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What would happen in Nuremberg? They would learn from Drosselmeier’s cousin that Krakatuk had been in his home all along–sold to him, long before, by a laughing man who wanted only one coin of a specific year. It does no good to puzzle over such things. He could have been anyone.

What matters, my darlings, is that the new year has broken, and this story is done. The tale of the Nutcracker and his princesses is for another time. Into your pajamas, tapers lit; and if I read the stars aright, my old friend your godfather will be here by morning.