Lulu's Library. Volume 1 of 3Текст

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III.
NAUGHTY JOCKO

"A music-man! a music-man! Run quick, and see if he has got a monkey on his organ," cried little Neddy, running to the window in a great hurry one day.

Yes; there was the monkey in his blue and red suit, with a funny little cap, and the long tail trailing behind. But he did n't seem to be a lively monkey; for he sat in a bunch, with his sad face turned anxiously to his master, who kept pulling the chain to make him dance. The stiff collar had made his neck sore; and when the man twitched, the poor thing moaned and put up his little hand to hold the chain. He tried to dance, but was so weak he could only hop a few steps, and stop panting for breath. The cruel man would n't let him rest till Neddy called out, -

"Don't hurt him; let him come up here and get this cake, and rest while you play. I 've got some pennies for you."

So poor Jocko climbed slowly up the trellis, and sat on the window-ledge trying to eat; but he was so tired he went to sleep, and when the man pulled to wake him up, he slipped and fell, and lay as if he were dead. Neddy and his aunt ran down to see if he was killed. The cross man scolded and shook him; but he never moved, and the man said, -

"He is dead. I don't want him. I will sell him to some one to stuff."

"No; his heart beats a little. Leave him here a few days, and we will take care of him; and if he gets well, perhaps we will buy him," said Aunt Jane, who liked to nurse even a sick monkey.

The man said he was going on for a week through the towns near by, and would call and see about it when he came back. Then he went away; and Neddy and aunty put Jocko in a nice basket, and carried him in. The minute the door was shut and he felt safe, the sly fellow peeped out with one eye, and seeing only the kind little boy began to chatter and kick off the shawl; for he was not much hurt, only tired and hungry, and dreadfully afraid of the cruel man who beat and starved him.

Neddy was delighted, and thought it very funny, and helped his aunt take off the stiff collar and put some salve on the sore neck. Then they got milk and cake; and when he had eaten a good dinner, Jocko curled himself up and slept till the next day. He was quite lively in the morning; for when Aunt Jane went to call Neddy, Jocko was not in his basket, and looking round the room for him, she saw the little black thing lying on the boy's pillow, with his arm round Neddy's neck like a queer baby.

"My patience! I can't allow that," said the old lady, and went to pull Jocko out. But he slipped away like an eel, and crept chattering and burrowing down to the bottom of the bed, holding on to Neddy's toes, till he waked up, howling that crabs were nipping him.

Then they had a great frolic; and Jocko climbed all over the bed, up on the tall wardrobe, and the shelf over the door, where the image of an angel stood. He patted it, and hugged it, and looked so very funny with his ugly black face by the pretty white one, that Neddy rolled on the floor, and Aunt Jane laughed till her glasses flew off. By and by he came down, and had a nice breakfast, and let them tie a red ribbon over the bandage on his neck. He liked the gay color, and kept going to look in the glass, and grin and chatter at his own image, which he evidently admired.

"Now, he shall go to walk with me, and all the children shall see my new pet," said Neddy, as he marched off with Jock on his shoulder.

Every one laughed at the funny little fellow with his twinkling eyes, brown hands, and long tail, and Neddy felt very grand till they got to the store; then troubles began. He put Jocko on a table near the door, and told him to stay there while he did his errands. Now, close by was the place where the candy was kept, and Jocko loved sweeties like any girl; so he hopped along, and began to eat whatever he liked. Some boys tried to stop him; and then he got angry at them for pulling his tail, and threw handfuls of sugarplums at them. That was great fun; and the more they laughed and scrambled and poked at him, the faster he showered chocolates, caramels, and peppermints over them, till it looked as if it had rained candy. The man was busy with Neddy at the other end of the store; but when he heard the noise, both ran to see what was the matter. Neither of them could stop naughty Jocko, who liked this game, and ran up on the high shelves among the toys. Then down came little tubs and dolls' stoves, tin trumpets and cradles, while boxes of leaden soldiers and whole villages flew through the air, smash, bang, rattle, bump, all over the floor. The man scolded, Neddy cried, the boys shouted, and there was a lively time in that shop till a good slapping with a long stick made Jock tumble into a tub of water where some curious fishes lived; and then they caught him.

Neddy was much ashamed, and told the man his aunt would pay for all the broken things. Then he took his naughty pet, and started to go home and tie him up, for it was plain this monkey was not to be trusted. But as soon as they got out, Jocko ran up a tree and dropped on to a load of hay passing underneath. Here he danced and pranced, and had a fine time, throwing off the man's coat and rake, and eating some of the dinner tied up in a cloth. The crusts of bread and the bones he threw at the horse; this new kind of whip frightened the horse, and he ran away down a steep hill, and upset the hay and broke the cart. Oh, such a time! It was worse than the candy scrape; for the man swore, and the horse was hurt, and people said the monkey ought to be shot, he did so much mischief. Jocko did n't care a bit; he sat high up in a tree, and chattered and scolded, and swung by his tail, and was so droll that people could n't help laughing at him. Poor Neddy cried again, and went home to tell his troubles to Aunt Jane, fearing that it would take all the money in his bank to pay for the damage the bad monkey had done in one hour.

As soon as he was alone Jocko came skipping along, and jumped on his back, and peeped at him, and patted his cheeks, and was so cunning and good Neddy could n't whip him; but he shut him up in a closet to punish him.

Jocko was tired; so he went to sleep, and all was quiet till dinner-time. They were ready for the pudding, and Neddy had saved a place for a good plateful, as he liked snow-pudding, when shrieks were heard in the kitchen, and Mary the maid rushed in to say, -

"Oh, ma'am, that horrid beast has spoilt the pudding, and is scaring Katy out of her life!"

They all ran; and there sat that naughty monkey on the table, throwing the nice white snow all over poor cook, till her face looked as if she was ready to be shaved. His own face looked the same, for he had eaten all he wanted while the pudding stood cooling in the pantry. He had crept out of a window in the closet, and had a fine rummage among the sugar-buckets, butter-boxes, and milk-pans.

Kate wailed, and Mary scolded; but Aunt Jane and grandpa laughed, and Neddy chased Jock into the garden with the broom. They had to eat bread and jelly for dessert, and it took the girls a long time to clear up the mess the rascal made.

"We will put his collar and chain on again, and keep him tied up all the time till the man comes," said Aunt Jane.

"But I can't catch him," sighed Neddy, watching the little imp whisk about in the garden among the currant-bushes, chasing hens and tossing green apples round in high glee.

"Sit quietly down somewhere and wait till he is tired; then he will come to you, and you can hold him fast," said Aunt Jane.

So Neddy waited; and though he was much worried at his new pet's naughtiness, he enjoyed his pranks like a boy.

Grandpa took naps in the afternoon on the piazza, and he was dozing comfortably when Jocko swung down from the grape-vine by his long tail, and tickled the old gentleman on the nose with a straw. Grandpa sneezed, and opened one eye to brush away the fly as he supposed. Then he went to sleep again, and Jocko dropped a caterpillar on his bald head; this made him open the other eye to see what that soft, creepy thing could be. Neddy could n't help laughing, for he often wanted to do just such things, but never dared, because grandpa was a very stern old gentleman, and no one took liberties with him. Jocko was n't afraid, however; and presently he crept to the table, stele the glasses lying there, put them on, and taking up the paper held it before him, chattering as if he were reading it, as he had seen people do. Neddy laughed out loud at this, and clapped his hands, Jocko looked so like a little old man, in spite of the tail curled up behind. This time grandpa opened both eyes at once, and stared as if he saw a hobgoblin before him; then he snatched off the spectacles, and caught up his cane, crying angrily, -

"You rascal, how dare you!"

But Jocko tossed the paper in his face, and with one jump lighted on the back of old Tom, the big yellow cat, who lay asleep close by. Scared half out of his wits, Tom spit and bounced; but Jocko held fast to his collar, and had a fine race round the garden, while the girls laughed at the funny sight, and Neddy shouted, "It's a circus; and there's the monkey and the pony." Even grandpa smiled, especially when puss dashed up a tree, and Jock tumbled off. He chased him, and they had a great battle; but Tom's claws were sharp, and the monkey got a scratch on the nose, and ran crying to Neddy for comfort.

"Now, you naughty fellow, I 'll chain you up, and stop these dreadful tricks. But you are great fun, and I can't whip you," said the boy; for he knew what it was to enjoy a holiday, and poor Jocko had not had one for a long time.

Jocko ate some lunch, took a nap in the grass, and then was ready for more frolics. Neddy had fastened him to a tree in the garden, so that he could enjoy the sun and air, and catch grasshoppers if he liked. But Jocko wanted something more; and presently Neddy, who was reading in his hammock on the piazza, heard a great cackling among the hens, and looked up to see the monkey swinging by his tail from a bough, holding the great cock-a-doodle by his splendid tail, while all the twenty hens clucked and cackled with wrath and fear at such a dreadful prank.

 

"Now, that's too bad; I will slap him this time," said Neddy, running to save his handsome bird from destruction. But before he got there poor cocky had pulled his fine tail-feathers all out in his struggles, and when set free was so frightened and mortified that he ran away and hid in the bushes, and the hens went to comfort him.

Neddy gave Jocko a good whipping, and left him looking as meek as a baby, all cuddled up in a little bunch, with his head in his hands as if crying for his naughtiness. But he was n't sorry. Oh, dear, no! for in half an hour he had picked every one of the sweet peas Aunt Jane was so fond of, thrown all the tomatoes over the fence, and let the parrot out of his cage. The sight of Polly walking into the parlor with a polite "How are you, ma'am?" sent Aunt Jane to see what was going on. Neddy was fast asleep in the hammock, worn out with his cares; and Jocko, having unhooked his chain, was sitting on the chimney-top of a neighbor's house, eating corn.

"We shall not live to the end of the week if this sort of thing goes on. I don't know what to do with the little beast; he 's as bad as an elephant to take care of," said the poor lady, in despair, as she saw Jocko throw his corncob down on the minister's hat as that stately gentleman went by.

As none of them could catch him, Miss Jane let him alone till Neddy waked up and could go and find some of the big boys to help him.

Jocko soon left the roof, and skipped in at a window that stood open. It was little Nelly Brown's play-room, and she had left her pet doll Maud Mabel Rose Matilda very ill in the best bed, while she went down to get a poppy leaf to rub the darling's cheeks with, because she had a high fever. Jocko took a fancy to the pretty bed, and after turning the play-house topsy-turvy, he pulled poor Maud Mabel Rose Matilda out by her flaxen hair, and stuffing her into the water-pitcher upside down, got into the bed, drew the lace curtains, and prepared to doze deliciously under the pink silk bed-cover.

Up came Nelly, and went at once to the dear invalid, saying in her motherly little voice, -

"Now, my darling child, lie quite still, and I won't hurt you one bit."

But when she drew the curtain, instead of the lovely yellow-haired doll in her ruffled nightcap, she saw an ugly little black face staring at her, and a tiny hand holding the sheet fast. Nelly gave one scream, and flew downstairs into the parlor where the Sewing-circle was at work, frightening twenty-five excellent ladies by her cries, as she clung to her mother, wailing, -

"A bogie! a bogie! I saw him, all black; and he snarled at me, and my dolly is gone! What shall I do? oh, what shall I do?"

There was great confusion, for all the ladies talked at once; and it so happened that none of them knew anything about the monkey, therefore they all agreed that Nelly was a foolish child, and had made a fuss about nothing. She cried dismally, and kept saying to her mother, -

"Go and see; it's in my dolly's bed, – I found it there, and darling Maudie is gone."

"We will go and see," said Mrs. Moses Merryweather, – a stout old lady, who kept her six girls in such good order that they would never have dared to cry if ten monkeys had popped out at them.

Miss Hetty Bumpus, a tall thin maiden lady, with a sharp eye and pointed nose, went with her; but at the door that led to the dining-room both stopped short, and after one look came flying back, calling out together, -

"Mrs. Brown, your supper is spoilt! a dreadful beast has ruined it all!"

Then twenty-five excited ladies flew across the hall to behold Jocko sitting on the great cake in the middle of the table, his feet bathed in cream from the overturned pitcher, while all around lay the ruins of custards, tarts, biscuits, and sauce, not to mention nice napkins made into hay-cocks, spoons, knives, and forks, on the floor, and the best silver teapot in the fireplace.

While Nelly told her tale and the ladies questioned and comforted her, this bad monkey had skipped downstairs and had a delightful party all by himself. He was just scraping the jelly out of a tart when they disturbed him; and knowing that more slaps were in store for him if he stayed, he at once walked calmly down the ravaged table, and vanished out of the window carrying the silver tea-strainer with him to play with.

The ladies had no supper that night; and poor Mrs. Brown sent a note to Aunt Jane, telling her the sad story, and adding that Nelly was quite ill with the fright and the loss of dear Maud Mabel Rose Matilda, drowned in the water-pitcher and forever spoilt.

"John shall go after that man to-morrow, and bring him back to carry this terrible monkey away. I can't live with him a week; he will cost me a fortune, and wear us all out," said Aunt Jane, when Jocko was safely shut up in the cellar, after six boys had chased him all over the neighborhood before they caught him.

Neddy was quite willing to let him go; but John was saved his journey, for in the morning poor Jocko was found dead in a trap, where his inquisitive head had been poked to see what the cheese tasted like.

So he was buried by the river, and every one felt much relieved; for the man never came back, thinking Jocko dead when he left him. But he had not lived in vain; for after this day of trial, mischievous Neddy behaved much better, and Aunt Jane could always calm his prankish spirit by saying, as her finger pointed to a little collar and chain hanging on the wall, -

"If you want to act like naughty Jocko, say so, and I 'll tie you up. One monkey is enough for this family."

IV.
THE SKIPPING SHOES

Once there was a little girl, named Kitty, who never wanted to do what people asked her. She said "I won't" and "I can't," and did not run at once pleasantly, as obliging children do.

One day her mother gave her a pair of new shoes; and after a fuss about putting them on, Kitty said, as she lay kicking on the floor, -

"I wish these were seven-leagued boots, like Jack the Giant Killer's; then it would be easy to run errands all the time. Now, I hate to keep trotting, and I don't like new shoes, and I won't stir a step."

Just as she said that, the shoes gave a skip, and set her on her feet so suddenly that it scared all the naughtiness out of her. She stood looking at these curious shoes; and the bright buttons on them seemed to wink at her like eyes, while the heels tapped on the floor a sort of tune. Before she dared to stir, her mother called from the next room, -

"Kitty, run and tell the cook to make a pie for dinner; I forgot it."

"I don't want to," began Kitty, with a whine as usual.

But the words were hardly out of her mouth when the shoes gave one jump, and took her downstairs, through the hall, and landed her at the kitchen door. Her breath was nearly gone; but she gave the message, and turned round, trying to see if the shoes would let her walk at all. They went nicely till she wanted to turn into the china-closet where the cake was. She was forbidden to touch it, but loved to take a bit when she could. Now she found that her feet were fixed fast to the floor, and could not be moved till her father said, as he passed the window close by, -

"You will have time to go to the post-office before school and get my letters."

"I can't," began Kitty; but she found she could, for away went the shoes, out of the house at one bound, and trotted down the street so fast that the maid who ran after her with her hat could not catch her.

"I can't stop!" cried Kitty; and she did not till the shoes took her straight into the office.

"What's the hurry to-day?" asked the man, as he saw her without any hat, all rosy and breathless, and her face puckered up as if she did not know whether to laugh or to cry.

"I won't tell any one about these dreadful shoes, and I 'll take them off as soon as I get home. I hope they will go back slowly, or people will think I 'm crazy," said Kitty to herself, as she took the letters and went away.

The shoes walked nicely along till she came to the bridge; and there she wanted to stop and watch some boys in a boat, forgetting school and her father's letters. But the shoes would n't stop, though she tried to make them, and held on to the railing as hard as she could. Her feet went on; and when she sat down they still dragged her along so steadily that she had to go, and she got up feeling that there was something very strange about these shoes. The minute she gave up, all went smoothly, and she got home in good time.

"I won't wear these horrid things another minute," said Kitty, sitting on the doorstep and trying to unbutton the shoes.

But not a button could she stir, though she got red and angry struggling to do it.

"Time for school; run away, little girl," called mamma from upstairs, as the clock struck nine.

"I won't!" said Kitty, crossly.

But she did; for those' magic shoes danced her off, and landed her at her desk in five minutes.

"Well, I 'm not late; that's one comfort," she thought, wishing she had come pleasantly, and not been whisked away without any luncheon.

Her legs were so tired with the long skips that she was glad to sit still; and that pleased the teacher, for generally she was fussing about all lesson time. But at recess she got into trouble again; for one of the children knocked down the house of corn-cobs she had built, and made her angry.

"Now, I 'll kick yours down, and see how you like it, Dolly."

Up went her foot, but it did n't come down; it stayed in the air, and there she stood looking as if she were going to dance. The children laughed to see her, and she could do nothing till she said to Dolly in a great hurry, -

"Never mind; if you didn't mean to, I'll forgive you."

Then the foot went down, and Kitty felt so glad about it that she tried to be pleasant, fearing some new caper of those dreadful shoes. She began to see how they worked, and thought she would try if she had any power over them. So, when one of the children wanted his ball, which had bounced over the hedge, she said kindly, -

"Perhaps I can get it for you, Willy."

And over she jumped as lightly as if she too were an india-rubber ball.

"How could you do it?" cried the boys, much surprised; for not one of them dared try such a high leap.

Kitty laughed, and began to dance, feeling pleased and proud to find there was a good side to the shoes after all. Such twirlings and skippings as she made, such pretty steps and airy little bounds it was pretty to see; for it seemed as if her feet were bewitched, and went of themselves. The little girls were charmed, and tried to imitate her; but no one could, and they stood in a circle watching her dance till the bell rang, then all rushed in to tell about it.

Kitty said it was her new shoes, and never told how queerly they acted, hoping to have good times now. But she was mistaken.

On the way home she wanted to stop and see her friend Bell's new doll; but at the gate her feet stuck fast, and she had to give up her wishes and go straight on, as mamma had told her always to do.

"Run and pick a nice little dish of strawberries for dinner," said her sister, as she went in.

"I 'm too ti-" There was no time to finish, for the shoes landed her in the middle of the strawberry bed at one jump.

"I might as well be a grasshopper if I 'm to skip round like this," she said, forgetting to feel tired out there in the pleasant garden, with the robins picking berries close by, and a cool wind lifting the leaves to show where the reddest and ripest ones hid.

The little dish was soon filled, and she wanted to stay and eat a few, warm and sweet from the vines; but the bell rang, and away she went, over the wood-pile, across the piazza, and into the dining-room before the berry in her mouth was half eaten.

"How this child does rush about to-day!" said her mother. "It is so delightful to have such a quick little errand-girl that I shall get her to carry some bundles to my poor people this afternoon.

"Oh, dear me! I do hate to lug those old clothes and bottles and baskets of cold victuals round. Must I do it?" sighed Kitty, dismally, while the shoes tapped on the floor under the table, as if to remind her that she must, whether she liked it or not.

 

"It would be right and kind, and would please me very much. But you may do as you choose about it. I am very tired, and some one must go; for the little Bryan baby is sick and needs what I send," said mamma, looking disappointed.

Kitty sat very still and sober for some time, and no one spoke to her. She was making up her mind whether she would go pleasantly or be whisked about like a grasshopper against her will. When dinner was over, she said in a cheerful voice, -

"I 'll go, mamma; and when all the errands are done, may I come back through Fairyland, as we call the little grove where the tall ferns grow?"

"Yes, dear; when you oblige me, I am happy to please you."

"I 'm glad I decided to be good; now I shall have a lovely time," said Kitty to herself, as she trotted away with a basket in one hand, a bundle in the other, and some money in her pocket for a poor old woman who needed help.

The shoes went quietly along, and seemed to know just where to stop. The sick baby's mother thanked her for the soft little nightgowns; the lame girl smiled when she saw the books; the hungry children gathered round the basket of food, like young birds eager to be fed; and the old woman gave her a beautiful pink shell that her sailor son brought home from sea.

When all the errands were done Kitty skipped away to Fairyland, feeling very happy, as people always do when they have done kind things. It was a lovely place; for the ferns made green arches tall enough for little girls to sit under, and the ground was covered with pretty green moss and wood-flowers. Birds flew about in the pines, squirrels chattered in the oaks, butterflies floated here and there, and from the pond near by came the croak of frogs sunning their green backs on the mossy stones.

"I wonder if the shoes will let me stop and rest; it is so cool here, and I 'm so tired," said Kitty, as she came to a cosey nook at the foot of a tree.

The words were hardly out of her mouth when her feet folded under her, and there she sat on a cushion of moss, like the queen of the wood on her throne. Something lighted with a bump close by her; and looking down she saw a large black cricket with a stiff tail, staring at her curiously.

"Bless my heart! I thought you were some relation of my cousin Grasshopper's. You came down the hill with long leaps just like him; so I stopped to say, How d' ye do," said the cricket, in its creaky voice.

"I 'm not a grasshopper; but I have on fairy shoes to-day, and so do many things that I never did before," answered Kitty, much surprised to be able to understand what the cricket said.

"It is midsummer day, and fairies can play whatever pranks they like. If you did n't have those shoes on, you could n't understand what I say. Hark, and hear those squirrels talk, and the birds, and the ants down here. Make the most of this chance; for at sunset your shoes will stop skipping, and the fun all be over."

While the cricket talked Kitty did hear all sorts of little voices, singing, laughing, chatting in the gayest way, and understood every word they said. The squirrels called to one another as they raced about, -

 
"Here's a nut, there's a nut;
Hide it quick away,
In a hole, under leaves,
To eat some winter day.
Acorns sweet are plenty,
We will have them all:
Skip and scamper lively
Till the last ones fall."
 

The birds were singing softly, -

 
"Rock a bye, babies,
Your cradle hangs high;
Soft down your pillow,
Your curtain the sky.
Father will feed you,
While mother will sing,
And shelter our darlings
With her warm wing."
 

And the ants were saying to one another as they hurried in and out of their little houses, -

 
"Work, neighbor, work!
Do not stop to play;
Wander far and wide,
Gather all you may.
We are never like
Idle butterflies,
But like the busy bees,
Industrious and wise."
 

"Ants always were dreadfully good, but butterflies are ever so much prettier," said Kitty, listening to the little voices with wonder and pleasure.

 
"Hollo! hollo!
Come down below, -
It's lovely and cool
Out here in the pool;
On a lily-pad float
For a nice green boat.
Here we sit and sing
In a pleasant ring;
Or leap-frog play,
In the jolliest way.
Our games have begun,
Come join in the fun."
 

"Dear me! what could I do over there in the mud with the queer green frogs?" laughed Kitty, as this song was croaked at her.

 
"No, no, come and fly
Through the sunny sky,
Or honey sip
From the rose's lip,
Or dance in the air,
Like spirits fair.
Come away, come away;
'T is our holiday."
 

A cloud of lovely yellow butterflies flew up from a wild-rose bush, and went dancing away higher and higher, till they vanished in the light beyond the wood.

"That is better than leap-frog. I wish my skipping shoes would let me fly up somewhere, instead of carrying me on errands and where I ought to go all the time," said Kitty, watching the pretty things glitter as they flew.

Just at that minute a clock struck, and away went the shoes over the pool, the hill, the road, till they pranced in at the gate as the tea-bell rang. Kitty amused the family by telling what she had done and seen; but no one believed the Fairyland part, and her father said, laughing, -

"Go on, my dear, making up little stories, and by and by you may be as famous as Hans Christian Andersen, whose books you like so well."

"The sun will soon set, and then my fun will be over; so I must skip while I can," thought Kitty, and went waltzing round the lawn so prettily that all the family came to see her.

"She dances so well that she shall go to dancing-school," said her mother, pleased with the pretty antics of her little girl.

Kitty was delighted to hear that; for she had longed to go, and went on skipping as hard as she could, that she might learn some of the graceful steps the shoes took before the day was done.

"Come, dear, stop now, and run up to your bath and bed. It has been a long hot day, and you are tired; so get to sleep early, for Nursey wants to go out," said her mother, as the sun went down behind the hills with a last bright glimmer, like the wink of a great sleepy eye.

"Oh, please, a few minutes more," began Kitty, but was off like a flash; for the shoes trotted her upstairs so fast that she ran against old Nursey, and down she went, splashing the water all over the floor, and scolding in such a funny way that it made Kitty laugh so that she could hardly pick her up again.

By the time she was ready to undress the sun was quite gone, and the shoes she took off were common ones again, for midsummer day was over. But Kitty never forgot the little lessons she had learned: she tried to run willingly when spoken to; she remembered the pretty steps and danced like a fairy; and best of all, she always loved the innocent and interesting little creatures in the woods and fields, and whenever she was told she might go to play with them, she hurried away almost as quickly as if she still wore the skipping shoes.

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