READ: The best detective (In English, IsiXhosa, IsiZulu and 3 other languages)
"Bella can’t find Noodle anywhere! Bella’s friends help her to look for him and land up getting a big surprise." Read on...
The best detective (Nal’ibali)
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This story is brought to you by Nal'ibali, which means Here's the story in isiXhosa. Nal'ibali is a storytelling initiative that aims to establish a culture of reading for enjoyment in children.

This story was created by Wendy Hartmann (author) and illustrations by Rico.

Scroll down to download the PDF story in English, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sepedi, Sesotho, and Afrikaans.

The best detective

Knock! Knock! Knock!

“Neo!” said Gogo. “Please see who is at the door.”

Neo ran to the front door. When he opened it he saw Bella and her mother. Bella was crying.


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“What’s wrong?” asked Neo. Bella cried even louder.

Gogo ran up to the front door. “Come in. Why is Bella crying?”

“It’s Noodle,” said Bella’s mother. “We can’t find him.”

“Noodle’s gone,” sniffed Bella. “Have you seen him?”

“Sit down,” said Gogo, giving Bella a tissue. “Dry your tears. We are going to help you. Neo, please phone Josh and ask him to come here.”

While Neo phoned Josh, Gogo sat between Bella and her mother on the couch.

“When did you last see Noodle?” Gogo asked.

“This morning,” said Bella. “He was playing on the field.”

“He is always home by lunch time,” said Bella’s mother.

“Gogo,” said Neo, “Josh said he and Hope will get here as quickly as they can.”

“What are we going to do, Gogo?” asked Bella sniffing loudly.

“When Josh and Hope get here we’ll make a plan. Right now we’ll all have some tea.”

Soon there was another Knock! Knock! Knock! at the door. Hope pushed Josh’s wheelchair inside.

“Don’t worry, Bella, we’ll find Noodle,” said Josh. “We’ll all be like detectives and look for him.”

“Yes,” said Gogo. “Now help us with some clues, Bella. Tell us where Noodle likes to go.”

Bella and her mother told them all the places where Noodle liked to play and visit.

“Good,” said Gogo. “I’ll put Mbali in her pushchair and we can all go and look for him.”

“Maybe we should go in different directions. Then it will be quicker,” suggested Josh. “Gogo, if you, Neo and Mbali go down River Road, then Bella and her mother can look at home and on the field again. Then they can go up School Street. Hope and I can go down Sambals Street.”

“What a good idea,” said Gogo. “You sound like a real detective, Josh.”

“And we should all meet somewhere,” said Hope. “Then we’ll all know what is going on.”

“We’ll phone each other once while we’re looking, and then we can meet at the shopping centre,” said Josh.

“Can we go now?” asked Bella.

“Poor, Bella,” said Mbali, patting Bella’s hand.

Everyone left to search for Noodle. Hope pushed Josh’s wheelchair along the pavement. They all called Noodle’s name.

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“He’s not in this street,” said Josh. Then his phone rang. “It’s Gogo,” he told Hope, “I hope they’ve found Noodle.”

Hope couldn’t hear what Gogo was saying to Josh, but she could hear Mbali shouting, Pink! Pink! Pink! loudly in the background.

“No,” said Josh when he had finished speaking to Gogo, “they haven’t found Noodle.” His phone rang again. “And that was Bella and her mother. They haven’t found him either.”

“Now what?” asked Hope.

“We should go and meet everyone at the shopping centre,” Josh said.

A few minutes later everyone stood in front of the shopping centre. Bella’s eyes were red from crying. Gogo looked worried.

“Should we walk back and look again?” Gogo asked.

“Noo … Noodle …” said a small voice.

They all turned to look.

“Noodle!” said Mbali again. She pointed at the corner shop.

“Mbali?” said Gogo. “Where?”

“There’s nothing there, Mbali,” said Neo.

“NOOOOOODLE!” shouted Mbali.

“We should go and have a look,” said Hope.

They walked to the shop on the corner. It sold bags and bangles, shirts and shoes. They all crowded in the doorway.

“In! In!” said Mbali pointing to inside the shop.

“Hello,” said the owner. “Welcome. Come inside. Let me just give my friend a biscuit, then I will help you.”

“NOODLE!” they all said together.

Bella rushed forward and hugged Noodle. “Where have you been? We’ve been looking everywhere.” Noodle’s tail wagged and he licked her face.

“Oh!” said the shop owner. “So he belongs to you. He comes to say hello at my home every morning.”

“Pink!” said Mbali.

“Yes. The pink house on the corner next to the field. He comes to play with my little dog, Trixie. I’m so sorry if you have been worried. It’s the first time he has come down to the shop.”

While everyone cuddled, stroked and patted Noodle, the shopkeeper told them that her name was Mrs Modise. She was new in town and had just opened her shop.

“Noodle made friends with Trixie the day we moved in,” she said. “They play every morning and then Noodle goes home. But today was a little different. Today there was a big surprise and I had to bring Trixie to work with me.”

Just then Mbali got out of her pushchair and started to shout.

“NOODLES!”

“Yes,” said Neo, “you found him.”

Bella kissed Mbali’s cheek. “Yes, thank you so much.”

“No, no, no!” shouted Mbali. “Noodle, Noodle, Noodle! LOOK!”

Gogo, Neo, Bella, her mother, Josh and Hope moved to where Mbali was standing. They crowded around Mbali and stared.

“Yes,” said Mrs Modise, “THAT was the big surprise.”

Noodle pushed passed everyone’s legs and sat down next to Trixie’s basket. He looked very proud.

“Look,” said Mbali, “Noodle, Noodle, Noodle!”

Trixie was in the basket with three tiny pinkish puppies and all three looked just like Noodle.

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Everyone started talking at once. Mrs Modise was very happy to meet Noodle’s owner. Bella was happy she had found Noodle. Josh and Hope were thinking about the puppies. Neo and Gogo were smiling. Then Neo turned and gave Mbali a big kiss and a hug.

“Mbali,” he whispered, “you are the best detective ever.”

Mbali giggled. “Pink,” she said. “Pink Noodles.”

To read the story in another language download a pdf document below:

Download the English pdf here

Download the IsiXhosa pdf here

Download the IsiZulu pdf here

Download the Sesotho pdf here

Download the Sepedi pdf here 

Download the Afrikaans pdf here

Umseshi ohamba phambili

Translated by Busisiwe Pakade

Ngqo! Ngqo! Ngqo!

            “Neo!” kusho uGogo. “Ngicela ubheke ukuthi ubani ongqongqozayo.”

            UNeo wagijima waya emnyango ongaphambili. Ngesikhathi evula emnyango wabona uBella nomama wakhe. UBella wayekhala.

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            “Kwenzenjani?” kubuza uNeo. UBella wakhala kakhulu-ke manje.

            UGogo wagijima waya emnyango ongaphambili. “Ngenani. Ukhalelani uBella?”

            “UNoodle,” kusho umama kaBella. “Unyamalele.”

            “Akekho uNoodle,” kufumfutha uBella. “Ngabe nike nambona?”

            “Ake nihlale phansi,” kusho uGogo, enikeza uBella iphepha lokuzesula. “Sula izinyembezi zakho. Sizokusiza. Neo, ngicela ushayele ucingo uJosh bese umcela ukuthi eze la.”

            Ngesikhathi uNeo eshayela uJosh ucingo, uGogo wahlala esofeni phakathi kukaBella nomama wakhe.

            “Ugcine nini ukubona uNoodle?” kubuza uGogo.

            “Namhlanje ekuseni,” kusho uBella. “Ubedlala ensimini.”

            “Njalo nje uba sekhaya ngesikhathi sesidlo sasemini,” kusho umama kaBella.

            “Gogo,” kusho uNeo, “uJosh uthe yena noHope bazoza la ngokushesha okukhulu.”

            “Sizokwenzenjani, Gogo?” kubuza uBella efumfutha kakhulu.

            “Sizoqhamuka neqhinga uma sekufike uJosh noHope. Okwamanje sizophuza itiye sonke.”

            Akuphelanga sikhathi kwezwakala okunye ukungqongqoza! Ngqo! Ngqo! Ngqo! emnyango. UHope wadudula wangenisa inqola kaJosh ehamba ngamasondo.

            “Ungakhathazeki, Bella, sizomthola uNoodle,” kusho uJosh. “Sizoba abaseshi sonke, futhi sizomfuna.”

            “Yebo,” kusho uGogo. “Manje-ke ake usisize ngokungasinika umkhondo, Bella. Ake usitshele ukuthi uthanda ukuyaphi uNoodle.”

            UBella kanye nomama wakhe babatshela izindawo uNoodle athanda ukudlalela kuzo nokuzivakashela.

            “Kuhle,” kusho uGogo. “Ngizofaka uMbali esitulweni sakhe esiqhutshwayo bese sonke sihamba siyomfuna.”

            “Mhlawumbe kumele sishone ezindaweni ezahlukene. Kuzoshesha lokho,” kuphakamisa uJosh. “Gogo, uma wena, uNeo noMbali nehla ngoRiver Road, uBella nomama wakhe bazobe sebeyobheka ekhaya kanye nasensimini futhi. Bazobe-ke sebenyuka ngoSchool Street. UHope nami sizokwehla ngoSambals Street.”

            “Umqondo omuhle lowo,” kusho uGogo. “Usuzwakala njengomseshi wangempela, Josh.”

            “Kanti kuzodingeka ukuthi sonke sihlangane endaweni ethile,” kusho uHope. “Sizobe sesizwa-ke ukuthi kwenzakalani.”

            “Sizoshayelana izingcingo kanye nje ngesikhathi sisamfuna, sizobe sesihlangana enxanxatheleni yezitolo,” kusho uJosh.

            “Ngabe sesingahamba manje?” kubuza uBella.

            “Nxese bandla, Bella,” kusho uMbali, embambatha isandla sikaBella.

            Wonke umuntu wahamba wayofuna uNoodle. UHope wadudula inqola kaJosh ehamba ngamasondo onqenqemeni lomgwaqo lokuhamba abantu. Bobabili babememeza igama likaNoodle.

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            “Akekho kulo mgwaqo,” kusho uJosh. Kusenjalo kwakhala ucingo lwakhe. “UGogo,” etshela uHope, “Ngethemba ukuthi bamtholile uNoodle.”

            UHope wayengezwa ukuthi uGogo wayethini kuJosh, kodwa wayezwa uMbali ememeza kakhulu ethi, “Phinki! Phinki! Phinki!” ezwakala ngemuva.

            “Cha,” kusho uJosh ngesikhathi eseqede ukukhuluma noGogo, “abakamtholi uNoodle.” Lwaphinde lwakhala futhi ucingo lwakhe. “Lowo-ke bekunguBella nomama wakhe. Abakamtholi nabo.”

            “Sizokwenzenjani manje?” kubuza uHope.

            “Kuzomele sihambe siyohlangana nabo bonke enxanxatheleni yezitolo,” kusho uJosh.

            Emizuzwini embalwa ngemva kwalokho wonke umuntu wayesemi phambi kwenxanxathela yezitolo. Amehlo kaBella ayebomvu tebhu ukukhala. UGogo wayebukeka ekhathazekile.

            “Ngabe kumele sihambe sibuyele emuva siyobheka futhi?” kubuza uGogo.

            “Noo … Noodle …” kusho izwi elincane.

            Baphenduka bonke babheka.

            “Noodle!” kusho uMbali futhi. Wayekhomba esitolo esisekhoneni.

            “Mbali,” kusho uGogo. “Kuphi?”

            “Akukho lutho laphaya, Mbali,” kusho uNeo.

            “NOOOOOODLE!” kumemeza uMbali.

            “Ake sihambe siyobheka,” kusho uHope.

            Bahamba baya esitolo esisekhoneni. Sasidayisa izikhwama namabhengela, amahembe nezicathulo. Bama bonke bavimba ngasemnyango.

            “Ngenani! Ngenani!” kusho uMbali ekhomba phakathi esitolo

            “Sanibona,” kusho umnikazi wesitolo. “Nemukelekile. Ngenani ngaphakathi. Ake nginike umngani wami ibhisikidi, ngizonisiza.”

            “NOODLE!” besho bonke kanyekanye.

            UBella wagijima wayosingatha uNoodle. “Ubukuphi? Besikufuna yonke indawo.” UNoodle watshikizisa umsila wase ekhotha ubuso bakhe.

            “O,” kusho umnikazi wesitolo. “Ungowakho. Uyeza azongibingelela ekhaya njalo ekuseni.”

            “Endlini ephinki!” kusho uMbali.

            “Yebo. Indlu ephinki esekhoneni eduze kwensimu. Uyeza azodlala nenja yami encane, uTrixie. Ngiyaxolisa uma benikhathazekile. Uyaqala ngqa ukuza esitolo.”

            Ngesikhathi wonke umuntu esingatha, ephulula futhi embambatha uNoodle, umnikazi wesitolo wabatshela ukuthi igama lakhe kwakunguNkk Modise. Wayesanda kufika edolobheni futhi wayesanda kuvula isitolo sakhe.

            “UNoodle waba umngani kaTrixie kusukela ngosuku esafika ngalo la,” kusho yena. “Bayadlala njalo nje ekuseni bese uNoodle egoduka. Kodwa bekuwusuku oluhluke kancane lolu lwanamuhla. Namhlanje kwenzeke lokho obekungalindelekile kakhulu, kwadingeka ukuthi ngize noTrixie emsebenzini.”

            Kusenjalo kwaphuma uMbali esihlalweni sakhe esiqhutshwayo wase eqala ukumemeza.

            “NOODLES!”

            “Yebo,” kusho uNeo, “umtholile.”

            UBella waqabula izihlathi zikaMbali. “Yebo, ngibonga kakhulu.”

            “Cha, cha, cha” kumemeza uMbali. “Noodle, Noodle, Noodle! BUKANI!”

            UGogo, uNeo, uBella, umama wakhe, uJosh kanye noHope baya lapho okwakume khona uMbali. Bangunga uMbali begqolozele okuthile.

            “Yebo,” kusho uNkosikazi uModise, “YIYO-KE le nto enkulu ebingalindelekile eyenzekile.”

            UNoodle wapulukutshela phakathi kwemilenze yawo wonke umuntu wayohlala eduze kukabhasikidi kaTrixie. Wayebukeka eziqhenya kakhulu.

            “Bhekani,” kusho uMbali, “Noodle, Noodle, Noodle!”

            UTrixie wayekubhasikidi nemidlwane emithathu ephinki futhi yomithathu yayifana noNoodle.


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            Kwakhuluma wonke umuntu kanyekanye. Kwamthokozisa kakhulu uNkk Modise ukuhlangana nabanikazi bakaNoodle. UBella wayethokozile ngokuthola uNoodle. UJosh noHope babecabanga ngemidlwane. UNeo noGogo babemamatheka. UNeo wabe esephenduka eqabula uMbali kakhulu futhi, emsingatha.

            “Mbali,” kunyenyeza yena, “ungumseshi ohamba phambili.”

            Wansinsitheka uMbali. “Baphinki,” kusho yena. “ONoodles abaphinki!”


Incutshe yomcuphi

Translated by Nobuntu Stengile


Nkqo! Nkqo! Nkqo!

            “Neo!” utshilo uGogo. “Nceda ukhangele ukuba ngubani na lo unkqonkqozayo.”

            UNeo wabaleka waya kumnyango wangaphambili. Xa ewuvula wabona uBella nomama wakhe. UBella wayelila.

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            “Yintoni undonakele?” wabuza uNeo. UBella wakhala ngakumbi ngoku.

            UGogo weza naye ebaleka kumnyango wangaphambili. “Ngenani. Kutheni uBella elila nje?”

            “NguNoodle,” watsho umama kaBella. “Asimboni tu.”

            “UNoodle ulahlekile,” watsho efixiza uBella. “Ingaba nikhe nambona nina?”

            “Hlalani phantsi,” watsho uGogo, enika uBella ithishu. “Sula iinyembenzi zakho. Siza kukuncedisa, sikukhangelise. Neo, nceda utsalele umnxeba uJosh, umcele ukuba makafike apha.”

            Lo gama uNeo etsalela uJosh umnxeba, uGogo wahlala phakathi kukaBella nomama wakhe apho esofeni.

            “Ugqibele nini ukumbona uNoodle?” kubuza uGogo.

            “Kusasa nje,” watsho uBella. “Ebedlala phaya ethafeni.”

            “Udla ngokuba sele ebuyile ngexesha lesidlo sasemini,” watsho umama kaBella.

            “Gogo,” watsho uNeo, “UJosh uthe yena noHope baza kufika kamsinyane kangangoko banako.”

            “Siza kwenza njani, Gogo?” kubuza uBella esafixiza kakhulu.

            “Xa uJosh noHope befikile siza kucinga icebo. Okwangoku sonke makhe sifumane iti.”

            Kungekudala kwavakala omnye uNkqo! Nkqo! Nkqo! emnyango. UHope watyhala, engenisa isitulo esinamavili sikaJosh ngaphakathi.

            “Ungakhathazeki, Bella, siza kumfumana uNoodle,” watsho uJosh. “Sonke siza kuba njengabecuphi xa simkhangela.”

            “Ewe,” watsho uGogo. “Ngoku khawusincede usilandise umkhondo, Bella. Kuqala sixelele ukuba uthanda ukuya phi na uNoodle.”

            UBella kunye nomama wakhe babaxelela zonke iindawo apho uNoodle athanda ukudlala nokuya kuzo.

            “Kuhle ke oko,” watsho uGogo. “Ndiza kufaka uMbali kwiprem yakhe size sihambeni sonke siye kumkhangela.”

            “Mhlawumbi kuza kufuneka sihambe ngeendlela ezahlukileyo. Oko kuza kwenza sikhawulezise,” wacebisa ngelitshoyo uJosh. “Gogo, ukuba wena, noNeo noMbali ningehla ngeRiver Road, aze uBella nomama wakhe baye kukhangela ekhaya nasethafeni kwakhona. Emva koko bangenyuka ngeSchool Street. Mna noHope siza kwehla ngeSambals Street.”

            “Licebo elihle kakhulu elo,” watsho uGogo. “Uvakala njengomcuphi wokwenene, Josh.”

            “Kwaye kufuneka sidibane ndaweni ithile,” watsho uHope. “Sakuthi ngokwenza njalo, sonke sazi ukuba kwenzeka ntoni na.”

            “Siza kutsalelana umnxeba kanye lo gama sikhangela, size ke emva koko sidibane phaya koobhazabhaza beevenkile,” watsho uJosh.

            “Singahamba ke ngoku?” wabuza uBella.

            “Usizana olunguBella,” watsho uMbali, ephulula isandla sikaBella.

            Wonke umntu wahamba esiya kukhangela uNoodle. UHope watyhala isitulo esinamavili sikaJosh, bahamba ngendledlana yabahambi ngeenyawo. Bobabini babekhwaza uNoodle ngegama.

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            “Akakho kwesi sitalato,” watsho uJosh. Kanye ngelo xesha kwakhala umnxeba wakhe. “NguGogo,” waxelela uHope, “Ndiyathemba ukuba bamfumene uNoodle.”

            UHope wayengeva ukuba uGogo uthini kuJosh, kodwa wayemva uMbali ekhwaza esithi, Pinki! Pinki! Pinki! ngokuvakalayo phaya ngasemva.

            “Hayi,” watsho uJosh asakugqiba ukuthetha noGogo, “abakamfumani uNoodle.” Umnxeba wakhe waphinda wakhala. “Lo ibinguBella nomama wakhe. Nabo abakamfumani.”

            “Ngoku kuza kwenzeka ntoni?” wabuza uHope.

            “Kufuneka sihambe siye kudibana nomntu wonke koobhazabhaza bevenkile,” watsho uJosh.

            Emva kwemizuzu embalwa wonke umntu wayemi phambi koobhazabhaza beevenkile. Amehlo kaBella ayebomvu kukulila. UGogo wayekhangeleka ekhathazekile.

            “Ingaba kufuneka siphinde sijike siye kukhangela kwakhona?” uGogo wabuza.

            “Noo … Noodle …” kwatsho ilizwi elincinane.

            Bonke baguquka bajonga.

            “Noodle!” watsho uMbali kwakhona. Wolatha kwivenkile esekoneni.

            “Mbali?” watsho uGogo. “Uphi?”

            “Akukho nja phaya, Mbali,” watsho uNeo.

            “NOOOOOODLE!” wakhwaza uMbali.

            “Masikhe siye kujonga,” watsho uHope.

            Bahamba baya evenkileni esekoneni. Yayithengisa iibhegi kunye nezacholo, iihempe kunye nezihlangu. Bonke bema xhonkxosholo emnyango.

            “Ngaphakathi! Ngaphakathi!” watsho uMbali esolatha ngaphakathi evenkileni.

            “Molweni,” watsho umnikazi-venkile. “Namkelekile. Ngenani ngaphakathi. Mandinike nje umhlobo wam ibhiskiti, ndize emva koko ndinincede.”

            “NOODLE!” bonke batsho ngaxeshanye.

            UBella wakhawuleza ukuya ngaphambili wamanga uNoodle. “Ubuphi? Sikhangele kuyo yonke indawo.” UNoodle wajiwuzisa umsila wakhe waze wamkhotha ebusweni.

            “Owu!” watsho umnikazi-venkile. “Kanti yinja yakho le. Isoloko esiza kubulisa apha ekhaya qho kusasa.”

            “Pinki!” watsho uMbali.

            “Ewe. Kulaa ndlu ipinki isekoneni ngasethafeni. Apho udlala nenjana yam, uTrixie. Ndicela uxolo ukuba ubukhathazekile. Kokokuqala esiza apha evenkileni.”

            Lo gama wonke umntu efunqula, ephulula, embambazela uNoodle, unovenkile wabaxelela ukuba igama lakhe nguNkosikazi Modise. Wayesandul’ ukufika kule dolophu kwaye usandul’ ukuyivula le venkile yakhe.

            “UNoodle wakha ubuhlobo kumye noTrixie mhla safika,” uhambise watsho. “Badlala kunye qho kusasa aze emva koko uNoodle agoduke. Kodwa namhlanje akwenzekanga njalo. Namhlanje kwenzeke into ebingalindelekanga konke kwaze kwafuneka ukuba ndize noTrixie emsebenzini.”

            Kanye ngelo xesha uMbali waphuma kwiprem yakhe waza waqalisa ukukhwaza.

            “NOODLES!”

            “Ewe,” watsho uNeo, “ufunyenwe nguwe.”

            UBella waphuza uMbali esidleleni. “Ewe, enkosi kakhulu.”

            “Hayi, hayi, hayi” wakhwaza uMbali. “Noodle, Noodle, Noodle! JONGA!”

            UGogo, uNeo, uBella, umama wakhe, uJosh kunye noHope basondela apho uMbali wayemi khona. Bamngqonga bematshekile.

            “Ewe,” watsho uNkosikazi Modise, “KUKO OKO ke obekungalindelekanga tu.”

            UNoodle watyhala edlula, engena phakathi kwemilenze yomntu wonke, waza wahlala phantsi ecaleni kwengobozi kaTrixie. Wayekhangeleka ezingca kakhulu.

            “Jonga,” watsho uMbali, “Noodle, Noodle, Noodle!”

            UTrixie wayekwingobozana yenja kunye nemibundlwane emincinane emithathu ebupinki kwaye yomithathu yayifana noNoodle.

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            Wonke umntu ke ngoku waqalisa ukuthetha ngaxeshanye. UNkosikazi Modise wayevuya kakhulu ukuhlangana nomnikazi kaNoodle. UBella wayevuya kakhulu kuba emfumene uNoodle. UJosh noHope babecinga ngale mibundlwane. UNeo noGogo babencumile. Emva koko uNeo waguquka waphuza uMbali wamanga.

            “Mbali,” wasebeza, “ungoyena mcuphi uyincutshe kwabakhe bakho.”

            UMbali wahleka. “Pinki,” watsho. “OoNoodles abaPinki.”

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