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The clock was four stories tall and a century old; its works had once driven not just the great cast-iron hands but dials displaying the phase of the moon, the sign of the Zodiac, the chance of snowfall and the augury of the southbound birds. Its central gear was as wide as three men, and its smallest no bigger than your littlest toenail. It was dark and cobwebbed, rusted and still, and everywhere in its fragile structure were the signs of gnawing mice.

Drosselmeier had only a candle and a little oilcloth roll of tools. He chuckled, and went to work.