Hans Glück, the former SS Obergruppenführer known in some circles as the Beast of Schliedenburg, retired to the colony of Nuevo Nurembergo after the war. Intending to spend his twilight years in comfortable retirement, he returned to his former profession, that of a baker, supported by a modest pension.

With weekly deliveries of ingredients, Glück made small batches of sweets in his home for sale but invested most of his energy into a different project: gingerbread. He painstakingly mixed, baked, and cut the materials to build a gingerbread Schliedenburg, complete with little gingerbread men and gingerbread women. It was an orderly town, in which every cornice and inhabitant was carefully judged and measured–Glück’s thwarted vision for the town recreated in sweet miniature.

Naturally, baking is not an exact science, and often the gingerbread people or the buttresses of their dwellings would not turn out. In this case, Glück would ruthlessly cull them and feed the rejects to his beloved schnauzer, Strudel. Strudel would always take the treats outside through his doggie door; Glück, confined to a wheelchair after taking a bullet to the knee during his escape from the Siege of Königsburg, never knew or cared what secret hollow the dog retreated to with his prizes.

One night, while rigging the edible Schliedenburg with lights, Glück caught a glimpse of similar lights in the trees not far from the edge of his small yard. The next morning, curious, he took his old field glasses down and peered into the distance.

It was another gingerbread town, this one far less orderly and well-formed. The baker recognized his rejects, and realized that Strudel had simply been playing with and then discarding his castoffs. Unable to go outside to investigate, Glück assumed that the neighborhood children, perhaps the Hoffenstadter twins, were responsible. He made a telephone call to his milkman offering a gold Reichsmark if he would stomp the rogue settlement out.

The next day, the milkman failed to make his appointed rounds. And the gingerbread settlement had moved in the night: it was now less than ten feet from Glück’s door.

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