I am getting some unexpected results from a merge and I'd like to
understand why.

I have two commits X and Y that I want to merge.

git merge-base X Y # yields B
git diff B X -- F  # is empty
git diff B Y -- F  # contains the change I want merged
git rev-list X ^B -- F # is empty
git rev-list Y ^B -- F # contains one commit

git checkout X
git merge Y

fails with fixable merge conflicts on other files, but uses X's copy
of F instead of Y's.

I was expecting it to use Y's copy of F, since only Y has modified F since B.

What could cause this?

BTW: I am using a git-svn repo that does have some 4+ parent merges in it.

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