If you've ever visited a crowded touristy place, you've seen these guys at work - street cons playing games like three card monte or the shell game. These con artists have two main goals: first, to separate you from your hard earned cash; second, to do it without getting caught. In Thimblerig's Ark, the unlikely hero of our story is a con artist groundhog who specializes in running the shell game, and his name is Thimblerig.
But wait! What is the shell game? My friends, the shell game is that famous ancient con where the swindler has three cups and a pea, and the sucker has to guess under which cup the pea resides, and money is bet and lost in the process. In the early 1800's, this game became known as "Thimblerig" and swindling someone became known as "thimblerigging".