Calgary Herald from Calgary, Alberta, Canada on October 31, 1931 · 21
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Calgary Herald from Calgary, Alberta, Canada · 21

Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Issue Date:
Saturday, October 31, 1931
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CALGARY, ALBERTA, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31, 1931 21 Weird Games Still Prevail, Hallowe'en Ducking for Apples Most Popular Sport on the Strangest Festival of Year Invocations to Spirits Described By Robert Bums in an Imperishable Poem on Hallowe'en Superstition of "The Three Dishes"; Burning of Nuts Determines Future Life Partners of "Experimenters." The auld guidwife's well-hoordit nits Are round and round divided. And many lads' and lassies' fates Are there that night decided; Some kindle, couthie, side by side, And burn thegither trimly; Some start awa wi' saucy pride, And jump out owre the chimly Fu' high the night. WHILE Hallowe'en customs, such as Robert Burns described in his famous poem "Hallowe'en" have largely fallen in disuse, there are still many Cal-garians who will make merry this evening with time-honored Hallowe'en games. The poem by "Rabbie" refers to an old custom which was observed in Scotland for hundreds of years before the birth of the Scottish bard. On Hallowe'en two nuts are placed on the bars of the grate, representing the young lady concerned and her lover. If the nuts cracks or jumps "fu' high the night," the lover will be unfaitnful. On the other hand, if the nuts named after the girl and her lover burn together they There is no night in the year which the popular imagination, has stamped with a more peculiar character than the evening of October 31. known as All Hallow's Eve, or Hallowe'en. HALLOWE'EN RELIC OF PAGAN TIMES It is clearly a relic of pagan times, for there is nothjng in the church observance of the ensuing day of All Saints to have originated such extraordinary notions as are connected with this celebrated festival, or such remarkable practices as those by which it ia distinguished. The leading idea respecting: Hallowe'en is that it is the time, of al! others, when supernatural Influences prevail. It is the night set apart for a universal walking abroad of spirits, both of the visible and invisible world. One of the snecial characteristics attributed to this mystic evening, is the faculty conferred on the immaterial principle of humanity to detach itself from its bodily tenement and wander abroad through the realms of space. Apart from a strange superstition described by Burns, there are others equally as remarkable, still observed in some localities. Some people hang up a stick, horizontally, by a string from the ceiling. A candle is placed on one end and an apple on the other. The stick is made to turn rapidly. The merry-makers in succession leap up and snatch at the apple with their teeth (no use of hands is allowed) but it very frequently happens that the candle comes around before they are aware, and scorches them in the face or annoints them with grease. The misadventures and disappointments occasion, of course, abundance of laugn-ter. APPLE DUCKING IS BEST SPORT The grand sport with apples, however, on Hallowe'en, is to set. them afloat in a tub of water, into which juveniles, by turns, duck their heads with the view of catching an apple. Great fun goes on in watching the attempts of the youngster in the pursuit of the swimming fruit, which wriggles from side to side of the tub and evades all attempts to capture it. The apples provided with stalks are generally caught first and then comes the tug-of-war to win those which possess no such appendages. The secret of success in apple ducking is to plunge manfully overhead and force the apple to the bottom of the tub, seize it firmly with your teeth, and emerge, dripping and triumphant, with the Drize. Mothers, timorous on the subject of their offspring catching cold, substitute "ducking for apples with the following game: A fork is dropped from a height into the tub among the armies, and thus the sport is turned into a display of marksmanship. It forms, however, a very indifferent substitute for the joyous merriment of ducking and diving. It is somewhat remarkable that the sport of ducking for apples is not mentioned by Burns, whose celebrated poem "Hallowe en" presents so graphic a picture of the ceremonies practised on the hearth. WEEDS DETERMINE HUSBANDS AND WIVES Many of the Hallowe'en rites of Scotland, described by Burns, are now obsolete or nearly so. One custom still prevalent in Scotland is the initiatory Hallowe'en ceremony of pulling kailstocks or stalks of colewart. The young people go out, hand in hand, blindfolded, into a garden, and each pulls the first stalk en countered. They then return to the fireside to inspect their prizes. Ac cording as the stalk is big or little, straight or crooKed. so shall the fu ture wife or husband be of the party by whom it is pulled. The quantity of earth sticking to the root denotes the amount of fortune or dowry; and the taste of the pith in dicates the temper. Finally the stocks are placed, one after another over the door and the Christian names of the persons who chance, thereafter, to enter the house are held in the same succession to in dicate those of the individuals who the parties are to marry. SPELL OF PEERING IN LOOKING GLASS Other customs are of a more weird-like and fearful character which in this enlightened and in credulous age, have fallen very much into disuse. One of these is the celebrated spell of eating an anple before a looking glass with :he view of discovering the inquirer's future husband, who, it is be- will be married. lieved will be seen peeping over her shoulder. A curious, and withal, cautious little maiden, who desires to try out this spell, is thus represented by Burns: We Jenny to her granny says: Will ye go wi' me. Granny? I'll eat the apple at the glass I gat fra' Uncle Johnny. A request which roueed the in dignation of the old lady le little SKeipie Jlmmers lace: I daur try eic spot-tin' As seek the foul thief ony place For him to spae your furtuen; Nae doubt but ye may get a sihght! Hreat cause ye hae to fear it; For many a ane has gotten a fright. And lived and died deleeret On eic a night. Granny's warning was by no means a needless one as several well authenticated instances are re lated of persons, who. whether from effects of their own Imagination or some thoughtless practical joke, sustained such severe nervous shocks, while essaying these nanowe en spells, as seriously to imperil their health. SUPERSTITION OF "THE THREE DISHES" Another ceremonv much nrnetis- ed on Hallowe'en, is that of the Three Dishes. Two of these are respectively filled with clean and foul water and one is empty. They sre ranged on the hearth, when the parties, blindfolded, advance in succession and dlD their fine-era into one. If they dip into the clean water, they are to marry a maiden. it into tne loul water, a widow; if into the empty dish, the ryartv Is destined to be either a bachelor or an old maid. As each person takes his turn, the position of the dishes is changed. Burns thus describes the custom: In order, on the clean hcarth-stane, The luggles three are ranged. And every time great care is ta'en To see them duly changed; Auld Uncle John wha' wedlock's joys Sin' Mar's year did desire, Because he gat the toom dish thrice, He heaved them on the fire In wrath that night. GHOST TO RISE AND TURN SLEEVE Another of what may be termed the unhallowed rites of Hallowe'en is to wet a shirt sleeve, hang it up by the fire to dry, and lie in bed watching it until midnight, when the apparation of the individual's future partner for life will come in and turn the sleeve. Burns thus al ludes to the practice in one of his songs: The last Hallowe'en I was waukln' My droukit sark-sleeve, as ye ken; His likeness came up the house staulkin, And the very gray breeks o' Tarn Glen! Other rites for the invocation of spirits might be referred to. such as the sowing of hemp seed, and the winnowing of three handfuls of nothing, repeating three times the action of exposing corn to the wind In all these the effect sought to be produced is the same the appear ance or ine ruture wife or husband of the experimenter. .11 may nere be remarked that a popular Relief ascribed to the chil dren born on Hallowe'en is the possession of certain mysterious facili ties, such as that of perceiving and holding converse with supernatural ueings. SQUIRREL TRAVELS 200 MILES BURLONGAME, Calif. (UP.) mis is not a nut story, strange as it seems. Frisky, year-old female squirrel, left last June at Quaker Hill, near Nevada City, 200 miles from here, made her way home this month. The family of Commander John E. Pond swears there is no mistake in identity, and Frisky, friendly and unafraid, seems to Dear them out. HALLOWE'EN Wi merry sangs, and friendly cracks, I wat they didna weary; An' unco tales, and funny jokes. Their sports were cheap and cheery; Till buttered so'ns, wi' fragrant lunt. Set a' their gabs a-steerin'; Syne wi' a social glass o' strunt. They parted aff eareerin' Fu' blythe that night. Robert Burn3. Old Superstitions Hold VJTCKSS ANpOWl&ft&CfOMS.CATO Jftwrtftf.AUStf.ArJP - WlTHf AMAtO. Early Days In South Alberta Experiences In The Life of Harold Banister, who settled near Okotoks in 1884 By H, L. DALLAS BANISTER ARTICLE VIII HARD TIMES WITH the early '90's came hard times to the prairies: hard times in many ways as depressing as those under which the world is laboring at the present time. After several years of bountiful rainfall (when the prairies were so wet that horses and carts found difficulty in picking their way across without becoming stuck in the mud) a succession of dry years descended and held the struggling settlers in their merciless throes. Never since have I seen such drouth. The three lakes which still lie in the Gladys district, contained from ten to twelve feet of water in ordinary times. Yet so low did the water in these become, that riders crossed the lakes with ease. Never in white man's time have they been so nearly dry. It was in the first of these dry years that we ploughed a driveway from the Grotto to the main road, and to beautity it set out several thousand trees. It was indeed a keen disappointment when not more than three of the trees withstood the intense dry spell. In one of these poor years, my older brother planted rye for a neighbor on spring summerfallow. Now ordinarily, rye is one of our most easily grown crops, yet incredible as it may sound, that crop of rye never even appeared above the ground all that year, and it was not until the following spring that it began to grow. So disgusted was the neighbor with the land, that in despair, he presented it to my brother as a gift. A ton of seed potatoes yielded a paltry eight sacks at harvest time. Little wonder the settlers became discouraged, and many left at the first opportunity. BANKS FAIL IN 23 PER CENT INTEREST Just at this time, Lafferty and Moore opened a bank in Calgary, loaning out money at 18 to 23 per cent interest. They also were advancing money on homesteads at this tremendous interest. Many of the discouraged settlers seized this opportunity of obtaining loans of a hundred or two hundred dollars on their homesteads, and as soon as they had received the money, left the country. The result was a severe one for the bank, in that it was left with so much land on which to keep up the taxes, that it was soon forced to close down altogether. The more courageous settlers who remained in the country fought the hard times valiantly. In the open country then, any one could cut hay in the slough bottoms throughout the country. As the crops yielded not even feed, this hay served as winter feed for the stock. The people themselves often found it very hard to secure the necessities upon which to live. Only the generous credit allowed by the Hudson's Bay store in Calgary saved the situation. The company at that time knew every settler well, and let out on credit as much to some families as several hundred dollars in those winters, which ths settlers paid back at their first opportunity. Butter dropped to fifteen cents a pound, and eggs as low as ten cents a dozen. With the exception of the butcher, no store-keeper paid the farmer cash for his produce. It all went as credit on tjride. There was so little money in the country, and this mostly in the hand of the large ranch companies. To cite an instance of the depressed prices, I recall father send ing we boys to Calgary one day to market about 3.000 pounds of aressea porK. "Don't take less than five cents a pound," were his parting injune- rvilOHO OlHtNOUtUiUEK . jORl&INA,TOI?5 OF-. HALLOWEEN Hallowe'en Observed With Merrymaking by Young and Old Alike Mystic Rites Marked Vigil of All Saints in Olden Times; Witches, Goblins, Pumpkins and Black Cats Are All Symbolical of Ancient Festival Fun and Frivolity Characteristic of Modern Celebration. I N this day and generation Hallowe'en is merely an occasion for merrymaking and parties. But in the olden days the vigil of Hallowmas or "All Saints" was ob served with many mystic rites, all of them significant. Marking the close of the harvest season, the eve of All Saints was considered a momentous one, fraught with portent of days to come. On that night witches and goblins emerged from their lares to take a hand in human destinies, and fairies were given opportunity to do likewise. Supernatural revels were supposed to occur, and the superstitious credited any unusual phenomena as a direct manifestation of occult influence. Thus we find maidens peering into darkened mirrors to discover their "fate," and whole families lighting the "All Hallow's" bonfire, which was an essential part of the early ritual While the bonfire has ceased to be of importance now probably because October nights are apt to be too chilly for outdoor revels in this country, the hearth or fire- tions to us. Faithful to these instructions, we refused the four and three quarter cents we were ofter-ed for it. and returned the 22 mile trip back home with the whole load. A fortnight later, we returned to Calgary with it. thankful to sell at even this low price. Transportation to the Calgary markets in those days was a slow, tedious process. To make the return trip in one day meant arising at 5 a.m. Even then midnight would be upon us before we arrived home again. With the oxen it was a ten to twelve hour trip each way so that two days were required for the return trip with them. NEW SETTLERS But hard times cannot last forever. New settlers coming in found half-breed script very cheap, and many brought this in addition to their free homesteads. This half-breed scrip was quarter sections of land, given to rebels by the Dominion government, aft.-r the 1885 rebellion. Not realizing their potm-tial value, land values being low, the rebels parted with their allowances for $50 or S100, and so many new settlers secured profitable land on easy terms. With the coming of many row settlers, conditions began to improve. Markets grew better, the welcome rains fell again, and the hard times of the early '90's soon became but another memory of our early experiences in the west. Facts About Hallowe'en is not a Christian, antiquity. In pagan days Hallowe'en was followed on November 1 by "All Spirits' Day," when spirits, both good and evil, were believed to be on earth. This day is now known as "All Saints Day," a Christian festival in honor of the memory of all saints. The Druids, in Britain, celebrated Hallowe'en with many strange ceremonies. In the north of England Hallowe'en is known as "Nutcraek Night." Popular belief, in former days, ascribed to children born on Hallowe'en the faculty of perceiving and holding converse with supernatural beings. Long before Christian times the Romans celebrated, at about the Hallowe'en season, the festival of Pomona, the goddess of gardens. Hallowe'en means "holy eve," and is observed principally in Great Britain and the United States. The superstitions connected with Hallowe'en are derived from the Druids and the ancient Romans. on All Hallow's Eve ItltAlSlt ZliJS .flCuMS GfRoTSQut,A MOST Fftut.5fatf. place figures largely in the Hallowe'en celebrations. Here the children roast their candy apples, or bob for the rosy fruit floating in big, shallow tubs set close by. Ghost stories and mysterious peerings into the future gain added zest, if accompanied by flickering firelight, and the almost inevitable "taffy-pull" is much more fun if the youthful candy-makers are assembled in a group before the glowing logs. Hallowe'en belongs to the children and young people' almost as definitely as does Christinas Eve, and it is so little trouble to arrange a party for them on this occasion that many mothers make the Hallowe'en gathering an annual family event. Bright and suitable decorations are easy to make, and the grinning pumpkin heads, lan-ters, witches, and black cats may be evolved by the children themselves. "Tick-tacks," the funny little rattles made from old spools and a nice long nail, are harmless and amusing, and almost any game that can be played indoors may be altered slightly to make it appropriate to the occasion. Masquerades are a favorite form of diversion for the grown-ups, and scores of clubs and social organizations mark the night with a fancy dress ball. The custom of begging for apples is an ancient one. but the modern mischievous practices of gate-stealing, window-chalking, and other objectionable features which have come to be associated with Hallowe'en have no foundation in early observances, unless they are based on the naughty pranks of the roving elves and goblins. Hallowe'en but a pagan festival of great ROVINCIAL E NCI LINGS By KERRY WOOD THAT important little animal, the rabbit, is still quite scarce in Alberta. Perhaps you do not think this fact very important. Then that proves that you know nothing whatever about it. Because the rabbit is vastly important. Even to the state of costing you a lot of money, if your wife has a preference for the more luxurious furs coming from the wilds. While the rabbits remain scarce those animals that depend largely on them for food must also remain scarce. These animals the the fur-bearers, mostly. It follows that if they are scarce the trappers can not catch very many. Which means that the supply is not adequate to the demand, which means that, you pay through the nose for Friend Wife's boa. Now you can readily stand that the rabbit is portant little beastie under-an im- o FOUR years ago, the plague year killed off the rabbit horde. You have all heard of the seven-year-plague that visits the rabbit tribe periodically? Well, this last plague came in tho eighth year, and it came in extra-special strength to make up for the year's delay! Before that, the rabbits had been exceptionally plentiful. According to the BmHll boys' story: "A fella could shoot at one, an' if ho missed, it didn't matter, 'cause he'd hit another " They were thick, you understand. Then the woods were suddenly swept bare of them. It was a cracker-jack of a plague, that one. and its effects are still noticeable. If it had been of normal proportions, which would have been bad enough, the rabbits would be getting fairly plentiful again by this time. But they aren't. They're still scarce. o THE plague has an Impressively ferocious Latin name, which I have taken pains to forget. It is cruel on the tongue. However, its first noticeable effect on the little bunnies takes the form of a complete listless-ness. They do not like to move from their tiny windfall retreats. And if forced to vacate these shelters, they hop only a few yards away, then relax and doze again. Their extreme lethargy and complete disregard of danger brands thern instantly as plague-rabbits. For a few days the rabbits hang on feebly, and then HUMANS catch this disease, If they happen to handle plague-sick rabbits. Most trappers take it, every fall, for we have always a few plague-sick bunnies around, even in non-plague years. The disease affects man In the guise of a severe cold, with the joints swollen anl sore, and the muscles extremely stiff and painful to move. Prhaps you have mistaken it in the past for a case of grippe. It keeps is hold about a week, or perhaps a little longer. Fortunately, it is very rarely fatal to humans. But It may be avoided, readily enough. Hunters should not shoot plague-sick rabbits and subject themselves and their families to infection. The disease is caught Juat handling the fur of a stricken rabbit. How can you recognize a plague-sick rabbit? Easy if the little creatures appear to have a bad dose of sleeping sickness, they are piague-smitten. A good rule for hunters, trappers and all outdoorsmen to follow. In this respect, would bo to "Never shoot a rabbit that does not run away." It. sounds Irish but if followed It will save you from "rabbit-flu." P Will Ro: Is Idol Of Americans Former Cow-Hand, Now Comedian, Joins President Hoover in Relief Appeal (From th Calgary Herald't Waihington Bureau) By C. O. SMITH (CopyrlBM, Southam Publlthlng Co., Ltd.) WASHINGTON, Oct. 31. This country is preparing to feed, clothe and keep warm during the coming winter, all the des titute of the nation. Some six to seven million Americans will be out of work. Many of these unemployed have dependents. United States is now engaged in collecting the money that this great need requires. It is the biggest money-raising task since Liberty bond days, and the country has been organized on the war-time scale. The committee in charge of this organisation comprises na-tional, state and municipal leaders of first rank. It decided to open the campaign by a nationwide radio broadcast. Walter Gifford, president of the American Telegraph and Telephone Company, and Owen D. Young, president of General Electric, ar. ranged tho programme. A was most natural they asked ProoiHent "Hoover, the nation's most authoritative voice, to make the principal appeal. And of all the m?n in the United States to whom they could next have turned to accom pany the president as second speaker, any one of whom would have been delighted to accept the honor and privilege, their choice fell upon Will Rogers. Why did they choose Will Rogers? Why give preference to him, over eminent bankera who could so readily have explained the financial aspects of the situation; over famous orators who could have stirred the emotions of the people; over statesmen, whose gifts of spech are known beyond the borders of their land? Once A Cow-Hand Now Movie Actor Rogers was once a cow-hand and is still not far removed from his cowboy days. He was, not long ago, a vaudeville trouper, who swung a lariat and chewed gum and made wisecracks on small-time circuits. He was a New York showman and is presently a moving picture actor. He writes a daily syndicated piece that appears in hundreds of American newspapers, in which ha whipsaws politicians and, with biting or amusing drollery, comment's upon topical news. Charlie Chaplin in the silent clown of the day: Will Rogers is the vocal clown of the American nation. He being these things, how explain this choice of him to be the companion of the president on one of the most serious public occasions in the country's history? The answer is, of course, that Will Rogers is more than a clown and more than a comedian. He is one of the most remarkable Americans of his time. Has Sly Look Of Country Bumpkin He neither looks nor dre.3es the part of a notable personality. He has usually the sly look of the country bumpkin. His hair tumbles in clodhopper fashion over his forehead. He is outwardly a bit awkward and uncouth. He dresses any way at all except as a model of style. He hates putting on evening clothes and seldom rises to this necessity. His schooling by this I don't mean his education never amounted to much. When he speaks and writes he kicks the English language in the slats. But princes delight to honor him. Presidents joyously open their executive doors to him. no matter how busy they are when he calls. Famous leaders of political parties, in England as well as America, seek his company. The Alice Long-worths, the Lady Astors, women here and abroad who live in the toDmost ranks of society, treat him not as a lion to be shown to staring guests but as a friend. The biggest financial and industrial leaders of United States are proud to asso ciate with him on the rare occasions when his great industry gives him time for friendly intercourse. Why? First, for the reason that Will Rogers, the clown. Is also a very true gentleman. Behind the buffoonery is one of the keenest brains in America. Because the comedian who provokes laughter has lived closer than most men to the tears of humanity and has done much to soften fate's blows to hundreds of thousands of hard-pressed men, women and children. By avocation, Will Rogers is a trouper. As a sideline, he is a commentator upon men and affairs, always amusing but often scarifying. By preference, he is a worker for those in distress. In all things, he shows his amazing ability, acute judgment and fairness. Gentleman Dictates To The Jester The reader probably will recall a series of articles that he wrote at the time of the general strike in England. He wrote of the strike itself and of the restraint and strength then exhibited by the Eng lish people. He wrote about British parliamentary methods. He wrote about the place that the King and Que!ii Mary and the Prince of Wales occupy in the hearts of the British people. There must have b en :iiUch t-.mpt-sttnn for an American in to poke fun at Eritich institutiins. But Will Rogers wrote about it all with nerfect taste. The gentleman that is Will lers FAMOUS COMEDIAN 1" J i 1 i tt WILL ROGERS Evidence of the regard in which Will Rogers, one time cowboy, now a comedian, writer and movie actor, is held by the highest authorities in the United States, is shown by the tact that Mr. Rogers was selected to join with President Hoover in an appeal in behalf of unemployment relief. Rogers dictated to the jester. At. a gridiron dinner in Washington last winter he told me what con trols all that he says and writes. "I am sure," he said, "that there Is no malice in my heart before I speaK or write. Then I'm sure X won't hurt anyone." No one "ghosts' for Will Rogers. He writes his own pieces and composes his own monologues. He produces several movies each year. The baro announcement that he will appear in any city will fill its largest theatre. So busy is he, yet he always finds time often at considerable financial loss to tour through a drouth-stricken area, or a hurricane-torn territory, to raise funds for those in trouble and to cheer them in their day of sorrow. Walter Gifford and Owen D. Young knew what they were doing when they invited will ttogers 10 accompany President Hoover at the. opening of their unemployment re- liet campaign, iney Knew rnai ne would bring laughter and tears close together. He would ride rough shod over tne .ngnsn language right to the heart of the American people. His appeal to their generosity and to their respect for a sorely troubled president would be heeded as would tne woras 01 no other American citizen. That, indeed. is what Will Rogers is, a great American citizen. Behind the grotesquerrie, there is keen and shrewd understanding; beneath the buffooning", there is a nature sweet and gentle; back of the thrusts so comical or pungent there is nothing bitter. He is man of the world in cowboy's outfit, political satirist in homespun, a philosopher without grammar or pronunciation, companion of the rich and highly placed whose thoughts are never far from the poor and unfortunate. Will Rogers is the most surprising mixture of rough exterior and fine interior mentally and spiritually that this country has ever produced. MAKING THE MOST OF HALLOWE'EN By HILDA BUCKMAN THE days are shorter now and the evenings lengthening out, so it is high time to begin to plan for the winter's entertainment. A Hallowe'en party would be a splendid start, for the children always want something special for that day, and if you don't want them playing the usual trick and treat stunt, you had better make timely provision. A party is a good solution for the problem; let it be a fancy costume affair, with several prizes by general vote for the best ones. A very good way to celebrate Hallowe'en if there are children and grown people in the house is to have two parties the same day. Does that sound like ton much work? Well. I can assuie you it is less than the two separate parties, for one cleaning up of the house does for both, one set of decorations, and one menu planning. Start your party for the children any time you like, giving the children supper at about 6 or 7 o'clock, after which they can play games. The older guests will arrive about 7:30 or 8, and they will wait till the midnight supper. The grown-up guests are always quite willing to play children's games until the little ones have to go off home, and Hallowe'en fun seems just the right thing for both old and young to Join in. When inviting the children set a special time for both coming and leaving, and so avoid difficulties. Gay Decorations For the supper table a big pumpkin lantern is an attractive centre, lighted to give a queer, flickering light. Around this place a row of cut-out cats in black paper, standing holding paws. Make holes for the eye and mouth and put orange paper behind them. These show up very well with the light and amuse the children. The inside of the pumpkin, by the way. should be made into little pies, for these are quaint made in patty pans with, eyes, nose and a laughing mouth, made with raisins, w" i (? - -1 "W ' 'J "3 &fey vsii-. ,-a.iTiMtra -i rl Lj

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