author

Roald Dahl Quotes

100+ of the best book quotes from Roald Dahl
  1. #1
    “Mrs. Twit came back and climbed into her bed and put out the light. She lay there in the dark scratching her tummy. Her tummy was itching. Dirty old hags like her always have itchy tummies.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    The Twits
    character
    Mrs. Twit
    concept
    itches
  2. #2
    “‘What’s happened?’ screamed Mrs. Twit. They stood in the middle of the room, looking up. All the furniture, the big table, the chairs, the sofa, the lamps, the little side tables, the cabinet with bottles of beer in it, the ornaments, the electric heater, the carpet, everything was stuck upside down to the ceiling. The pictures were upside down on the walls. And the floor they were standing on was absolutely bare. What’s more, it had been painted white to look like the ceiling.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    The Twits
    character
    Mrs. Twit
    concept
    trickery
  3. #3
    “If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until it gets so ugly you can hardly bear to look at it.”
  4. #4
    “...Mr. Twit never really went hungry. By sticking out his tongue and curling it sideways to explore the hairy jungle around his mouth, he was always able to find a tasty morsel here and there to nibble on.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    The Twits
    character
    Mr. Twit
    concepts
    beardshygiene
  5. #5
    “‘Hey, my spaghetti’s moving!’ cried Mr. Twit, poking around in it with his fork.
    ‘It’s a new kind,’ Mrs. Twit said, taking a mouthful from her own plate which of course had no worms. ‘It’s called Squiggly Spaghetti. It’s delicious. Eat it up while it’s nice and hot.’
  6. #6
    “So what I want to know is this. How often do all these hairy-faced men wash their faces? It is only once a week, like us, on Sunday nights? And do they shampoo it? Do they use a hair-dryer? Do they rub hair-tonic in to stop their faces from going bald? Do they go to a barber to have their hairy faces cut and trimmed or do they do it themselves in front of the bathroom mirror with nail-scissors?”
  7. #7
    “Mr. Twit felt that this hairiness made him look terrifically wise and grand. But in truth he was neither of these things. Mr. Twit was a twit.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    The Twits
    character
    Mr. Twit
    concept
    beards
  8. #8
    “No one who is good can ever be ugly.”
  9. #9
    “Mr. Twit was a twit. He was born a twit. And, now at the age of sixty, he was a bigger twit than ever.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    The Twits
    character
    Mr. Twit
    concept
    aging
  10. #10
    “Suddenly, as Mr. Twit tipped the last drop of beer down his throat, he caught sight of Mrs. Twit’s awful glass eye staring up at him from the bottom of the mug. It made him jump.
    ‘I told you I was watching you,’ cackled Mrs. Twit. ‘I’ve got eyes everywhere so you’d better be careful.‘”
  11. #11
    “As you know, an ordinary unhairy face like yours and mine simply gets a bit smudgy if it is not washed often enough, and there’s nothing so awful about that.
    But a hairy face is a very different matter. Things cling to hair, especially food. Things like gravy go right in among the hairs and stay there. You and I can wipe our smooth faces with a washcloth and we quickly look more or less all right again, but the hairy man cannot do that.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    The Twits
    concept
    beards
  12. #12
    “How do you outwit a Twit? Mr. and Mrs. Twit are the smelliest, ugliest people in the world. They hate everything — except playing mean jokes on each other, catching innocent birds to put in their Bird Pies, and making their caged monkeys, the Muggle-Wumps, stand on their heads all day. But the Muggle-Wumps have had enough. They don’t just want out, they want revenge.”
  13. #13
    “Mrs. Twit may have been ugly and she may have been beastly, but she was not stupid.”
  1. #14
    “Nothing good shone out of Mrs. Twit’s face.
    In her right hand she carried a walking stick. She used to tell people that this was because she had warts growing on the sole of her left foot and walking was painful. But the real reason she carried a stick was so she could hit things with it, things like dogs and cats and small children.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    The Twits
    character
    Mrs. Twit
    concepts
    Meanlies
  2. #15
    “What a lot of hairy-faced men there are around nowadays.
    When a man grows hair all over his face it is impossible to tell what he really looks like. Perhaps that’s why he does it. He’d rather you didn’t know.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    The Twits
    concept
    beards
  3. #16
    “If you looked closer still (hold your noses, ladies and gentlemen), if you peered deep into the moustachy bristles sticking out over his upper lip, you would probably see much larger objects that had escaped the wipe of his hand, things that had been there for months and months, like a piece of maggoty green cheese or a moldy old cornflake or even the slimy tail of a tinned sardine.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    The Twits
    character
    Mr. Twit
    concepts
    hygienebeards
  4. #17
    “You can play a lot of tricks with a glass eye because you can take it out and pop it back in again any time you like. You can bet your life Mrs. Twit knew all the tricks.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    The Twits
    character
    Mrs. Twit
    concept
    trickery
  5. #18
    “But the funny thing is that Mrs. Twit wasn’t born ugly. She’d had quite a nice face when she was young. The ugliness had grown upon her year by year as she got older.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    The Twits
    character
    Mrs. Twit
    concept
    Ugliness
  6. #19
    “To pay her back for the glass eye in his beer, Mr. Twit decided he would put a frog in Mrs. Twit’s bed. He caught a big one down by the pond and carried it back secretly in a box. That night when Mrs. Twit was in the bathroom getting ready for bed, Mr. Twit slipped the frog between her sheets. Then he got into his own bed and waited for the fun to begin.”
  7. #20
    “‘We must hurry!’ said Mr. Wonka. ‘We have so much time and so little to do! No! Wait! Strike that! Reverse it!‘”
  8. #21
    “‘The matter with human beans,’ the BFG went on, ‘is that they is absolutely refusing to believe anything unless they is actually seeing it right in front of their own schnozzles.‘”
  9. #22
    “Two rights don’t equal a left.”
  10. #23
    “I’m right and you’re wrong, I’m big and you’re small, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    Matilda
    character
    Miss Trunchbull
    concept
    power
  11. #24
    “I was glad my father was an eye-smiler. It meant he never gave me a fake smile because it’s impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you aren’t feeling twinkly yourself. A mouth-smile is different. You can fake a mouth-smile any time you want, simply by moving your lips. I’ve also learned that a real mouth-smile always has an eye-smile to go with it. So watch out, I say, when someone smiles at you but his eyes stay the same. It’s sure to be a phony.”
  12. #25
    “The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.”
  13. #26
    “You should never, never doubt something that no one is sure of.”
  1. #27
    “Nothing is any fun if you can get as much of it as you want. Especially money.”
  2. #28
    “Grown ups are complicated creatures, full of quirks and secrets.”
  3. #29
    “A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men.”
  4. #30
    “Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world”
  5. #31
    “If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.”
  6. #32
    “So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    Matilda
    character
    Matilda
    concepts
    readingbooks
  7. #33
    Mr. Wonka: “Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted.”
    Charlie Bucket: “What happened?”
    Mr. Wonka: “He lived happily ever after.”
  8. #34
    ″‘My dear old furry frump,’ he said, ‘do you know anyone in the whole world who wouldn’t swipe a few chickens if his children were starving to death?‘”
  9. #35
    “Nobody in the world can dig as quick as a fox!”
  10. #36
    ″‘There’s nothing wrong with being respectable,’ Badger said.”
  11. #37
    “Then Mrs. Fox got shyly to her feet and said, ‘I don’t want to make a speech. I just want to say one thing, and it is this: MY HUSBAND IS A FANTASTIC FOX.‘”
  12. #38
    “This place I am hoping to get to is so marvelous that if I described it to you now you would go crazy with excitement. And then, if we failed to get there (which is very possible), you would die of disappointment. I don’t want to raise your hopes too much, my darlings.”
  13. #39
    “It was lovely to realize that while the fat farmer was sitting up there on the hill waiting for them to starve, he was also giving them their dinner without knowing it.”
  1. #40
    ″‘No chance at all,’ snapped Mrs. Fox. ‘I refuse to let you go up there and face those guns. I’d sooner you stay down here and die in peace.‘”
  2. #41
    “The long, thin Bean walked away. The tiny Bunce trotted after him. The fat Boggis stayed where he was with his gun pointing at the fox-hole.”
  3. #42
    ″‘It hurts,’ said Mr. Fox. ‘I know it does, sweetheart. But it’ll soon get better.‘”
  4. #43
    “The small fox ran back along the tunnel as fast as he could, carrying the three plump hens. He was exploding with joy. ‘Just wait!’ he kept thinking, ‘just wait till Mummy sees these!’ He had a long way to run but he never stopped once on the way and he came bursting in upon Mrs. Fox. ‘Mummy!’ he cried, out of breath. ‘Look, Mummy, look! Wake up and see what I’ve brought you!’ Mrs. Fox, who was weaker than ever now from lack of food, opened one eye and looked at the hens. ‘I’m dreaming,’ she murmured and closed the eye again.”
  5. #44
    “Mr. Fox had not spoken for a long time. He had been sitting quite still, his eyes closed, not even hearing what the others were saying. Mrs. Fox knew that he was trying desperately to think of a way out. And now, as she looked at him, she saw him stir himself and get slowly to his feet.”
  6. #45
    “Mr. Fox looked at the four Small Foxes and he smiled. What fine children I have, he thought. They are starving to death and haven’t had a drink for three days, but they are still undefeated. I must not let them down.”
  7. #46
    ″‘And it will soon grow again, Dad,’ said one of the Small Foxes. ‘It will never grow again,’ said Mr. Fox. ‘I shall be tail-less for the rest of my life.‘”
  8. #47
    “How long can a fox go without food or water?”
  9. #48
    “‘MY DEAR FOXY!’ cried Badger. ‘What in the world has happened to your tail?’ ‘Don’t talk about it, please,’ said Mr. Fox. ‘It’s a painful subject.‘”
  10. #49
    ″‘Well,’ he thought, ‘I suppose I’m lucky to be alive at all.‘”
  11. #50
    “I know where I want to be, but I can’t possibly be sure we’re anywhere near it.”
  12. #51
    ″‘Yes, but just don’t get careless,’ said Mrs. Fox. ‘You know they’ll be...‘”
  13. #52
    “It was the finest tail for miles around.”
  1. #53
    “Everything in this room is edible. Even I’m edible. But, that would be called canibalism. It is looked down upon in most societies.”
  2. #54
    “Don’t argue, my dear child, please don’t argue!” cried Mr. Wonka. “It’s such a waste of precious time!”
  3. #55
    “There’s no earthly way of knowing
    Which direction they are going!
    There’s no knowing where they’re rowing,
    Or which way the river’s flowing!
    Not a speck of light is showing,
    So the danger must be growing,
    For the rowers keep on rowing,
    And they’re certainly not showing
    Any signs that they are slowing. . . .”
  4. #56
    “Mr. Bucket was the only person in the family with a job. He worked in a toothpaste factory, where he sat all day long at a bench and screwed the little caps onto the tops of the tubes of toothpaste after the tubes had been filled.”
  5. #57
    “Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” And at the same time, his long bony body rose up out of the bed and his bowl of soup went flying into the face of Grandma Josephine, and in one fantastic leap, this old fellow of ninety-six and a half, who hadn’t been out of bed these last twenty years, jumped on to the floor and started doing a dance of victory in his pajamas.”
  6. #58
    “We are all a great deal luckier than we realize, we usually get what we want - or near enough.”
  7. #59
    “Whipped cream isn’t whipped cream at all if it hasn’t been whipped with whips, just like poached eggs isn’t poached eggs unless it’s been stolen in the dead of the night.”
  8. #60
    “However small the chance might be of striking lucky, the chance was there.”
  9. #61
    “Is she the only one at fault? For though she’s spoiled, and dreadfully so, A girl can’t spoil herself, you know. Who spoiled her, then? Ah, who indeed? Who pandered to her every need? Who turned her into such a brat? Who are the culprits? Who did that? Alas! You needn’t look so far To find out who these sinners are. They are (and this is very sad) Her loving parents, MUM and DAD. And that is why we’re glad they fell Into the garbage chute as well.”
  10. #62
    “There was a moment of silence, and Matilda, who had never before heard great romantic poetry spoken aloud, was profoundly moved. ‘It’s like music,’ she whispered.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    Matilda
    character
    Matilda
    concepts
    poetryreading
  11. #63
    “There is little point in teaching anything backwards. The whole object of life, Headmistress, is to go forwards.”
  12. #64
    “Because we are playing with mysterious forces, my child, that we know nothing about. I do not think they are evil. They may be good. They may even be divine. But whether they are or not, let us handle them carefully.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    Matilda
    characters
    Miss HoneyMatilda
    concept
    magic
  13. #65
    ″‘Up to now,’ Miss Honey went on, ‘I have found it impossible to talk to anyone about my problems. I couldn’t face the embarrassment, and anyway I lack the courage. Any courage I had was knocked out of me when I was young. But now, all of a sudden I have a sort of desperate wish to tell everything to somebody. I know you are only a tiny little girl, but there is some kind of magic in you somewhere. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.‘”
  1. #66
    ″‘A precocious child,’ Miss Honey said, ‘is one that shows amazing intelligence early on. You are an unbelievably precocious child.‘”
  2. #67
    “It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.”
  3. #68
    “By the time she was three, Matilda had taught herself to read by studying newspapers and magazines that lay around the house. At the age of four, she could read fast and well, and she naturally began hankering after books.”
  4. #69
    “With frightening suddenness he now began ripping the pages out of the book in handfuls and throwing them in the waste-paper basket.
    Matilda froze in horror. The father kept going. There seemed little doubt that the man felt some kind of jealousy. How dare she, he seemed to be saying with each rip of a page, how dare she enjoy reading books when he couldn’t? How dare she?”
  5. #70
    “Sometimes Matilda longed for a friend, someone like the kind, courageous people in her books.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    Matilda
    character
    Matilda
    concept
    friendship
  6. #71
    “Parents never underestimated the abilities of their own children. Quite the reverse. Sometimes it was well nigh impossible for a teacher to convince the proud father or mother that their beloved offspring was a complete nitwit.”
  7. #72
    “Do any of us children, she wondered, ever stop to ask ourselves where our teachers go when school is over for the day? Do we wonder if they live alone, or if there is a mother at home or a sister or a husband?”
  8. #73
    “I’m wondering what to read next,” Matilda said. “I’ve finished all the children’s books.”
    “You mean you’ve looked at the pictures?”
    “Yes, but I’ve read the books as well.”
  9. #74
    “All the reading she had done had given her a view of life that they had never seen. If only they would read a little Dickens or Kipling they would soon discover there was more to life than cheating people and watching television.”
  10. #75
    “She felt wildly excited. She had just met a small girl who possessed, or so it seemed to her, quite extraordinary qualities of brilliance. There had not been time yet to find out exactly how brilliant the child was, but Miss Honey had learnt enough to realize that something had to be done about it as soon as possible. It would be ridiculous to leave a child like that stuck in the bottom form.”
  11. #76
    “She didn’t in the least mind being accused of having done something she had actually done. She could see the justice of that. It was, however, a totally new experience for her to be accused of a crime that she definitely had not committed.”
  12. #77
    “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    concept
    magic
  13. #78
    “So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
    Go throw your TV set away,
    And in its place you can install
    A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
    Then fill the shelves with lots of books.”

Books about magic

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The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes book
Chapter book
6.0
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Little Fox in the Forest book
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6.0
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The Little Rabbit book
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  1. #79
    “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
  2. #80
    “Don’t gobblefunk around with words.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    The BFG
    concept
    words
  3. #81
    “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    The Witches
    concept
    love
  4. #82
    “I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.”
  5. #83
    “There are a whole lot of things in this world of ours you haven’t started wondering about yet.”
  6. #84
    “The witching hour, somebody had once whispered to her, was a special moment in the middle of the night when every child and every grown-up was in a deep deep sleep, and all the dark things came out from hiding and had the world all to themselves.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    The BFG
    concept
    night
  7. #85
    “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”
  8. #86
    “If you are good, life is good.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    Matilda
    concept
    goodness
  9. #87
    “Well, maybe it started that way. As a dream, but doesn’t everything. Those buildings. These lights. This whole city. Somebody had to dream about it first. And maybe that is what I did. I dreamed about coming here, but then I did it.”
  10. #88
    “But Mr. Fox was too clever for them. He always approached a farm with the wind blowing in his face, and this meant that if any man were lurking in the shadows ahead, the wind would carry the smell of that man to Mr. Fox’s nose from far away.”
  11. #89
    “A little magic can take you a long way.”
  12. #90
    “Most of the really exciting things we do in our lives scare us to death. They wouldn’t be exciting if they didn’t.”
  13. #91
    “Of course they’re real people. They’re Oompa-Loompas...Imported direct from Loompaland...And oh what a terrible country it is! Nothing but thick jungles infested by the most dangerous beasts in the world - hornswogglers and snozzwangers and those terrible wicked whangdoodles. A whangdoodle would eat ten Oompa-Loompas for breakfast and come galloping back for a second helping.”
  1. #92
    “Rainbow drops - suck them and you can spit in six different colours.”
  2. #93
    “THEY . . . USED . . . TO . . . READ! They’d READ and READ, AND READ and READ, and then proceed To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!”
  3. #94
    “There is something about very cold weather that gives one an enormous appetite. Most of us find ourselves beginning to crave rich steaming stews and hot apple pies and all kinds of delicious warming dishes; and because we are all a great deal luckier than we realize, we usually get what we want—or near enough.”
  4. #95
    “Oh, my sainted aunt! Don’t mention that disgusting stuff in front of me! Do you know what breakfast cereal is made of? It’s made of all those little curly wooden shavings you find in pencil sharpeners!”
  5. #96
    “I, Willy Wonka, have decided to allow five children – just five, mind you, and no more – to visit my factory this year.”
  6. #97
    “It was a very beautiful thing, this Golden Ticket, having been made, so it seemed, from a sheet of pure gold hammered out almost to the thinness of paper. On one side of it, printed by some clever method in jet-black letters, was the invitation itself—from Mr. Wonka.”
  7. #98
    “The only meals they could afford were bread and margarine for breakfast, boiled potatoes and cabbage for lunch, and cabbage soup for supper.”
  8. #99
    “Every one of these old people was over ninety. They were as shrivelled as prunes, and as bony as skeletons, and throughout the day, until Charlie made his appearance, they lay huddled in their one bed, two at either end, with nightcaps on to keep their heads warm, dozing the time away with nothing to do. But as soon as they heard the door opening, and heard Charlie’s voice saying, ‘Good evening, Grandpa Joe and Grandma Josephine, and Grandpa George and Grandma Georgina,’ then all four of them would suddenly sit up, and their old wrinkled faces would light up with smiles of pleasure – and the talking would begin. For they loved this little boy. He was the only bright thing in their lives, and his evening visits were something that they looked forward to all day long.”
  9. #100
    “I don’t want a grown-up person at all. A grownup won’t listen to me; he won’t learn. He will try to do things his own way and not mine. So I have to have a child. I want a good sensible loving child, one to whom I can tell all my most precious candy-making secrets-while I am still alive.”
  10. #101
    “In the town itself, actually within sight of the house in which Charlie lived, there was an ENORMOUS CHOCOLATE FACTORY! Just imagine that! And it wasn’t simply an ordinary enormous chocolate factory, either. It was the largest and most famous in the whole world!”
  11. #102
    “Don’t worry about the bits you can’t understand. Sit back and allow the words to wash around you, like music.”
  12. #103
    “I’ve always said to myself that if a little pocket calculator can do it why shouldn’t I?”
  13. #104
    “The human brain is an amazing thing.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    Matilda
    character
    Miss Honey
    concept
    brain
  14. #105
    ″‘You seemed so far away,’ Miss Honey whispered, awestruck. ‘Oh, I was. I was flying past the stars on silver wings,’ Matilda said. ‘It was wonderful.‘”
  15. #106
    “Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    Matilda
    character
    Matilda
    concepts
    commitmentfun
  16. #107
    “Children are not so serious as grown-ups and they love to laugh.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    Matilda
    character
    Matilda
    concepts
    childrenlaughter
  17. #108
    “If you had a heart attack this minute and had to call a doctor, that doctor would be a university graduate. If you got sued for selling someone a rotten second-hand car, you’d have to get a lawyer and he’d be a university graduate, too. Do not despise clever people, Mr. Wormwood.”
  18. #109
    “She was feeling curiously elated. She felt as though she had touched something that was not quite of this world, the highest point of the heavens, the farthest star. She had felt most wonderfully the power surging up behind her eyes, gushing like a warm fluid inside her skull, and her eyes had become scorching hot, hotter than ever before, and things had come bursting out of her eye-sockets and then the piece of chalk had lifted itself up and had begun to write. It seemed as though she had hardly done anything, it had all been so simple.”
    author
    Roald Dahl
    book
    Matilda
    character
    Matilda
    concept
    magic

Books about books

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Duncan the Story Dragon book
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The Wall in the Middle of the Book book
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The Children Who Loved Books book
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My Pet Book book
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5.8
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The Detective Dog book
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How This Book Was Made book
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The Dump Man's Treasures book
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