Back when birds spoke Gaelic…. that was the age of joy

‘Beast Literature’, stories where human-like, talking animals and birds are the main characters became especially popular in the twelfth century (Salisbury, 1994:124-8).

But the Beast Literature tradition did not invent the concept of talking animals. There was a native tradition in Gaelic and Welsh literature (e.g. ‘Nauigatio Brendani’, ‘Culhwch ac Olwen’) which may have originally been derived from the biblical stories of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3) and Baalam’s Donkey (Numbers 22). (Harris-Logan, 2007: 88-91).

Actually, the idea of animals learning to talk remains common in Scottish Gaelic folklore to this day. There is a literary saying (seanfhacal) in modern Gaelic. ‘Nuair a bha Ghaidhlig aig na h-eoin ‘s ann a bha linn an aigh’ (Back when birds spoke Gaelic…. that was the age of joy).

The most famous example of speaking animals from Scotland is probably a piece of poetry written by Eoghan MacLachlainn (Ewen MacLachlan) called ‘Dàn mu Chonaltradh’ (English title: The Colloquy of the Birds). It was first published in 1798, but is set in the distant age of joy. The translation I give is from Forbes (1905) and is tentative and literary rather than exact.

When MacLachlainn wrote this poem (c.1795) he was still a young man, working as a tutor at Clunes in Lochaber, south-west Scotland, saving money and hoping to go to university (Mackenzie, 1841:321-3). Perhaps the intended theme is one of hope – the world was once a magical place. Harris-Logan (2007:111) has pointed out that Gaelic poetry which represents birds talking is often written for escapist reasons or out of an aspiration for otherness.



More work on my favourite enigma, from New Earth Lady


Dunsgaich, Dunsgathaich, Dunskahay (1424), etc.

The shadowy fort, fort of gloom. This name, as will be under­stood, has appeared under various spellings, even since above date, while the etymology of the word has also been varied; the shadowy town or fort, the fort of the jutting-out land, sgathaich, branches or brushwood, which no Gaelic scholar would give; even the latter word being pronounced differently should suffice, but worse is to follow in “ the hillock of the skates ” ! One, more probable, cannot be ignored, viz., Sgathach’s Fort, but the queen after-mentioned took her name or title from the fort and not the fort from her; in point of fact, the fort itself took the name from the bay or loch, Sgàth vik, shadow bay, and the district Sgàthavaig is always now in use. The queen above referred to was, according to one account, and accounts vary considerably, she whom Cuchullin fell in love with, the beautiful Aisè, Aoisè, or Aoife (long s mis­taken for /), a daughter to Ardgenny; another account gives it that a school of arms was kept by her (Aisè or Aisi) in conjunction with her father, here named Otha or Uathaidh; see “ Death of the Children of TJsnach.” Again, it is stated that Cuchullin fell in love with Uathach, “ daughter of the princess of the dun.” Anyway, this person seems to have been, as above stated, Aisè, who bore a son to Cuchullin, named Conlach, the word gu, con, it may be noted, appearing in the names of both father and son; this son was slain, in ignorance of whom’ he was, by his father.

Cuchullin came very young to Skye from Ireland, where one of his castles stood; he came to learn the feats taught in the military school kept by Sgatbach the Terrible,” her territorial title. This Cuchullin did so as to win the love of an Irish princess, “ Emer or Eimhir the Lovely,” the daughter of Forgall Manach, Forgall the Monk, also designated “ the wily.” While in Skye, he met Aisè, as above stated, but forsook her; see “ Bàs Chonlaoich,” the death of Conlaoch, as given in the Book of the Dean of Lismore. Cuchullin apparently returned to Ireland, and married Emer, Evir, Awoir, or Ayvir, in modern Gaelic.

Eimhear, for by all these names has she been referred to in ancient script, etc., in one or more of which she is said to have proved as faithless to Cuchullin as he was to Aisè,. or Bragela (Braighe Gheala) (fair-bosom, as a poetical title), and said to have been Cuchullin’s wife also, mother of Conlaoch at any rate, and whom he left to pine in Skye. Going to Ireland, he engaged in many combats there, in one of which he fell; various accounts, as may be understood, are given of this final fight, though an Irish poem has it that his death was due to the arts of magic, Cuchullin was still held as belonging to Skye, for in the Ossianic poems he is designed as “ Chief of the Ielei of Mist.” Among many adventures and feats in Ireland, Cuchullin attacked and slew a king of Munster, and carried off his queen, Blamait or Blathmaid, into Ulster; this, it is believed, he did “ for a friend.”

Queen or princess, “ Sgathach ” lived in the dun or fort with her two sons. Many and wonderful, it is said, were the feats taught in the college here, to which, as said, Cuchullin came as a pupil or student. Along with him, pursuing their military education also, were four grandsons of a certain Druid of the Piets of Ulster, called Cathbad; Cuchullin was one, three sons of Uisneach, and Conall Cearnach, five in all.

This queen or princess, fierce and ruthless warrior queen,” as she is styled in some accounts, or her daughter, Uathach, according to others, was in love with “ Cuchulainn, the son of Learg” ; none fairer had been seen by her or any other woman, though, it is also said, he loved no woman in Skye, though he was loved by “ three times fifty queens ” ! This warrior-queen Sgathach had the second sight, and foresaw the career and early death (at 30) of Cuchullin, who fell at Muirthemne in Ireland, fighting against great odds. Cuchullin was really older than thirty years, that age having been given poetically, as his full strength and his being “ beardless ” made him appear younger.

Despite the fierce character of this Queen Sgathach, she had other attractions, being passionately fond of music, especially of a melodious nature; she possessed a three-stringed magical harp, one string of which, when tuned, caused laughter and dancing, “ Geantraighe,” gean, good’ humour, cheerfulness, and traigh, strength; a second, crying or weeping, etc., “ G-ultraighe,” gul, guil, weeping, and trcdghe; while the third, “ Suantraighe,” suain, suaine, sleep, and tmighe, caused heavy, balmy sleep.

Queen Sgathach, in addition to the training to arms, etc., inculcated lessons of mutual friendship and fidelity, and bestowed prizes or gifts of arms upon at least two of her favourites, viz., Cuchullin and his friend Ferdagh; these two went to battle, after surmounting many diffi­culties, on behalf of the three amazons, Sgathach and her two daughters, Uathach and Aisè, while Cuchullin called the queen his “ tender tutoress/’ which apparently she was to him!

The faithlessness of Emer, Emire, Evir, etc., above referred to, is strongly questioned by Irish writers, and reference may be made to her “ Lament for Cuchulainn,” who is there designed Mhic Subhalt, Shubhailt, Shual- tain, also Mhic Sheimhi, in Irish, of course. In the notes to the 1760 “ Trànslation of Ossian’s Poems,” Cuchullin is designed as son of Semo, grandson of Cathbat, a celebrated Druid; there it is stated that he was married very young to Bragela, daughter of Sorglan, at his castle or palace at Dunsgaich; all these accounts conflict, and still another account has it that he married Uathach, the other daughter of Queen Sgathach, but had a son previously (Conlaoch) by her sister, Aoife (Eva); and, on his return to Ireland, he married the before-mentioned Emer or Eimer. All this took place in the first century a.d .

Aife, Aoibhe, Aoive, Aoisè, Aisè, or by whatever name she was known, gave Cuchullin, while in Skye, a model of a fatal—or at least deadly—spear called the “Gath Bolg ” or balg, a bag, etc., made from the bone or bones of some “ monster ” animal. See “ Tain Bo Chuailgne” a mythical tale; the bull referred to here supposed to have been a god.

One of the chief “ Captains ” of Queen Sgathach was “ Maev (Maebh) the Strong,” a warrior woman; there were at least five score of these female warriors, and on one occasion they executed twenty Vikings or Norse seamen, who had escaped drowning in the loch (Loch Scavaig.), by tying the long hair of each to the down-caught boughs of an oak, on which, being let go, the men swung till dead.

In more than one account of this famous fortress (Dunegàich) it is described as being on the “ North-east coast of Scotland,” also “ in the east of Alba ” (by Alba is meant Ireland), and a famous writer described it as a “ foreign academy ” !

Cuchullin’s name is more immediately associated with Dun Sgàthaich than any other place. In Skye to this day (as elsewhere), his very name is proverbial, “ Cho laidir ri Cuchulainn” and another of his names or titles was “ Setanta,” which was his first name, and which an authority says “ indirectly suggests British ancestry in his case” ; he was designed by another authority as a “ daughter’s son of Cathbad, Conchobar’s famous Druid, who had three daughters; the other two were mothers of Conall Cernach (Cearnach) and Naoise, thus cousins of Cuchullin.”

Many are the tales, traditions, and rumours, local and otherwise, as to this interesting castle, now in ruins; it was one of the most primitive, the keep having been, added about 1266. In an Act *of James V. occurs, “ donaldo gromych mcdonald gallich de dunskàwich,”u long, it should be noted. These tales, etc., are, however, vague and not to be depended upon, as, for example, the statement has been made that its origin has been attributed to the Homans, or even to giants, etc.! There are traces of a burial-place near the castle, but no exhumation of bodies or human remains have been made so far as known. Right below the castle, or dun, and resting on a huge flat rock, is a perfectly round stone of a very considerable size and apparent weight; tradition has it that this was the “ putting stone ” (clach-neart) in use by the “ men” of old; it can hardly be raised by two of the strongest “ men ” of this day. This stone, it may be mentioned, is supposed to be nothing more or less than a “ travelled ” boulder of the Ice Age.

In 1514 Dunsgaich was actually seized, and held for a time, by Lauchlan Maclean of Dowart or Duart (Dubhard) black height, and that on behalf of Sir Donald of Lochalsh. The name “Dunskaith” appears in a certain work, and is interpreted “ the fort of mischief” ; this fort, however, is situated on a little knoll on the northern “ sutor of Cromarty,” stated to have been a “royal ” fortress erected by William the Lion, now the site of another fortress; but this by the way.

Dunsgàich proper is shortly described as “ a vitrified fort near Tocavaig, above Gauscavaig Bay.” The present ruins even are thought to be secondary to the original fort built above the “ shadowy ” bay.


Here is earlier Mons Angelorum blog post, 2015, from when I was investigating the Standing Stones….

To stumble across the idea (of a round world) by chance needs an unusual set of geographical features. The only location I have found that the idea can both be proven and stumbled across by chance is at Preseli: At this location, Neolithic constructions of unknown age are located in precisely the correct locations to show how this might have been found.

Immediately below these locations is the possible quarry that some archaeologists say is the source of the bluestones used at Stonehenge. Using the Geocentric Hypothesis, Stonehenge is a model of our Cosmos which shows, amongst other things, that the Earth is round (the circle of Stones representing our world).

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580 Responses to Back when birds spoke Gaelic…. that was the age of joy

  1. ulvfugl says:

    This is J. F. Campbell’s four-volume collection of Scottish folklore. Campbell, who was fluent in Gaelic, spent years in the field eliciting these stories from people in all walks of life. This was a salvage project, as the stories and the storytellers were rapidly dying out under the impact of the dominant British culture and the inroads of the industrial revolution. It is because of Campbell’s pioneering effort that we have a comprehensive record of this rich vein of folklore.

    This is a critical edition, which contains an extensive introduction, variations on each tale, and endnotes. Campbell is often cited in folklore studies, and many other anthologies of Scottish and general folklore include one or more stories from this collection.

  2. ulvfugl says:

    Federal officials learned last year that three five-gallon buckets stored in the Grand Canyon’s museum building were literally overflowing with highly-radioactive uranium ore. The buckets were moved to the museum building when it opened in 2000 and were so full of the ore one literally wouldn’t close.

    As reports, in a rogue email sent to all Park Service employees on Feb. 4, Elston “Swede” Stephenson – the safety, health and wellness manager – described the alleged cover-up as “a top management failure” and warned of possible health consequences.

    “If you were in the Museum Collections Building (2C) between the year 2000 and June 18, 2018, you were ‘exposed’ to uranium by OSHA’s definition,” Stephenson wrote.

    “The radiation readings, at first blush, exceeds (sic) the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s safe limits. … Identifying who was exposed, and your exposure level, gets tricky and is our next important task.”

    Stephenson says he tried to convince Parks executives to warn the public that anyone visiting the site after 2000 could have been exposed to radiation he calculated at levels potentially over 4,000 times the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s “safe” level for children and 400 times the level for adults, but was “stonewalled” by management. He believes the Park Service violated the law by not informing the public of the danger.

    “Respectfully, it was not only immoral not to let Our People know, but I could not longer risk my (health and safety) certification by letting this go any longer,”

  3. ulvfugl says:

    Empire actor Jussie Smollett pleaded no contest in 2007 to providing false information to law enforcement in connection with a DUI, according to NBC News 10, which confirmed the incident with the Los Angeles City Attorney.

    Smollett was sentenced to two years probation and a choice of a fine or jail in the 2007 case.

    News of Smollett’s 2007 false report comes as the Empire star faces potential charges for filing another false police report surrounding a January 29 “hate crime” that two acquaintances claim he paid them to rehearse and then stage.

    The two men, Nigerian-born brothers – Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundario, one of whom is Smollett’s personal trainer and was an extra on Empire, met with police and prosecutors at the local courthouse and are cooperating in the case.

    Earlier Tuesday we reported that the FBI crime lab and US Postal Inspectors are investigating whether Smollett was involved in creating a threatening letter addressed to him at Empire’s Chicago studio prior to the alleged attack.

  4. ulvfugl says:

    Finally, you’re left with image of Scott Pelley sucking on his eyeglass frames as if he was trying to impersonate a character who might be called The Ole Sage TV Journalist, after neatly disgracing both himself and TV journalism in his puffy chat-up with Andrew McCabe, the ex-Deputy FBI Director who stage-managed the cover-up of the RussiaGate fiasco in both of its phases — first to interfere with the 2016 election on behalf of Hillary Clinton, and then to oust the winner of the election, Mr. Trump.

    Perhaps Mr. Pelley was ruminating on all the topics he forgot to ask about, such as what Mr. McCabe meant by an “insurance policy” in his conversations with counter-intel agent Peter Stzrok and DOJ lawyer Lisa Page; or whether Mr. McCabe launched the Russia collusion investigation on the basis of the Steele dossier, which was already known at the time to be material furnished by the Hillary Clinton campaign; or whether the contents of said dossier had ever been verified via established FBI protocol (the “Woods” procedure), which they never were.

    The audience was informed at the very end that Mr. McCabe’s case had been “referred” to the federal courts by the DOJ Inspector General. That was a nice way of saying that Mr. McCabe has been singing to a grand jury. If so, then he’s an early bird, because many of his feathered friends will be following him into the grand jury chamber and then we’ll have the great Battle-of-the-Alibis.

    Mainly what the McCabe interview accomplished was CBS tripling-down on the empty Russia collusion “narrative” that has nourished the crusade to dump Mr. Trump by any means necessary for more than two years. Mr. McCabe describes the “chaos” in the C-suites of the FBI after the President fired Director James Comey in May 7 of 2017, “because we had lost our leader… it was an unbelievably stressful time,” he said.

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  7. ulvfugl says:

    George Bain 1881–1968: an introduction

    George Bain was one of the main instigators of promoting modern Celtic design. Born in Scrabster in Caithness, his family moved to Edinburgh where he trained as an artist. During the last two years of the First World War he served in Macedonia – which included northern Greece and parts of Bulgaria, Albania, Kosovo and Serbia. There he sketched and painted both landscapes and the people he met and worked with. On his return he took up the position of Principal Teacher of Art at Kirkcaldy High School in Fife, remaining in this post until his retirement in 1946.

  8. ulvfugl says:

    HAHAHAHA ! I am smarter than Molyneux ! Even WITH brain damage 🙂

    Answer is SIXTY !

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  11. ulvfugl says:

    Wut ? ‘order of operations’ !? ahahahahaha

    So why isn’t it (5+1) x 10 ??

    ‘multiplication is granted a higher precedence than addition’

    1. The basic rule (that multiplication has precedence over addition)
    appears to have arisen naturally and without much disagreement as
    algebraic notation was being developed in the 1600s and the need for
    such conventions arose. Even though there were numerous competing
    systems of symbols, forcing each author to state his conventions at
    the start of a book, they seem not to have had to say much in this
    area. This is probably because the distributive property implies a
    natural hierarchy in which multiplication is more powerful than
    addition, and makes it desirable to be able to write polynomials with
    as few parentheses as possible;

  12. ulvfugl says:

    The most despicable thing about this paper — and here I blame both the authors and the editor of “Antiquity” — is that there is no mention of the dispute about the origins of the “quarries” and no citation of the two “inconvenient” peer-reviewed papers by Dyfed Elis-Gruffydd, John Downes any myself that were published in 2015. The authors know all about them. They have never questioned the reliability of either our observations or our conclusions — and yet they have wilfully ignored the research, in order to bolster the false premise that the quarrying ideas are unchallenged. That is scientific malpractice, pure and simple — and it is hardly credible that the community of academic archaeologists allows these people to get away with it. Do they really think that their reputations are enhanced by such behaviour? What do their own departmental colleagues and their students think? What does English Heritage think? What do the research funding bodies think? I wonder………

  13. ulvfugl says:

    The oldest skull ever found on the banks of the River Thames – dating from about 5,600 years ago – will go on display at the Museum of London.

    The fragment of a neolithic skull was mudlarked from the south bank of the river’s foreshore by Martin Bushell last September. The frontal bone, dated to about 3,600BC, is understood by the museum to belong to a male over the age of 18.

    The discovery, which Bushell initially believed was just a shard of pottery, was handed in to the Metropolitan police. The force commissioned radiocarbon dating of the bone, which revealed that the man had died about 5,600 years ago.

    From Wednesday it will be displayed in the London Before London gallery at the museum, among other artefacts from between 450,000BC and AD50 that were discovered in the Thames.

    Dr Rebecca Redfern, the curator of human osteology at the museum, said the finding was incredibly significant because knowledge of the neolithic era was “very, very limited.”

  14. ulvfugl says:

    Scientists know the Stonehenge early phase standing stones (the so-called bluestones rather than the later more famous and much larger sarsen stones) come from this and other Pembrokeshire prehistoric quarries – because of chemical identification tests they have carried out on the rocks.
    So far, only two quarries have been identified – both on the northern slopes of the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales – but geologists, who have studied the Stonehenge bluestones, think it is likely there were at least three or four other quarries that have yet to be found.
    The discovery of the tools is likely to rekindle one of archaeology’s biggest debates – how did the builders of Stonehenge transport the bluestones (an estimated 79 of them, each weighing approximately 2 tonnes) from southwest Wales to Salisbury Plain.

  15. ulvfugl says:

    More than 500 sacrificial and ritualistic relics have been discovered by divers in Lake Petén Itzá, Guatemala. The archaeology team of PhD divers from Poland were 160 meters underwater when they located several monuments that were involved in ritualistic ceremonies that occurred in the ancient Mayan capital of Nojpeten. In fact, the lake bed was totally littered with the ceremonial relics according to archaeologists from Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, and Warsaw University.

    Nojpeten was the final Mayan city that fell to Spanish invaders in the 17th century and the area is known today as Flores Island. The PhD students were in Guatemala initially searching for remains of the “great battle” that occurred between the last Mayan city and several Spanish ships that surrounded the island in 1697. They instead discovered pieces of skull-shaped incense burners, bowls used in rituals, sacrificial glass blades, and shells of musical instruments from the Caribbean which date back from 150 BC – 250 AD to 600 – 800 AD.

  16. ulvfugl says:

    The iconic megaliths that make up Stonehenge may have once stood in a temporary monument, not too far from where they were quarried in Wales, before they were transported to their final destination in Salisbury Plain, a new study suggests.

    The site of this possible temporary monument, known as Banc du, is a couple of miles to the southwest of two Stonehenge quarries. Ancient humans used Banc du as a gathering place about 700 years before Stonehenge was built. But recent evidence, from radiocarbon-dated charcoal found at Banc du, suggests the site was used again around 3000 B.C.— right about the time of Stonehenge’s construction.

    “I think the important thing is realizing that the quarries aren’t just there in isolation, that they’re actually part of a larger ceremonial landscape, which includes the gathering place,” study lead researcher Michael Parker Pearson, a professor at the Institute of Archaeology at the University College London, told Live Science. “There’s also a concentration of Neolithic tombs in that area.”

  17. ulvfugl says:

    City of Lost Children

    In the earliest accounts of the Hamelin events, we are told that the children were “lost”, but not necessarily dead. The Brothers Grimm, at the end of their version, add that “some say that the children were led into a cave, and that they came out again in Transylvania,” a conclusion retained by Robert Browning in his 1842 poem The Pied Piper of Hamelin. The terms from the Lüneburg Manuscript used to describe the place of the children’s disappearance (Calvary, Koppen), have been interpreted in different ways. Historian Hans Dobbertin assimilated the word Calvary, place of the skull, to the word Koppen, meaning head. In the Bible, Calvary or Golgotha was the place of the execution of Jesus – a mountain or a hill. This might suggest that the children of Hamelin were executed, or perhaps the word Calvary is merely used to describe the skull-like shape of a hill, like the biblical Golgotha.

    Scholars such as Heinrich Spanuth, Jürgen Udolph and Dobbertin have suggested that the Piper could have been an emissary sent by the ruling nobility to promote a campaign for the colonisation of Moravia, East Prussia, Pomerania or the Teutonic Lands to the East. The expression “children of Hamelin” could have been a general term for all the inhabitants of the town who listened to this brightly dressed “recruiting sergeant”, and their exodus a response to politico-economical factors.

    In this light, the story of the Pied Piper might be seen to bear certain similarities to that of the Children’s Crusade, an extraordinary series of events that purportedly took place in 1212. In both episodes, the border between history and myth is a porous one. The Children’s Crusade appears in mediæval sources, but historians now question its authenticity. The crusade was said to have been led by a child shepherd named Nicholas, from Cologne, Germany, who preached that the purity of children would allow them to conquer the Holy Land; the legend says that they starved and died along the way.

  18. ulvfugl says:

    Update: Jussie Smollett is now officially a suspect and is under criminal investigation for filing a false police report – a Class-4 felony, according to Chicago PD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury.

  19. ulvfugl says:

    “The White Helmets would take children with light injuries to the Turkish border and then the children’s bodies are returned and the organs have clearly been REMOVED” @VanessaBeeley discusses the White Helmets’ alleged organ trafficking operations

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  21. ulvfugl says:

    Our first political blow out happened while naked in bed after a heavy sex romp. I don’t remember how we got on the subject, but what I do remember is that when I stated that being a woman wasn’t oppressing, he became flustered and irritated.

    “Sexism is real,” he said to me in a way that can only be described as “mansplaining.” A knot the size of Manhattan developed in my throat. Rage coursed through my veins. I could not believe this man I worshipped was lying in naked next to me trying to debate womanhood. My own boyfriend was igniting the same insufferable rage I felt when listening to conservative pundit Ben Shapiro rant about abortion. His patronizing tone pierced my eardrum. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I jumped out of bed and stared him down so hard I felt like my eyeballs were going to pop out of my head.

    “You don’t get to tell me any of this,” I said. “I am well aware of sexism. I am the woman here!”

    He accused me of having conservative talking points. Tears welled up in my eyes as I stormed out of the room. It felt like a Twitter mob had invaded my bedroom and was attacking me with the usual insults: alt-right, a liberal trust funder, white-supremacist, self-hating whitey. He wasn’t using these names, but his lecture stung even worse. The last person I wanted to have these fights with was the man I loved.

    We made up, of course, but it didn’t end there. For the next two months, it seemed like politics kick-started every single fight we had. We couldn’t stop fighting. We weren’t debating over the alleged social construction of gender roles or the Israeli/Palestine debate. We were screaming at each other. Slamming doors. I threw him out of my apartment after he said FOX News was my favorite channel. I accused him of turning his back on his Jewish heritage. Politics was ripping us apart.

    It all came to a head at 2 AM over a Jordan Peterson video.

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    The new submachine gun is ultra-compact, it is powerful, and it could be the newest submachine gun the Army fields.

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