Part 4

Empath watched as Century woke up the next morning and decided that he was going to get a loaf of bread from Biscotti Smurf.
"Hey, it's my favorite customer, the Smurf of the century," Biscotti said as soon as Century entered his shop. "How's it smurfing?"
"Oh, just fine, thank you," Century said. "May I have a smurf of bread, please?"
"Certainly," Biscotti said, taking a loaf of bread from the shelf. "Here you go!"
"How much do I smurf you for the loaf?" Century asked.
Biscotti rubbed his jaw thinking about the question. "I honestly don't know, Century. Maybe we should ask that Finance Smurf about it."
"Might as well," Century said as they both left the shop together, heading for Trader's house. When they got there, however, they saw a crowd of Smurfs all waiting to talk to Trader about how much they should charge for their goods and services.
"Ho, ho, it smurfs like we're not the only ones who want to find out," Biscotti said with some amusement.
After a while of waiting, Century and Biscotti got to see Trader to ask about how much a loaf of bread should cost.
"Let's smurf up a scale of value," Trader said. He got out his book and started making a bunch of calculations in it. "If Farmer Smurf smurfs much days to smurf a bag of wheat and Miller Smurf smurfed his wheat for this much, he can smurf his flour to Biscotti Smurf and he can smurf his bread for the same smurf. While smurfing into account the time spent smurfing and fixed costs, it is reasonable to smurf that..."
After a lengthy discussion, Trader resolved Century and Biscotti's dilemma. They both walked out of Trader's house, with Trader happy to help them out after making a bunch of calculations.
"So how much do I smurf you for the bread?" Century asked as they returned to the bakery.
"By my estimation, you smurf me two coins," Biscotti answered.
Century pulled two coins out of his pocket. "Well, here you smurf!" he said as he handed them to Biscotti.
Biscotti laughed. "Now this is fun."

Meanwhile, Smurfette was taking care of Papa Smurf in a spare house that had been set up as a residence for the village leader when Trader came knocking.
"Hello there, Smurfette," he greeted, carrying a bag of money with him. "How's Papa Smurf doing?"
"He's smurfing pretty well, Trader," Smurfette answered as she allowed him entry to see Papa Smurf.
Trader approached the bed and showed Papa Smurf the bag of money he was carrying. "Here, Papa Smurf, I've come to deliver you your share of the money!"
Papa Smurf looked at him, somewhat incredulous. "Wha...?"
"It's money, Papa Smurf," Traded tried to explain. "I've seen that humans use it, and now with the coins that me and Handy have smurfed up, the Smurfs are using it as well. It's all part of the new system."
Papa Smurf tried to respond, but his mind was still too addled.
"Please, Trader Smurf," Smurfette said, standing near Papa Smurf's bedside. "Papa Smurf is not in a state of smurf to hear what you're smurfing right now."
Trader placed the bag of money near Papa Smurf's bed. "If he does smurf better, Smurfette, tell him that things are smurfing well," he said before he left.
And as Trader looked around the village, he could see that things were going pretty well so far. All the Smurfs he came across were making transactions for all the goods and services that were being provided. Handy provided work on somebody's door for a price. Timber was providing firewood for another Smurf for a price. Farmer was providing sarsaparilla for Tapper for a price. Tailor offered a roll of the finest cloth to Vanity for a price. So far, as Empath could see in the memory of what had transpired, money hasn't affected the lives of his fellow Smurfs...at least not yet.

And then came mealtime. Greedy had put on such an excellent meal, which began with a souffle a la sarsaparilla, followed by a mushroom omelet with a smurfberry shortcake for dessert. It was such a good meal that most of the Smurfs who ate it have wondered if they will ever eat again.
"My compliments certainly smurf to the chef for this outsmurfing culinary delight," Brainy said, wiping his mouth off with a napkin.
"You can smurf that again," Nabby said, letting out a heavy belch. "Excuse me."
"At the very least, it wasn't haggis that we were all smurfing...which I don't think any of you would want to know what it's smurfed of right now," Duncan said.
"Well, you can go ask Greedy to smurf up some haggis if you want, Gutsy, but right now it's time to smurf back to work," Hefty said as he and his fellow Smurfs got up from the table to leave.
"Let's see if you're smurf enough to try it out, laddie," Duncan said.
"Well, I sure didn't mean that I want Greedy to smurf it for all of us, buddy!" Hefty said.
"Heh...so much for being the strong and brave Smurf that you are, if you can't handle something that only a real Smurfsman would eat," Duncan said with a laugh.
"Just watch yourself with that, Gutsy," Hefty shot back.
"The name is Duncan, laddie," Duncan said.
"Hold it, hold it, hold it," Greedy said, blocking their way to the exit. "You haven't forgotten, have you? That will be three coins for the meal you've smurfed."
"Three coins?" one of the Smurfs said, sounding surprised.
"You mean we now have to pay just to smurf a meal?" Hefty asked, not liking what he was hearing.
"That's the way it smurfs in this new system, folks," Greedy said. "I have to buy the food you smurf, and that's not smurfing the amount of time that I have to prepare it!"
Every Smurf looked a bit sour as they had to pull coins out of their pocket and hand them over to Greedy as they left the dining commons.
"This new system was so smurfy up until now!" Hefty said.
"And I thought that I was going to enjoy smurfing my pot of gold at the end of a rainbow," Duncan said after he paid his three coins for a meal.
Some of the Smurfs have gathered around Trader, demanding to know why it is they have to pay for a meal now.
"It's necessary that you pay for the things you smurf from now on," Trader answered, "because everything is sold, and any specific work requires payment."

"So now everything in the village had to be paid for?" Empath asked Trader.
"Exactly, Empath," Trader said. "Of course, when it smurfs to money, some Smurfs end up smurfing really well, and other Smurfs end up having trouble. Biscotti's business was really smurfing, and so was Farmer with his vegetable smurfs and Handy with his repair jobs. It's just unfortunate that not every Smurf could smurf the good fortune that some of the others were smurfing."
Empath watched as Jokey went out of his house with his usual surprise in hand. But now something was different.
"A present! Who wants a beautiful present? Just four coins!" he shouted.
Most of his fellow Smurfs just passed him by. But one Smurf took him up on the offer.
"Here," Hefty said, giving Jokey four coins. "But you're going to smurf this to Brainy Smurf!"
"Oh, okay," Jokey said. He took the coins and then went over to Brainy. "Here, Brainy, Hefty Smurf wants to smurf you a present!" he said, offering the surprise.
"A present from Hefty Smurf?" Brainy said. "I wonder what it is!"
Brainy opened it and it exploded on him, as usual. But this time Jokey wasn't laughing. It no longer felt like fun.
"Just four coins," Jokey groaned as he looked at his earnings. "And I don't have a smurf now. I'm not going to smurf far with this."
Meanwhile, Harmony presented Drummer Smurf with a request. "Would you kindly announce that I'm going to smurf on an outdoor concert this afternoon?" he asked, handing Drummer the notice.
"Certainly," Drummer replied. "That will be three coins."
Harmony paid Drummer the money. Then Drummer went out to make the announcement with his usual drum roll.
"Hear ye, every Smurf," he said to all those who were nearby. "There will be a concert smurfed by Harmony Smurf this afternoon at the small gazebo. The admission is two coins. Go and smurf the word."
Most of the Smurfs responded by running off and shutting their doors.
By afternoon, Harmony Smurf waited for an audience to come, and after a while realized that nobody was going to attend. But then he saw one Smurf coming. It was Farmer.
"Oh, thank Smurfness," Harmony said. "I didn't think anyone to going to smurf!"
"I just want to smurf my appreciation for your talent, Harmony," Farmer said as he paid his two coins and then sat down. "Now smurf me something strong and loud!"
Harmony obliged by playing a really loud and painfully out-of-tune musical piece that caused Farmer to block his ears. Then came the sound of thunder as there was now a downpour.
"Oh, smurf it all...it's raining," Harmony groaned.
But Farmer was delighted. Empath knew Farmer really wanted Harmony's "talent" for bring on a rainstorm so he could water his vegetable garden.
"Very smurfy performance there, Harmony," Farmer said as he walked away. "Thanks."
Then Empath saw a few more Smurfs having trouble trying to make ends meet. There was Poet who was trying to sell his poetic works to any Smurf who was interested. And there was Smurfette, who looked like she was going through hell trying to take care of laundry and watching after Baby Smurf at the same time. Empath could see that she was really upset.
"Smurf care of Papa Smurf...smurf care of Baby Smurf...smurf the cleaning...smurf the laundry," Smurfette groused. "I wonder who's going to pay me for smurfing all this!"
And then Empath saw Lazy getting up from a hammock. "Boy, all this smurfing is giving me an appetite," he said. "I'm going to smurf me a small cake from Biscotti Smurf." He then reached into his pockets and found out that they were empty. "Oh, smurf is me...I have no money left. What am I going to smurf?" He sighed as he approached Biscotti's bakery shop. "Oh, well, maybe he can help me out!"
"Hey, it's my favorite customer Lazy," Biscotti greeted as soon as Lazy entered. "What may I smurf for you?"
"Oh, hello there, Biscotti," Lazy said. "My, you smurf good today. It must be smurfing pretty well for you with this new system and all."
"Hey, what can I say?" Biscotti said. "It's like I'm 'smurfing in the dough', so to smurf. Anyway, what can I smurf you now that you're here?"
Lazy found it rather difficult to say. "Well, uh...I would like to smurf a small cake from you...but I just don't have anything to smurf you with."
"Aw, that's just too bad, Lazy," Biscotti said, sounding a bit sympathetic. "I wouldn't want to be in your smurfs, but you know how it smurfs in this new system...you have no money, I can't smurf anything for you!"
"Nothing?" Lazy said. "But I'm hungry! Can't you smurf anything about it?"
Biscotti sighed. "Since you're my favorite customer, I'll let you have a small smurf of bread. But that's all that I can smurf for you. In your place, I would go smurf that Finance Smurf. Maybe he'll know what he can smurf for you."
"You may be right, Biscotti," Lazy said as he took the small slice of bread. "Thank you anyway."
After Lazy left the shop, Biscotti looked at his chest full of money. "You know what, Lazy? Me too! I should go see that Finance Smurf."