette," another Smurf called out. It was Vanity, who arrived with his mirror. "Would you like to smurf a dance with the most handsome Smurf of the whole village?"
"Why, Vanity, you know that I would," Smurfette said as she went off with him while Hefty, Tapper, and Duncan watched.
"So much for you Smurfs being smurfy enough for the likes of Smurfette," Hefty jested. "I bet before the night is smurfed, she's going to end up smurfing in my arms throughout the rest of the night."
"I will not be offended by whoever Smurfette chooses to smurf company with on a night like this, Hefty," Tapper said.
"But you try anything unsmurfy with Smurfette on a night like this, and I smurf to you that it will be the last time you ever smurf a dance with the fair lassie," Duncan said.
"Oh, don't get so upsmurfed there, Gutsy," Hefty said. "What makes you think that I would ever smurf anything like that to her?"
Duncan snorted. "Just don't try to mess with a true Smurfsman, laddie."
And soon, with Fiddler, Twanger, and Piper starting the music on the stage, the gathered Smurfs all danced, twirling and jumping and stepping side to side in unison with each other. Smurfette was with Vanity as he danced while holding his mirror to look at himself with one free hand. The fireflies all joined together and entered into each of the hanging lanterns strung on lines hanging on poles to give light for the festival.
"Ooh, don't you just smurf the music, Vanity?" Smurfette asked.
"Absosmurfly marvelous," Vanity responded, paying more attention to his reflection than to anything else going on.
Harmony took a look at the performers on stage and decided to try joining in. He went on the stage and played a bit of off-tune music from his horn, which made the other three musicians stop and look at Harmony with disgust. Harmony smiled sheepishly before he left the stage and the music resumed without any further interruptions.
Grouchy stood outside the crowd of Smurfs dancing, folding his arms and scowling as he watched them dance. "I hate music," he muttered, "and I hate dancing." Then he lightened his mood a little and added, "Sometimes."
Then Smurfette noticed that Pushover was walking past the crowd of Smurfs with his shoulders slumped, looking exhausted. "Aren't you going to dance with us, Pushover?" Smurfette asked, sounding concerned.
"Sorry, Smurfette, but I just feel too smurfed to dance with you," Pushover replied. "You enjoy the party without me."
Papa Smurf stood outside the crowd with Brainy beside him, the both of them watching the dancing going on. "Aaah, I love to see my little Smurfs enjoying themselves, Brainy," Papa Smurf said. "It makes all the work that they have smurfed together worthwhile. Don't you think so?"
"What work?" Brainy asked before he realized that he was about to reveal what his fellow Smurfs weren't doing throughout the day. "Oh...that work!" he responded with a slight chuckle.
Then they both saw Pushover walking right past them, looking like he wasn't in the mood to enjoy the party. "What's wrong with Pushover?" he asked.
"Why, I have no idea, Papa Smurf," Brainy answered. "He seemed so energetic and enthusiastic all throughout the day, and now for no reason he just seemed to..."
"Excuse me for a minute there, Brainy," Papa Smurf said as he headed off in the direction that Pushover was heading in and called out his name to get his attention. Pushover stopped walking as soon as he heard Papa Smurf calling out his name and turned to face the village leader. "Pushover, why aren't you enjoying yourself like the other Smurfs?" he asked, sounding concerned.
Brainy strained to hear the conversation that was going on between the two Smurfs. "You don't want to hear what I have to smurf because every other Smurf here is too important for you to listen to anyway, Papa Smurf," Pushover said.
"Nonsense, Pushover," Papa Smurf said. "Every Smurf is important to me, no matter how unimportant they may seem to everybody else. Now please tell me, what is smurfing on with you that is making you smurf like this tonight?"
Pushover sighed heavily. "I don't know, Papa Smurf. I guess I'm just all smurfed out."
"But no other Smurf seems to be tired right now, Pushover," Papa Smurf said. "They all seem to be having a smurfy time."
"Well, that's because most of the other Smurfs seem to be asking me to smurf their..." Pushover began to say.
"Oh, Papa Smurf!" Brainy cried out, interrupting the conversation.
"Oh, smurf is me, it's time for the Foxfire Lottery," Papa Smurf said, distracted from the conversation he was having. "Excuse me, Pushover, but you'll have to smurf me later about this."
"But Papa Smurf..." Pushover said, trying to get the village leader's attention again when he saw that Brainy had purposely interrupted him from ever saying that the other Smurfs were using him to do all their work for them. "Why...why...why, you dirty little mothersmurfer, Brainy!" he growled quietly with his fists clenched.
"This one considers it a very colorful metaphor that you used in regards to Brainy and his behavior at that point in the Firefly Festival, Pushback," Polaris said, recoiling in slight shock of what he had heard his fellow Smurf's past self saying.
"This smurf agrees, Polaris, but this smurfs also considers it appropriate for the circumstance that Pushback found himself in, having to deal with Brainy trying to keep Papa Smurf from finding out about what his little Smurfs were doing behind Papa Smurf's back," Empath said.
"I'm sorry that's what smurfed out of my mouth at the time, you smurfs, but you understand what I was smurfing through," Pushback said. "Anyway, it was time for the Firefly Festival lottery, and while I wasn't there to see who would win the lottery, Narrator made sure that I knew everything that had smurfened while I was in my house smurfing in my lonesome."
And as Pushback continued the story, Empath and Polaris watched as most of the other Smurfs have gathered around the stage for Papa Smurf's announcement as he captured their attention with Harmony playing his horn, although Brainy gave Harmony a look that signaled him to stop playing when it seemed that he was playing his horn a little too long for Brainy's liking.
"Attention, all my fellow Smurfs!" Brainy boldly proclaimed. "Papa Smurf has an important announcement."
"Thank you, Brainy," Papa Smurf said before he commenced with the announcement. "My little Smurfs, on this, the first night of the ancient Firefly Festival, we now hold our lottery to determine who will be smurfed as the official Foxfire Smurf. The Smurf who wins this lottery will travel to the Great Swamp tomorrow and capture the sacred Foxfire flame. Only with that flame will we be able to light the Firefly Lantern and conclude the festival."
Every Smurf muttered among themselves in anticipation of the lottery and who will win it that night. A good deal of them were hoping to be the winner, while some others were hoping that another Smurf would win that particular honor.
"However, whoever is chosen for this honor must be careful not to smurf out the Foxfire flame in the process," Papa Smurf warned while Brainy brought before the village leader a picnic basket. "Now I want each of you Smurfs to smurf forward and draw a single smurfberry from the basket. Whoever smurfs the green one shall be smurfed the Foxfire Smurf."
"Okay, you Smurfs, let's line up in a smurf and make sure that each of you draws out only one single smurfberry," Brainy advised as he placed the picnic basket near the edge of the stage.
And so the Smurfs lined up in front of each other in a queue so that they could each draw a smurfberry to determine the winner. Hefty went first and drew a red smurfberry. Handy went next and also drew a red smurfberry. Greedy went next and drew a red smurfberry, eating it as soon as he drew it. Vanity went next and drew a red smurfberry. Grouchy went next, saying "I hate lotteries", but nevertheless drew a red smurfberry. Harmony went next and drew a red smurfberry. Lazy fell asleep when he reached into the basket, but the Smurf standing behind him elbowed him in the arm to awaken him, and soon also drew a red smurfberry.
Scaredy was standing in line with Tapper and Duncan standing behind him. "Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear," Scaredy muttered to himself. "What if I'm the one who gets to draw the green smurfberry? What am I going to smurf?"
"That's a chance you're going to have to smurf there, laddie," Duncan said.
"Be of good courage, my fellow Scaredy," Tapper said. "The Almighty will smurf beside you through your journey if that's the case."
"Scaredy Smurf, it's your turn," Papa Smurf prompted as soon as he reached the stage for his turn to pick a smurfberry from the basket.
"Oh please, Mother Nature and Father Time, let me not be the one who will smurf the green smurfberry," Scaredy prayed quietly when he reached into the picnic basket. He drew out the smurfberry that he grabbed and found out that it was green.
Papa Smurf noticed it. "You did it! Scaredy Smurf has picked the green smurfberry!" he announced to all the other Smurfs. "Consmurfulations! You are the Foxfire Smurf!"
All the Smurfs cheered for Scaredy, who looked even more scared than he was before the lottery had even started, for having been picked for what he saw as a dubious honor.
Papa Smurf brought forth a torch for Scaredy to carry on his person. "Tomorrow you will light this torch with the Foxfire. Good luck, and may the spirits of the Smurfs be with you."
Again the other Smurfs cheered for Scaredy. But Scaredy felt a big lump forming in his throat, realizing that he was in a situation that there seemed to be no way out of. Or so it seemed.
Pushover was in his house, asleep while sitting on a chair, trying to relax from the day that he had been through when he heard a knock on his door. He awakened to find out that it was around midnight, and so he wondered who would awaken him at this hour.
He opened the door and found out that it was Scaredy, who was holding what appeared to be a torch. "Scaredy, what's wrong?" he asked, sounding a bit concerned.
"Excuse me, Pushover, I'm sorry to bother you," Scaredy said, sounding very timid in his response, "but I was just wondering..."
"You were wondering what?" Pushover asked rather suspiciously, realizing that Scaredy had something on his mind for Pushover to do.
Scaredy gulped. "I'm sorry, Pushover, but I just need to ask you for a favor because I have been smurfed with the honor of being the Foxfire Smurf who must smurf to the Great Swamp and light this torch so that we can light the Firefly Lantern to conclude the festival, and I'm just too scared to smurf it by myself."
"So you need me to smurf it for you, is that what you're asking?" Pushover asked, figuring the whole matter out for himself.
"Every Smurf says that you're not the type of Smurf who will smurf no for an answer when it comes to smurfing favors, Pushover," Scaredy said. "I don't want to smurf too much advantage of you for smurfing something that I should be smurfing for myself, but could you please..."
Pushover sighed. "All right, all right! Just for you, I will smurf it. But promise me that you'll never smurf me for any more favors again like this, you got that?"
"No more favors from you? But I thought you were the..." Scaredy tried to say.
"Just promise me!" Pushover said a bit more sternly.
Scaredy shuddered, realizing that this favor may end up being the last he would ask of Pushover, and that Pushover meant it. "Of course, Pushover, whatever you say," he said as he handed over the torch to Pushover.
Since only Papa Smurf knew the way to the Great Swamp, Pushover had to get the map straight from Papa Smurf. So while Scaredy went to hide himself away, Pushover went to Papa Smurf's house early before the sun arose to get the map. To do this, Pushover had to imitate Scaredy's nervous stammery demeanor as best as he could so Papa Smurf wouldn't notice.
"Make sure you follow the map exactly as it will smurf you to the spot where you will smurf the legendary Foxfire flame, Scaredy," Papa Smurf said as he handed over the map to him. "Is that understood?"
"Y-y-y-y-y-yes, Papa Smurf," Pushover answered, imitating Scaredy's voice.
"You don't seem like yourself today, Scaredy," Papa Smurf said, as if he could detect something different about the Smurf he was talking to. "Is everything all right?"
"What, me, Papa Smurf?" Pushover responded. "No...I mean, yes...I mean, I'm still the same Scaredy Smurf as I was last night. Anyway, I have to get smurfing."
Papa Smurf was left stroking his beard and wondering as he watched the Smurf he thought was Scaredy leave his house.
As Pushover headed into the forest with the map to the Great Swamp in one hand and the torch in the other, he was starting to feel not so good about himself. "The things I have to do in order to smurf favors for other Smurfs," he groused. "It isn't enough that I have to smurf this job for Scaredy; now I have to lie in order to smurf it for Scaredy. Well, I hope when this job is smurfed, that no Smurf will ever again ask me to smurf a favor for them."
Pushover followed the directions to the Great Swamp very carefully, making sure he didn't miss a single turn on the map. Navigating through the swamp itself, however, was another problem, as it was filled with sudden drops and unexpected elements like creatures disguising themselves as rocks that Pushover had to be careful of. He almost got snapped by a snapping turtle that he stepped on the shell of in the middle of a great pool of muck when he noticed something glowing up ahead. He jumped off right before the snapping turtle snapped and landed on solid ground when he saw a single flame in the middle of a pool of muck glowing with an ethereal light emanating from the flame itself.
"That must be it...the legendary Foxfire," Pushover reasoned. "Now it's time to light this torch and hopefully smurf this journey to a close before anybody notices." He walked out on the rocks toward the flame and lit the torch with the Foxfire. "Well, that seemed easier than I smurfed."
Pushover headed back toward the ledge and climbed up to it, but in the process he loosed a pile of rocks and caused them to tumble down into the muck, with one of the rocks landing right on top of the Foxfire itself.
"Uh-oh, the Foxfire is out," Pushover said fearfully. "Now what am I going to do?"
Then he heard something rise from the muck, growling in a deep gravelly voice as it arose. He turned and saw a tall hideous bearded creature, a humanoid made entirely of plant material, rising to the surface with fierce staring eyes, ready to have his vengeance on whoever disturbed him.
"Cursed he who kills the flame, cursed he who gives me pain," he muttered. Then lightning and rain came down from the sky as the monster stepped out of the muck to chase after the one who disturbed him.
Pushover realized that he was in deep trouble. "No, you don't understand," he tried to reason. "I didn't mean to smurf that. It was an accident."
"Cursed he who kills the flame, cursed he who gives me pain," the monster repeated.
Pushover realized he had one thing left to do. He had to run for his life and hope he could make it back to the village so Papa Smurf would know what to do. In his haste, he dropped the map he was carrying and hopped as fast as his feet could carry him over the rocks and branches of the swamp so he could reach home.