Part 3

During the afternoon, while Tapper was standing guard outside his own tavern, Empath kept Grouchy company by playing a few games with him. Normally Grouchy didn't like playing any game with anyone, but he felt comfortable playing them with Empath, which made his friend sense that he was less irritable than he normally is.
"I sometimes wish I could be able to express myself like the other Smurfs so I can tell how I honestly feel towards them besides just 'I hate'," Grouchy said.
"This smurf senses that you like Smurfette and that you want to tell her so much that you love her, Grouchy," Empath said.
"Yeah, but I don't know what to say to her besides hello," Grouchy said.
"You can start by asking how she and her garden is doing," Empath said. "You have expressed an interest in flowers one time."
"I like how they look and how they smell, Empath," Grouchy said. "I just never studied up on flowers because I hate studying."
"Maybe you can learn from Smurfette about the various types of flowers that she grows, Grouchy," Empath said.
"I don't know, Empath," Grouchy said. "I feel like less of a Smurf if I have to have a Smurfette teach me anything."
"There's nothing wrong with a male Smurf learning anything from a female Smurf, Grouchy," Empath said. "It just helps us to understand female Smurfs better, even if some of those things we will never personally experience for ourselves just because we're male Smurfs."
"Well, between you and me, I think Smurfette is really smurfy for being a female Smurf," Grouchy said.
"She does have that attractive quality to her, Grouchy," Empath said. "It's just a shame that there's only of her in the village for every adult Smurf our age to be attracted to."
"You think there could be other female Smurfs besides her somewhere beyond the Smurf Village?" Grouchy asked.
"It's only a possibility, Grouchy, nothing more than that," Empath said. "Besides, what would the other Smurfs do if she decides to marry one of us? It would make them feel pretty jealous as it would this smurf."
"How could you feel jealous, Empath?" Grouchy said. "I'm already jealous of you smurfing with Smurfette. She's never smurfed around with any Smurf besides you for about a year."
"This smurf didn't intend for it to be that way, Grouchy," Empath said. "It's just that Smurfette is simply attracted to this smurf in a way that she feels is much different from how she's attracted to you and the other Smurfs."
"I know Hefty's been trying to smurf her heart ever since the two of them met, Empath," Grouchy said.
"This smurf senses that Hefty does try his hardest to attract Smurfette's attention towards him, Grouchy," Empath said. "This smurf doesn't fault him for his goals or his enthusiasm, though some of the ways he goes about trying to get her attention does raise some questions."
"I just don't know what Smurfette even sees in that lug," Grouchy said. "If he marries her, she'll most likely be smurfing her days cleaning up his gym."
"This smurf isn't sure if that would be the case in that scenario, Grouchy," Empath said. "But this smurf wants to make sure that Smurfette is happy with her decision, and this smurf would want to see Hefty be happy as well."
"You want Hefty to be happy?" Grouchy said with some disbelief. "He doesn't even like you enough to want you to be his friend."
"This smurf knows how he feels towards me, Grouchy, but this smurf isn't going to reciprocate his bad feelings toward this smurf with any animosity," Empath said. "This smurf is going to be his friend regardless of his feelings, and even if he never appreciates what this smurf is doing for him, at least being his friend will be its own reward."
"If Hefty has a friend like you and Duncan, why would he ever need an enemy?" Grouchy said.

Meanwhile, Tapper was outside dealing with a crowd of Smurfs who were all looking for Grouchy because they wanted to hug him.
"This is an outrage, Tapper," Poet said. "You can't keep Smurfs away from others just because they don't like to be hugged."
"Oui, oui, mon frere," Painter said. "You are creating an obstruction to the demonstration of our deepest affections."
"I am only trying to protect my friend, my fellow Smurfs," Tapper stated. "Doesn't Grouchy have a right to how he wants to be smurfed by anyone?"
"This is Hug-A-Smurf Day, Tapper," one Smurf shouted. "Smurfs should be allowed to hug anyone they want to."
"Yeah, this is a gross injustice that you're smurfing on us," another Smurf said.
"Let us smurf Grouchy a hug!" they all shouted.
They continued shouting this same message until Papa Smurf came along. "Why are you all gathered around Tapper's Tavern, my little Smurfs?" he asked.
"He won't let any of us enter the tavern to give Grouchy a hug, Papa Smurf," one Smurf said.
"He and Empath have been smurfing Grouchy away from us all day," another Smurf said.
"Well, we're not leaving until we can smurf Grouchy a hug," a third Smurf said, and the other Smurfs agreed with him.
And so they all started to shout, "BRING HIM OUT SO THAT WE MAY HUG HIM!", until Papa Smurf silenced them.
"This whole thing of wanting to smurf Grouchy a hug is getting out of hand," he said. "I want you all to leave this area at once. I will personally deal with this matter myself."
"Yes, Papa Smurf," the Smurfs said in unison before they departed.
After they had left, Papa Smurf said, "Tapper, this is a very unsmurfy thing for you and Empath to do on Hug-A-Smurf Day, to cause a riot by keeping Grouchy from being part of the day's celebration."
"I have never intended for this to become a riot, Papa Smurf," Tapper said. "But as my personal expression for how much I care for Grouchy, I want him to be able to enjoy the day without fear of being ambushed with a hug by his fellow Smurfs."
"I do know that my little Smurfs can get carried away when it smurfs to Hug-A-Smurf Day, Tapper," Papa Smurf said. "But do you know how your fellow Smurfs would feel if they're not able to express themselves freely to any Smurf?"
"But why can't Grouchy be able to express himself however he feels without being forced to do so?" Tapper asked. "I just feel it in my spirit that this holiday enables Smurfs to disrespect other Smurfs' feelings when it comes to being touched by any Smurf."
"You make the whole idea of the holiday seem less than noble, which I can't imagine it was ever meant to be," Papa Smurf said.
"I'm sure that the Smurfs who smurfed of this day had good intentions, Papa Smurf, but as they say, the road to hell is smurfed with good intentions," Tapper said. "All I want for Grouchy is to not feel like he would be violated by his fellow Smurfs."
Suddenly Empath came out of the tavern. "This smurf has an emergency in the forest to take care of, Tapper."
"You go deal with the situation in the forest while I and Tapper watch over the tavern for you, Empath," Papa Smurf said.
"This smurf acknowledges, Papa Smurf," Empath said before he raced off into the forest.
Meanwhile, Duncan was standing next to Sneaky near the tavern. "Well, I don't think it's right to keep Grouchy from being smurfed a hug from anybody that wants to smurf him a hug," Sneaky said, sounding a bit disgusted.
"I wouldn't try smurfing yourself on a fellow Smurf if I were you, laddie," Duncan said. "You may not like what that Smurf might do to you."
"Aw, who cares about anybody else thinks, including you, Gutsy?" Sneaky said as he departed from the area around the tavern.
"Well, he can't say that I did not try to warn him," Duncan said before he also departed.

A crowd of Smurfs were gathered around a hole where they heard Puppy barking from, sounding like he was in trouble. None of the Smurfs were able to do anything but stare down into the hole.
Then Empath arrived at the scene. "What's happened to Puppy?" he asked.
"Oh, Empath, Puppy just smurfed down a hole in the ground and we can't smurf him back up," Sassette whined.
"We were hoping you would smurf up so that you could help us smurf Puppy back up," Slouchy said calmly.
Empath scanned the hole that Puppy fell into. "The shaft seems pretty deep, my fellow Smurflings. It's going to take some effort to lift Puppy out of there."
"You mean, you can't smurf this thing by yourself?" Snappy asked.
"I'm not sure if I'd want to smurf the job by myself if Puppy is smurfed so far down the shaft," Nat said.
"That means we need to smurf the mindlink together, doesn't it, Empath?" Sassette asked.
"That would be the best chance for rescuing Puppy now, Sassette," Empath said. "This smurf would only need you four to join hands with this smurf and concentrate your thoughts together so we can safely bring Puppy out."
"That's it?" Snappy asked. "Well, let's smurf this thing together already!"
"I'm definitely in, Empath," Slouchy said.
"Me too," Nat said.
"And me four," Sassette said.
Empath and the four Smurflings joined hands and closed their eyes as the Smurflings focused their thoughts together, causing Empath's mental energy to grow stronger. With that energy he reached down into the shaft and started to slowly and carefully lift up Puppy, trying to be as gentle as possible.
Then suddenly, Empath said, "Uh-oh...this smurf is losing him!"
"Quick!" one of the Smurfs said. "Let's join hands with the Smurflings and help Empath."
The other Smurfs also joined hands together and focused their thoughts together with the Smurfs, increasing Empath's power even more. "There...this smurf has Puppy again," Empath said.
After a few more minutes, Puppy was now safe above ground. The Smurfs cheered and the Smurflings gathered around Puppy, who greeted them with a friendly lick, feeling happy to be safe again.
"Thanks for helping us save Puppy, Empath," Sassette said, smiling. "We wouldn't know what to do without you."
"This smurf is honored to help, Sassette," Empath said. "At least Puppy seems to be all right considering what has happened to him."
"We'll just have to be careful when it comes to smurfing him in the forest," Nat said.
"Yeah, who knew there would be a hole this deep for Puppy to smurf down in?" Snappy said.
Then Empath saw something in his mind that was happening in Tapper's Tavern. There was a struggle, and one of the Smurfs was saying in an angry voice, "Get your smurfin' hands off me!"
"It's Grouchy," he shouted. "Some Smurf has managed to get into the tavern."
"What?" Snappy asked. "I thought you and Tapper were watching it to make sure nobody smurfed in there."
"Some Smurf must have found a way inside, Snappy," Empath said. "This smurf must return to the village and check up on Grouchy."
"We'll take care of Puppy from here, Empath," Slouchy said, as the four of them watched Empath rush back to the village.

By the time Empath returned to the tavern, he saw that Tapper and Papa Smurf were inside it with Grouchy and another Smurf who was knocked unconscious.
"Aye, it's that Sneaky Smurf," Tapper said. "He must have smurfed in through the chimney while me and Papa Smurf weren't looking. I heard the scuffle smurfing on and a mug being smurfed on his head before I knew what had happened."
"He was trying to hug me!" Grouchy said. "I keep saying 'I hate hugs', but nobody ever listens to me!"
"There, there, my fellow Grouchy, you're safe now," Tapper said consolingly. "You smurfed the right thing in keeping him away from you."
"Is he all right, Empath?" Papa Smurf asked.
Empath scanned Sneaky with his minds-eye. "The broken glass did nothing more than knock him unconscious, Papa Smurf. He should awaken pretty soon."
"I'm sorry this had to happen to you, Grouchy," Papa Smurf said. "I see now the need for a new rule that must be enforced on Hug-A-Smurf Day to keep incidents like this from repeating themselves."
"This whole thing was all my fault, Papa Smurf," Grouchy said.
"No, Grouchy, you have the right to not want to be touched when and where you don't want to be touched," Empath said. "It's time other Smurfs learn to respect that."

And soon, with Harmony summoning every Smurf around the speaking mushroom, Papa Smurf made his announcement.
"My little Smurfs, inasmuch as I know that you enjoy participating in Hug-A-Smurf Day, it comes with a heavy heart to smurf you a new rule that must be smurfed in place," Papa Smurf said. "From now on, we are to respect other people's feelings when it smurfs to hugs and any personal displays of affection. That means if we want to smurf other Smurfs a hug, we must ask their permission first before we do so. Anyone who ever assaults another Smurf with a hug will have to answer to me. Is that understood?"
"Yes, Papa Smurf," all the Smurfs said in unison.
"We're sorry, Grouchy, about trying to force our hugs on you," Hefty said. And all the other Smurfs voiced similar apologies.
By the end of the day, Empath and Tapper met with Grouchy outside the tavern. "So how does it feel to be a free Smurf now that nobody can hug you unless they ask you for one?" Empath asked Grouchy.
"I feel a whole lot better, Empath," Grouchy said. "Thanks for you and Tapper watching out for me."
"I'm just sorry I couldn't stop Sneaky from smurfing his way into the tavern, Grouchy," Tapper said.
"Not as sorry as he's going to feel when he wakes up, Tapper," Grouchy said. "Anyway, I'm happy that Papa Smurf finally listened to my situation when it comes to how I feel about hugs."
"You deserve to be treated with respect just like every Smurf in the village, Grouchy," Empath said. "While this smurf wishes it didn't have to happen this way, this smurf is pleased that there will be a change in how Smurfs will interact with each other."
Just then Smurfette appeared. "Oh, Grouchy, are you all right?" she asked with some concern in her voice.
"I'm...fine, Smurfette," Grouchy managed to say. "Can I, uh....smurf a hug from you?"
"Why, Grouchy, I would be more than pleased to," Smurfette said, smiling. She gave Grouchy a very big warm hug. "Hopefully that will make you feel better."
"With that smile on his face, Smurfette, this smurf would say you made him feel a lot better," Empath said.
"Say, Empath...Tapper...could you, uh...," Grouchy started to say.
Empath knew what Grouchy wanted to ask. "Well, what do you think, Tapper?"
"Great Smurfiny Crickets, I didn't think he would ever ask that of me!" Tapper said.
Smurfette giggled. "I'll leave you two boys alone and smurf you tomorrow!"
After Smurfette left, both Empath and Tapper gave Grouchy a hug. "We love you so much, Grouchy. You'll always have a friend with us!" they both said.
"I love you two," Grouchy said, smiling.