The next morning, Greedy was busy serving breakfast to his fellow Smurfs when he noticed something different that morning. "I wonder what happened to the Smurflings," he asked as soon as he finished serving the last Smurf in line. "They're usually here the first thing in the morning to smurf their breakfast."
"I don't know, Greedy," Smurfette said. "I thought maybe they smurfed up early in order to help out Farmer Smurf."
"Well, I surely haven't been seeing them smurfing in my fields when I was smurfing up there, Smurfette," Farmer said.
"This is most unusual for the Smurflings to just leave the village without smurfing a word to anyone as to where they're heading," Papa Smurf said as he stroked his beard in thought.
"I wonder if this might have anything to do with Sassette saying that Gargamel smurfed a change of heart like she thought she had smurfed yesterday," Tapper said.
"If that's what Sassette believes, laddie, I would understand that," Duncan said. "I just don't know why she would drag the other Smurflings along with her to smurf this for herself."
"The idea of Gargamel ever smurfing a change of heart is just totally preposterous, if I do smurf so myself," Brainy said. "If the evidence of our encounters with him clearly smurfs, it's more likely that he's just faking it in order to deceive us into believing that..."
Suddenly Brainy got picked up and tossed to the other side of the village. "Well, excuse me if you Smurfs don't like having me smurf out the obvious truth," he groaned after he had landed.
"Papa Smurf, me and Duncan would certainly like to smurf out into the forest to find the Smurflings and make sure that they're not smurfing themselves into any danger," Tapper requested.
"I would also like to join Tapper and Duncan to find Sassette," Smurfette added.
"Very well then, my little Smurfs, as long as you keep yourselves out of any trouble you may encounter with Gargamel, if indeed he has returned to the land of the smurfing," Papa Smurf said.
"Aye, I'm sure that we'll find out the truth smurfer or later, Papa Smurf," Duncan said before he, Tapper, and Smurfette departed.
Meanwhile, the Smurflings were already near the outskirts of Gargamel's hovel. "Holy hickory nuts, Sassette, I don't know why you have us smurfing all the way here just to see if Gargamel had smurfed back from Hades with a change of heart," Nat said.
"I just know that there's something different about Pappy Gargamel and how he was acting yesterday when me and Pappy Smurf were collecting dandelion pollen, Nat," Sassette said. "I just have to know if we're going to be friends from now on."
"Gargamel's never going to change being what he is, Sassy, even if he was in Hades," Snappy said.
"Yeah, you know what Papa Smurf says, that a leopard cannot change his spots," Slouchy said.
"Well, just you wait and smurf, because I'm certain that Pappy Gargamel is going to be a smurfy pappy from now on," Sassette said as the four of them got close to Gargamel's window and watched what was going on inside.
"Wow...either I'm smurfing things or there's two Gargamels in the same house," Slouchy said as he looked.
"That's just what we need smurfing around in our forest...two evil wizards that are both like Gargamel," Snappy said.
Inside the hovel, Gourmelin was just finishing up his breakfast while Scruple was doing the cleaning. "It seems that you've become a great sorcerer, since you now also have an apprentice, Gargamel," Gourmelin said. "Are you happy with your career?"
"No, no, and no!" Gargamel ranted. "I am so very close to completing the creation of the Philosopher's Stone from our father's notes which he left behind, but the one final ingredient is one that I have never been able to keep...and that ingredient are those horrible little blue dwarves that are called Smurfs."
"Smurfs?" Gourmelin said as he wiped his mouth. "You mean those little creatures that I have run into the other day when I was looking for your house? They seem rather shy, except for the one who was calling me Pappy."
"They're disgustingly happy little monsters, Gourmelin...creatures that have been making a fool of me for the past few years since I moved into this place," Gargamel said. "They go about in the forest singing their happy little song that just grates my ears, and all the while they continue to elude my traps and spells, and they also have the nerve to make a mockery of me."
"Well, if I were those little Smurfs, which I'm glad I'm not, I would certainly be mocking Master Gargy without stop," Scruple said to himself as he continued his cleaning.
"Oh, come now, brother, there's no need to be angry," Gourmelin said. "If one of them thinks that you're her father, shouldn't you at least try to act like one towards her?"
"Shut up!" Gargamel said, banging his fist on the table. "I don't want to hear you taking the side of those wretched miserable creatures ever! You're nothing but a wimp, a total disgrace to the family of sorcerers. You're nothing but a poet, a dreamer, a useless wanderer always looking for a handout instead of making your own way into the world."
Gourmelin sighed. "I'm sorry that you don't approve of my life, Gargamel, but I just don't feel cut out to be a sorcerer like you or our dear father. I only want to make people feel happy, not have them be miserable as helpless slaves serving my desires. And I wouldn't want to create the Philosopher's Stone by destroying the lives of others, even if it these Smurfs that you so want to capture."
"Then I guess that I don't have anymore need of you being in my house, eating my food and sleeping in my bed," Gargamel said. "Before the day's end, I want you to take your belongings and leave this place at once."
"Before I go, I do have a gift that I want to leave you," Gourmelin said, picking up his knapsack and opening it. A mechanical wooden man popped out of the knapsack and started walking on the table before jumping off and chasing Azrael around the room before he decided to chase after it instead.
"A little walking stickman?" Gargamel said as he watched Azrael chasing it around. "Now what would I want with this little toy of yours?"
"It's a magic little toy that I have picked up from somewhere, brother," Gourmelin said. "The person who gave it to me said that you can ask it only one wish, and it will fulfill it."
"Grant me one wish, eh?" Gargamel said, stroking his chin as he continued to watch the stickman with Azrael. "Well, here's my wish...I want it to find the village of the Smurfs!" he shouted with a laugh.
"Uh-oh, I don't think your Pappy Gargamel's really changed one bit," Slouchy said.
"Yeah, let's smurf back to the village before that little stickman finds us," Snappy said before the four Smurflings jumped down from the window.
"I don't think that's a good idea for it to...," Gourmelin began to protest.
"Yes!" Gargamel cackled with glee as he watched the stickman head straight for the door, which he opened. "It understood exactly what I wanted!" He handed Gourmelin one of his nets. "Scruple, you stay here and watch while me and my brother go out to find Smurfs."
"Sure, Master Gargy, you go and have your fun while I get stuck doing the cleaning," Scruple said as he watched Gargamel and Gourmelin head out the door with their nets.
"There...your stickman's already detected four Smurfs, Gourmelin," Gargamel said as he spotted the Smurflings heading back into the forest. "Let's catch them and then we can get the whole village of Smurfs when we reach it."
Gourmelin reluctantly followed behind his brother as he went into the forest to catch Smurfs.
"Well, I certainly didn't think that Pappy Gargamel would ever smurf a twin brother, Smurflings," Sassette said as the four of them continued running.
"Never mind that right now, Sassy," Snappy said. "We've got to find a way to keep that walking stickman from ever smurfing either of them to the village."
"We should split up and keep them from finding any of us first," Nat said as they saw a fork in the path leading in two different directions.
"Good idea, Nat," Slouchy said as he ran with Sassette down one path and Nat ran with Snappy down another path.
Soon Gargamel and Gourmelin reached the same fork, with the stickman continuing to travel on one of the paths. "Those little Smurfs must have split up, Gourmelin," Gargamel said. "You go down the other path while I continue following the stickman."
Gourmelin watched his brother continue to follow the stickman before proceeding down the path with his net. He didn't want to catch the Smurfs, but he hoped to find the one that called him Pappy Gargamel in order to talk to her.
As he went down the path, he could hear small voices speaking from behind a bush, and one of them weeping. "Oh, Sassette, you don't need to cry just because Pappy Gargamel still smurfed out to be bad," one of the voices said.
"I'm not just sad because of that, Slouchy," the weeping voice said. "I'm also happy that I now have an uncle who's more smurfier than Pappy Gargamel. I just wish that he can stay in the forest just like Sagratamabarb before he left."
"But the problem is that they smurf so much alike, we can't even tell who's really who, Sassette," Slouchy said.
Gourmelin got close to the bush and saw that two of the Smurflings were hiding behind it. He quickly scooped up both of them in his net and raised it up to see who he had captured, recognizing one of his captives. "So you're the little one who's called me Pappy Gargamel," Gourmelin said to Sassette. "Don't be afraid, I'm not going to do anything with you or your friend."
"I believe you, Gourmelin, but how can we stop that stickman from smurfing Pappy Gargamel to our village?" Sassette asked.
"Alas, the stickman will accomplish his mission, Sassette, but there is a way that I can keep Gargamel from following it," Gourmelin said.
"Really? Like how?" Slouchy asked.
"This magic flute that I have acquired with the stickman has the power of speeding up the stickman's movements," Gourmelin said as he pulled out the flute and started playing it. "There! He'll go so fast that Gargamel won't be able to catch up to it."
"Gee, thanks, Uncle Gourmelin," Sassette said.
"Now let's smurf back to the village to warn the others," Slouchy said after Gourmelin released him and Sassette.
At the same moment, the stickman that Gargamel was following started to pick up the pace, going at a much faster speed than the evil wizard was able to follow.
"Hey! Wait for me, you stupid puppet!" Gargamel shouted as he saw the stickman run off and disappear without a trace. He gamely tried to follow, but it had gone so fast that it was impossible to catch up to it.
Meanwhile, Tapper, Duncan, and Smurfette were still searching the forest for the Smurflings when they saw the stickman racing right past them, coming from the opposite direction. "Great Smurfiny Crickets, I could only wonder what that thing was smurfing," Tapper said.
"Beats the smurf out of me, laddie, but it smurfs like it has Gargamel written all over it," Duncan said.
Then they saw the four Smurflings racing back toward the village. "Oh, thank Smurfness the four of you are safe," Smurfette said as she greeted them.
"Where have you Smurflings been this morning?" Tapper asked. "We've been smurfing through the forest to look for you when you didn't smurf for breakfast."
"You wouldn't believe it, but Pappy Gargamel has a twin brother, and he had smurfed that walking stickman in order to help him find the village," Sassette said.
"Michty me, that sure doesn't sound like a good bit of news," Duncan said.
"But don't you worry about that," Slouchy said. "Gourmelin just smurfed his magic flute to make the walking stickman smurf faster. There's no way that Gargamel will be able to find the village now."
"Oh dear," Smurfette moaned. "We'd better smurf back to the village to make sure Gargamel doesn't find us smurfing out here."
"You can tell Papa Smurf all about what you have smurfed when we smurf home, my young friends," Tapper said as the seven of them headed back to the village.
Gargamel spent the whole day trying to look for the stickman, but only ended up getting lost, as he could find neither it nor the Smurf Village. By the time night fell, Gargamel decided to just give up the search and go back home.
Upon reaching his hovel, Gargamel saw that only Scruple and Azrael were waiting for him inside. "Well, where is that no-good brother of mine?" Gargamel demanded.
"I'm afraid he had left some time ago, Master Gargy, and he had left this note behind," Scruple said, producing a piece of parchment.
Gargamel took the parchment and read the message written on it. "No Smurfs I will ever capture; a poet I'll be forever after. Your kind brother Gourmelin, greetings to you does send." He got so angry that he tore up the message. "Oooooh, what an idiot! He never understood a single thing that I said about the Smurfs!"
"Does that mean we'll never get to see him again?" Scruple asked.
"I never want him to set foot in my house again, ever!" Gargamel shouted. "If he loves being around those little blue pests so much, he should go live with them and never come back!"
Also that night, the Smurfs were enjoying themselves with a little party in the village center, where they saw the stickman dance around the fire.
"And you say that the stickman isn't dangerous?" Brainy asked.
"No, no, he fulfilled Pappy Gargamel's wish by finding our village, Brainy," Sassette said.
"It's just too bad that Gargamel couldn't keep up to him," Snappy said.
"He'll leave again once Gourmelin recalls him with his magic flute," Slouchy said.
"He's certainly funny," Jokey said as he watched the stickman continue to dance.
Then suddenly the stickman stopped dancing at the same tune they could hear another tune playing from a distance. "Listen! That's Gourmelin's flute!" Nat said. The Smurfs watched as the stickman ran off into the forest and into the night.
"Well, Sassette, I don't know if I'm completely happy about having Gargamel back with us in the forest again, but I'm happy to know that his brother hasn't smurfed you in any way," Papa Smurf said.
"I still wish that Pappy Gargamel can change and become smurfy just like us, Pappy Smurf," Sassette said.
"So do I, Sassette, so do I," Papa Smurf said.