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Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls

Related threads:
Jig Doll Appreciation Group (3) (closed)
Wanted Lumberjack (30)
Help: Looking for a limberjack (5)
Limberjack question (22)


Leadfingers 24 Sep 06 - 08:35 AM
Little Robyn 24 Sep 06 - 03:49 PM
Malcolm Douglas 24 Sep 06 - 04:08 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Sep 06 - 04:37 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Sep 06 - 04:53 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Sep 06 - 05:03 PM
ChrisJBrady 21 Nov 11 - 06:37 PM
GUEST,SB 08 Nov 19 - 01:19 AM
GUEST 08 Nov 19 - 01:26 AM
GUEST,Kenny B(Inactive) 11 Nov 19 - 02:55 PM
Jack Campin 11 Nov 19 - 03:15 PM
Stilly River Sage 11 Nov 19 - 03:50 PM
r.padgett 11 Nov 19 - 03:51 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Nov 19 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,Kenny B(Inactive) 11 Nov 19 - 04:22 PM
Joe Offer 11 Nov 19 - 05:29 PM
Jack Campin 11 Nov 19 - 07:06 PM
Joe Offer 11 Nov 19 - 07:11 PM
Jeri 11 Nov 19 - 08:47 PM
Megan L 12 Nov 19 - 02:02 AM
Backwoodsman 12 Nov 19 - 02:15 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 12 Nov 19 - 03:07 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 12 Nov 19 - 03:11 AM
GUEST,HiLO 12 Nov 19 - 03:15 AM
GUEST,CJB 12 Nov 19 - 03:41 AM
GUEST,CJB 12 Nov 19 - 03:47 AM
r.padgett 12 Nov 19 - 03:51 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 12 Nov 19 - 06:02 AM
r.padgett 12 Nov 19 - 09:03 AM
Jeri 12 Nov 19 - 09:51 AM
Sandra in Sydney 12 Nov 19 - 09:58 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Nov 19 - 10:42 AM
Stilly River Sage 12 Nov 19 - 11:49 AM
Nigel Parsons 12 Nov 19 - 12:14 PM
Megan L 12 Nov 19 - 01:57 PM
Stilly River Sage 12 Nov 19 - 03:23 PM
Joe Offer 12 Nov 19 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,Guest - CJB 13 Nov 19 - 08:31 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Limberjacks
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Sep 06 - 08:35 AM

Looking at the kid Mudcatteers thread , i saw the question on 'limnrjacks' - I imagine this has been picked up on before , but Ii cant be bothered doing a search so here goes !
In UK , these are known as Jig Dolls , and have been used as accompaniment for singers and musicians in the tradition since at least THEN , if not before !


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks
From: Little Robyn
Date: 24 Sep 06 - 03:49 PM

Look for Seth Davy (Davie) threads.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 24 Sep 06 - 04:08 PM

See also

Limberjack question

Wanted Lumberjack (sic)

Looking for a limberjack


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Sep 06 - 04:37 PM

Thread 48893: Limber Jim History and Lyrics
Thread 20575 with comment by Sandy Paton: Lumberjack
Thread 36598: Looking for a Limberjack
etc.

Formerly widely used by French Canadians and Metís.
Also see "Whiskey on a Sunday (Come Day, Go Day)," Glyn Hughes. The dolls go back to the 9th c., originally a religious folk art. Dancing Dolls
English jig dolls, Cyril Hobbins "specializes in "dancing or jig dolls of all types"- same website, http://www.lotzdollpages.com/darteh.html.

English group "Forebiter" and their sailor jig dolls: www.fyldefolk.freeserve.co.uk/fyldefolk/f.html

French street entertainer with dancing dolls: Sanary    Scroll down to picture and enlarge.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Sep 06 - 04:53 PM

The history is gone from this Lotz website. If one puts History in the Search blank, and checks Lotz website, some references come up.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Sep 06 - 05:03 PM

Sorry for the confusion, but the Lotz website changed from when I took notes on its content.
"Whiskey on a Sunday, Come Day, Go Day" now found at www.lotzdollpages.com/dance.html


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks
From: ChrisJBrady
Date: 21 Nov 11 - 06:37 PM

Some info. here:

http://chrisbrady.itgo.com/jigdolls/jigdolls.htm


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Subject: Racist Jig Dolls
From: GUEST,SB
Date: 08 Nov 19 - 01:19 AM

Having thoroughly upset black-face (disguised) morris teams, it seems like the snowflakes have turned their attention to that most innocent of delights - jig dolls.

Recently a well known one-man band busker was taken to task for entertaining kids (and adults) with a set of jig dolls used to accompany his singing and playing.

Apparently one (maybe two) of these were what was termed 'casually racist.'

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/11/03/former-britains-got-talent-contestantsmarionettes-banned-fair/

===

Mr [Roger] Butler - who plays a banjo, blows his kazoo, shakes a tambourine and bangs a big bass drum strapped to his back - said: "You could have knocked me down with a feather. Nobody has ever complained before so I was absolutely flabbergasted."

"When I asked her [the organiser of the event] if she was being serious, she told me, 'I am afraid so.'"

He added: "I've been using those marionettes in my act for 25 years, ever since a craftsman carved them specially for me in Durban, South Africa. He was black - so was he a racist?"

"How can a marionette [aka jig doll] be racist just because it is black? I use several other puppets of all different hues in my act, including one wearing a fez and another with a big nose."

===

However in the US black-face jig dolls are termed 'Americana' and fetch high prices. They are part of a long standing (jigging?) tradition of kids toys, especially from Appalachia.

Recently in this country (UK) one maker made a black policeman for a school teacher promoting folk activities amongst school kids from diverse cultural backgrounds. Being black the doll helped to break down racial and cultural barriers.

Oh - and the same maker has a wonderful black-face morris dancer jig doll dressed in tatters.

For more about jig dolls see these definitive sites:

http://jigdolls.co.uk/

http://chrisbrady.itgo.com/jigdolls/jigdolls.htm

Also search Pinterest, Google Images, Yahoo Images, Tumblr, etc., etc., using the terms "jigdolls" "jig dolls" "limberjacks", whatever.

SB


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Subject: RE: Racist Jig Dolls
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Nov 19 - 01:26 AM

Love this one ...

http://chrisbrady.itgo.com/jigdolls/black_whittled_limberjack.htm

===


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Subject: RE: Jig Doll Thread Censored
From: GUEST,Kenny B(Inactive)
Date: 11 Nov 19 - 02:55 PM

AS in Whiskey on a Sunday ?
My grandfather used to entertain my mother and her siblings with one or two that were lost at the Clydebank Blitz


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Subject: RE: Jig Doll Thread Censored
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Nov 19 - 03:15 PM

Anybody know the guy who used to busk in Argyle Street in Glasgow with one that he danced along to his own uilleann pipe playing? As if uilleann pipes weren't crazily difficult enough already.


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Subject: RE: Jig Doll Thread
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 11 Nov 19 - 03:50 PM

That thread appeared to be started by the old Mudcat Troll who adores racist topics to yank people's chains. Since you posted as a guest, and he usually spoofs member names as guests, it was deleted. I'll leave this one in place so you may want to re-post your links.


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Subject: RE: Jig Doll Thread Censored
From: r.padgett
Date: 11 Nov 19 - 03:51 PM

it looks like Hannah James has Jig Doll project underway ~ no doubt because of her clog dancing?

Pat Pickles (with Rennie) did a great deal of research and had large collection of dancing dolls ~ Rennie died some years ago and Pat fairly recently ~ they had a published book too

Ray

Jig dolls were fairly common place with buskers of old, not seen anything recently

Jim Eldon has dancing doll type "puppet" he uses!


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Subject: RE: Jig Doll Thread
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Nov 19 - 04:10 PM

A relative of Billy Weekes who posts here was a travelling pedlar and part of his stock which Billy inherited was some wrestling dolls and jig dolls and monkeys-on-sticks. Billy gave me them and I passed them on to Jim Eldon. I also passed some of my jig dolls on to Pat. When did Pat pass on? I didn't know. What happened to her collections? A museum I hope. Dancing dolls are quite popular with buskers even today, usually worked with the foot and strings while the busker plays an instrument like Jim does. Mostly I remember the vibrating board type like Rennie's which I used to have.


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Subject: RE: Jig Doll Thread
From: GUEST,Kenny B(Inactive)
Date: 11 Nov 19 - 04:22 PM

Jack
Ill ask around ill be playing along with some other fans Of uilleann pipes this weekend


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Subject: RE: Limberjacks
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Nov 19 - 05:29 PM

OK, I guess we have to give today's thread originator the benefit of the doubt, because this is legitimate folklore. But these dolls are called "Limberjacks" in the United States, and they are ordinarily not blackface dolls. "Jig Doll" is clearly a racially provocative term, and we don't have to put up with such a term in a thread title. That's generally the way we've handled it in the past - Mudcat has control of how threads are titled. Titles should give a clear indication of the contents of the threads, and should not be used for the purpose of making a "statement."
I have combined all messages with a previous "Limberjack" thread. But note that this thread is only about Limberjacks or "Jig Dolls" (if that's what you wish to call them.) Off-topic comments will be deleted.

-Joe Offer, Mudcat Music Editor-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Nov 19 - 07:06 PM

Why on EARTH should "jig doll" be racist? They're dolls and they dance a jig. We do NOT have to use American words all but unknown in the UK just because some American has a bizarre bug up their arse.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Nov 19 - 07:11 PM

Jack, "Jig" or "jigaboo" is a derogatory American term for a black person. And it just happens that "Jig dolls" in the UK have black faces, but of course it has nothing to do with racism. And you know damn well that people bring up stuff like this for thinly-veiled racist purposes.
So, yeah, people take offense at it. Get over it. I suppose we could ban it altogether, but we're trying to take a middle path. In fact, I'll stretch it just a little more to keep Jack and Jeri happy.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks
From: Jeri
Date: 11 Nov 19 - 08:47 PM

I'm not saying SB wasn't trolling-I think he knows your vulnerabilities, and he was-but it's called a jig doll.

As a fiddle player, I play jigs. You think that's racist too? I think limberjacks are supposed to dance to jigs (which is probably where they got the name). You think that's racist?

Joe, this is crazy.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: Megan L
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 02:02 AM

Not all jig dolls were blackfaced most of the ones I have seen were just ordinary folk and as Jeri said they usually used jig tunes because of the liveliness of the music.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 02:15 AM

What do Americans call the dance known by everyone else on earth as a Jig?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 03:07 AM

The Yanks call a jig a jig.

Homonymphobia, all too common these days, is something else altogether.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 03:11 AM

Forgot the wiki: Jig doll

No racial overtones given there.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: GUEST,HiLO
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 03:15 AM

In America can you own a jigsaw, do a jigsaw puzzle, jig for squid or is the jig up on that “racist” word ?
Absurd nonsense, nothing less.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 03:41 AM

I tried to fill out the Wiki articles many years' ago. But as is usual with Wiki some self-appointed smart-arse know-it-all kept removing my edits. Eventually I gave up, and created my website instead.

I have about 50 jig dolls from the UK, Ireland, Canada - Quebec, Appalachia - USA, even Australia (a man in the iron mask figure). None are 'black' per se; but many are 'brown-face' being whittled from unpainted wood. Is that racist?

The two 'negro' dolls I have were made in Appalachia from folks connected with Berea College. They were not termed 'limber jacks' - this being a local term from only part of Appalachia. The general term was 'jig dancing man.' The term 'jig' referring to a step dance in 3/4 or 6/8 time, or to any step dance for that matter.

They never dance out in the UK due to the extreme and draconian licencing laws which does not allow 'music' of any kind in public houses, unless the owner has taken out an expensive entertainment licence. Ditto village or church halls at say ONS barn dances. The latter are problematic in that if any kids are present - aka under 18s - then all band members and caller have to be registered as fit and trustworthy to work with children. That includes displays of jig dolls.

In Ireland the pubs are more free to allow musicians to play unhindered by stupid laws, although the draconian 'no smoking' laws have killed the pub. trade and thus many 'craic' sessions. But jig dolls are appreciated there because few have seen them.

Meanwhile in the US 'Americana' collectables include 'black' jig dolls. They fetch high prices well beyond my means. They are usually sold at auctions from house clearances.

BTW there are many animal jig dolls - pigs, horses, cows, frogs, dogs, et al. But I suppose now-a-days these do not meet the approval of animal rights activists.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 03:47 AM

Yes - I wonder where Pat Pickles jig dolls are? I too didn't know that she had passed away. But now she is with Renee I guess.

Pat had a number of rare jig dolls, including a unique Mrs Jollyboy. She also had a Mr TapN'Go jig doll from the US that I gave her. Ted Beresford also made her a marionette of Renee dancing a miniature jig doll. I wonder where that is?

CJB


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: r.padgett
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 03:51 AM

Jig dolls are most certainly NOT black nor racist in UK and are simply in the usual form made of wood with jointed arms and legs ~ the musician sits on a small plank or pliable wood and by hitting the same imparts motion to the Doll whose arms and legs whirl around

There are a number of different versions and methods of construction for such dancing dolls of course

Jim Eldon's is a Marionet style that is has strings controlling from above

Steve ~Pat Pickles death was recent and my contact for this was Chris Walker from Wakefield (there are two CWs btw) ~I will contact Ricard Harrison re collection of jig dolls and of Rennie's postcard collection

Ray


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 06:02 AM

A google image search for "jig dolls uk" gives a lot more dancing leprechauns than blackface ones. Are they anti-Irish to the censorial mentality?

Doing a search that would include more blackface ones, it looks like about half of those were created by African-Americans for themselves.

Probably some of the caricatural white ones with upward-pointing noses, scarlet cheeks and silly grins were created by people of African descent too. In fact if I was an Afro-Caribbean making one now I'd see Trump and Johnson as a caricature-sculptor's dream.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: r.padgett
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 09:03 AM

My ex wife tells me the dolls & other possessions are being held in storage until probate is sorted out. Regarding the postcard collection, as far as I know Pat sold them several years ago . Hope that helps

Above response is from Richard Harrison regarding Pat Pickles and Rennie's postcard collection

Ray


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: Jeri
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 09:51 AM

Not one little wooden person in sight


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 09:58 AM

In Australia they are called jig dolls & here are a modern set of Australian politicians owned by Steve Wilson, concertina player & cancer survivor.

They are very popular when he is busking, & he makes lots of money of cancer research but they could need updating with 2 ex Prime Ministers (Tony Abbott & Malcolm Turnbull) & the eternal political survivor Pauline Hanson.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 10:42 AM

I gave Pat one of her Mr Jollyboys which I bought especially for her. They usually go for about £20 and I think there is one for sale in Hull right now in an antique shop. They seem to be fairly common. They must have been fairly common in the early years of last century. I wish I still had my old one I made in the 60s dressed as a sworddancer. 2 jig doll players on the Hull folk scene were Mick Robinson and Gordon Norman (Olly) as well as Jim. Dare we mention Rolf Harris, a good friend of Pat?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 11:49 AM

I would be nice if you-all stopped pushing back against a "racist" theme that has since been resolved.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 12:14 PM

Guest CJB:
I have about 50 jig dolls from the UK, Ireland, Canada - Quebec, Appalachia - USA, even Australia (a man in the iron mask figure)
I would suggest that the Australian one represents Ned Kelly (Australian outlaw). The term 'man in the iron mask' tends to direct my thoughts to the Alexander Dumas book.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: Megan L
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 01:57 PM

Stilly while I agree with you fairly often , or did when I was a regular, my beef this time was not with the racist aspect it was an American once again treating the UK as if we were some small hick backwater town instead of country/countries in their own right.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 03:23 PM

That's out of the blue. The thread is about limberjacks, amended with an alternate (and briefly misunderstood) name "jig dolls."

Moving on, this song would be a great to use a limberjack with during the performance, the Canadian song Log Driver's Waltz (animated by Mudcat's own John Weldon).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Nov 19 - 05:36 PM

OK, so Stilly and I learned something, and I think we came up with a reasonable compromise by including both "Limberjack" and "Jig Doll" in the thread title - they are the same thing, aren't they? Megan, we try to be as internationally inclusive as we can be at Mudcat. That's why we change dates and abbreviations in thread titles to terms that are universally understandable.

We've had some serious racist attacks from unregistered guests lately, so perhaps we were overly sensitive to a thread from an unknown guest that looked like it might provoke another racist squabble. That was our mistake. We're sorry.

Now, let's go on with the actual subject of the discussion. HiLo, that applies to you, too - if you continue to use threads to grouse about moderators, your posts will continue to disappear. Stay on topic. I blocked you temporarily because I don't want to battle with you - but I've now taken off the block. If you want to discuss something with me, email joe@mudcat.org. You'll find I'm quite reasonable, but don't want to fight. If you're not happy with what I say, you can appeal to max@mudcat.org. The basic thing is that we moderators can't get into online arguments about what we do. If you want to talk with us directly, that's fine.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Limberjacks/Jig Dolls
From: GUEST,Guest - CJB
Date: 13 Nov 19 - 08:31 AM

tJig dolls / Limberjacks can be seen on ...

Pinterest, Google Images, Yahoo Images, Tumblr, and just about every social media image site. Instagram even?

And on Facebook there are at least three groups!!!

There are also auction sites such as

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/search/?keyword=dancing%20dolls&sort=-relevance&status=online

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/77159738_mechanical-dancing-native

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/search/?keyword=limberjacks&sort=-relevance&status=archive

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/search/?keyword=jig%20dolls&sort=-relevance&status=archive

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/search/?keyword=dancing%20dolls&sort=-relevance&status=archive

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/59775850_-ragtime-rastus-black-americana-dancing-doll-with

Etc., etc.


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