Volume 1, Chapter 9, Section 31 -- Arrival at the Court of Mangu-khan.
We still travelled in the high countries, trending towards the north; and on St Stephen's day, 26th December, we came to a great plain, on which not the smallest inequality was to be seen, and the next day we arrived at the court of the great Khan. While at the distance of five days, our host wanted us to have gone so far about as would have taken us fifteen days' journey, and our guide had much difficulty in being allowed to take the direct road. My opinion of this procedure in our host, was, that we might have gone by Onam and Cherule, the original residence of Zingis. On the way, the secretary told me that Baatu, in his letters to Mangu, said that we wanted the assistance of a Tartar army against the Saracens; by which I was much astonished, as I knew the letters from your majesty required no army, and only advised the khan to be a friend to all Christians, to exalt the cross, and to be an enemy to all the enemies of the cross of Christ. And as all the interpreters were from the Greater Armenia, who greatly hated the Saracens, I feared they might have interpreted falsely to serve their own purposes. I therefore held my peace, fearing to gainsay the words of Baatu.
On our arrival at court, our guide had a large house appointed for him, and only a small cottage was given to us three, which would hardly contain our baggage, our beds, and a small fire. Many came to our guide with drink made of rice, in long necked bottles, which had no difference from the best wine, except that it smelt otherwise. We were called soon after, and examined upon our business. I answered, "That hearing Sartach had become a Christian, the king our master had sent us to him with a letter; that he had sent us to Baatu, who had sent us hither, and that he therefore ought to have assigned the cause of our being here." They then demanded if we would make peace with them. To this I answered, "That having done them no wrong, they had no cause of going to war with your majesty; that your majesty, as a just king, if you had done any wrong, would make reparation, and desire peace; but if warred against without cause, we trusted in the help of a just God." At this they seemed all astonished, constantly exclaiming, "Did you not come to make peace?" For they are so puffed up with pride, that they think the whole world should make peace with them; but if I might be suffered, I would preach war against them to the utmost of my power. I dared not deliver the true cause of my journey, lest, in so doing, I might contradict what had been written by Baatu, and therefore always said we came because he sent us.
The day following I went to the court barefooted, at which the people stared; but a Hungarian boy, who was among them, knew our order, and told them the reason; on which a Nestorian, who was chief secretary, asked many questions at the Hungarian, and we went back to our lodgings. On our return, at the end of the court, towards the east, I saw a small house, with a little cross at top, at which I greatly rejoiced, supposing there might be some Christians there. I went in boldly, and found an altar well furnished, having a golden cloth, adorned with images of Christ, the Virgin, St John the Baptist, and two angels; the lines of their body and garments being formed with small pearls. On the altar was a large silver cross, ornamented with precious stones, and many other embroiderings; and a lamp with eight lights burned before the altar. Sitting beside the altar I saw an Armenian monk, somewhat black and lean, clad in a rough hairy coat to the middle of his leg, above which was a coarse black cloak, furred with spotted skins, and he was girded with iron under his haircloth. Before saluting the monk, we fell flat on the earth, singing Ave regina and other hymns, and the monk joined in our prayers. These being finished, we sat down beside the monk, who had a small fire before him in a pan. He told us that he had come a month before us, being a hermit in the territories of Jerusalem, who had been warned by God in a vision, to go to the prince of the Tartars. After some conversation, we went to our lodgings.
Having eaten nothing that day, we made a little broth of flesh and millet for our supper. Our guide and his companions were made drunk at the court, and very little care was taken of us. Next morning the ends of my toes were so frostbit by the extreme cold of the country, that I could no longer go barefooted. From the time when the frost begins, it never ceases till May, and even then it freezes every night and morning, but thaws with the heat of the sun during the day. If they had much wind in that country during winter, as we have, nothing could live there; but they have always mild weather till April, and then the winds rise; and at that season, while we were there, the cold rising with the wind, killed multitudes of animals. In the winter little snow fell there; but about Easter, which was that year in the latter end of April, there fell so great a snow, that the streets of Caracarum were so full, it had to be carried out in carts.
 The country on the Onon and Kerlon, in Daouria, or the land of the Tunguses.--Forst.
Volume 1, Chapter 9, Section 32 -- The Introduction of Rubruquis to Mangu-khan.
The people brought us from the court ram-skin coats, and breeches of the same, with shoes, which my companion and interpreter accepted, but I thought the fur garment which I brought from Baatu was sufficient for me. On the 5th of January, we were brought to the court, and some Nestorian priests, whom I did not know to be Christians, came and asked me which way we worshipped; to which I said, that we worshipped to the east. The reason of their making this demand was, that we had shaven our heads by the advice of our guide, that we might appear before the khan after the fashion of our country, which made the Nestorians take us for Tuinians or idolaters. On being demanded what reverence we would pay to the khan, I said, that though as priests, dedicated to God, the highest in our country did not suffer us to bow the knee, yet we were willing to humble ourselves to all men for the sake of the Lord. That we came from a far country, and with permission, would first sing praises to God, who had brought us hither in safety, and should afterwards do whatever might please the khan; providing he commanded nothing that was derogatory to the worship and honour of God. Then they went into the presence, and reported what we had said, and they brought us before the entrance of the hall, lifting up the felt which hung before the decor, and we sung A solis ortus cardine, &c.
When we had sung this hymn, they searched our bosoms, to see that we had no concealed weapons, and they made our interpreter leave his girdle and knife with one of the doorkeepers. When we came in, our interpreter was made to stand at a sideboard, which was well supplied with cosmos, and we were placed on a form before the ladies. The whole house was hung with cloth of gold, and on a hearth, in the middle, there was a fire of thorns, wormwood-roots, and cowdung. The khan sat upon a couch covered with a bright and shining spotted fur, like seal's skin. He was a flat-nosed man, of middle stature, about forty-five years of age, and one of his wives, a pretty little young woman, sat beside him; likewise one of his daughters, named Cerina, a hard-favoured young woman, with some younger children, sat on another couch next to them. The house had belonged to the mother of Cerina, who was a Christian, and the daughter was mistress of this court, which had belonged to her deceased mother, We were asked whether we would drink wine of caracina, which is a drink made of rice, or caracosmos, or ball, which is mead made of honey; for they use these four kinds of liquor in winter. I answered, that we had no pleasure in drink, and would be contented with what he pleased to order; on which we were served with caracina, which was clear and well flavoured like white wine, of which I tasted a little out of respect. After a long interval, during which the khan amused himself with some falcons and other birds, we were commended to speak, and had to bow the knee. The khan had his interpreter, a Nestorian; but our interpreter had received so much liquor from the butlers at the sideboard, that he was quite drunk; I addressed the khan in the following terms:
"We give thanks and praise to God, who hath brought us from such remote parts of the world, to the presence of Mangu-khan, on whom he hath bestowed such great power; and we beseech our God to grant him a long and prosperous reign. Having heard that Sartach was become a Christian, the Christians of the west, especially the King of the French, were much rejoiced, and sent us onto him with letters, testifying that we were servants of the Lord, and entreating him to permit us to abide in his country, as it is our office to teach men the law of God. Sartach sent us forwards to his father Baatu, and he hath sent us to you, to whom God hath given great dominions upon the earth; we therefore entreat your highness to permit us to continue in your country, that we may pray to God for you, your wives, and children. We have neither gold nor silver, nor precious jewels to offer, but we present ourselves to do you service, and to pray to God for you. At least, be pleased to permit us to remain till the cold be past, as my companion is so weak, that he cannot travel on horseback without danger of his life."
His answer was to this effect: "Even as sun sheds his beams everywhere, so our power, and that of Baata, extend everywhere around, so that we have no need of your gold or silver." I entreated his highness not to be displeased at me for mentioning gold and silver, as I spoke in that manner only to evince our desire to do him honour, and to serve him in heavenly things. Hitherto, I had understood our interpreter, but he was now drunk and could not make out any perfect sentence, and it appeared to me that the khan was drunk likewise; wherefore I held my peace. Then he made us rise and sit down again, and after a few words of compliment, we withdrew from the presence. One of the secretaries, and the interpreter, who had the charge of educating one of his daughters, went with us, and were very inquisitive about the kingdom of France, particularly inquiring whether it had plenty of sheep, cattle, and horses, as if they meant to make it all their own; and I had often to bridle my indignation and anger at their presumptuous boastings.
They appointed one to take care of us, and we went to the monk; and
when we were about to return to; our lodging, the interpreter came to us,
saying, that Mangu-khan gave us two months to stay, till the extreme cold
were past; and we might either go ten day's journey from thence to the
city of Caracarum, or might remain with the court. Then I answered, "God
preserve Mangu-khan, and grant him a long and happy life: We have found
this monk, whom we think a holy man, and we would willingly remain, and
pray along with him for the prosperity of the khan." We then went to our
dwelling, which we found very cold, as we had no fuel, and we were yet
fasting, though it was then night; but he who had the care of us provided
us some fuel and a little food; and our guide, who was now to return to
Baatu, begged a carpet from us which we had left in that court, which we
gave him, and he departed in peace.
Volume 1, Chapter 9, Section 33 -- Of a Woman of Lorain, and a Goldsmith of Paris, and several other Christians, whom they found at the Court of Mangu-khan.
We had the good fortune to meet with a woman, named Pascha, from Metz in Lorain, who belonged to the court of Cerina, who told us of the strange poverty she had endured before she came to this court, but who now lived well, as she had a young Russian husband, who was a skilful builder, and much esteemed among them, by whom she had three fine children, and this woman contributed all in her power to our comfort. She told us, that there was a goldsmith at Caracarura, one William Bouchier from Paris, the son of Lawrence Bouchier, and who had a brother, Roger Bouchier, yet living upon the Great Bridge. She told me likewise, that he had a son who was an excellent interpreter; but that Manga-khan had delivered to the goldsmith 300 jascots of silver, equal to 3000 marks, and fifty workmen, to make a certain piece of work, so that she feared he would not then be able to spare his son to interpret for us. I wrote to this goldsmith, requesting him to send his son to me; he said in answer, that he could not at the time, but would send him next moon, when his work would be finished. At the court of Baatu no intercourse could be had with other ambassadors, as each was under the charge of a particular Jani; but in that of Mangu, all were under one Jani, and might see and converse with each other. We found here a certain Christian from Damascus, who said that he came from the sultan of Mons Regalis and Crax, who desired to become the ally and tributary of the great khan.
The year before I came thither, there was a certain clerk of Aeon or
Ptolemais in Syria, who called himself Raimund, but his true name was Theodolus.
This man went with friar Andrew from Cyprus into Persia, and procured certain
instruments from Amoricus, who remained in Persia after Andrew returned.
Theodolus went forwards with these instruments to the khan, pretending
that a certain bishop had received letters from heaven in gold characters,
saying that the khan should be king of the whole earth, but that his horse
had fled from him among woods and mountains, so that he had lost all. And
Theodolus engaged to conduct ambassadors from the khan to the Pope and
the king of France. Then Mangu caused an exceedingly strong bow to be made,
which two men could hardly bend, and two arrows made of silver, full of
holes in their heads, which whistled when they were shot; and he chose
a Moal to accompany Theodolus as his ambassador, ordering him to present
these things to the king of France, and to say, if he would have peace
with the Tartars, they would conquer the country of the Saracens, and would
grant him ail the other countries of the west. But if the king refused,
the Moal was to bring back the bow and arrows, and to inform the king that
the Tartars shot far and sharp with such bows. The khan then caused Theodolus
to go out, and the son of William Bouchier, who acted as interpreter for
Theodolus, heard the khan order the Moal, who was to accompany him, to
mark well all the ways, and the castles, and the people, and the mountains,
in the course of his journey. And the young man blamed Theodolus for engaging
to conduct the Tartar messengers, as they went only to spy the land. But
Theodolus said he would take them by sea, so that they should not know
the way. Mangu gave to his Moal a golden bull or tablet of an hand breadth,
and half a cubit long, inscribed with his orders; and whoever bears this,
may everywhere command what he pleases. On their journey through the dominions
of Vestacius, whence Theodolus meant to pass over to the Pope, that he
might deceive him as he had done Mangu. Vestacius demanded of him whether
he had letters for the Pope; but having none to show, Vestacius concluded
he was an impostor, and cast him into prison. The Moal fell sick and died
there, and Vestacius sent back the golden tablet by the servants of the
Moal, whom I met at Assron, in the entrance into Turkey, and from them
I learnt all that happened to Theodolus.
Volume 1, Chapter 9, Section 34 -- Of a Grand Feast given by Mangu-khan and of the Ceremonies of the Nestorians.
Epiphany was now at hand, and the Armenian monk, Sergins, told me, that he was to baptize Mangu-khan on that day. I entreated him to use his utmost endeavours that I might be present on the occasion, which he faithfully promised. When the day came, the monk did not call me, but I was sent for to court at six o'clock, and I met the monk returning with his cross, and the Nestorian priests with their censers, and the gospel of the day. It is the custom of Mangu to make a feast on such days as are pointed out by his soothsayers, or the Nestorian priests; and on these days the Christians came first to court and pray for him, and bless his cup, after which the Saracen priests do the same, and after them the idolatrous priests. The monk pretended that he only believed the Christians, yet would have all to pray for him; but in this Sergius lied, for he believes none, but all follow his court as flies do honey. He gives to all, and all think they are his familiars, and all prophecy prosperity to him. Then we sat down before the court, and they brought us flesh to eat, which I refused, saying, that if they would provide for us, it ought to be at our house. They then desired us to go home, as we were only sent for that we might eat. On my return I called on the monk, who was ashamed of the lie he had told me, and would not, therefore, say any more of the matter; yet some of the Nestorians affirmed, that the khan had been baptized, but I said that I would neither believe it, nor report it to others, as I had not been present.
We came to our old empty house, where they provided us in bedding and coverlids, and gave us some fuel They gave us the carcase of a small lean sheep, as food for us three in six days, and lent us a pot and trivet to boil our flesh, and gave us a platter of millet every day. We boiled our meat first in water, and afterwards boiled our millet in the broth; and that was our whole allowance, which would have sufficed if we had been suffered to eat in peace, but there were many starved fellows about the court that thrust themselves in among us, and insisted to partake. The cold became very severe, and Mangu-khan sent us three fur coats, with the hair outwards, which we thankfully received; but we represented that we had not a house in which we could pray for the khan, our cottage being so small that we could scarcely stand up in it, neither could we open our books on account of smoke, after the fire was lighted. On this the khan sent to ask the monk if he would be pleased with our company, who gladly received us; and after this we had a better house before the court, where none lodged but we and the soothsayers, they in front of the first lady, and we at the farthest end, towards the east, before the palace of the last lady. We made this alteration on the 13th of January.
Next morning all the Nestorian priests collected at the chapel, and smote on a board, instead of ringing a bell. They then sang matins very reverently, put on all their ornaments, and prepared the censer and incense. After waiting some time, Cotata Caten, the principal wife of the khan, came into the chapel, attended by many ladies, and having with her Baltu, her eldest son, and several other children. All these prostrated themselves, ducking after the manner of the Nestorians; they then touched all the images and kissed their hands, and afterwards gave the right hand of fellowship to all who stood beside them, which is the custom among the Nestorians. The priest sang many hymns, and gave the lady some incense in her hand, which she threw into the fire, and then the priests perfumed her. After this she began to put off the ornaments of her head, called Bacca, and I saw her bareheaded; but as we were now commanded to leave the chapel, I know not what followed. As I was going out I saw a silver basin brought, but I am ignorant if she was then baptized, but rather think not; because at Easter I saw a fount consecrated with great solemnity, and some persons baptized, but no such ceremony was seen on the present occasion, and I know they do not celebrate the mass in a tent, but only in a standing church.
During our absence, Mangu-khan himself came to the chapel, into which a golden bed was brought, on which he sat with his queen, opposite the altar. We were then sent for, and a door-keeper searched us for concealed weapons. On going in with a bible, and breviary in my bosom, I first bowed down before the altar, and then made an obeisance to Mangu-khan, who caused our books to be brought to him, and enquired the signification of the images or pictures with which they were ornamented, to which the Nestorians answered as they thought proper, because we had not our interpreter. Being desired to sing a psalm after our manner, we chanted Veni sancte Spiritus. Then the khan departed, but the lady remained, and distributed gifts to all the Christians present. She gave the monk Sergius a jascot, and another to the archdeacon of the Nestorians, and she caused a nassic or large cloth like a coverlet, and a buckram, to be spread out before us; and as I declined the offer, she sent them to our interpreter, who sold the nassic at Cyprus, for eighteen gold sultanies, though it was much the worse for the carriage. Then red wine, like that of Rochelle, and caracina and cosmos were brought, and the lady holding a cupful in her hand, desired a blessing on her knees, and she drank it up, we and all the priests singing with a loud voice.
Another time, when they were mostly all drunk, the carcass of a sheep was brought in and presently devoured, and then some large fishes, resembling our carp, which they eat without bread or salt. And when the lady was drunk, she took her chariot and went away, the priests singing all the while. Next Sunday, the son of the khan, by a Christian mother, came to the chapel and acted in a similar manner, but not with so much solemnity, and only gave the priests to drink, and some parched millet to eat. Before the first Sunday in Lent, the Nestorians fast three days, which they call the fast of Jonas; and the Armenians fast five days in honour of St Lorkis, their tutelary saint. The Nestorians begin their fast on Tuesday and end it on Thursday, and on Friday they bless the flesh, as if it were the Paschal Lamb. The monk sent to Mangu to fast that week, which he did; and on the Armenian Easter, he went in procession to the house of Mangu, accompanied by us and the Nestorian priests. While we went in, some servants met us carrying out some shoulder-blades of sheep, burnt as black as coals; and on enquiring, I learnt that the khan performs a divination, before undertaking any important matter, in this manner. He causes three of these bones to be brought to him unburnt, which are sought for all over the Leskar or Tartar camp for this purpose; and these bones are burnt in a particular fire, and then brought to him again. If the bones are cracked across, or round pieces fly out of them in burning, it is considered an evil omen; but if they crack lengthways, even one of the three, he then proceeds in his design.
When we went in before Mangu, the Nestorian priests gave him incense, which he put upon the censer, with which they perfumed him. Then they sung and blessed his cup, which was done next by the monk, and lastly by us. After he had drunk, the attendants gave drink to the priests, but we went out; and my companion staying last, turned round near the door to make his obeisance to the khan, and hastily turning again to follow us, stumbled on the threshold, for which he was seized and carried before the Bulgai, who is the chancellor or chief secretary of the court, and judges those who are arraigned on matters of life and death. But I knew not of all this, as missing him on looking back, I thought he had been detained to receive thinner apparel, for he was very weak, and could hardly walk under his load of garments. He was sent home in the evening, and the monk sharply rebuked him for having touched the threshold. Next day, the Bulgai came to me, and demanded to know if any one had warned us against touching the threshold; to which I answered, that as we had not our interpreter along with us, we should not have understood them if the caution had been given. On this my companion was pardoned, but was never allowed, afterwards to come into any of the houses of Mangu-khan.
From the house of the khan, we went to that of his eldest son, who had two wives, and lodged next on the right from his father. As soon as he saw us approach, he leapt from his bed and prostrated himself before the cross, striking the ground with his forehead, then rising and kissing the cross, he caused it to be placed on a new cloth, in a high place, very reverently. He has a tutor, named David, to instruct him, who is a Nestorian priest and a great drunkard. The prince gave drink to the priests, and he drank himself, after the priests had blessed his cup. From him we went to the court of Cota, the khans second lady, who is an idolater, and whom we found very sick; yet the Armenian monk made her rise from bed and adore the cross on her knees, with many ceremonies. We then went to the third court, in which a Christian lady formerly resided; but on her death, she was succeeded by a young woman, who, with the khan's daughter, joyfully received us, and worshipped the cross with great reverence. We went then into the house of the young lady Cerina, behind the third court, which had formerly belonged to her mother, who likewise worshipped the cross with great devotion. We next went into the court of the fourth and last lady, whose house was very old, but the khan gave her a new house and new chariots after Easter. This lady was an idolater, yet she worshipped the cross, according to the directions of the monk and priests. From that place we returned to our oratory, the monks accompanying us with great howlings and outcries in their drunkenness, as they had been plentifully supplied with drink at every visit; but this is not considered as blameable or unseemly, either in man or woman in these parts.
 Caten signifies lady and Cotata was her particular name.--Harris.
Volume 1, Chapter 9, Section 35 -- Of a great Cure performed by the Armenian monk Sergius, on one of the Wives of Mangu-khan.
Sometime after the lady Cota was sick almost to death, and the divination by lot of the idolaters did her no good. Mangu-khan then sent for the monk, who indiscreetly engaged to cure her on the forfeiture of his head. On this, the monk sent for us, and entreated us, with tears, to watch and pray all night along with him, which we did. He took of a certain root called rhubarb, which he beat to powder and put among water, along with a little crucifix, and he used to give of that water to all sick persons, which griped them by reason of its bitterness, and which they attributed to a miracle. I proposed to prepare some holy water, according to the rites of the church of Rome, which hath great power to cast out devils, as I understood the lady was vexed of a devil. At his request, I consecrated some holy water, which he mingled with the rhubarb, and left his crucifix all night in the mixture.
Next morning I and the monk and two Nestorian priests went to the lady, who was then in a small house behind her great one. She sat up in her bed and worshipped the cross, laying it honourably by her upon a silken cloth; she drank of the holy water mixed with rhubarb, and washed her breast, and, at the desire of the monk, I read the passion of our Lord according to St John, over her. At length she felt herself relieved, and ordered four jascots to be brought, which she first laid at the foot of the cross, and gave three to the monk, offering one to me, which I refused; then the monk took this likewise, and gave one to each of the priests, keeping two to himself, so that she gave away forty marks in all at this time. She then ordered wine, which she gave to the priests, and made me drink thrice from her hand in honour of the holy trinity. She likewise began to teach me the language, jesting with me, because I was silent for want of an interpreter.
Next day Mangu-khan, hearing that we were passing, and having learned that the lady Cota was somewhat better, made us come in, and took the cross into his hand, asking several questions, which I did not understand, but I did not see that he worshipped it. The monk, by my suggestion, craved leave to carry the cross aloft on a lance, and Manga gave permission that it might be carried in any way we thought fit. Then paying our obeisance to the khan, we went to the lady Cota, whom we found strong and cheerful. She still drank the holy water, and we read the passion over her; but those miserable priests never taught her the articles of our holy faith, neither advised her to be baptized, nor did they find fault with any kind of sorcery. For I saw four swords half drawn out of their sheaths, one at the head of her bed, one at the foot, and one on either side of her door. I observed likewise one of our silver chalices, probably taken from some church in Hungary, which hung against the wall, full of ashes, on the top of which lay a black stone; but these priests not only do not teach them that such things are evil, but even practice similar things. We continued our visits for three days, by which time she was restored to perfect health. During these visits, she continued to rally me on my silence, and endeavoured to teach me their language.
I honoured the monk Sergius as my bishop, because he could speak the language, though he was totally uneducated; and I afterwards learnt, when I came to his own country on my return, that he was no priest, but merely an adventurous weaver. In many things he acted in a way that much displeased me, for he caused to be made for himself a folding chair such as bishops use, and gloves, and a cap of peacocks feathers, with a small gold cross; but I was well pleased with the cross. He had scabbed feet, which he endeavoured to palliate with ointments; was very presumptuous in speech, was present at many of the vain and idolatrous rites of the Nestorians, and had many other vanities with which I was much displeased. Yet we joined his society for the honour of the cross, as he got a banner full of crosses on a cane as long as a lance, and we carried the cross aloft through among all the tents of the Tartars, singing Vexilla regis prodeant, &c. to the great regret of the Mahometans, who were envious of our favour.
I was informed of a certain Armenian who came, as he said, from Jerusalem along with the monk Sergius, carrying a silver cross of about four marks weight, adorned with precious stones, which he presented to Mangu-khan, who asked what was his petition. He represented himself to be the son of an Armenian priest, whose church had been destroyed by the Saracens, and craved his help for rebuilding that church. Being asked how much that might cost, he said two hundred jascots, or two thousand marks; and the khan ordered letters to be given him, ordering those who received the tribute of Persia and the Greater Armenia, to pay him that sum in silver. The monk continued to carry this cross about with him wherever he went, and the Nestorian priests became envious of the profit which he derived from its use.
 From the whole of this story, it would appear that the lady Cota was hysterical from constipation; and that Sergius had the good fortune to remove the cause by a few doses of rhubarb.--E.
 About L. 30, perhaps equal in efficacy to L. 300 of modern days; no bad fee for administering a dose of rhubarb.--E.
 This surely was a sinless infirmity, and needed not to have been recorded to his dishonour. He was probably afflicted with chilblains, in consequence of the severity of the Tartarian climate.--E.
 L. 1500 in weight, equal at least to L. 15,000 of our modern money; a most magnificent present to an itinerant beggar.--E.
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