Part 7

Meanwhile, in the thief's hideout, Brainy and Hefty were hiding behind a stack of pots, watching as the thief was counting up his ill-gotten gains for the night and laughing.
"Oh, this is such a wonderful little treasure," the thief said to himself. "It's a good thing that rich man was so stupid enough to travel down the alley at night. This could really keep me going for a while."
"Well, that's just smurfy," Brainy complained quietly. "We track this smurf down to his hideout and we don't even know what to smurf with him. Have you got any ideas, Hefty?"
"I'm working on it, Brainy," Hefty said. "This whole thing would be more fun if I had Gutsy and Tuffy with me instead of you."
"Oh, sure...why would I forget the Three Smurfketeers?" Brainy said. "It smurfs only fitting that they should be here to handle smurfing a thief on Christmas eve while I get to help Papa Smurf with the more important task of..."
"You're here with me, all right?" Hefty said. "I don't need you complaining about where you should be. I just need you to help me think. Look around and see if there's anything we can smurf to our advantage."
Brainy peered out from his hiding place to carefully look around the room for anything they could use. As he did, the wind caused a shutter on a high window to blow open, and through it they could hear singing.
"Hefty! It's the Smurfs!" Brainy cried out.
"Shhh, be quiet!" Hefty said, putting his hand over Brainy's mouth.
"Huh? Who's there?" the thief asked as he stopped his counting and started to look around the room, sifting through the things that are in it.
"Nice work, Brainy," Hefty said as he carried Brainy away. "Now we have to smurf ourselves another hiding place before we..."
"Hefty, look out!" Brainy said.
Hefty ran straight into a barrel and bumped into it, causing it to shake until it dropped a metal pitcher onto the floor. The thief was startled by the sound of the pitcher and looked around. "Who's there? Show yourself!"
Hefty climbed on top of the barrel to get a better look. As he did, the candle on the barrel caused his shadow to appear on the wall.
The thief saw the shadow, but not the Smurf who was casting it, and became fearful. "Wh...wh...what kind of evil spirit are you?" he asked.
Evil spirit? Hefty wondered. He decided that he might as well play along. "Spirit?" he said in a deeper gravelly tone. "I am a Christmas spirit. You are the one who is evil."
"Evil?" the thief said. "How can I be evil? I'm just a thief!"
"Hah! You call that good?" Brainy said as he appeared on the barrel next to Hefty.
The thief shuddered as he saw another similar shadow appear. "There are two of you?"
"Of course there are," Hefty said. "Christmas spirits always come in pairs."
"B...b...b...but why do you come bothering me?" the thief asked.
"Because you don't have the Christmas spirit," Hefty said. "This season is supposed to be about giving and sharing."
"But why should I give anybody anything?" the thief demanded. "Nobody ever gave me anything."
"Well, maybe because you never gave anybody the chance...," Brainy began to say before he started to slip and fall, only to be caught by Hefty.
The thief found himself distracted by the sound of singing outside his house. He went over to the window and heard the sound of many happy voices, all singing about giving and sharing. Hefty and Brainy recognized it as one of their own Christmas carols.
"Are these more Christmas spirits?" the thief asked. "What do they want?"
"The same thing that we want...for you to look at yourself and see how selfish you have become," Hefty said.
"And how you live all alone with your stolen goods," Brainy said.
"Is that how you want to spend your Christmas, only thinking about yourself?" Hefty asked.
"Don't think that we will leave you alone, because you will have to decide sooner or later," Brainy said.
The thief looked out the window and continued to listen to the singing, and then he looked down at the gold coins in his hand. He began to think about his life and what it had become up until now, and realized that he must do something about it.

Meanwhile, Willem brought Hans, Miranda, and some guards with him to track down the thief that stole his bag of gold. One way or another, he was going to bring the guilty party to justice.
"The tracks lead this way," one of the guards said as they followed the tracks toward the door of a house, where they saw a puppet hanging in front of it.
"Father, I've seen that puppet," Hans said. "It's the one that the toymaker has given me."
"The toymaker, eh?" Willem said. He looked down in front of the door and saw his empty bag. "The culprit must be in here celebrating."
"Why would the old man want to steal your gold, Father?" Hans asked.
"You know peasants want something for nothing, Hans, always looking for a handout," Willem said. "And if they don't get a handout, they will take it by force. Well, tonight, he shall know the consequences of taking what doesn't belong to him."
"Willem, must we be so harsh on a Christmas night to those who are less fortunate?" Miranda asked.
"I will not let the peasants take any advantage of me or my family, my dear," Willem said. "It's time one of them got a clear message."

Inside the house of the toymaker, Gustav and Elise sat and watched the Smurfs sing and dance and put on such amusing antics that made Elise laugh in a way that her husband had not heard in a long time. Gustav felt as if his prayers had been answered that night.
"Oh, Christmas wishes do come true, my dear," Elise said, sounding animated. "I could feel my spirits lifting."
"And mine too, Elise," Gustav said. "It makes me feel like our wedding night. Oh, such wonderful memories, such happy times. We had such a promising future."
"Oh, Gustav, I could love you all over again," Elise said, looking into his eyes with eyes of love.
The Smurfs watched as Gustav gave his wife a very long kiss on the mouth. "Oh, isn't that so romantic," Smurfette said, sighing to herself.
Gustav and Elise then looked at their guests. "Oh, sorry, I didn't mean for you to...," Gustav began to say.
"That's quite all right, Gustav," Papa Smurf said. "There's no need to apologize. My little Smurfs are happy to see that your spirits have been lifted once more."
"But there's nothing we could give to repay you," Gustav said. "You've given us so much."
"There's nothing that we really need from you," Papa Smurf said. "Just seeing you happy and your wife healthy is all the reward we will ever need."
"But please, take this," Elise said, picking up one of the puppets and handing it to Sassette. "It may not be much, but seeing a child happy with a new toy is worth everything to me."
Sassette looked at the toy and played with it a bit. "Why, it's so beautiful," she said with a tear forming in her eye. "It's the best present I could ever get this year."
Just then, they could hear knocking on the door. The Smurfs all scurried into hiding places as Gustav went to the door to answer it.
It was Willem with his family and the guards. "Why, Sheriff," Gustav greeted. "What brings you..."
Willem stepped forward. "Just look at those decorations, Sheriff. He could never afford them on whatever he earns without stealing," he said, pointing to the Christmas tree and everything else in the room.
"My husband didn't steal anything," Elise said as she joined Gustav. "It was given to us by the elves, who decorated our hut." She started to cough.
"Elise, my dear, you should be back in bed," Gustav said, holding her hand.
"Oh no," Sassette said as she watched the scene unfold from her hiding place. "What are we going to smurf? Elise is starting to feel sick again."
"I don't know, Sassy," Grandpa Smurf said. "It smurfs that all the good we've done is getting undone."
"Elves? Impossible! Arrest that old thief, Sheriff!" Willem said, pointing at Gustav.
"I'm afraid you'll have to come with us," the sheriff said, grabbing Gustav by the arm.
"Michty me, I can't stand smurfing like this and watching this man being accused like that," Duncan said.
"It looks like we don't have a choice," Empath said. "Papa Smurf, we may have to show ourselves to verify her story and vindicate Gustav of any wrongdoing."
"I may have to agree with you on that, Empath," Papa Smurf said.
But before the Smurfs could do anything, another voice broke in as he snatched the empty bag. It was the thief. "He didn't steal your gold. I was the one who snatched your purse in the alley, and I have come to give it back." He then dropped all the coins he took into the bag.
"Why are you here confessing?" the sheriff asked.
"Maybe because I have a change of heart, and believe that now is a time for me to start giving instead of taking," the thief answered, handing the bag of gold to Willem. "That is what I heard is the Christmas spirit."
As the Smurfs used the distraction to depart from Gustav's house, Hefty and Brainy showed up to watch the thief make his confession. "Well, what do you know?" Hefty said. "He actually listened to what we were smurfing back there. I didn't think we would able to smurf him into coming clean about himself."
"Well, it just goes to smurf you that having me around is very essential, Hefty," Brainy said in his usual self-important tone. "Besides, if everyone actually listened to the wisdom that I smurf on a daily basis, the world would be a much smurfier place than..."
"Oh, save it for later," Hefty said, grabbing Brainy and sneaking out through the crack in the door. "Besides, I don't want to miss our ride home."
They joined the rest of the Smurfs on the sled that was waiting outside. "We've been waiting for you to smurf up," Duncan said. "Where have you two laddies been?"
"Oh, we were just busy spreading the Christmas spirit around, Duncan," Brainy said. "I hope I didn't miss anything important."
"We can explain it all on our way to the Smurf Village, Brainy," Empath said. "For now, let's leave the humans in peace."