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Chariot Pulled by Cats

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The coolest ride you've ev-ursine.

"Those lions you bought me were useless! Wouldn't pull my chariot for shit, and bit the arm off a perfectly good groom!"
Mark Antony, Rome

This trope is about vehicles that are pulled by cool, fantastic and unusual draught animals.

Horses or oxen are the most common animals used to pull carts or carriages. In addition to bovine and equine species, reindeer, elephants, camels, llamas, sheep, goats, and dogs have been used as draught animals in real life. In fiction, things can get so much more varied and so much more awesome. A cart, chariot, carriage or sleigh pulled by unusual animals is a sign that the character is a fantastic being from myths, legends, sci-fi, fantasy or fairy-tales.

So if your character drives around in a chariot pulled by predatory animals, it scores some points on the awesomeness scale because only a truly badass character can use animals like cats, lions, panthers, tigers, bears, polar bears or wolves as draught animals. Under normal circumstances, these animals will rip you to flinders if you try to harness them. Therefore anyone who succeeds in making predators substitute for equines must be cool, have magical abilities, be nigh omnipotent or cuckoo. It might also be a sign of highly unconventional thinking.

In Mouse World and similar settings, chariots, carts or sleighs can be pulled by rodents, especially mice, or rabbits or small birds. Those little draught animals give some "cuteness points" to our unconventional travellers and drivers. In the case of tiny animals, characters might need to harness large amounts of them. In fantasy settings, there might appear some vaguely ox-like fantasy creatures and large lizards, and some of them may be Mix-and-Match Critters. Fictional worlds set under the sea or similar underwater settings can feature fish, eels, seahorses or turtles as carriage-pullers. Swans as majestic and elegant birds are a popular choice for gods and goddesses or other powerful characters (see also Swan Boats).

Cats and Panthera Awesome are an extremely popular choice, so much so they form an Internal Subtrope. Mostly because cats are cute, cool, superior and connected to magic. They're domesticated and therefore very familiar, but they're still somewhat wild and untamed, mysterious and unpredictable. They're notoriously disobedient and known to do only what pleases them. Whoever manages to harness them and get them to cooperate must be awesome and powerful, and immediately gains the symbolism connected to cats or big cats.

This trope is usually seen in myths, fairy-tales or fantasy. These vehicles and animals will signify prestige transportation in areas where other mechanical transport is cheap and easy. Occasionally it is employed for comedy when a Cloudcuckoolander or somebody truly insane attempts to pull this in a fictional work that is fairly realistic.

Sister trope to a Horse of a Different Color which is for animals that can be mounted as a horse, and close to a Dragon Rider. The power relationship is however different: a mount has a close, special bond with its rider, based on trust and mutual respect, while carriage-pullers are more like servants or even slaves, with the carriage-driver acting like their master who dominates them.

May overlap with Seahorse Steed, if the draught animal is a seahorse; or Fantastic Fauna Counterpart, if the draught animal is treated as the setting's equivalent of oxen.


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  • In an animated commercial spot from the 1960s, Honeycomb Kid (the original cowboy mascot for Honeycomb cereal) saves a town from an avalanche while riding in a chariot drawn by two wildcats.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon Adventure:
    • Etemon, the Big Bad of the second arc, goes around in a trailer pulled by a styracosaur-like Monochromon.
    • Myotismon, the third arc's Big Bad, rides in a carriage pulled by a Devidramon, a demonic dragon.
  • Hello! Sandybell: Sandybell's Scottish sheepdog/collie mix, Oliver is very strong and can pull carriages full of children.
  • In Princess Tutu, the Prince uses a flying chariot pulled by swans to return to his story with his Princess.
  • One Piece:
    • The Officer Agents of Baroque Works are transported from the Spiders Cafe to Rainbase in a carriage pulled by Bunchie, a giant turtle.
    • In the Totto Land Arc, the second wedding cake is pulled from the kitchen on a wagon pulled by a seal. On land. And the seal is on a ball, too.


    Comic Books 
  • Lucky Luke: One story has Luke escort a wagon convoy west. At one point the convoy packs up and leaves in the dark, hitching animals without checking who they belong to, resulting in wagons being pulled by pairs of donkeys, horses, cows, and one very confused buffalo.
  • In the Asterix album Asterix and the Chariot Race, the Kushite racers have a chariot pulled by zebras.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney:
    • Disney Fairies: The fairies have races using special carriages drawn by a pair of frogs. Not two frogs in the front, however, but one before and one behind with the seats in the middle. They move thanks to the back frog jumping above the carriage (which rotates along the two poles connecting the frogs to stay horizontal), thus the frogs switching place. Rinse and repeat.
    • The Little Mermaid (1989):
      • King Triton makes his entrance into the concert hall riding on a giant oyster shell pulled by dolphins.
      • He is followed by Sebastian, who rides a normal-sized seashell pulled by a pair of goldfish, which Sebastian has a little trouble controlling.
    • The Rescuers: Bernard and Bianca get an express ride to Madame Medusa's derelict steamboat in the bayou courtesy of a leaf-boat powered by a dragonfly named Evinrude. It is taxing on this insect to go any meaningful distance, but he diligently does his job.
  • The LEGO Movie: In the final battle, Emmet's Crazy Cat Lady neighbor can be seen driving a chariot pulled by her herd of cats. In the Wild West sequence, Emmet's party escape a police ambush in a ramshackle vehicle drawn by pigs.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Dr. Finkelstein creates flying skeletal reindeer for Jack Skellington. They pull Jack's sleigh when he travels around the world to deliver gifts for Christmas instead of Santa Claus.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Barbarella: Barbarella is rescued from the feral children of Planet 16, and gets a ride to the city of SoGo on a sled pulled by something like a stingray. The ground is presumed to be dry ice, as there's a constant mist six inches deep. How this critter gets traction enough to pull Barbarella around, and see where its going amid the fog goes unexplained.
  • The Hobbit:
    • Radagast the Brown's sleigh is pulled by giant rabbits (Radagast calls them "Rhosgobel rabbits").
    • In the extended version of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, a dwarven war chariot is pulled by large mountain goats.
  • Hop: The Easter Bunny's sleigh is pulled by a team of tiny, downy chicks that can fly somehow. And later also by Carlos who has been mutated into a bunny-chick abomination.
  • In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Jadis the White Witch goes to battle in a carriage pulled by polar bears.
  • Morozko: Marfushka is rude to Father Frost, and is forced to ride back into her village on a pig-drawn dinky sleigh. Her humiliation is played for laughs, but considering she threatened a personification of frost and freezing to death, she's lucky. This is a case of Spared by the Adaptation: in the original folk tales that the movie was based on, Marfushka was frozen to death and her corpse was pulled back into town on the pig sleigh.
  • Improvised in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, when Jack Sparrow and Henry are trapped in a dinghy by undead sharks. Henry swims for shore, but Jack fends a shark off with a grappling hook. Noticing a mob of water-walking foes are rushing the dinghy, Jack jams the hook into a shark's mouth and lashes its rope to the small boat's prow; the shark turns to pursue Henry, and drags Jack's dinghy to the beach.

  • Hans Christian Andersen:
    • In the fairy tale "Ole-Luk-Oie", Hjalmar dreams that he rides in a boat pulled by swans.
    • "Thumbelina": When Thumbelina escapes the toad and her son, she floats on a Leaf Boat down the stream. A lovely white butterfly starts fluttering around her. Thumbelina undoes her sash and she then ties one end to the butterfly and the other end to the leaf. She keeps sailing on a butterfly-powered little Leaf Boat.
  • Beware of Chicken: Jin builds himself a giant cart, to carry so much rice that it would break under its own weight if it weren't reinforced with qi, and then Yin — a small white rabbit — volunteers to pull it for him as strength training. (Eventually he does take a turn himself, because it's awkward for her to apply force to something so large.)
  • Books of the Raksura: The Three Worlds setting is amazingly species-diverse and open to people with radically different ways of living, but even so, the main characters are a bit taken aback to visit a town where the carts are pulled by thirty-yard-tall flightless birds with armored plumage.
  • In Bubaci A Hastrmani (Bogeymen and Water Goblins) by Josef Lada, a kindly, good-natured water goblin Brcal has a vehicle pulled by six black cats. In the animated version, he only has four of them. Inspired by Czech mythology.
  • In The Death Gate Cycle, the humans of Arianus use a species of enormous flightless birds known as tiers as beasts of burden, and often use them to pull carts and wagons.
  • Discworld:
    • The Disc's Santa Claus equivalent is the Hogfather, who goes around bringing gifts to good children in an elegant sleigh drawn by cute little pink pigs. Or at least the sanitized modern version does; when Death covers the Hogfather's shift, he does it with a massive crude sled built out of logs and drawn by equally huge, hairy and non-housebroken boars.
    • When some Mad Max-style raiders trying to get at Mad the dwarf's cargo show up in The Last Continent, they use carts being pulled by a variety of things that are very notably not horses (including one that's essentially a unicycle pulled by an emu, as described by someone who has never heard of such a thing). It's mostly to illustrate how utterly insane Fourecks is.
    • In The Last Hero, when characters who aren't engineering geniuses are trying to visualise Leonard's plans for a dragon-powered spacecraft, there's a double-page spread showing a fantasia of Leonard riding in a hot air balloon being towed by dragons. (In the actual vehicle, however, the dragons are used as rockets.)
  • Dune: Great-worms and lesser-worms are used in teams to pull a chariot.
  • In the Dying Earth series, the merchant ship Galante is propelled by teams of giant swimming worms. As protagonist Cugel earns his passage on board as a "worminger", the care and handling of these creatures is described in some detail.
  • Harry Potter: In the fifth book, it's revealed that the Wizarding School's "horseless" carriages are actually pulled by Thestrals — skeletal pegasus-like creatures only visible to those who have witnessed death. They're morbid, but friendly and Ugly Cute.
  • James and the Giant Peach: After the peach falls into the sea, it's attacked by sharks biting holes that could sink it. To escape, the heroes lure seagulls close with Earthworm as bait (he's very unhappy about this) then catch and tie them to the peach with silk from Miss Spider and the Silkworm. With an entire flock of seagulls towing them, the peach rises out of the sea and into the clouds.
  • The Kingdom's Disdain: Mad Crossbones, a necromancer, sometimes uses reanimated skeletons to pull his and Cardinal's chariot.
  • Land of Oz: In several books, Princess Ozma's chariot is pulled by the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger. This is often the extent of their participation in the books.
  • In Leviathan, the Darwinists use a large variety of bio-engineered creatures as chariot-pullers and beasts of burden. Among those seen are elephantines and mammothines (presumably modified elephants and mammoths) as well as a cart pulled by a pair of wolf-tiger hybrid creatures.
  • In Thank You for Taking Care of our Enchanted and Haunted Castle, it is mentioned that the Fairy Queen should be expected to show up in a chariot pulled by 13 swans.
  • In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Jadis the White Witch rides a chariot pulled by a pair of polar bears in battle.
  • In The Silmarillion, when the Teleri (Sea Elves) of Tol Eressëa wanted to emigrate to Valinor, they travelled in ships pulled by large swans.
  • The Silver Warriors: The cover features a man in a sled being pulled by (weirdly tiny) polar bears.
  • The Stormlight Archive:
    • The planet Roshar's unique ecology leans heavily towards crustaceans, so the primary draught animal is a huge, docile, crab-like creature called a chull. They're fairly slow-moving, but actual horses are far too rare and expensive to waste on draught work.
    • The ships that navigate the Spirit World of the Cognitive Realm are pulled by Mandras, Giant Flyer spren that look like a cross between an eel and a sea slug. They don't need to be fed, so they're a very economical means of transport, their habit of occasionally vanishing into the Physical Realm notwithstanding.
  • In Tarzan and the City of Gold, the hereditary nobles of Cathne are known as "lion men" because they ride into battle on war chariots drawn by teams of lions. The impracticality of this is lampshaded during a description of some gladiatorial games, when the narration notes that the chariot races are short because lions can't run at high speed for longer distances.
  • 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Santa Claus flies around on a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, an image that has endured in the Santa Claus mythos.
  • In Year in Review (2000) by Dave Barry, there is a joke about the president driving a chariot pulled by lions.
    [...] there is tension at the Democratic convention in Los Angeles, where the Gore camp suspects that Bill Clinton is trying to hog the limelight. A Clinton staffer denies this, claiming that "security considerations" led to the decision to have the president enter the convention hall riding a chariot drawn by lions.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Community: In "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics", Star-Burns tries to develop the world's first cat-powered vehicle. He's seen trying to escape on a prototype. In a Brick Joke, there appears a crowd-funding video in which Star-Burns asks for donations for his cat car idea.
  • Doctor Who: In the 2010 Christmas Special the Doctor rides in a carriage pulled by a flying shark.
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The idea that someone might try to pull off driving a sleigh pulled by 400 hamsters in real life is used as a gag in the episode on climate change.
    John Oliver: We've universally agreed that polluting is bad and yet, it’s free to do it. When you litter, you pay a fine. When you drive above the speed limit, you pay a fine. When you steal 400 hamsters from PetSmart, tie them to a sled and race through the streets on a hamster sleigh, you pay a fine. Is that fine worth it? Of course it is! But you do pay it.
  • A 1959 nighttime episode of The Price Is Right had a contestant winning a trailer, and to pull it the bonus prize was...a Chihuahua. (Actually a joke; the real bonus prize was a car.)

    Myths & Religion 
  • As part of her role as goddess of war, the Babylonian goddess Ishtar (and her Sumerian counterpart deity Inanna) is depicted as riding in a chariot drawn by seven lions.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Dionysus is shown in artwork as being in a chariot drawn by panthers.
    • Aphrodite's chariot is drawn by swans or geese when not being pulled by the Erotes.
    • Apollo is the God of light, archery and the arts and his sacred swans pulled his chariot.
    • Artemis's chariot was pulled by a pair of her sacred deer.
    • Demeter gave Triptolemus a serpent drawn winged chariot after she was reunited with her daughter Persephone.
    • Demeter's own chariot was drawn by her dragons.
    • Medea's chariot was pulled by flying dragons that were born of Titans' blood.
    • Poseidon had a pair of hippocamps draw his chariot.
  • Norse Mythology:
    • Goddess Freyja, goddess of love and witchcraftnote , drives a chariot pulled by two cats. This webpage has collected many images of Freya and her cats.
    • Thor rides a chariot pulled by a pair of billy goats: Tanngrisnirnote  and Tanngnjóstrnote . Thor also slaughters, cooks, and eats the goats at the end of each day, then brings them back to life the next morning.
    • Freyr rides a chariot pulled by Gullinbursti, a golden boar built by dwarves.
  • Juovlastállu from the myths and stories of the Sámi is an evil Santa Claus with vampiric tendencies: if you don't leave out water for him on Christmas Eve, he may drink your blood instead. He travels around in a sleigh pulled by a collection of various wild animals of different sizes, with the smallest usually being a mouse and the largest a bear.
  • Cybele, a Phrygian mother goddess worshipped by the Greeks and (eventually) Romans as a goddess of nature, mountains, wild animals, magic, and city walls, is often depicted driving in her chariot drawn by lions.
  • Water goblins (evil beings residing in water areas like rivers, lakes and ponds who drown people and store their spirits in pots) from Czech mythology traditionally drive (or ride in) a carriage pulled by six black cats, though it's not their most known feature.
  • Jakub Krcin of Jelcany is a real person who founded many fish ponds in southern Bohemia in the 16th century. A legend of him emerged after his death: He was so successful in his business because he had made a deal with the devil. There is a local legend about him. He is known to be travelling around the country in a shabby black carriage drawn by six black tom-cats.
  • The Korean gye-lyong, a cockatrice-like dragon, is depicted as a chariot puller for various legendary figures.
  • Welsh folklore states that corgis were gifts from fairies who had them pull their carriages or even ride them into battle. As corgis tend to be have different coloration in a ring around its neck or their back, this was said to be from the saddle and harnesses that were put on them.
  • In the medieval legend of the "Knight of the Swan", a mysterious knight rides in a boat pulled by swans when he comes to rescue a Damsel in Distress. Richard Wagner's Lohengrin is based on this legend.
  • Frau Gauden, a being from the folklore of Mecklenburg often associated with The Wild Hunt, is said to ride in a chariot pulled by hounds.
  • Finland's Father Christmas, Joulupukki, naturally rides a sleigh towed by flying reindeer. This rather caught on in other cultures...

  • One of the unlikely modes of transportation used by the present-day descendent of Baron Münchausen in The BBC radio series The Further Adventures of Baron Munchausen is an uprooted tree which he manages to get under control by harnessing swans.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Rocket Age:
    • Bahmoots, velociraptor-like reptiles, are used as beasts of burden on Mars.
    • The Silthuri use a three and a half metre tall bird called the Royal Karn to pull their chariots.
  • Tarot Cards: "The Chariot Card" is drawn as a chariot that is dragged by two differently coloured sphinxesnote ) each looking in its own direction.
  • Warhammer:
    • High elves have chariots pulled by white lions.
    • The Dark Elves use chariots pulled by Cold Ones — essentially, vicious, scaly Jurassic Park-style raptors.
    • The Beastmen use chariots drawn by enormous mutated boars covered in bony spikes.
    • Among the Greenskins, Orcs use chariots drawn by normal (but still huge and foul-tempered) boars, while the Goblins use wolf-drawn chariots instead.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, Logan Grimnar, the Space Wolves' Chapter Master, rides into battle on an antigrav chariot called Stormrider, pulled by a pair of huge Fenrisian wolves.
  • Dungeons & Dragons, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition supplement Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia.
    • The Chinese Mythology war deity Huan-Ti can fly through the air in a chariot pulled by four pegasi (winged horses).
    • The Classical Mythology deity Hades has a chariot that is jet black in color and is pulled by nightmares (horse-like monsters from another plane of existence).

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Age of Wonders 3:
    • The Tigran Sabertooth Chariot is pulled by sabertooth tigers.
    • The Frostling Ice Queen rides a chariot pulled by polar bears.
  • A Hat in Time: The Nyakuza DLC adds in a sprawling metro complex where the subway trains are all pulled by giant cats.
  • Eastern Exorcist: The mighty Python King rides on a chariot pulled by giant snapping tortoises, the variety with spiky shells.
  • Elden Ring has a very dark take on this trope, with carriages being dragged around by trolls, who are explicitly sentient and of human-level intelligence, but were enslaved and used as Dumb Muscle by most civilizations of the Lands Between (the sole exception being Caria, where they were treated as equals and could even attain knighthood). The carriages are attached to the trolls by giant stakes impaled through their torsos from the back.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Star Resistance: Nemuri's sled is pulled by Edelweiss... a giant, clawed red hand that she found floating in space. It loyally conveys her though space and skies and attack on command. Nemuri makes it clear that she isn't sure what Edelweiss even is, but it's actually a Bem — a parasitic space organism last seen in Attack of Darkforce.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: The desert-dwelling sand seals can be used to improvise a chariot-like contraption by getting one to pull you while you're riding on a shield (though The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom also lets you tie them to Zonai Sleds). This is one of the most efficient ways of crossing the desert, and is needed to chase one of the Divine Beasts.
  • Paper Mario: Color Splash has three chariots pulled by Chain Chomps (basically a metal sphere with the behavior of an Angry Guard Dog) in the Golden Coliseum boss fight.
  • Stardew Valley: A more understated example — the Traveling Cart is a caravan pulled by a purple pig with a fez.
  • Total War: Warhammer:
    • The goblins and Norscans both use chariots pulled by wolves.
    • The Warriors of Chaos have Gorebeast Chariots, which are pulled by demonic, gorilla-like beasts.
    • The beastmen's Razorgor Chariots are drawn by monstrous, mutated boars covered in spikes.
    • The dark elves have Cold One Chariots, which are drawn by scaly, monstrous raptorial dinosaurs.
    • The High Elves use White Lion Chariots, drawn by a pair of large War Lions.
    • The human nation of Kislev uses War Sleds, which are large sleds manned by musketeers and drawn by War Bears.
  • The Trader of Stories has husks that fulfill the niche of oxen (both for meat and as draft animals), despite having quite a lot of reptillian traits (like growing their entire lives, so they can be a large house-sized, or shedding shells periodically). There's also the cloud eater, a cross between giraffe and sauropod, used to carry a ship-like structure.
  • Warlords Battlecry: The Empire's Titan unit is the Lion Throne, a war chariot pulled by lions.

    Web Animation 
  • Double King:
    • The very first image shows two centipede-like beasts carrying the King's throne on pillars on their backs. See here.
    • The King's mobile fortress is built on the back of a giant insect-like creature and it is almost pulled, but more like guided by two lion-like creatures.


    Web Original 
  • This gif features a guy driving a cart pulled by five grey cats. It's heavily edited.
  • This web page provides:
    • A cute pig-driven cart for children.
    • A little chicken-driven carriage for a child.
    • An ostrich-driven carriage for adults.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: One episode features Finn and Jake making a movie and they try to make it look like Princess Bubblegum is driving a chariot drawn by a frog. Throughout the show we see carriages and carts pulled by all kinds of strange creatures, which fit the Land of Ooo nicely.
  • Animaniacs: In "'Twas the Day Before Christmas", Ralph plays Santa for the Warners, and he rides a sleigh driven by pigeons (three of which are the Goodfeathers).
    Ralph: Dah, now, Bobby! Now, Squit! Now, Pesto! Now, Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid, On, Richard and Nixon! To the top of the tower! Come on, now, let's fly!
    Pesto: I just got a hernia thanks to this guy!
  • Looney Tunes: In "Kiss Me Cat" (a sequel to "Feed the Kitty"), Marc Anthony tries to get Pussyfoot to catch the mouse that has been raiding the kitchen. Instead, the mouse hitches Pussyfoot to a wagon and uses him to get more food.
  • The series opening for Over the Garden Wall shows, among other things, a cat riding a wagon pulled by turkeys.
  • In the Popeye cartoon short "Seasin's Greetinks", Bluto is introduced being drawn on a sled driven by a small dog.
  • The Simpsons, "White Christmas Blues":
    • The crazy cat lady is seen in the intro driving a sleigh pulled by several of her cats.
    • In the intro, Mr Burns is driving a sleigh drawn by his signature hounds. (Dogs are sometimes used to pull sleigh in real life, but it's Played for Laughs here as Mr Burns hounds are usually sent to chase away unwanted guests.)
    • Marge and Maggie as Christmas elves ride in a sleigh pulled by several greyhounds in the intro.
    • In the episode proper, Homer's romantic carriage ride through the snow is advertised as a horse-drawn carriage. It's actually Homer sitting in a small cart pulled by Snowball the cat and Santa's Little Helper the dog. He puts pictures of a mouse and a cat in front of them to power the cart by Animal Jingoism. There's no place for the tourists to sit and they are supposed to just watch him drive.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
  • Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle (Filmation produced the cartoon series from 1976) featured lion-pulled chariots in Zandor, the City of Gold.

    Real Life 
  • Margaretha Geertruida Zelle (Mata Hari) went to school in a carriage drawn by goats. At only 6 years old, she became the talk of the town when she travelled in a goat-drawn carriage that her father had given her.
  • Victorian eccentric Baron Rothschild travelled around London in a carriage drawn by trained zebras.
  • There are several historical accounts of chariots being pulled by ostriches in several time periods, even today in some places there is still ostrich chariot racing being held.


Video Example(s):


Nyakuza Metro

The trains in the Nyakuza Metro level are all pulled by gigantic cats. They also serve as a stage hazard that Hat Kid must avoid.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / ChariotPulledByCats

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