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Origins: Edward / My Son David / Henry (Child #13)

DigiTrad:
EDWARD
EDWARD BALLAD


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Edward, Edward (5)
Lyr Req: Edward (6)
Lyr Req: Chris Coe's Edward (Child #13) (5)
Lyr Req: Who Put the Blood (10)
Lyr Req: Edward (19)


The Sandman 10 May 21 - 05:33 PM
The Sandman 10 May 21 - 05:39 PM
Joe Offer 10 May 21 - 05:51 PM
Bill D 10 May 21 - 09:40 PM
GUEST,# 10 May 21 - 10:44 PM
The Sandman 11 May 21 - 02:33 AM
The Sandman 11 May 21 - 03:10 AM
Joe Offer 11 May 21 - 01:29 PM
Steve Gardham 11 May 21 - 01:52 PM
RTim 12 May 21 - 06:47 PM
The Sandman 15 May 21 - 03:46 PM
Richard Mellish 16 May 21 - 05:56 AM
Felipa 17 May 21 - 09:16 PM
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Subject: my son david jeanie roberstson
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 May 21 - 05:33 PM

This old ballad is almost universally called Edward (or something similar), and the Son David title appears only in Scotland. When Hamish Henderson ‘discovered’ Jeannie Robertson in 1953 and demonstrated her repertoire to the world, this particular ballad caused a sensation amongst scholars, as it had been thought to have been completely lost from the oral traditions for well over a hundred years, and caused the rest of her repertoire to be examined with the greatest of interest. Considering this very much her mother's song, requiring Jeannie's “big classical ballad” style, Lizzie nevertheless went on to perform it after her death.


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Subject: RE: my son david jeanine roberstson
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 May 21 - 05:39 PM

This version is about the murder of one brother by another.in a conversation with his mother the murderer pretends that it is the blood of his greyhound and also his mare, the mother does not believe and the questioning continues until the murderer confesses and eventually says that he wiill only come back when there is an eclipse and that will never be


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Subject: req: Jeannie Robertson sings My Son David
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 May 21 - 05:51 PM

Oooh! Oooh! Post the lyrics, please, Dick.
You sang it so well.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: my son david jeanine roberstson
From: Bill D
Date: 10 May 21 - 09:40 PM

This is one of my 2-3 favorite songs by Jeannie.


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Subject: RE: my son david jeanine roberstson
From: GUEST,#
Date: 10 May 21 - 10:44 PM

There quite a write-up about the song and some of its variations at

https://mainlynorfolk.info/nic.jones/songs/edward.html

Lyrics there also if that'll ease the task for Dick.


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Subject: RE: my son david jeanine roberstson
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 May 21 - 02:33 AM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykOBpsVMN1s


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Subject: RE: my son david jeanine roberstson
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 May 21 - 03:10 AM

Jeannie Robertson sings My Son David

“O what's the blood that's on your sword,
My son David, O son David?
What's the blood it's on your sword?
Come promise, tell me true.”

“O that's the blood of my grey mair,
Hey lady mother, ho lady mother;
That's the blood of my grey mair,
Because it widnae rule by me.”
        

“What's that blood all on your sleeve?
Son, come tell to me.”
“Oh, that's the blood of my own grey hound,
He wouldn't run with me, with me,
He wouldn't run with me.”

“O that blood it is owre clear,
My son David, O son David;
That blood it is owre clear,
Come promise, tell me true.”

“O that's the blood of my grey hound,
Hey lady mother, ho lady mother;
That's the blood of my grey hound,
Because it widnae rule my me.”

“O that blood it is owre clear,
My son David, O son David;
That blood it is owre clear,
Come promise, tell me true.”


        

“O that's the blood of my brother John,
Hey lady mother, ho lady mother;
That's the blood of my brother John,
Because he drew his sword tae me.
        

.”


“I'm gaun awa' across the sea,
my son etc,
i am goin awa across the sea,
farafarfar awa”
        

“And what will you do when your father comes to know?
Son, come tell to me.”
“Oh, I'll set sail in a little sailing boat,
I'll sail across the sea, the sea,
I'll sail across the sea.”
        


        


“O whan will you come back again
My son David, O son David?
Whan will you come back again?
Come promise, tell me true.”

“When the sun and the moon meets in yon glen,
Hey lady mother, ho lady mother;
When the sun and the moon meets in yon glen,
For I'll return again.”
        

“And when will you come back again?
Son, come tell to me.”
When the sun and the moon there on yonder hill,
I know that will never never be, never be,
Know that will never never be.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykOBpsVMN1s


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Subject: RE: Origins: Edward / My Son David / Henry (Child #13)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 May 21 - 01:29 PM

Here's the lengthy entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Edward [Child 13]

DESCRIPTION: A mother questions her son about his recent deeds and the blood on his weapon. After many evasions, he reveals that he has killed his brother. He may then leave home, perhaps in a bottomless boat
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1765 (Percy)
KEYWORDS: homicide brother questions
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber),England) US(Ap,MW,NE,SE,So,SW) Ireland
REFERENCES (52 citations):
Child 133, "Edward" (2 texts)
Bronson 13, "Edward" (25 versions -- of which, however, #10 is actually "Lizie Wan" -- plus 2 in addenda)
Bronson-SingingTraditionOfChildsPopularBallads 13, "Edward" (5 versions: #2, #3.2, #8, #11, #22)
Porter/Gower-Jeannie-Robertson-EmergentSingerTransformativeVoice #80, p. 265-267, "Son Davit (Edward, Child 13)" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #3.1}
Barry/Eckstorm/Smyth-BritishBalladsFromMaine p. 433, "Edward" (notes only)
Percy/Wheatley-ReliquesOfAncientEnglishPoetry I, pp. 82-84, "Edward, Edward" (1 text)
Chambers-ScottishBallads, pp. 290-291, "Edward, Edward" (1 text)
Tunney-StoneFiddle, pp. 111-112, "Edward" (1 text, 1 tune)
OBoyle-TheIrishSongTradition 25, "What Brought the Blood?" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph 6, "What Blood on the Point of Your Knife" (3 texts plus a fragment, 3 tunes) {A= Bronson's#9, B=#6a, D=#23}
Randolph/Cohen-OzarkFolksongs-Abridged, pp. 21-23, "What Blood on the Point of Your Knife" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 6A) {Bronson's #9}
Eddy-BalladsAndSongsFromOhio 6, "Edward" (1 fragmentary text that might be this or "Lizie Wan")
Flanders/Olney-BalladsMigrantInNewEngland, pp. 100-101, "Edward" [listed in error as Child 12] (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #2}; see also "Edward Ballad" on pp. 96-100, which is closer to "The Twa Brothers"
Flanders-AncientBalladsTraditionallySungInNewEngland1, pp. 208-212, "Edward" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #2}
Davis-TraditionalBalladsOfVirginia 7, "Edward" (4 texts plus a fragment; two tunes entitled "What Is That On the End of Your Sword," "Edward"; 1 more version mentioned in Appendix A) {Bronson's #19, #22}
Davis-MoreTraditionalBalladsOfVirginia 8, pp. 60-67, "Edward" (3 texts, 2 tunes)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore2 7, "Edward" (3 texts)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore4 7, "The Twa Sisters" (1 text plus an excerpt, 2 tunes)
Joyner-FolkSongInSouthCarolina, pp. 33-34, "Edward" (1 text, 1 tune)
Morris-FolksongsOfFlorida, #149, "Edward" (2 texts)
Hudson-FolksongsOfMississippi 5, pp. 70-72, "Edward" (2 texts)
Ritchie-FolkSongsOfTheSouthernAppalachians, pp. 6, "Eward" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scarborough-ASongCatcherInSouthernMountains, pp. 180-184, "Edward" (3 texts, with local titles "Edward," (no title), "The Murdered Brother"; 3 tunes on pp. 404-406) {Bronson's #5, [b], #3}
Moore/Moore-BalladsAndFolkSongsOfTheSouthwest 8, "My Son Come Tell It To Me" (1 text, 1 tune)
Owens-TexasFolkSongs-1ed, pp. 59-63, "How Come That Blood on Your Shirt Sleeve" (2 texts, 2 tunes) {Bronson's #21}
Owens-TexasFolkSongs-2ed, pp. 11-14, "How Come That Blood on Your Shirt Sleeve" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Cox/Hercog/Halpert/Boswell-WVirginia-A, #4, pp. 16-18, "Edward" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gainer-FolkSongsFromTheWestVirginiaHills, pp. 18-19, "The Father's Murder" (1 short text, 1 tune, probably this -- it has typical "Edward" lyrics -- but it might be "Lizzie Wan" or something else, since it ends with the singer saying he murdered his father, not his brother)
Burton/Manning-EastTennesseeStateCollectionVol1, pp. 40-41, "How Come This Blood on Your Shirt Sleeve?" (1 text, 1 tune)
Leach-TheBalladBook, pp. 85-88, "Edward" (3 texts)
Leach-HeritageBookOfBallads, pp. 7-11, "Son Davie," "Edward" (2 texts)
Quiller-Couch-OxfordBookOfBallads 65, "Edward, Edward" (1 text)
Friedman-Viking/PenguinBookOfFolkBallads, p. 156, "Edward" (2 texts)
Grigson-PenguinBookOfBallads 63, "Edward" (1 text)
Niles-BalladBookOfJohnJacobNiles 10, "Edward" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FolkSongsOfNorthAmerica 9, "Edward" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #2}
Gummere-OldEnglishBallads, pp. 169-170+342, "Edward" (1 text)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 8 "Edward" (10 texts, some of them fragmentary, 10 tunes; the "B" and "F" fragments might be "Lizie Wan") {Bronson's #13, #20, #11, #1, #7, #16, #14, #15, #12, #8}
Sharp/Karpeles-EightyEnglishFolkSongs 8, "Edward" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #1}
Wells-TheBalladTree, pp. 103-104, "Edward" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #1}
Hodgart-FaberBookOfBallads, p. 119, "Edward" (1 text)
MacColl/Seeger-TravellersSongsFromEnglandAndScotland 5, "Edward" (1 text, 1 tune)
Whiting-TraditionalBritishBallads 7, "Edward" (2 texts)
Pound-AmericanBalladsAndSongs, 9, pp. 23-24, "Edward" (1 text)
Darling-NewAmericanSongster, pp. 59-60, "How Come That Blood?" (1 text)
Morgan-MedievalBallads-ChivalryRomanceAndEverydayLife, pp. 13-15, "Edward, Edward" (1 text)
HarvardClassics-EnglishPoetryChaucerToGray, pp. 56-58, "Edward" (1 text)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 223, "Edward" (1 text)
DT 13, EDWARD1* EDWARD2*
ADDITIONAL: Bob Stewart, _Where Is Saint George? Pagan Imagery in English Folksong_, revised edition, Blandford, 1988, pp. 31-32, "Edward" (1 text, 1 tune)
Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; #421, "Edward" (1 text)
Maud Karpeles, _Folk Songs of Europe_, Oak, 1956, 1964, p. 4, prints the Danish version, "Svend I Rosensgaard," with a loose English translation; the first few verses are quite close to the English, then turns to a list of impossible wonders

ST C013 (Full)
Roud #200
RECORDINGS:
Acie Cargill and Debra Cowan, "My Brother Edward" (on HCargillFamily)
Mary Ellen Connors, Jeannie Robertson, Thomas Moran, Angela Brasil [composite] "Edward" (on FSBBAL1) {cf. Bronson's #3.1 in addenda}
Mary Delaney, "What Put the Blood?" (on Voice17)
Charles Ingenthron, "Edward" [singer calls it, "The Little Yellow Dog," but the LC folklorists retitle it "Edward"] (AFS; on LC12) {Bronson's #6(b)}
Jean Ritchie, "Edward" (on JRitchie02)
Jeannie Robertson, Paddy Tunney, Angela Brasil [composite] "Edward" (on FSB4) {cf. Bronson's #3.1 in addenda}
Paddy Tunney, "Son, Come Tell It To Me" (on IRPTunney01); "What Put the Blood?" (on Voice03); "What Put the Blood on Your Right Shoulder, Son" (on IRPTunney02)
Mrs. Crockett Ward, "Edward" (AFS; on LC57)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Lizie Wan" [Child 65] (plot, lyrics)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Son Davie, Son Davie
What's That Blood On Your Sword?
The Murdered Brother
Dear Son
NOTES [896 words]: In a longer article concerning Jeannie Robertson's renditions of "My Son Davit", Porter evolved a "conceptual performance model" to document tune and text coupled with the performance situation (and its greater context), and coupled as well with her changes over time. Porter delves into Jeannie Robertson's concept of the "story" (which concept goes far beyond the received song text), modeling how that concept changed Jeannie's delivery over time, as well as how her status as singer evolved from Traveller to "folk singer." Along with the Model is a wealth of detail about Jennie's renditions. (see: Porter, James. "Jeannie Robertson's 'My Son David': A Conceptual Performance Model." JAF 89 (1976), 7-26.) - DGE
This song and "Lizie Wan" have cross-fertilized so heavily (especially in the ending, where the murderous son is cross-examined) that it is often not possible to tell fragmentary versions apart. Eddy-BalladsAndSongsFromOhio's text, for instance, has only the questions and answers, and might be either song.
Bertrand Bronson, in his essay "Edward, Edward, A Scottish Ballad" (reprinted in BronsonBAS, pp. 1-17) makes the point that this song is often included in literary anthologies as one of the best examples of the ballad art. But, he observes, it is always the Percy version which gets printed -- and this has several problems. First is a point raised by Motherwell: how does a ballad of probably-Scottish origin come to have a hero named "Edward" (as in "Edward I, the Hammer of the Scots")? (p. 3 in the essay as printed in BronsonBAS). Second, the ending in which Edward concludes by accusing his mother of plotting the whole thing occurs only in the Percy version, and that this produces the absurd situation of the mother and son both knowing what is going on and hiding it -- it's Hamlet and Claudius hunting each other, not a genuine murder mystery (this is in the "footnote" on pp. 15-17). And none of the other versions show this feature. And the Percy version cannot be traced back beyond Percy's source Lord Hailes. Bronson concludes, as Archer Taylor also concluded, that the Percy text, in addition to Percy's usual practice of archaizing and fouling up the spelling, has been rewritten to be more dramatic. Bronson's argument strikes me as very compelling, particularly since we know that Percy was often guilty of such things.
The idea of a guilty person going to sea in a bottomless boat is old and widespread; "Embarkation in leaky boat" is Thompson motif Q466. See e.g. the Grimm tale of "The Three Snake-Leaves," which ends with a guilty princess and her lover being sent to sea in a box full of holes.
Stewart makes a great deal of the fact that, in his text, the brothers were fighting about "a little hazel bush," observing that the hazel was the "sacred tree of Irish wisdom." Of course, this ignores the fact that, in many versions of the song, it is a holly bush, or in one instance a juniper bush, or just a bush, or sprout, of unspecified type. And most of the versions aren't Irish anyway. We could, of course, find a magic explanation for each kind of tree, but the evidence is that the species doesn't matter. The key is probably not the type of tree but the fact that it is *little* -- so, perhaps, a young girl over whom the brothers quarrel.
Stewart also sees this as a sort of sequel to "The Twa Brothers" [Child 49]. Thematically, certainly, "Edward" is a logical follow-on to the versions of "The Twa Brothers" which involve a fight over a girl (a small subset of the whole of the latter ballad). But, of course, that does not mean that they are related. It is interesting to see that none other than Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) seems to have connected them, however. One of his earliest poems, written while he was still a schoolboy, is called "The Two Brothers," and the opening is quite similar to "The Twa Brothers" [Child 49]; it begins
There were two brothers at Twyford school,
And when they had left the place,
It was, "Will ye learn Greek and Latin?
Or will ye run me a race?
Or will ye go up to yonder bridge,
And there will we angle for dace?"
Later verses are more reminiscent of "Edward" [Child 13] or "Lizzie Wan" [Child 51]:
"Oh what bait's that upon your hook,
Dear brother, tell to me?"
"It is my younger brother," he cried,
"Oh woe and dole is me?"
[ ... ]
"And when will you come back again,
My brother, tell to me?"
"When chub is good for human food,
And that will never be!"
(for a photo of these verses, see Douglas-Fairhurst, p. 75)
Dodgson's final verse might be from "It Was A' For Our Rightful' King" or similar:
She turned herself right round about,
And her heart brake into three,
Said, "One of the two will be wet through and through,
And 'tother'll be late for his tea."
It has also been claimed that Dodgson based "Jabberwocky" on this song (so John Mackay Shaw; see Williams/Maden/Green/Crutch, p. 312), but the connection, if any, is feeble.
Dodgson wasn't the only one to rework the piece. Algernon Charles Swinburne rewrote and expanded this as "The Bloody Son." I can't see that it is an improvement in form, and the dialect is forced. Natascha Wurtzbach (in Harris, p. 187) notes a similarity to A. E. Housman's "Farewell to barn and stack and tree," which involves a murder and a man leaving home. I grant the similarity of themes, but I really doubt actual dependence. - RBW
Bibliography
  • BronsonBAS: Bertrand Harris Bronson, The Ballad as Song (essays on ballads), University of California Press, 1969
  • Douglas-Fairhurst: Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland, Belknap/Harvard, 2015
  • Harris: Joseph Harris, editor, The Ballad and Oral Literature, Harvard University Press, 1991
  • Williams/Maden/Green/Crutch: Sidney Herbert Williams and Falconer Madan, revised and augmented by Roger Lancelyn Green, further revised by Denis Crutch, The Lewis Carroll Handbook (earlier editions titled A Handbook of the Literature of the Rev. C. L. Dodgson, 1932, 1961, 1970); Dawson Books, 1979
Last updated in version 5.3
File: C013

Go to the Ballad Search form
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The Ballad Index Copyright 2021 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Edward / My Son David / Henry (Child #13)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 May 21 - 01:52 PM

The scholarly concensus of opinion is that Lord Hailes (James Dalrymple) simply (re)wrote the unique ballad 'Edward'. The 2 main reasons for this opinion are that at the time there was nothing else like it known, and the pseudo-archaic forced language it was couched in. Another lesser reason often quoted is the Scots would never have a song that used the despised name of 'The Hammer'.

The more likely scenario is that he cobbled it together from something else. There are older equivalents in Scandinavia and much has been written about those connections (Sir Halewyn by Grey, and others more recently). It is very likely that earlier versions existed in English under the radar, in both Scottish and English versions, but the possibility is also there that those versions that have turned up in oral tradition since 1900 derive either from the much printed 'Edward' or as translations from the Scandinavian. However, against the last idea is that all 3 variants in English more or less have the same components and are more closely related to each other than to the foreign variants with fuller stories. What would really help to focus the probabilities is that a version turns up at least as old 'Edward'.

If we were to propose the most likely scenario based on what happened with other Child Ballads in Scotland at that time, it would be Hailes or some other ballad hobbyist translated it from the Danish and that the other versions derive from that.

BUT, most of this is conjecture. As with many alleged 'fake' Child
Ballads, we don't actually know the real extent to which this happened. Many scholars have hinted that the fakery was rife, but with no hard and fast proof we mostly only have the ballads themselves to go on.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Edward / My Son David / Henry (Child #13)
From: RTim
Date: 12 May 21 - 06:47 PM

I find it interesting that no one os mentioning (except Joe Offer in his Trad. Index post) the version I sing from the American singer Jean Ritchie...may be because she is American..? Here it is below:

Tim Radford
----------------------------------------------

EDWARD. From Jean Ritchie. (Child 13)

How came that blood on your shirt sleeve?
Oh… dear love… tell me
Well it is the blood of the old grey mare
That plowed the fields for me, me me,
That plowed the fields for me.

It does look too pale for the old grey mare
That plowed the fields for thee, thee, thee,
That plowed the fields for thee.

How came that blood on your shirt sleeve?
Oh… dear love… tell me
Oh it is the blood of the old grey hound
That chased the fox for me, me me,
That chased the fox for me.

It does look too pale for the old grey hound
That chased the fox for thee, thee, thee,
That chased the fox for thee.        

How came that blood on your shirt sleeve?
Oh… dear love… tell me
Well it is the blood of my brother-in-law
That went away with me, me me,
That went away with me.

And what did you fall out about
Oh… dear love… tell me
About a little bit of bush
That soon would have made a tree, tree, tree
That soon would have made a tree.

And it’s what will you do now my love
Oh… dear love… tell me
I’ll set my foot on yonder ship
And I’ll sail across the sea, sea, sea
Sail across the sea.

And it’s when will you be back my love
Oh… dear love… tell me
When the moon sinks yonder in the sycamore tree
And that will never be, be, be
And that will never be.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZiEU6C9ZZA

She does miss a verse in this version.....Tim R.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Edward / My Son David / Henry (Child #13)
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 May 21 - 03:46 PM

thankyou rtim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Edward / My Son David / Henry (Child #13)
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 16 May 21 - 05:56 AM

In another thread we discussed Archer Taylor's argument, mentioned by Bronson, that this particular ballad travelled from Britain to Scandinavia rather than the other way. I find Taylor's argument persuasive, Steve G doesn't, but that's OK.

Whichever way it went, the English "Edward" version does indeed seem inauthentic.

Taylor also goes at some length into the details of the son's "nuncupative will"*, the means and implications of his departure from his country, and the series of impossible events that will precede his return.

*A will that is declared orally and not written down.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Edward / My Son David / Henry (Child #13)
From: Felipa
Date: 17 May 21 - 09:16 PM

Lucy Wan https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=19418#258944

Lizzie Wan https://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=3662

Child 51

Radie Peat singing and discussion of both Edward and Lizzie Wan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7F5ZtnCUN-4


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