Chapter 1

It was only a few days after the Smurfs had chased Gargamel out of the forest forever when he had almost destroyed the entire village with his Gauntlets of Gantharros.  Empath was still rebuilding his house and helping his fellow Smurfs rebuild theirs as well.  The Smurflings had invited Empath to sleep over with them since they truly wanted to know Empath better, and besides that they somehow felt very uncomfortable sleeping alone in their treestump playhouse.  No other adult Smurf seemed interested in wanting to spend a night with the Smurflings, not even Papa Smurf, who was busy enough watching over Baby Smurf at night.  So they turned to asking Empath and he accepted the offer.
"I hope you don't mind smurfing with us for the night, Empath, even while your house is getting smurfed back up," Nat wondered as they allowed him to enter their treestump playhouse.
"This smurf doesn't mind at all, Nat," Empath nodded, bringing his pillow and his thick blanket along.  He cleared away some space in front of their toy chest, putting some of their loose toys into the chest before laying his blanket and pillow down. "It's rather odd to see a Smurf house that doesn't have either a fireplace or a woodstove for heating.  It must be rather cold sleeping here during the wintertime."
"We thought that to be the case, too," Snappy reported. "Of course, Handy smurfed us that this treehouse has been smurfed up with what he calls 'insulation' so that it's supposed to smurf the heat inside no matter how cold it smurfs. It still doesn't beat smurfing in a treehouse back on Smurfling Island, where it never smurfs cold even when it snows."
"Say, Empath, did you forget to smurf some clothes to change into?" Slouchy asked as he noticed Empath settling down on his blanket wearing his purple shirt and star-patterned suit.
"This smurf usually finds night clothes to be rather unnecessary for sleeping, Slouchy," Empath replied. "So when every other Smurf dresses up for bed, this smurf would normally be 'dressing down' to this smurf's underpants."
"Oooh...Empath undresses for bed," Snappy and Slouchy cooed, sounding like it was a big joke to them. "'We smurf our pink pajamas in the summer when it's hot, and we smurf our woolen nighties in the winter when it's not,...'"
"'And sometimes in the springtime and sometimes in the fall, we smurf between the sheets smurfing nothing on at all...hey!'" Nat and Sassette joined in, and then all four of them sang the final verse.
"'That's the way we sleep in Smurfland, that's the way we sleep in Smurfland, that's the way we sleep in Smurfland, with nothing on at all...whee, it's cold!'"
Empath felt a little embarrassed being teased by the Smurflings for revealing that part of his private behaviors. "Okay, my little peeping-tom Smurflings," he glared at them with a wicked half-smile as he endured their giggling. "If you think this smurf was intending to put on a show for you at the expense of this smurf's dignity, you are sorely mistaken, because that was the reason this smurf chose to wear this smurf's everyday clothes tonight!"
"Aw, lighten up a bit, Empath," Snappy said. "It wasn't like we were even expecting you to smurf down to your undies.  Of course, Sassette might like the show!"
"Smurf my tail and make it a love story, Snap," Sassette shot back, sticking out her tongue at her fellow Smurfling. "I'd rather see how ridiculous you look when you're smurfing around in your smurfday suit!"
"'Snappy and Sassette smurfing in a tree, S-M-U-R-F-I-N-G,...!'" Nat and Slouchy sang together before Sassette threw her pillow at them.
"Come on, Smurflings," Empath suggested, feeling like he wasn't going to get any sleep with these four young Smurfs still playing around. "This smurf knows that this personal sleeping habit of mine is very interesting to find out, but we've got all day tomorrow to horse around and this smurf needs to get his rest in order to help put this village back into functioning order."
"Pig pile on Empath!" Snappy called out, and soon all four of them leaped right on top of Empath, trying to wrestle him down onto the floor, tickling him wherever they could find an exposed spot.
Empath laughed uncontrollably as he struggled to get the Smurflings off him.  Apparently, they were so used to playing around with grownups like that, but Empath wasn't used to dealing with any Smurf much younger than himself.  He focused his third eye to lift the Smurflings off him and put them right back onto their beds where they belonged, unhurt but again amazed by what Empath could do.
"Wow," Snappy exclaimed, "that sure was fun.  Let's smurf it again!"
"Maybe some other night, Snappy," Empath suggested, trying to catch his breath and wiping his brow with his hand. "We really need to calm ourselves down so that we can get to sleep."
"Empath, did you ever have a night where you couldn't smurf back to sleep?" Sassette asked after she settled herself down in her own bed.
"This smurf has experienced at least 572 cases of interrupted sleep, Sassette," Empath honestly answered. "Before this smurf had visited the Smurf Village for the first time, this smurf had no problems whatsoever with sleeping since this smurf's mind was linked to the collective consciousness of the Psyches.  But since the day that link was temporarily severed when Papa Smurf showed this smurf how Smurfs lived for a full year, this smurf has experienced the discomforts of sleeping that include having nightmares.  Even now, this smurf can be disturbed by such discomforts, mostly painful memories of what this smurf had to endure being away in Psychelia such as increasingly torturous lessons and rituals."
"What is it that you smurf to try smurfing yourself back to sleep, Empath?" Nat asked, feeling his heart going out to Empath.
"When this smurf has trouble smurfing back to sleep, Nat, this smurf meditates and focuses my third eye on linking with a fellow Smurf who has achieved a peaceful uninterrupted serenity in his sleep," Empath answered. "Lazy is usually the Smurf that this smurf links with, and though he knows that this smurf is linking with his mind in his sleep, he doesn't mind letting this smurf do it at all.  He still wakes up the same way and usually at the same hour, late for breakfast."
"What was the worst time that you had a nightmare...besides that time when you smurfed that memory of Papa Smurf leaving you in Psychelia?" Sassette asked, getting more curious about his dreams.
Empath thought about that answer for a bit.  "Honestly, Sassette, this smurf had the worst nightmare when this smurf started living in my very own Smurf house in the village, back when I was about 39 years older than you are right now.  This smurf was growing more accustomed to how Smurfs live their lives, and yet this smurf had not realized until then that young Smurfs also go through changes in their lives where they become young adult Smurfs."
"You mean...when they start smurfing about girls, Empath?" Slouchy asked. "I mean, really start smurfing about girls, if you know what I mean?"
"No, Slouchy," Empath answered, his face blushing slightly. "That change happened when this smurf and all the other Smurfs around this smurf's age were only 130 years old, and there still weren't any female Smurfs around, which was truly surprising.  This smurf is talking about the beginning of this change from Smurflinghood to Smurf adulthood, where this smurf and the others were almost two and a half apples tall, almost to the point when we could literally 'see eye to eye' with Papa Smurf himself.  This smurf will tell you about that time, as long as you four can promise this smurf that you will settle down and stay in your beds."
"We promise, Empath," the four Smurflings said in unison.
Empath took a deep breath before he began his story.