Part 4

In the Smurf Village, the dense fog was so thick that the Smurfs ended up bumping into each other and into their houses as they went about. Except for Empath, who was able to navigate through the fog only by using his minds-eye, it was impossible for any Smurf to go in any direction anywhere.

"This fog is so unnaturally thick, my little Smurfs, I smurf that there's an evil magic behind this," Papa Smurf said. "Until I can find a way to smurf away much of the fog so that we'd at least be able to smurf around the village, it would be best for all of us to smurf inside our own homes tonight."

"Oh, dear," Smurfette moaned. "That means we won't be able to smurf our first Christmas Eve flight."

"That's true, Smurfette," Papa Smurf said. "But even more so, Nicholas won't be able to smurf through the sky with his sleigh like he normally smurfs around this time. If he isn't able to smurf his presents to the children by around midnight, they will wake up on Christmas morning and be heartbroken."

"There's got to be something we can smurf for him, Papa Smurf, but I'm all out of bright ideas," Brainy said.

Just then a brilliant red light shone through the fog, causing it to disperse around Brainy. Everyone noticed that the brilliant red light came from the reindeer's red nose.

"That's it!" Empath realized. "The reindeer with the red nose can help Nicholas lead his team of reindeer safely through the sky. Brainy, you just came up with a bright idea!"

"I did? Oh, yes, well, I knew something like this had to smurf up sooner or later!" Brainy said, sounding sure of himself.

Papa Smurf chuckled. "Empath, I think it's time you introduced Nicholas to your reindeer friend!"

Empath turned to the reindeer. "This smurf will take us into the sky and guide us to Nicholas' home while you clear the sky with your red nose. This smurf will find you a home yet."

The reindeer nodded as he allowed Empath to ride on his back. The Smurfs watched as Empath and the reindeer flew into the sky, with the reindeer's red nose shining like a beacon through the thick fog.

At Nicholas' home, the toymaker was ready to make his toy deliveries with his team of reindeer when he noticed the thick fog covering the entire region.

"Of all the things to happen on a Christmas Eve!" Nicholas said, sounding frustrated. "Well, don't worry, my reindeer friends, we will find some way to get the presents delivered on time for all the children...if there is some way we can travel through this fog!"

Just then he saw a red glow flying through the sky, coming down towards him. He saw that it was reindeer with a glowing red nose, and riding him was a Smurf.

"My fellow Smurf, what is this that you bring to my home tonight?" Nicholas asked, wondering about the reindeer.

"Fellow Nicholas, this is a reindeer that the Smurfs have found in our forest today," Empath explained. "He has been living alone in the forest because of his red nose, which you can see is able to shine brightly enough so that you will be able to travel through the skies to make your deliveries. We humbly offer him to you in the hopes that he will help you and that you will give him a suitable home. Will you accept?"

Nicholas didn't know what to say. "By Jove, this is such an excellent gift! Surely he will able to help me, and I will surely make sure that he has a home so that he will not be alone anymore. I must put him at the head of my reindeer team by making some adjustments. I will name him Rudolph, which is the name of the brightest child in the village."

The reindeer licked Nicholas' face, happy in that the toymaker has accepted him. Soon with a few adjustments, Rudolph was put at the head of the team of reindeer, with Nicholas ready to ride off into the night sky.

"I must pay homage to Mother Nature for this wonderful gift that was bestowed upon me, fellow Smurf," Nicholas said, happy and eager to get his flight started. "Thank you again for bringing Rudolph to me!"

"And thank you for giving him a home, Nicholas," Empath said in return. "May you have a Merry Christmas!"

"And the same to you, my friend!" Nicholas said as Empath flew off. Then he turned to his reindeer team. "All ready, Rudolph! Lead the way!"

And so with Rudolph's red nose shining bright, Nicholas and sleigh lifted off into the night sky, on his way to delivering the toys and presents to the children.

Back in the Smurf Village, Papa Smurf had finished working on a formula that caused the fog to disperse around the area of the Smurf Village. The Smurfs cheered as they are able to now walk around the village with no problem.

Soon Empath had returned, and was dressed up in his reindeer costume, but every Smurf noticed that Empath had worn red paint on his nose. "Hey, Empath, what's with the red nose?" Jokey asked, laughing. "You're going to smurf like that reindeer now?"

"That's what this smurf is going to do, Jokey," Empath answered, smiling but not laughing. "Nicholas is now delivering his presents to the children thanks to the reindeer he now calls Rudolph. And this smurf is going to be the lead of the reindeer team."

"Does that mean I get to be part of the reindeer team now, Empath?" Nat asked. "I already have the costume for it."

Empath smiled. "This smurf doesn't see why not, Nat. But with the harnesses only able to hold eight reindeer, this smurf will have to hold onto those of the first two reindeer while we make our flight."

"Hold on, Empath," Tanner said as he wrapped some rope around Empath's waist and attached it to the harnesses. "There, that should smurf it!"

"Okay, all of my reindeer Smurfs, time to smurf into costume!" Papa Smurf said.

"You heard Papa Smurf," Hefty said. "Let's smurf the reindeer team into shape!"

"I hate smurfing into shape," Grouchy said.

Lazy yawned. "You can smurf that again!"

And soon Papa Smurf and the nine Smurfs who are part of the reindeer team are ready to make their first flight over the forest. "Okay, Empath, steady as it smurfs!"

Empath nodded as he used his minds-eye abilities to lift up both the sleigh and the reindeer team into the night sky. The Smurfs down below the village cheered and waved goodbye as they watched the sleigh take off.

Then Smurfette led the Smurfs into singing Christmas carols: "Smurf, the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn King,..."

The following day, on Christmas morning, Empath went off to Nicholas' home to pay Rudolph a visit. The skies were still cloudy, but the thick fog was dispersing at ground level. There Empath saw that Rudolph was happy in his new home -- and much more than that!

"Great Ancestors!" Empath exclaimed as he saw another reindeer, a female, approach the fence and nuzzle alongside Rudolph. "It appears that you now have a mate! This smurf is happy that you won't be alone anymore!"

Just then, Mother Nature appeared from out of nowhere. "Oh this is where the poor reindeer I have given the red nose to has gone off to," she said, sounding regretful. "All those years, and I have not fixed this mistake because there was just so much for me to do. Well, not any longer. It is time to give this reindeer the normal life that he deserves."

"Please, Mother Nature, don't change him," Empath pleaded. "If it weren't for this mistake of yours, this Christmas would have been a terrible one for the human children. Look at how happy he is now knowing what he has done and who now loves him. Take that away from him and he won't be the same anymore. He won't be as useful as he is with the red nose."

Mother Nature pondered what Empath had told her. "Come to think of it, some of my mistakes have provided benefits that I would never have foreseen even with my power," she said. "Very well, if he is happy with the way he is now, I shall leave him be and deal with this dreadful fog that's been covering my forest. Have a merry Christmas, little Smurf, and see you in the spring!"

With that, Mother Nature disappeared in a sprinkle of snowflakes. Empath realized it is time to go home and open his presents, particularly the one that Smurfette had made for him.

"Farewell, my reindeer friends, and have a merry Christmas," Empath said as he flew off, watching the reindeer couple nuzzle each other, happy to be together.