1902 Encyclopedia > Lapland

Lapland




LAPLAND, or LAPPLAND, is the north-west portion of the continent of Europe, bounded W., N., and E. by the North Atlantic, the Arctic Ocean, and the White Sea, and S. partly by the White Sea, but mainly by a conventional ment of Archangel. A line drawn from the mouth of the Salten Fjord on the Norwegian coast to the mouth of the Ponoi on the White Sea, practically identical with the 61st parallel of north latitude, measures 700 miles. Of Russian Lapland only a very small portion lies outside of the Arctic circle ; but in Swedish Lapland the southern confines descend as low as 61°. According to Frijs (in Peterand 61,654 to Russia.

Lapland is merely the land of the Lapps or Laps, and does riot constitute a geographical unity. The Scandinavian portion presents the usual characteristics of the mountain plateau of that peninsula, - on one side the bold headlands, fjords, deep-grooved valleys, and glaciers of Norway, on the other the long mountain lakes and lake-fed rivers of Sweden. On the Swedish side the Lapp borders only come down to within from 30 to 40 miles of the coast, where the rivers begin to loss the character of mountain streams. With the exception of Torne Lappmark, which is really part of Scandinavia, Finnish and Russian Lapland may be generally described as comparatively low country, broken by detached hills and ridges, one of which, the Umbdek Dunder, attains an elevation of 2500 feet. Rivers and lakes abound. In the north of the Finnish region lies the great Enure or Thera (formerly Upper Imandra) Lake, with an area of 1147 square miles ; and the south is traversed by the countless bead-waters of the Kemi, which falls into the Gulf of Bothnia to the east of the Swedish frontier. The largest of the rivers of Russian Lapland - or, as it is often called, the Kola peninsula - is the Tulom, which falls into the Arctic Ocean ; and others of importance are the Pasvig, the Ponoi, and the Varsuga. Lake Imandra, or Inandra (in Lappish Aver), is about 65 miles long by 8 or 9 broad ; Lake Nnoljaure is 35 miles by 7 ; and Guollejam°, Umbozero, Kontojarvi, and Piiiijarvi are all of considerable extent. An opinion was long prevalent that there was a natural boundary of the most striking kind between the Arctic coast of Norwegian and that of Russian Lapland, - that to the east of Jacob's river the harbours or fjords were ice-bound for six months of the year, while the influence of the Gulf Stream never allowed those to the west to be frozen. This, however, is not the case. The principal harbours on the 3furman coast eastward to the mo•tl; of the White Sea remain open like those of Norway.

Though Lapland contains vast stretches of desolate tundra and dreary swamp, the country as a whole has a certain quiet beauty, and in the wilder districts the scenery ie wonderfully various in colour and form. "It is hardly possible," says Lieutenant Temple in Proc. Roy. Ceog. Soc., 1880, " to conceive a greater contrast to the ice-bound regions which lie between the same parallels in the western hemisphere." And, though it gives little scope for husbandry, Lapland is richly furnished with much that is serviceable to man. Not to mention the iron and copper mines, it still possesses great store of timber, pine and spruce and birch ; though fruit trees yield no fruit, there is abundance of edible berries ; the rivers and lakes abound with salmon, trout, perch, and pike ; myriads of water-fowl, ptarmigan, partridges, and capercailzie breed within its borders ; and the cod, herring, holibut, and Greenland sharks of its seas give occupation to thousands of fishermen.

The chief characteristic of Lapland is its Arctic climate and the distribution of daylight and darkness. In the northern parts the longest day and the longest night last for three months each, and through the greater part of the country the sun does not set at midsummer or rise at midwinter.

The following calendar of the climate after Lxstaditts relates more particularly to the northern districts of Swedish Lapland, but is more or less applicable to a large part of the country : - January : cold and clear ; no day-light ; about 4 o'clock the "rose of dawn "; mean temperature, 0°-50 Fain.. February : cold ; snow and wind ; day-light from 6-7 A.M. to 5-6 P.M.; mean temperature, -1°.4. March: heat of the sun begins to modify the cold ; steady snowfall ; swans begin to appear ; mean temperature, 11°•5. April : weather variable ; snow and wind ; birds of passage, crows, and snow sparrows appear ; snows melt from the branches ; mean temperature, 26'•6. Hay: the finest month in the year ; spring flowers in blossom ; bird life abundant ; sowing season ; temperature often reaches 68° during the day ; seed is often " brairded " eight days after it is sown ; mean temperature, 360.5. June : ice breaks up on lakes and riven ; woods rush into leaf ; about the 20th continual day ; mean temperature, 49° to 500. July : quite warm ; mountain floods ; grain shoots into ear ; fishing and hurting; mos quitoes ; cloudberrios ripe ; mean temperature, 59°. August : much rain ; harvest ; by the 10th strong frosts at night ; mean temperature, 56'. September : short days ; rain, wind, sleet ; raspberries, strawberries, bilberries, &c., ripe ; fall of the leaf ; mean temperature, 41°. October : "golden pudding time" ; slaughter of reindeer and laying up of meat store for winter ; mean temperature, 27•50. Korember : full winter ; lakes frozen over ; fishing still prosecuted with ice-nets ; mean temperature, 12•24. December : much like January ; hunting of bears, wolves, &c. : mean temperature, le The population of Lapland has been considerably recruited in modern times by immigrants from the south ; but the country is still very sparsely peopled, and the Lapps still predominate. There are no towns, and the villages are not only few and insignificant, but often hardly less nomadic than the people, being shifted according to exigencies of fodder or fuel. Hammerfest, the "most northern town of the European continent," has only 2100 inhabitants, and Kola (formerly Malmis), the principal settlement in Russian Lapland, does not now exceed 500.

The Lapps. - The Lapps (Steed., Lapper ; Russian, Lop ari; Norw., FinIzer) call their country Sabme or Same, and themselves ,S'amelats - names almost identical with those employed by the Finns for their country and race, and probably connected with a root signifying " dark " (see Donner, Very. nit der Sivacheit, Hels., 1876). Lapp is almost certainly a nickname imposed by foreigners, although some of the Lapps apply it contemptuously to those of their countrymen whom they think to be less civilized than themselves.1 In Sweden and Finland the Lapps are usually divided into fisher, mountain, and forest Lapps. In Sweden the first class includes many impoverished mountain Lapps. As described by Lrestadius (1827-32), their condition was a very miserable one ; but since his time matters have much improved. The principal colony has its summer quarters on the Stuor-Lule Lake, possesses good boats and nets, and, besides catching and drying fish, makes money by the shooting of wild fowl and the gathering of eggs. When he has acquired a little means it is not unusual for the fisher to settle down and reclaim a bit of land. The mountain and forest Lapps are the true representatives of the race. In the wandering life of the mountain Lapp his autumn residence, on the borders of the forest district, may be considered as the central point ; it is there that he erects his eteetlla, a small wooden storehouse raised high above the ground by one or more piles. At the beginning of November, a little sooner or later, he begins to wander south or east into the forest laud, and in the course of the winter he may visit, not only such places as Joklemokk and Arjepluog, but even Getle, Upsala, or Stockholm. About the beginning of May he is back at his njalla, but as soon as the weather grows warm he pushes up to the mountains, and there throughout the summer pastures his herds and prepares his store of cheese. By autumn or October he is busy at his njalla killing the surplus reindeer bulls and curing meat for the winter. From the mountain Lapp the forest (or, as he used to be called, the spruce-fir) Lapp is mainly distinguished by the narrower limits within which he pursues his nomadic life. He never wanders outside of a certain district, in which he possesses hereditary rights, and maintains a series of camping grounds which he visits in regular rotation. In May or April he lets his reindeer loose, to wander as they please ; but immediately after midsummer, when the mosquitoes become troublesome, he goes to collect them. Catching a single deer and " belling " it, he drives it through the wood : the other deer, whose instinct leads them to gather into herds for mutual protection against the mosquitoes, are attracted by the sound. Should the summer be very cool and the mosquitoes few, the Lapp finds it next to impossible to bring the creatures together. About the end of August they are again let loose, but they are once more collected in October, the forest Lapp during winter pursuing the same course of life as the mountain Lapp.

In Norway there are three classes - the sea Lapps, the river Lapps, and the mountain Lapps, the first two settled, the third nomadic. The mountain Lapps have, on the whole, a rather ruder and harder life than the same class in Sweden. About Christmas those of Kautokeino and Karasjokk are usually settled in the neighbourhood of the churches ; in summer they visit the coast, and in autumn they return inland. Previous to 1852, when they were forbidden by imperial decree, they were wont in winter to move south across the Russian frontiers. It is seldom possible for them to remain more than three or four days in one spot. Flesh is their favourite, in winter almost their only, food, though they also use reindeer milk, cheese, and rye or barley cakes. The sea Lapps are in some respects hardly to be distinguished from the other coast dwellers of Finmark. Their food consists mainly of cooked fish. The river Lapps, many of whom, however, are descendants of Quains or Finns proper, breed cattle, attempt a little tillage, and entrust their reindeer to the care of mountain Lapps.

In Finland there are comparatively few Laplanders, and the great bulk of them belong to the fisher class. Many of them are settled in the neighbourhood of the Enare Lake. In the spring they go down to the Norwegian coast and take part in the sea fisheries, returning to the lake about midsummer. Formerly they found the capture of wild reindeer a profitable occupation, using for this purpose a palisaded avenue gradually narrowing towards a pitfall.





The Russian Lapps are also for the most part fishers, as is natural in a district with such an extent of coast and such a number of lakes, not to mention the advantage which the fisher has over the reindeer keeper in connexion with the many fasts of the Greek Church. They maintain a half nomadic kind of life, very few of them having become regular settlers in the Russian villages. It is usual to distinguish them according to the district of the coast which they frequent, as :Turman (Murmanski) and Terian (Terski) Lapps. A separate tribe, the Filmans, i.e., Finumans, nomadize about the Pazyets, Motoff, and Petchenga tundras, and retain the peculiar dialect and the Lutheran creed which they owe to a former connexion with Sweden. They were formerly known as the "twice and thrice tributary" Lapps, because they paid to two or even three states - Russia, Denmark, and Sweden.

The ethnographical position of the Lapps has not been clearly determined, though it is evident they can no longer be classified with the Finns. They are, as has been seen, far from a numerous people, and within the historical period they have considerably recruited themselves from neighbouring races. Shortness of stature 1 is their most obvious characteristic, though in regard to this much exaggeration has prevailed. Diiben (p. 167) found an average of 4.9 feet for males and a little less for females ; Mantegazza, who made a number of anthropological observations in Norway in 1879, gives 5 feet and 4.75 feet respectively (Arcleivio per l'antrop., 1880). Individuals much above or much below the average are rare. The body is usually of fair proportions, but the legs are rather short, and in many cases somewhat bandy. Dark, swarthy, yellow, copper-coloured are all adjectives employed by competent observers to describe their complexion, - the truth being that their habits of life do not conduce either to the preservation or display of their natural colour of skin, and that some of them are really fair, and others, perhaps the majority, really dark. The colour of the hair, too, ranges from blonde and reddish to a bluish or greyish black; and the eyes are black, hazel, blue, or grey. The shape of the skull is the most striking peculiarity of the Lapp. He is the most brachycephalous type of man in Europe, perhaps in the world.2 According to Virchow, the women in width of face are more Mongolian-like than the men, but neither in men nor women does the opening of the eye show any true obliquity. In children the eye is large, open, and round. The nose is always low and broad, more markedly retrousse among the females than the males. Wrinkled and puckered by exposure to the weather, the faces even of the younger Lapps assume an appearance of old age. The muscular system is usually well developed, but there is deficiency of fatty tissue, which affects the features (particularly by giving relative prominence to the eyes) and the general character of the skin. The thinness of the skin, indeed, can but rarely be paralleled among other Europeans. Among the Lapps, as among other lower races, the index is shorter than the ring finger.3 The Lapps are a quiet, inoffensive people. Crimes of violence are almost unknown among them, and the only common breach of law is the killing of tame reindeer belonging to other owners. In Russia, however, they have a bad reputation for lying and general untrustworthiness, and drunkenness is well-nigh a universal vice. In Scandinavia laws have been directed against the importation of intoxicating liquors into the Lapp country since 1723.

Superficially at least the great bulk of the Lapps have been Christianized, - those of the Scandinavian countries being Protestants, those of Russia members of the Greek Church. In education the Scandinavian Lapps are far ahead of their Russian brethren, to whom reading and writing are arts as unfamiliar as they were to their pagan ancestors. The general manner of life is patriarchal. The fa'Aier of the family has complete authority over all its affairs ; and on his death this authority passes to the eldest son. Parents are free to disinherit their children ; and, if a son separates from the family without his father's permission, he receives no share of the property except a gun and his wife's dowry.4 By the very circumstances of their position the Lapps are of necessity conservative in most of their habits, many of which can hardly have altered since the first taming of the reindeer. But the strong current of mercantile enterprise has carried a few important products of southern civilization into their huts. The lines in which Thomson describes their simple life - The reindeer form their riches : these their tents, Their robes, their beds, and all their homely wealth Supply ; their wholesome fare and cheerful cups - are still applicable in the main to the mountain Lapps ; but even they have learned to use coffee as an ordinary Bever' age, and to wear stout Norwegian cloth (vadma/).

Linguistically the Laps belong to the great Uralo-Altaic family ; the similarity of their speech to Finnish is evident on the surface. It is broken up into very distinct and even mutually unintelligible dialects, the origin of several of which is, however, easily found in the political and social dismemberment of the people. Thiben distinguishes four leading dialects ; but a much greater number are recognizable. In Russian Lapland alone there are three, due to the influence of Norwegian, Karelian, and Russian (Lbnnrot, Ache Soc. Sci. Fenni.,..a3, vol. iv.). "The Lapps," says Castren, "have had the misfortune to come into close contact with foreign races while their language was yet in its tenderest infancy, and consequently it has not only adopted an endless number of foreign words, but in many grammatical aspects fashioned itself after foreign models." That it began at a very early period to enrich itself with Scandinavian words is shown by the use it still makes of forms belonging to a linguistic stage older even than that of Icelandic. Ditben has subjected the vocabulary- to a very interesting analysis for the purpose of discovering what stage of culture the people had reached before their contact with the Norse. Agricultural terms, the names of the metals, and the word for smith, are all of Scandinavian origin, and the words for "taming" and " milk " would suggest that the southern strangers taught the Lapps how to turn the reindeer to full account. The important place, however, which this creature must always have held in their estimation is evident from the existence of more than three hundred native reindeer words.

The Lapp tongue was long ago reduced to writing by the missionaries ; but very little has been printed in it except school-books and religious works. A number of popular tales and songs, indeed, have been taken down from the lips of the people by Fjellner, Gronland, and others ; J. A. Frijs, professor of Lapp in the university of Christiania, has published Lappiske Sprogprover : en, seaming lapp. ere;Ityr, ordsproy, og gado., Christiania, 1856 ; and Lappislemythologt crentyr oy folkcsatpt, Christiania, 1871. See also G. Donner, Lieder der Lappen, Helsingfors, 1876. The songs are extremely similar to those of the Finns, and a process of mutual borrowing seems to have gone on. In one of the saga-like pieces - Pishan-Peshan's son - there seems to be a distinct mention of the Baikal Lake, and possibly also of the Altai Mountains. The story of Njavvisena, daughter of the Sun, is full of quaint folklore about the taming of the reindeer. Giants, as well as a blind or one-eyed monster, are frequently introduced, and the aRsopic fable is not without its representatives. Grammars of the Lapp tongue have been published by Fjellstrihn (1738), Leem (1748), Rask (1832), Stockfleth (1840) ; lexicons by Fjellstrom (1730), Leem (1768-1781), Lindahl (1780), Stockfleth (1852), Many of the Lapps are able to speak one or even two of the neighbouring tongues.

The reputation of the Laplanders for skill in magic and divination is of very early date, and in Finland is not yet extinct. When Erik Blood-axe, son of Harold Haarfager, visited Bjarmaland in 922, he found Gunhild, daughter of Asur Tote, living among the Lapps, to whom she had been sent by her father for the purpose of being trained in witchcraft ; and Ivan the Terrible of Russia sent for magicians from Lapland to explain the cause of the appearance of a comet. One of the powers with which they were formerly credited was that of raising winds. "They tyc three kuottes," says old Richard Eden, "on a strynge hangyng at a whyp. When they lose one of these they rayse tollerable wynds. When they lose an other the wynde is inore vehement ; but by losing the thyrd they rayse playne tempestes as in old tyme they were accustomed to rayse thunder and lyghtnyng" (Hist. of Tranayle, 1577, p. 284). Though we are familiar in English with allusions to " Lapland witches," it appears that the art, according to native custom, was in the hands of the men. During his divination the wizard fell into a state of trance or ecstasy, Isis soul being held to run about at large to pursue its inquiries. Great use was made of a curious divining-drum, oval in shape, and made of wood, 1 to 4 feet in length. Over the upper surface was stretched a white-dressed reindeer skin, and at the corners (so to speak) hang a variety of charms - tufts of wool, bones, teeth, claws, Sc. The area was divided into several spaces, often into three., one for the celestial gods, one for the terrestrial, and one for man. A variety of figures and conventional signs were drawn in the several compartments : the sun, for instance, is frequently represented by a square and a stroke from each corner, Thor by two hammers placed crosswise ; and in the more modern specimens symbols for Christ, the Virgin, and the Holy Ghost are introduced. An arpa or divining-rod was laid on a definite spot, the drum beaten by a hammer, and conclusions drawn from the position taken up by the arpa. Any Lapp who had attained to manhood could in ordinary circumstances consult the drum for himself, but in matters of unusual moment the professional wizard (naid, noide, or noaide) had to be called in.

The Lapps have a dim tradition that their ancestors lived in a far eastern land, and they tell male stories of their own conflicts with Norsemen and Karelians. But no answer can be obtained from them to the questions naturally put by the historian in regard to their early distribution and movements. By many it has been maintained that they were formerly spread over the whole of the Scandinavian peninsula, and they have even been considered by some as the remnants of that primeval race of cave-dwellers which hunted the reindeer over the snow-fields of central and western Europe. But much of the evidence adduced for these theories is highly questionable. The contents of the so-called Lapps' graves found in various parts of Scandinavia are often sufficient in themselves to show that the appellation must be a misnomer, and the syllable Lap or Lapp found in many names of places can often be proved to have no connexion with the Lapps. Nothing more can be affirmed with certainty than that the area occupied or visited by the Lapps once extended farther south (in Russia as far, it would appear, as Lake Ladoga), and that they already occupied their present territory at the time when they are first' mentioned in history. According to Diiben the name first occurs in the 13th century - in the Fundinn, Soregr, composed about 1200, in Saxo Grammaticus, and in a papal bull of date 1230 ; but the people are probably to be identified with those Finns of Tacitus whom he describes as wild hunters with skins for clothing and rude huts as only means of shelter, and certainly with the Skrithiphinoi of Procopius (Goth., ii. 15), the Scritohini of Paulus Warnefridus, and the Scridifinni of the geographer of Ravenna. Some of the details given by Procopius, in regard for instance to the treatment of infants, show that his informant was acquainted with certain characteristic customs of the Lapps.





In the 9th century the Norsemen from Norway -began to treat their feeble northern neighbours as a subject race. The wealth of Ottar, - " northmost of the northmen," - whose narrative has been preserved by King Alfred, consisted mainly of six hundred of those "deer they call Mmas" and in tribute paid by the natives ; and the Eigils saga tells how Brynjulf Bjargulfson had his right to collect contributions from the Finns (i.e., the Lapps) recognized by Harold Haarfager. So much value was attached to this source of wealth that as early as 1050 strangers were excluded from the fur-trade of Fimnark, and a kind of coast-guard prevented their intrusion. Meantime the Karelians were pressing on the eastern Lapps, and in the course of the 11th century the rulers of Novgorod began to treat them as the Norsemen had treated their western brethren. The ground-swell of the Tartar invasion drove the Karelians westwa•d in the 13th century, and for many years even Finma•k was so unsettled that the Norsemen received no tribute from the Lapps. At length in 1326 a treaty was concluded between Norway and Russia by which the supremacy of the Norwegians over the Lapps was recognized as far east as Voljo beyond Kandalax on the White Sea, and the supremacy of the Russians over the Karelians as far as Lyngen and the Malself. The relations of the Lapps to their more powerful neighbours were complicated by the rivalry of the different Scandinavian kingdoms. After the disruption of the Calmar Union (1523), Sweden began to assert its rights with vigour, and in 1595 the treaty of Teusina between Sweden and Russia decreed " that the Lapps who dwell in the woods between eastern Bothnia and Varanger shall pay their dues to the king of Sweden." It was in vain that Christian IV. of Denmark visited Kola and exacted homage in 1599, and every year sent messengers to protest against the collection of his tribute by the Swedes (a custom which continued down to 1806). Charles of Sweden took the title of "king of the Kajans and Lapps," and left no means untried to establish his power over all Scandinavian Lapland. By the peace of Knarod (1613) Gustavus Adolphus gave up the Swedish claim to Finmark ; and in 1751 mutual renunciations brought the relations of Swedish and Norwegian (Danish) Lapland to their present position. Meanwhile Russian influence had been spreading westward ; and in 1809, when Alexander I. finally obtained the cession of Finland, he also added to his dominions the whole of Finnish Lapland to the cast of the Muonio and the 'K. ongfima.

The Lapps have had the ordinary fate of a subject and defenceless people ; they have been utilized with little regard to their own interests or inclinations. The example set by the early Norwegians was followed by the Swedes : a peculiar class of adventurers known as the Birkarlians (from Bjark or Birk, " trade") began in the 13th century to farm the Lapps, and, receiving very extensive privileges from the kings, grew to great wealth and influence. In 1606 there were twenty-two Birkarlians in Tornio, seventeen in Lade, sixteen in Pite, and sixty-six in Ume Lappmark. They are regularly spoken of as having or owning Lapps, whom they hire out, and dispose of as any other piece of property. In Russian Lapland matters followed much the same course. The very institution of the Solovets monastery, intended by St Tryphon for the benefit of the poor neglected pagans, turned out the occasion of much injustice towards them. By a charter of Ivan Vasilivitch (November 1556), the monks are declared masters of the Lapps of the Motoif and Petchenga districts, and they soon sought to extend their control over those not legally assigned to them (Ephimenko). Other monasteries in distrust parts of the empire were gifted with similar proprietary rights ; and the supplication of the patriarch Nikon to Alexis Mikhaelovitch, for example, shows only too clearly the oppression to which the Lapps were subjected.

It is long, however, since these abuses were abolished ; and in Scandinavia more especially the Lapps of the present day enjoy the advantages resulting from a large amount of philanthropic legislation on the part of their rulers. There seems to be no fear of their becoming extinct, except it may be by gradual amalgamation with their more powerful neighbours. The aggregate number in all Lapland is estimated at 27,000. Acmrdiug to official statistics the Swedish Lapps increased from 5617 in 1830 to 6702 in 1870. In Norway there were 14,464 in 1845, 17,178 in 1865. For Russian and Finnish Lapland the numbers were given in 1859 as 1200 and 21S3, and according to Kelsieff the whole number in Russia is not now more than 3000. The number of reindeer possessed by the whole people is estimated at 363,000.

Gustaf van Dliben's Om LappMad ode Lapparne (Stoekh., 1873) is the fullest and most systematic work on its Subject. It gives a list of more than two hundred authorities. See also Scheffer, Lapponia (Franke., 1673; English version, Oxford, 1674), for long the standard book ; Regnard, Voyage de Laponie (1601, often reprinted; English in Pinkerton, vol i.); ihaqxfrnm, Beskrifn. dicer de tug Seeriges Krona lydande Lappmarker, Stoekh., 1746; Leem, Beskrivelse over Finmarkens Lapper, Copenh., 1767„ extremely important, in Danish and Latin ; Acerbi, Reise durch Scloceden, Berlin, 1803; Lwstadius, Journal, Ac., Stoekh., 1831 ; Leopold von Bach, Reise durch Nonieegen and Lappiand, Berlin, 1840; Bayard Taylor, Northern Trani, London, 1859 ; Castren, Nordiska Aesop (lids., 1852-58; Germ. transl., St Petersburg) ; Stoekfleth, Dagbog over mine Afissions-Reiser, Christ„ 1860, of great value; Frijs, En Jammer (1867) i Finmarken, Ac., Christ., 1871; Aube], Reise nada Lappland, Leipsie, 1874; Nemirovitelt-Dantelienko, Laplandiya i Laplandtzui, St Petersburg, 1874; Reports by Kelsieff, cte., for the Anthropological Exhibition at Moscow, 1877, Moscow, 1878 ; Eeker, Leppland, Ac., Freiburg, 1878; Da Land of the Afidnight San, Landon, 1881 ; Edward Rae, The While Sea Peninsula, London, 1882. (II. A. AV.)



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