Part 1: A Smurf In The Air
It was on the day of Empath’s 120th birthday that Handy remembered the first time he saw Empath fly. In fact, it was the first time any Smurf in the village ever saw Empath flying.
They were all busy throughout the day, getting the village ready for Empath’s birthday party that evening, when Tracker came as usual to inform the Smurfs that he saw the stork carrying Empath arriving from the direction of Psychelia. As usual, the Smurfs all gathered around the north end of the village, hoping to greet Empath when he landed.
This time around, however, the Smurfs were startled to see Empath, who was still circling around the village with the stork, suddenly leap right off the stork in midflight. Every Smurf thought that Empath had gone crazy or something, but then just when they thought they saw him falling, he turned his body around and now was zooming through the air with incredible ease, barely even touching the ground.
"Michty me, laddie, do you smurf what I'm smurfing?" Duncan McSmurf asked Tapper.
"Great Smurfiny Crickets, I do believe that Empath's special abilities are enabling him to fly, if I'm not mistaken," Tapper replied.
"Oh dear, I'm too afraid to even watch," Vanity said as he covered his eyes.
"I hate being too afraid to watch," Grouchy said.
"Golly, Brainy, I wonder how Empath can even smurf that," Clumsy said as he and his friend continued to watch.
"It's pretty obvious to me, Clumsy, that Empath's special abilities enable him to be airborne, which is something not granted to another Smurf for reasons only Mother Nature would know," Brainy answered.
The sight of it all amazed all the Smurfs. They clapped for Empath when he finally landed on the ground with his feet, hardly looking exhausted from his flight.
Papa Smurf looked at Empath like he didn’t know whether to welcome him into the village or scold him for making him feel like his heart was about to give out on him. He finally decided to just welcome him home.
“Salutations, Papa Smurf,” Empath greeted as he accepted the embrace of the village leader. “This smurf is happy to be back in your presence again.”
“Well, just as long as you don’t go smurfing anymore stunts like that, Empath,” Papa Smurf chided, though he couldn’t help smiling. “I can see the Psyches are really smurfing to train you well in controlling your abilities.”
“They have been very good teachers, Papa Smurf,” Empath replied. “As you can see with that demonstration, this smurf has mastered the art of flying through the use of telekinesis. This smurf is not sure as to how this new ability might prove to be useful to help this smurf’s fellow Smurfs, but this smurf hopes to put it into practice somehow.”
"There will be time enough for you to smurf that out, Empath, just as long as you remember to smurf those abilities in moderation," Papa Smurf reminded him. "After all, you may have an ability that no other Smurf can match, but you are still a Smurf."
Empath nodded. "This smurf will try not to forget that, Papa Smurf."
"Come on, laddie, let's smurf you out of those dark skivvies and into something a bit more comfortable," Duncan McSmurf suggested.
"As long as this smurf doesn't have to wear the kilt, Duncan," Empath said.
"You can't be a true Smurfsman without the kilt, my boy, but if that's how you want to smurf yourself, I'm not going to stop you," Duncan said.
As all the other Smurfs followed Papa Smurf and Empath as they walked to the village center, they couldn't help talking among themselves about how impressed they were over seeing Empath fly like that for the first time. They all wanted to be able to fly through the air with the greatest of ease. But they knew it was something only Empath could do by himself.
Handy felt otherwise. He felt that if a Smurf like Empath could fly like that, then so could someone like Handy.
One day, Papa Smurf sent Handy, Brainy, Hefty, and Empath out into the forest to gather some bags of rare nuts still growing on the trees for an experiment he was working on in his laboratory. Empath somehow didn't feel as if sending four Smurfs out like that to gather nuts was necessary since he could easily do that by himself with his power of flight. Papa Smurf, however, insisted that Empath should use those abilities only when it's needed, and to never forget the fact that Smurfs still work on things together. With some feeling of regret, Empath acknowledged and went out into the forest with three of his fellow Smurfs alongside him, tempering his excitement the best that he could with his Psychelian techniques for mental control.
"I just don't get it," Brainy complained as they passed the village's outer limits. "Why is it that Papa Smurf has to smurf the four of us into the forest to smurf something that Empath can easily smurf with that third-eye ability of his?"
"Well, why is it that Empath has to smurf with us, anyway?" Hefty countered, sounding a bit jealous. "We can smurf whatever is out in the forest without any of Empath's help. That fancy star of his is no substitute for good-old muscle power!"
"This smurf wouldn't take offense to Hefty's remark, however derogatory it may sound, though he is right," Empath admitted. "While this smurf may have been given these abilities at the day of emergence, or what would you call this smurf's 'smurfday', this smurf must not forget how to work with this smurf's fellow Smurfs using only normal physical abilities."
"For a Smurf who can fly like that, there smurftainly isn't anything normal about you, Empath," Handy remarked, sounding jealous but also curious.
The four Smurfs were near the bridge that crossed over the Smurf River when they saw what had happened to it. Its span was snapped in half with a good deal of the middle logs missing.
"Oh, well, that's just great!" Brainy whined. "Now how do we smurf across?"
"Maybe this smurf can fly the four of us across the river," Empath suggested.
"Not in this lifetime, Empath," Hefty snapped. "We're going to smurf there without having to smurf on you to smurf what we can by our own smurfpower!"
"You mean you'd rather have us smurf upstream just to cross the river?" Handy asked, not believing he was hearing Hefty refuse Empath's offer. "Hey, if I had even half of Empath's flying power, I'd just smurf all of us over in a jiffy, no questions smurfed."
"You and your inventions smurf things way too easy for every Smurf," Hefty pointed out. "Besides, whoever said that Empath was really one of us, anyway?"
Empath could again hear Hefty putting him down, but he chose to ignore the remark.
Instead of rebutting, he simply said, "As long as the way across doesn't take us too far from our destination, Hefty, this smurf would accept your alternative course of action."
Hefty rolled his eyes. Sometimes Empath was just too much when it comes to accepting any suggestion that didn't require him using those abilities of his. But he didn't say anything about that — he just simply led his fellow Smurfs upstream.
Suddenly, they could hear the skies opening up. "Oh no," Brainy groaned, "It's smurfing to rain!"
"What's wrong with a little rain?" Hefty asked. "You're not going to melt just by smurfing a little wet out here, Brainy."
"Make that a lot wet, Hefty," Handy corrected as they felt the raindrops getting bigger and pelting them a little harder, making the going tougher.
"It's no problem," Empath suggested. "This smurf can put a shield around us to keep the heavy raindrops off us as we head upstream."
"Or we can wait it out underneath a mushroom until it smurfs over," Hefty countered, again refusing Empath's help.
Empath sighed as he and the three other Smurfs found one nearby and stayed under its large-enough cap, waiting for the rain to let up. Apparently, working with Hefty was proving to be difficult since he would rather choose the long, hard, and difficult ways to prove himself as a fellow Smurf. But Empath decided he might as well make the best of it.
"Well, since you have the ability to smurf things in your mind before they actually happen, Empath, I'm just wondering if you know when this rain's going to stop," Brainy said, sounding impatient.
"This smurf doesn't have the ability to foresee events in the immediate future by choice, Brainy," Empath replied. "However, this smurf can easily guess that this rain should be over right about..." He paused when he no longer could hear the rain beating down. "...now."
"Amazing guess, Empath," Handy exclaimed. "Right on the smurf, too!"
"He's just lucky, Handy," Hefty snorted. "Come on, let's get smurfing on our way again!"
They soon crossed the river and found the tree where the nuts that were forming on its branches were located. Hefty himself tried to climb the tree, but he got no higher than a few feet up when his fear of heights overtook him and he lost his grip on the tree trunk. Fortunately, Empath caught Hefty as he fell and said that he would go up there and fetch the nuts while the other three Smurfs would gather them as they fell below. Hefty grudgingly accepted as he watched Empath leap skyward into the tree and shake the branches with such force that the nuts literally rained down on them.
While Hefty was busy helping Empath collect the fallen nuts into his sack, Brainy noticed that Handy was still staring at Empath. "Hello, Handy, what's smurfing on with you today?" he asked. "Don't you think gathering nuts for Papa Smurf is very important?"
"I just can't help thinking about Empath's ability of flight, Brainy," Handy answered, his mind still lost in wonder. "How I wish to smurf something that would let me smurf in the sky the same way he does. To smurf high above the stormy clouds and see the bright sunshine or the glowing face of the moon at night. To smurf fruit right off the branches of the highest trees themselves. To smurf across the widest rivers or the deepest chasms without ever falling. Just to able to experience that once in my life would make me a very happy Smurf to the end."
"Handy, Handy, Handy," Brainy retorted, "you should really smurf that silly idea of being able to fly like Empath does right out of your mind. I mean, think of it. If Mother Nature actually intended for Smurfs to fly, she would have smurfed all of us wings, or she would have smurfed us born with a smurfmark like Empath. And furthermore,...!"
"Wings?!?" Handy exclaimed, his eyes flashing wide with inspiration. "Brainy, you just smurfed me an idea! I'm going to smurf me a pair of wings!"
Brainy watched as Handy raced away from the tree where they were gathering nuts and headed in another direction. "Handy, where are you smurfing?" Brainy asked. "We're supposed to be smurfing nuts for Papa Smurf, not going nuts smurfing after a ridiculous idea of yours!"
But Brainy realized that Handy wasn't going to stop and listen to him, which meant that Handy needed his wisdom more than ever. And Brainy needed to be there to offer that wisdom to him. "Hey, wait for me!" he called out, heading off after Handy.
Hefty caught a glimpse of Brainy running off into the forest when he realized Handy had run off, and that also caught Empath's attention. "I wonder what idea for an invention had smurfed into Handy's mind this time?" Hefty asked.
"This smurf does not know as of yet, Hefty," Empath answered, also puzzled. "But this smurf is certain that Brainy wouldn't let Handy roam too far from this forest to find the source of his inspiration. Right now, we need to get these nuts safely home to Papa Smurf."
Hefty agreed with that. Both he and Empath hoisted the filled-up bags of nuts onto their backs and carried them back across the river.
Brainy followed Handy as he headed toward a nearby human farm, where they saw a chicken on the loose. Handy decided to chase it down.
"I'm not sure that would be a very smurfy idea, Handy," Brainy chided. "There's likely to be a rooster among this smurf of chickens that's very protective of his hens, and he just wouldn't like smurfing somebody smurfing their hands on..."
Brainy stopped, watching as Handy tackled the chicken and wrestled with it. He heard an awful lot of squawking and saw a cloud of feathers surrounding both of them. Then he saw the chicken race for safety, stripped of its feathers.
Handy took the sack that he intended to use for gathering Papa Smurf's nuts and scooped up the stripped-off feathers into it. "Now what smurfy idea have you smurfed up with for those feathers you smurfed?" Brainy asked as Handy headed away from the farm.
"Smurf me some glue from your workshop, Brainy," Handy requested, hurrying to the village as fast as he could with the sack of feathers. "I'm going to smurf me some wings."
"Wings?!?" Brainy exclaimed, running to catch up with him. "Handy, if you think that smurfing some wings on you is going to help you fly like Empath, then you've really lost your smurf!"
"I don't want to smurf your opinions on it, Brainy," Handy shot back. "I just want your help with the glue, because I can't smurf it on my back and arms by mysmurf!"
Brainy sighed. "Okay, but I still smurf that this idea of yours isn't going to work!"
As soon as they reached the village, Brainy went into his writing workshop to fetch a bucket of glue usually used for sealing the bindings of his books together. Handy had dumped the entire contents of his sack outside, making sure he had enough feathers for this idea to work. When Brainy returned outside, Handy handed him a clean paintbrush and Brainy applied the glue generously onto Handy's back as well as the back of his upper arms.
"Now what next?" Brainy asked. "You want me to smurf the feathers on you or what?"
"Don't need to, Brainy," Handy answered glibly. He flopped himself backwards onto the pile of feathers and wiggled himself around, making sure the feathers would stick to the glue. When he was done, he stood up and Brainy could see a rather crude-looking pair of wings had formed on Handy's back.
"Now watch as I smurf off from the top of Smurfberry Hill and fly with the smurfest of ease," Handy announced as he raced toward the highest point of the Smurf Village, eager to try out this idea of wearing wings.
Brainy watched as Handy leaped off the precipice of Smurfberry Hill, floating into the sky high above the other Smurf houses. For a moment, it seemed to Brainy that Handy's idea did actually have a chance of working. But then, Brainy saw that one feather on Handy's wings came loose, then another, and then eventually they all came loose, until Handy was stuck in a state of freefall, frantically flapping his arms and realizing his wings had totally dissolved. Then all of a sudden Handy plummeted straight to the ground.
Brainy raced over to where Handy had landed, feeling slightly injured from the fall. Fortunately for Handy, nothing was broken. But Brainy was insistent on letting Handy hear his observations out, whether he wanted to or not.
"See, Handy, I smurfed you that this idea of yours wouldn't work, but no, you had to go and smurf it out the hard way," Brainy nagged. "Just like the poor little Smurf of legend who smurfed too far up toward the sun and lost his wings because the sun had smurfed down the wax and he smurfed to his doom into the sea. By the way, that glue wasn't even meant for anything other than smurfing together books, which is why the feathers didn't smurf on your back for too long and...!"
"Wait a minute!" Handy exclaimed, interrupting Brainy's observations. "Maybe it isn't the wings of feathers that I should be smurfing, but the wings of a bat!"
Brainy watched as Handy picked himself off the ground as if he merely tripped over something and ran straight toward the River Smurf, where he saw Fisher Smurf quietly sitting there with his cloth umbrella, passing his time away fishing. Fisher didn't notice that Handy had approached his spot and swiped his umbrella until he noticed the disappearance of its shadow.
He then dropped his fishing rod and saw Handy going back to the village with his umbrella. "That's my umbrella you're smurfing off with, you four-fingered filcher," Fisher shouted angrily.
"Thanks, Fisher," Handy called back. "I'll smurf you up another umbrella when I'm done!"
Brainy watched Handy go into his own workshop with Fisher's umbrella, where he heard the noise of something being reconstructed. Then Handy came racing back outside wearing a pair of cloth wings made from the umbrella.
"Now this time it's going to work," Handy declared, heading toward the precipice of Smurfberry Hill again and leaping off it. This time, Brainy could see that Handy was floating high above the houses for a bit longer than with the feather wings.
"It's working," Handy whooped. "I'm smurfing it! I'm actually flying!"
But then a small gust of wind blew against the back of Handy's right umbrella wing, causing him to lose control of his flight. He briefly sailed off in the direction of the wind, and as soon as it let up, Handy found himself falling straight to the ground again, his ego suffering another blow, and Brainy and Fisher nagging to add further insult to injury.
But still none of that mattered. Handy still wanted to fly.