24 Dezember, a date of no special significance in Waldreck, finds an anonymous man hard at work in his back workshop in an especially worn and unfashionable quarter of Bruttig, hidden there from the prying eyes of the agents of the Pfalzgraf and the Burgermeister.
From time to time throughout the grey, frigid day, hooded, furtive men masked by their frozen breath would pass by the building, some pausing to regard their reflections and the street behind them in the front shop windows presenting the legitimate face of a snuffshop to the public, and then turn down the winding alleyway leading to the rear entrance, a sober grey-painted and iron-bound door with a narrow sliding-panel peephole. Knocking there, and giving the muttered password "Kringle," they are hurriedly admitted into the back room.
Once inside, the prearranged transaction is swiftly consummated: hard pfalzthalers for assorted banned goods, outlawed for their indolent frivolity: hoops and wands, marbles, knucklebones, dolls, tops, tin soldiers or the exotic bandalore. Avoiding eye contact, the nameless customers finalise their transactions, secret their contraband within their bulky overcoats and melt back into grey, faceless crowds flowing viscously over the frosty and darkening streets.