At that point, Tapper and Duncan had shown up during Pushback's telling of the story. "Greetings, my fellow Smurfs and Polaris," Tapper said. "I had sensed in my spirit that you would be smurfing your time here with our friend Pushback learning about how he had smurfed his new name."
"It's not exactly the name I would have chosen if I were him, laddies, but I think it's a name that smurfs him very well," Duncan said.
"Of course, some Smurfs do prefer to call him P.B., as if that's an acceptable alternative to just calling him Pushback, which is a reminder of how a Smurf like him can't be smurfed around anymore," Tapper said.
"This one may not fully appreciate the name that he has now, Tapper, but this one is willing to accept him for the Smurf that he is despite the name," Polaris said.
"You know, it's not polite to talk about a Smurf like Pushback when he's standing in front of us listening to everything we have to say about him as if he wasn't there," Empath reminded.
"You are quite right, Empath," Tapper said. "We're sorry if we were discussing you without letting you become part of the discussion, my fellow Pushback."
"That's all right, Tapper, I'm quite used to it," Pushback said, trying to sound polite despite the rudeness surrounding him.
"Anyway, I think we should let the dear boy smurf the rest of his story to our friends without any further interference from us now," Duncan suggested. "We'll smurf you later at the festival."
After Tapper and Duncan had departed, Pushback continued. "Now where was I? Oh, yes, Papa Smurf was smurfing out into the forest to meet with me and Scaredy when we were smurfing for our lives from the Marsh Monster."
At the point where the story left off, Empath and Polaris both saw Papa Smurf rush off into the forest, where he saw many creatures run for their lives from the presence of a dark voice chanting, "Cursed he who kills the flame, cursed he who gives me pain."
Soon both Scaredy and Pushover arrived with the Foxfire torch. "Papa Smurf...the Marsh Monster..." Scaredy tried to say.
"Scaredy, I thought you said that you didn't smurf out the Foxfire," Papa Smurf said.
"Uh, I did, Papa Smurf," Pushover said. "Scaredy was too scared to smurf out to the Great Swamp to light the torch with the Foxfire, so he asked me to smurf it for him, and I did, but then I smurfed loose some rocks, and...well, the whole thing was an accident."
"Perhaps I should have cautioned you more," Papa Smurf scolded. "Now because of your carelessness, some Smurf must now smurf back to the Great Swamp and relight the flame."
"You...you mean...g-g-g-g-go back?!?" Scaredy said, finding himself shaking at the mere thought of doing so.
"Cursed he who kills the flame, cursed he who gives me pain," the Marsh Monster chanted, sounding like he was getting much closer to the village.
Pushover sighed. "I'll go, Papa Smurf. I'm the one responsible for smurfing out the flame and smurfing the job I wasn't supposed to."
"I-I-I-I'll go too, Papa Smurf," Scaredy said. "That was supposed to be my job."
"Very well then," Papa Smurf said, handing over an object to Scaredy. "Take this scroll and read it in time of need when you reach the Great Swamp. This will calm the creature long enough for you to smurf the job that you need to smurf with the Foxfire. Now go and may the spirits of the Smurfs be with you."
"Yes, Papa Smurf," Scaredy and Pushover both said together.
"And remember that it's all right to be afraid, my little Smurfs," Papa Smurf reminded them. "Everybody is a little afraid sometimes, including me."
"Come on, Scaredy, let's get smurfing if he want to get the Foxfire relit," Pushover prompted. "I'll be right beside you."
"Uh...coming right with you, Pushover," Scaredy said, swallowing hard before he and Pushover ventured out into the forest to head back to the Great Swamp.
Tapper and Duncan were with the Smurfs that were gathered on the other side of the River Smurf, trying to keep everybody calm while Papa Smurf dealt with the Marsh Monster and the two Smurfs that awakened him.
"Oh dear," Smurfette moaned. "I only hope that Pushover and Scaredy are all right with that Marsh Monster smurfing after them."
"There's nothing to fear, my dear Smurfette," Tapper said. "Papa Smurf will give those two what they need to smurf the creature back where it belongs and things will smurf back to normal."
"This whole thing was Scaredy's fault, that the creature was smurfed loose upon us this night," Hefty said.
"Every Smurf knows by now that you shouldn't awaken the Marsh Monster when you light the torch with the Foxfire," Brainy said.
"Uh, yeah, what Brainy said," Clumsy said.
And several other Smurfs raised up their comments about the situation before Duncan silenced them.
"It's no use crying over smurfed milk, laddies," Duncan said. "What's smurfed is smurfed, and right now we need to let Scaredy and Pushover smurf what they have to smurf to set things right."
"I feel like the whole thing was my fault," Smurfette said, sounding like she was breaking into tears. "I should never have treated Pushover like most of the other Smurfs have treated him yesterday. And now he's out there with Scaredy with the Marsh Monster after them."
"There, there now, my dear," Tapper said, putting his arm around her shoulder to comfort her. "I'm sure we will all have an opportunity to smurf amends for our ways with our friend Pushover, that we will never smurf all our jobs unto him for him to smurf all by himself."
"Me, ever make amends with that Smurf?" Hefty said. "You can just forget it. Pushover deserves all that he smurfs from me, and if he doesn't like it, that's his problem right there."
"You never seem to smurf your lesson from all your years of being a bully to your fellow Smurfs, Hefty," Duncan said with great displeasure. "I wouldn't be surprised if the laddie smurfed you a good one to smurf you in your place."
"Pushover smurf me a good one?" Hefty scoffed. "Ha! I'd like to see him try!"
"You should be careful of what you ask for, my fellow Hefty, because you may not like the fact of how you will smurf it," Tapper warned. "For now, though, I believe that our fellow Smurfs who are returning to the Great Swamp are going to need some spiritual protection."
"Pushover and Scaredy need prayer, mate?" Sweepy asked, realizing what Tapper was saying.
"Whatever they need, Tapper, we'll join together with you," Barber said. "You said that where two or more are gathered together in the name of the Almighty's Son, He will be there among them."
"I would greatly appreciate it, my friends," Tapper said with some gratitude before he began. "O Lord God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, I pray that You would smurf a hedge of protection around my friends Pushover and Scaredy as they journey back to unsmurf the damage that they have smurfed, so that the spirits of the world can rest in peace knowing that everything in all creation is in subjection to You and Your will, that no weapon smurfed against Your people shall ever prosper. Strengthen the inner smurf of these two Smurfs so that they know they have nothing to fear when You are smurfing over them like a hen smurfs over her brood of chicks, safe under the shadow of Your wings. In the name of Your only begotten Son, I pray. Amen."
"Amen," Barber and Sweepy said together at the prayer's close.
"Well, I sure feel better knowing that the Gospel Smurf has invoked the name of his imaginary God to watch over those two Smurfs," Hefty said sarcastically.
"You just watch and see if you think Tapper's Almighty is imaginary or not, laddie," Duncan said to Hefty.
Pushover and Scaredy headed back the same way that they came from the Great Swamp, having remembered the way from the last time they were there. All around they could see everything in the forest seemed all dark and scary, with all sorts of creatures, both dangerous and docile, appearing either fearsome or frightened by the haunting presence of the Marsh Monster that was now in the forest. They could still hear its chant repeating over and over, but now only they could hear it loud and clear, which meant that their heading back to the Great Swamp is drawing it away from the village.
"Are we smurfing closer to the spot where we must relight the Foxfire, Pushover?" Scaredy asked, unsure of how far they had to go and not wanting to run into the Marsh Monster should they fail or succeed.
"I think we are, Scaredy," Pushover answered. "This spot smurfs a bit familiar right over there. That's where that I had..."
Suddenly they found themselves face to face with the Marsh Monster, appearing right behind them. "Cursed he who kills the flame, cursed he who gives me pain," he chanted, raising his arms in preparation to do his worst toward the two Smurfs.
Scaredy pulled his hat down over his eyes in fright, while Pushover said, "Scaredy, quick! Read the scroll!"
"Oh, yes, the scroll," Scaredy said, remembering what he was carrying in his hand. He opened the scroll and read the incantation that was written upon it: "O ancient spirit of summer night, help us smurf the thing that's right; O give us strength in this hour of need, to bravely smurf our noble deed."
Suddenly the two Smurfs noticed a glow coming from the Marsh Monster itself as the incantation did its work. Its fierce gaze had relaxed into a peaceful countenance, and it stood upright instead of hunched over ready to pounce on its prey.
"Uh, Marsh Monster, sir, I had smurfed out the Foxfire flame," Pushover confessed, still finding himself shuddering before the once fearsome creature of the swamp. "It was an accident."
The Marsh Monster just stood there and muttered something unintelligible. It seemed to understand the words that Pushover had spoken unto it, and was now waiting patiently for the next thing to happen.
"I think it wants us to relight the Foxfire now," Scaredy said, guessing from the Marsh Monster's facial expression.
"I think so, too," Pushover said. "Come on, Scaredy, it's time for you to relight the Foxfire."
"Me?" Scaredy said. "You're the one who smurfed out the Foxfire. You should be the one to relight it."
"But you're the one who is the Foxfire Smurf, Scaredy," Pushover said, holding out the torch for Scaredy to grab. "It's your responsibility."
"But...but...but I don't want to do it," Scaredy said.
Pushover was resolute. "No. I'm through smurfing any more favors for you. You do it."
Scaredy realized that Pushover wasn't going to back down from what he had said and he wasn't going to change his mind. "Well, okay, if it's my job to smurf the Foxfire, then I will do it," he said, grabbing the torch from Pushover and stepping out onto the marsh to touch the surface of the muck with the Foxfire flame. Soon the flame burned brightly again on the surface of the marsh.
"Yippee! I did it! I relit the Foxfire flame!" Scaredy squealed with joy.
"It seems that the Marsh Monster is now happy again," Pushover said as he watched the creature reenter the muck that it arose from and sink back down, feeling at peace with itself once again.
Over where the Smurfs had gathered in the forest across the River Smurf, Papa Smurf had joined them in the hope that the Smurfs could return to their village soon and resume the Firefly Festival celebration to its conclusion. Tapper seemed to be either in deep meditation or prayer as he stood off away from most of the other Smurfs with only Sweepy and Barber beside him.
"What does it seem that Tapper is smurfing with those two Smurfs?" Papa Smurf asked as he noticed them standing apart with each other.
"That is what Tapper calls praying to his God, Papa Smurf," Brainy answered. "I don't know why he thinks that his God will even answer his prayers, since we can smurf clearly our own patron deities while his remains forever invisible and possibly imaginary like Hefty thinks."
"I wouldn't belittle the faith that a Smurf has in his own personal deity if I were you, Brainy," Papa Smurf said. "If Tapper truly thinks that his God is powerful enough to help us out in a situation like this, who are we to smurf that someone like Tapper shouldn't pray to Him?"
"But how long are we supposed to smurf out in the forest like this, Papa Smurf?" Brainy asked. "It's not like any of us could know for certain whether Pushover or Scaredy have succeeded in their task to..."
"Oh, thank You, Lord God Almighty," Tapper finally spoke, sounding very cheerful. "Friends, our fellow Smurfs have restored peace to the Marsh Monster and are now returning to the village. Praise the Lord!"
"Hey, how could Tapper know all this?" Hefty asked, sounding rather suspicious.
"I believe that it smurfs simply in how his Almighty works, Hefty," Papa Smurf said. "Anyway, we should smurf it as a good sign and smurf back to the village immediately. Come, my little Smurfs, let's all return home and prepare for their arrival."
"Yes, Papa Smurf," all the Smurfs said in unison cheerfully.
Duncan and Smurfette were both walking back to the village together. "Tapper is always surprising me with the faith that he has in his Almighty, Duncan," Smurfette commented.
"I wish I could say that I'm beyond being surprised, my dear lassie, but when his Almighty smurfs through time and again, it just smurfs me in wonder about my friend," Duncan said.
Meanwhile, Scaredy and Pushover were walking home with the still-lit Foxfire torch, pleased that they have together accomplished what seemed to be the impossible for the both of them.
"Thanks, Pushover, for helping me to overcome one of my fears," Scaredy said.
"I think we both helped each other out, Scaredy," Pushover said. "You helped me to not be afraid to say no when it comes to smurfing things that I don't want to smurf."
"I didn't know that's what you were so afraid of, Pushover," Scaredy said.
"Don't smurf it the wrong way, Scaredy," Pushover said. "I do like helping out my fellow Smurfs, but they have to understand that I can't smurf everything at the same time like I'm Empath Smurf."
"I know what you mean, Pushover," Scaredy said. "I can only wish that I was even a little like Empath, to not be afraid of everything."
"As Papa Smurf has said, everybody is a little afraid of something sometimes," Pushover said.
Then Scaredy looked up at the sky. "Look, the moon is really high up in the sky."
"Then that means we must hurry if we're going to conclude the Firefly Festival in time," Pushover said. "Let's smurf up the pace, shall we?"
"Gladly," Scaredy said, as he and Pushover started walking faster.
Back in the Smurf Village, the Smurfs were all gathered around the Firefly Lantern, anxiously waiting for the return of Scaredy and Pushover with the Foxfire torch. They knew that the worst was over from what was revealed to Tapper in his prayer session, but now with the danger gone, there was another pressing concern that was on their mind.
"They are going to return home on time, aren't they, Papa Smurf?" Smurfette asked.
"I can only hope so, Smurfette," Papa Smurf answered as he looked up at the sky. "The moon is about to reach its zenith at any minute."
"Papa Smurf, look!" Tracker called out.
Everybody looked in the same direction that Tracker was looking in, and saw the faint glow of the Foxfire torch. Then came the two Smurfs, looking very pleased and triumphant that they have accomplished their task.
"It's Scaredy and Pushover! They're here!" Smurfette exclaimed.
"HIP, HIP, HOORAY! HIP, HIP, HOORAY!" the Smurfs cheered as they watched Pushover and Scaredy enter the village.
"You did it, my little Smurfs," Papa Smurf said, sounding pleased. "You've smurfed the Marsh Monster back home and smurfed the Foxfire torch in time to light the lantern so we can smurf this festival to a close."
"We couldn't have smurfed it without each other, Papa Smurf," Pushover said.
"Yeah," Scaredy agreed. "We both helped each other overcome our fears."
"Well, there's only one thing left to do," Papa Smurf said. "Scaredy, I know that you're afraid of heights, so if you don't feel that you could..."
"No, Papa Smurf, I must smurf it myself," Scaredy said, as he climbed the ladder with the torch in one hand and reached inside the lantern to light it. Immediately the lantern gave off beams of dazzling colored light, which made the Smurfs look on in awe and wonder before they let out a great cheer.
"All right, Smurfs, let's party until the night is smurfed," Twanger said, stomping on the stage a few times with his foot before he, Fiddler, and Piper commenced with the music. The Smurfs went and danced with each other while the fireflies hovered overhead and gave their light to shine over the celebration.
Pushover decided that now was the time to talk with Papa Smurf. "I'm sorry that I didn't have the courage to just say no when I should have, Papa Smurf," he said. "If I did, then none of this would have happened."
"You only smurfed what you thought was right in your heart to smurf for your friend, Pushover," Papa Smurf said. "Just remember, that saying no when it comes to refusing to smurf a favor to someone, even a close friend, does not make you a bad Smurf for smurfing it."
"But there are other Smurfs who just smurf advantage of me not smurfing no when it comes to smurfing their jobs for them, Papa Smurf," Pushover said.
"There is only one of you in this village, Pushover," Papa Smurf said. "The other Smurfs will need to smurf for themselves that you won't allow them to smurf advantage of you just because you want to be a friend to them. If they have a problem with you smurfing no to them, then you should smurf it to me if you feel that you can't handle the situation by yourself. Do you understand?"
"Yes, Papa Smurf," Pushover said. "I'm glad that you finally know about my problem with the other Smurfs."
"I'm always here for each and every one of you, because you are all my children, and a good Papa Smurf always listens to his children, Pushover," Papa Smurf said, putting his hand on Pushover's shoulder to show empathy.
Meanwhile, Brainy was busy speaking his mind to Tracker, who just looked at him with total disbelief. "I told you...I told you that they would smurf back," he said in his usual self-confident tone. "You should never be a doubting Smurf, since you never knew when your faith will be rewarded, and furthermore..."
Brainy found himself being flung to the village limits. "Maybe Tapper is the Smurf who should be speaking to the other Smurfs about faith and doubt," he muttered as soon as he landed on his head.
Scaredy was standing by himself near the stage, swaying back and forth to the music being played, when Jokey sneaked up on him wearing a scary mask that he held up to his own face. "Hey, Scaredy!" Jokey cried out, attracting his fellow Smurf's attention.
Scaredy turned and saw Jokey's scary mask. "YEOW!" he yelled at the top of his lungs.
Jokey laughed afterward. "Scared you, didn't I?" he said while still laughing. This only made Scaredy so upset that he started to chase after Jokey.
Pushover was standing next to Smurfette when Jokey passed by the both of them with Scaredy still chasing him. "Hey, Pushover, I've got a favor to ask of you," Jokey cried out.
"Sorry, Jokey, I'm through with smurfing anymore favors," Pushover responded. "Solve your own problems for a change."
Tapper and Duncan were standing next to each other while the party continued late into the night. "Well, despite everything that has happened, I would say that this Firefly Festival has smurfed out for the best in the long run," Tapper said.
"It's too bad that I wasn't chosen to be the one who would have been the Foxfire Smurf this time around, laddie," Duncan said.
"You'll smurf your chance sometime in the future, my fellow Duncan," Tapper said. "I was rather hoping to be the one chosen for that honor as well, but that decision is one that I will have to smurf in the Almighty's hands."
"With your faith in that Almighty of yours, I wouldn't doubt that He would be there as your smurfguard every step of the way," Duncan said. "But even if he isn't, I would be honored to smurf with you to the Great Swamp."
"I appreciate that thought very much, for all the years that we have smurfed with each other as brothers of two different families," Tapper said.
"United as one family forever, dear boy," Duncan said, putting his hand on Tapper's shoulder while smiling at his friend.