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Senf didn’t understand the late hour or the heavy cloak, but it was made for her size, of soft, rich fabric. So she followed them to the cave and the bonfire, and listened to their cunning stories. Then she stood up and took pride in the cleverness of how she’d stolen the nut herself.

To the museum with a new nut: gilded, with characters down one side. They replaced it in the case and locked it. They nodded, chanted, giggled, and parted.

The Order of Thieving Squirrels was born in warmth and daring, of conspirators, at the dawn of the year.