Were the Smurfs actually real?

Inspiration: A friend of mine once posted on Facebook a picture of a sarsaparilla plant, not knowing it actually existed in real life outside the comic books about the Smurfs. I jumped at that chance and wrote this little piece.


Brussels, April 4th 2016 – Damien C.

We all know those little blue beings with their Phrygian caps, living in their mushroom huts in an enchanted forest. And their worst enemies, the wizard Gargamel and his accomplice, the felonious feline Azrael. We know them through the famous comic series by Belgian artist Pierre Culliford, better known as Peyo. What is less well known, however, is that it seems the stories told in these books isn’t the result of pure imagination, but research conducted by the author among documents that he obtained somewhere.

Shortly after the death of the author, one of his associates found in his office a set of old miniature parchment documents, written in a miniature language that first needed to be deciphered. The associate, Mr. Jean-Claude Carbozooie, spent the last 24 years deciphering and understanding all of this. “It took me a while, the language itself is rather complex. Already, the alphabet contains 32 letters, not just the 26 that we know. Also, there’s the added complication of one word that seems to be repeated in every way and grammatical form available. But after 24 years, I’ve finally managed to develop a method of analysis allowing me to read these documents. They seem to be written in Medieval Smurfish.”

He does mention having had suspicions early in his work. “The repetition of this word, ‘smourfe’ (the medieval form of the word), at first seemed strange. Then one day, after a few months, I happened to glance at a copy of the Astrosmurf, and I made the connection. This allowed me to review my research methodology. However, because there are many pieces of the documents missing, it still took a long time to reconstruct the Smurfish language and understand the contents of the documents.” One more complication that turned up during the research was the differences in syntax. You might remember in Smurf versus Smurf, when the entire village had ended up split in two over the proper syntax of the language.

Mr. Carbozooie tells us that, according to the available evidence, the documents he analyzed were none other than the memoirs of Papa Smurf, along with some long dissertations by Brainy Smurf and various anecdotes written by other members of the little community. The memoirs themselves appear to have been the inspiration behind most of Peyo’s comic books. Furthermore, some pages were hard to read, owing to the fact they seem to have suffered from Jokey Smurf’s favorite pastime.

Many questions are still left unanswered about this discovery and its implications. Did Mr. Peyo know of a real race of Smurfs, or did he also create and invent these documents for fun or a prank? His sister Véronique tells us more: “Even though he wrote fun stories, he never joked about his work. He would not be the kind to create a whole conspiracy theory around the existence or inexistence of the Smurfs in real life.” Which leaves us with the one conclusion that will fascinate many fans and researchers: that the Smurfs may have really existed at one time.

M. W. A. Terincan, a renowned Turkish botanist, indicates that we can attempt to retrace the community by analyzing the composition of the parchment and tracking the evolution of the sarsaparilla plant (smilax aspera), which is an ingredient in the parchment itself and served as the Smurfs’ main food staple. In this way, he says, “we could know in which area they lived, and might retrace their migrations.” Unfortunately, this plant is very widespread on Earth, everywhere from Mexico to India via Europe and Africa. “But if we analyze the varieties present in the parchments and those mentioned in the texts through their characteristics and effects, we could narrow down the region where these creatures lived (and, who knows, maybe still live)”.

During our investigation, we also tried to find traces of Gargamel’s lineage. Until now we haven’t found anything very concrete, save for one German named Friedrich Gärgmeller, 68, of Worms, who told us: “There is a story in my family of one of our ancestors, in the 16th century. He claimed to have known a race of little blue men who always devastated his sarsaparilla crops, which he used abundantly for his meals as well as to help with his gout and rheumatisms. For a long time we thought he was merely referring to the Nibelungen, mythical dwarf people from an old Germanic saga, and that it was simply imaginary. But this new discovery does cast the story in a new light.”

There is still much to learn about this mysterious race. When did they exist? Have they disappeared, and if yes, why? And if they haven’t disappeared, where the smurf are they smurfing? It’s up to other smurfers to smurf out the truth.

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