After breakfast, Empath helped Smurfette carry her baskets of clothes to be washed at Tidy’s house.
“Great Ancestors, Smurfette!” Empath exclaimed as he carried one of her baskets of clothes. “This smurf normally doesn’t expect you to go through so many clothes in a week.”
“Well, at the very least it smurfs Tidy a very busy Smurf smurfing what he smurfs best,” Smurfette replied. “Besides, with Handy’s inventions smurfing most of the work, these will smurf out fresh and clean before the day’s done.”
“That makes this smurf feel all the more happy to be a male Smurf, with the rather limited wardrobe that this smurf has to deal with on a weekly basis,” Empath commented. “Not that this smurf is complaining about the clothes you wear.”
“I don’t complain about you smurfing less clothing,” Smurfette retorted. “But it’s not very often that I get to smurf you without a shirt like the other Smurfs in the village.”
“A male Smurf not wearing a shirt is simply a matter of function, Smurfette, not a personal parade of one’s…” Empath’s voice trailed off as he and Smurfette then noticed Polaris walking around at a faster-than-usual pace, determined to get somewhere or to find something.
“Polaris seems a bit upsmurfed over something,” Smurfette suggested.
“Polaris usually is too much of a Psyche to show any emotion,” Empath replied. “But this smurf can sense that your observation of Polaris’ physical demeanor is correct, Smurfette.”
They decided to intercept Polaris. “What seems to be the trouble, fellow Polaris?” Empath asked, stopping Polaris in his tracks.
Polaris sighed, as if something heavy was weighing on his mind. “This one has lived his life as a Psyche long enough to know that this one should not need to worry about physical possessions, Empath, since Psyches have no need for being attached to physical possessions. However, this particular instance may require your assistance, since it involves an object that you have recently given this one to celebrate this one’s day of emergence.”
Empath recalled what the object in question was. “The meditational stone,” he realized. “This smurf was wondering if you were actually using it during your moments of solitude in order to hone in your mental abilities.”
“This one has been using it for the past 32 days since you first gave it to this one, Empath,” Polaris answered. “However, this morning after breakfast, this one went to pick up the meditational stone from the place on the window sill that this one last placed it, only to find that it is missing.”
“Oh, dear,” Smurfette sighed. “I don’t like the smurfs of this one bit.”
Empath did a scan of the entire village with his minds-eye. “This smurf cannot detect your meditational stone anywhere, Polaris. However, this smurf does detect a residual trace on the window sill of this smurf’s house, that some Smurf has been there at the time your meditational stone was last seen. And that Smurf happens to be Nabby.”
“Oooh, that Nabby Smurf,” Smurfette fumed, her hands balling into fists. “How dare he smurfs something that doesn’t belong to him!”
“What would any Smurf, including the likes of this Nabby, want with something like this one’s meditational stone, Empath?” Polaris asked. “It seems that he has a deep-seated need to take things that don’t belong to him in order to attract attention to himself or something.”
“Right now, this smurf doesn’t care what kind of ‘deep-seated need’ Nabby really has,” Empath said in a restrained tone of anger. “This smurf is going to confront Nabby and get him to tell me where he took that stone.”
“Empath, don’t let your emotions control your thinking,” Polaris warned him as Empath was ready to head off in the direction that Nabby may be. “This one will learn to live past the loss of that stone if it comes to not finding it again.”
“You’re this smurf’s friend, Polaris,” Empath responded, “and this smurf isn’t going to let a fellow Smurf do anything that hurts you, even if it’s over a trivial matter like a lost gift.”
“You smurf that Nabby a lesson that he’ll never forget,” Smurfette shouted as she and Polaris watched Empath take off into the sky to find Nabby.
“Smurfette, encouraging Empath to do potential physical harm to Nabby isn’t really helpful to the situation,” Polaris remarked.
“I don’t want Empath to smurf Nabby to a pulp, Polaris,” Smurfette snapped back, not angry at Polaris but sharing his discomfort. “But if it takes Empath smurfing Nabby upside-down by his toes in order to smurf the truth out of him, then so be it. He has no right to be smurfing off with your meditational stone like that.”
“Then perhaps you may need the meditational stone more than this one does when Empath finds and returns it,” Polaris said with a sigh. He decided to put his problem aside for the time being and help Smurfette carry her laundry to Tidy’s house.
"Hey, smurf back here with that eclair, you four-fingered bandit," Greedy roared as he chased after Nabby with a rolling pin in hand, hoping to get his hands on him.
"Share and share alike, Greedy," Nabby laughed, razzing him all the while. "You of all Smurfs should know that!"
"One of these days, you son of a biscuit, I'm going to smurf you red-handed," Greedy growled, slowing to a stop as he watched his brother run away out of sight.
Nabby continued to laugh, enjoying the thrill of snagging a goodie from Greedy's kitchen and getting away with it. He loved getting the better of Greedy when it came to filching food, and if it was something that Greedy only made on occasion, like the chocolate-covered eclairs made from some locally-grown bread mushrooms in the forest, the more Nabby appreciated the sweet taste of victory.
He ran far to the other end of the village, hoping to stop and get a chance to enjoy his ill-gotten gain, when somebody dropped down from the sky right in front of him. Nabby skidded to a halt when he saw and knew who it was.
"Aw, no," he groaned. "Empath!"
"Apparently, you have still not learned your lesson in keeping your hands off things that don't belong to you, Nabby," Empath said with some consternation.
Nabby could feel Empath literally staring right into him, and it made him feel uncomfortable. "Look, Empath, if it's about that morning muffin that I smurfed on you, please let me smurf it up to you," he replied defensively. "Here, smurf this instead...Greedy won't mind if I smurfed my peace with you with one of his chocolate-smurfered eclairs!"
Empath shook his head. "This smurf doesn't care about you taking food like that, Nabby, nor does this smurf want the eclair. Right now, all this smurf cares about is finding a shiny meditational stone that belonged to Polaris Psyche. It had disappeared from the window sill of this smurf's house where he had left it this morning. You do know what this smurf is talking about, do you? You can fool every Smurf into thinking it wasn't you, but this smurf knows you too well."
Nabby swallowed hard. "Uh, gee, Empath...I was just smurfing it out into the woods to get it cleaned by the river, so it would smurf all nice and shiny. And then, I was on my way to smurf it back to the village, when all of a sudden...I lost it!"
Empath looked at Nabby incredulously. "You lost Polaris' stone?" he said with an angry edge in his voice.
"Well, what's the matter?" Nabby asked, not sure why Empath was coming down on him so hard. "Can't you just smurf out there with your minds-eye and find it?"
"No, Nabby!" Empath replied. "This smurf isn't going to do that...you are! And when you do find it, you are going to personally return it to Polaris and apologize to him!"
"ME?!?" Nabby exclaimed. "I thought you were Polaris' best friend. Shouldn't you be worrying about smurfing back your friend's missing stone? Why do you want me to smurf it instead?"
"Nabby, this smurf's role in the village as Papa Smurf's assistant counselor is NOT to do every little thing for every Smurf," Empath explained vehemently. "Rather, it is to help every Smurf be able to do for themselves what they are capable of doing...and to find the intiative to do those things for themselves, even if that means learning something from their own mistakes. If you think passing on the responsibility of finding another Smurf's missing possession is going to help you learn anything from your mistake, you are only fooling yourself."
"You're just mad because I smurfed your morning muffin on you," Nabby shot back, "and now you won't even help your fellow Smurf find that something so valuable to your own friend. How dare you smurf down on me like that!"
Empath simply folded his arms and stared at Nabby, not saying another word. He simply let the expression on his face tell Nabby that he wasn't fooling and he wasn't backing down.
Finally, Nabby sighed. "Okay, fine, I'll smurf out into the forest to find that stone, if it makes you feel smurfy about it!"
Empath watched as Nabby stuffed the eclair into his mouth and walk off into the forest.
After hours of searching for Polaris’ meditational stone and not being able to find it, Nabby was ready to call the search off and head back to the village. It galled him that Empath would have him waste his time going off into the forest to find something valuable for his friend Polaris rather than take the time to go find this valuable object himself. It galled him even more so that he lost the thing in the first place, which was something that never happened to him whenever he took something from his fellow Smurf. He was a thief, he had to admit that, but he wasn’t so careless with what he took that he failed to take care of it long enough to return it. But Greedy’s cooking was fair game, since his brother was so much a food freak as he was. The only thing Nabby lacked was Greedy’s skill in cooking and baking, which was part of why he resorted to his filching games when it came to sneaking delicious morsels from his brother’s kitchen.
As he was heading back toward the village, he came across a shiny object that attracted his attention. He saw a gleaming gold amulet that was laying next to a gnome who was sleeping by a tree, rather peacefully. He picked up the object and was surprised by how peaceful and calm he felt holding it.
Nabby looked at the amulet with some thought as to what he was going to do with it. He couldn’t return to the village and to Polaris without at least something to show for his failure to keep better tabs on a valuable object he took and lost. He figured that the owner of the amulet wasn’t going to miss it if he took it for a seemingly noble purpose of making amends with somebody.
Nabby walked off quietly, looking back every so often at the gnome who continued to sleep peacefully as if totally unaware that Nabby was now making off with his amulet.