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by him to have worn in former times a considerable amount of costly jewellery made of gold and gems, in the form of necklaces and bangles, but not anklets or nose ornaments (which Sinhalese also never wear); there cannot be much of this left among them now. They also had ear-jewels, set like those of the Kandian Sinhalese, in a large hole which is bored through the lobe of the ear and expanded to receive them, to a diameter of about three-quarters of an inch; some of them were made of ivory, horn, or bone, and were carved and etched. Brass ones are now worn. Sinhalese women have a cylindrical tube of silver, closed at the outer end and having a projecting rim at it; in this end are inserted pieces of red glass or garnets, round a central stone or boss.
Mr. Nevill also observed that when properly dressed in their villages both men and women adorn their hair with bright or fragrant flowers and leaves, and occasionally add garlands of flowers for their necks, red and orange being their favourite colours. I have noticed that Kandian girls do the same. He added that the Vaeddas also crush fragrant leaves and rub them on their hair, neck, arms, and breast. He learnt that the marrow of the Sambar deer (Rusa aristotelis) is applied about once a week to the hair, if procurable; or the fat of the Talagoya or Monitor Lizard (Varanus dracaena), commonly called in Ceylon the 'Iguana,' is used for this purpose. He was of opinion that the number of split bones left by prehistoric people may be due to a similar custom.1
Dwellings. Mr. Nevill states regarding the Forest Vaeddas: If possible, a cave is chosen for the home, and improved by a slight roof in front, if too exposed, and around this the foodwinner ranges' during the rainy season, when the Sambar deer frequent the neighbourhood of the hills. A good cave becomes an hereditary possession. . Where an overhanging rock can be found, it is of course sufficient. Otherwise any rock is chosen, and some sticks being laid sloping from in front of it, it is roughly thatched with twigs, rushes, and large pieces of bark. A few elk [Sambar] hides, if not bought up
1 The Taprobanian, Vol. i, p. 189.
by pedlars, will form a screen at one end. If it is only to exclude dew, a very few branches or bits of bark suffice.1
In the dry hot months when brooks and ponds dry up, the game collects in the low forests around the half-dried river beds. He then takes wife and children, aged parents, or crippled relatives, and settles them in a hut close to where water can be got. From this he makes his hunting forays, and returns to it with his game.
'Besides his high-ground [cave] residence, and his lowground residence, if a tract of forest burst suddenly into flower that attracts vast swarms of bees, or into useful fruit, the family will make a little picnic party, and go there for a week or a month, if it be too far from the home for daily visits. He cannot, however, be called nomadic.' a
The houses of the Forest Vaeddas are flimsy, easily erected, low rectangular huts or shelters under shady trees, built of thin sticks, and usually in a reversed wide V shape, without walls, though some have them. They have a covering of grass on the roof, or in default of it the skins of Sambar deer, or broad pieces of bark. The temporary huts of the Village Vaeddas are quite similar; and their more permanent houses are also rectangular,3 with a low roof raised on walls which are covered with broad strips of bark, or have the spaces between the sticks filled with leafy twigs. A few fill up the walls with mud. Nearer the eastern coast, where suitable trees for barking are scarce or absent, they have only grass roofs, and leafy twigs are almost always employed for closing the spaces in the walls. Mr. Nevill remarked that there is little difference between the homes of the Village and Forest Vaeddas except that the former makes his house sufficiently substantial to keep out rain as well as dew; and that he leaves his family at it, and does not usually take them to his temporary hunting quarters. The Wanniyas erect similar huts roofed with grass;
1 Dr. Seligmann is giving a full account of the cave dwellings of the Forest Vaeddas.
2 The Taprobanian, Vol. i, p. 186.
3 With the exception of a few Tamil villages in the Northern Province there are no circular dwelling-houses in Ceylon.
nearly all those I have seen had only walls of sticks, filled up with leafy twigs, but a few possessed mud walls—or rather, mud was used in them instead of the twigs.
Any bushes growing at the front of the huts are cleared away, so as to leave an open space under the trees, in which the occupants can sit, or lie, or cook, and peg out deer-skins for drying, or dry their surplus meat on a rectangular stick frame over a slow fire, this being a common custom of all hunters in Ceylon. They all abandon the site for very slight reasons, and establish themselves a mile or more away, often, in the case of those who cultivate millet, in order to be near the piece of ground which they are clearing for millet-growing, and at which, in any case, the men generally reside for some months in huts like those of the Forest Vaeddas, to protect the crop from Elephants, Deer, and Buffaloes.
Sometimes they form a new hamlet because they find themselves too near a road used by the public, or on account of an outbreak of sickness. In the latter instance it is thought that the old site was haunted by local devils who caused the disease. I have known the northern and north-western Kandian Sinhalese abandon villages for the two latter reasons, even when their huts had mud walls and raised earthen floors, which require much more labour to reconstruct.
Food. The food of the Forest Vaeddas consists of fruits, roots of wild yams, and especially honey and the flesh of any animals they can kill, which are chiefly 'Iguānas,' Pigs, and Deer. All the Village Vaeddas, and the Tamil-speaking Vaeddas (with the exception of a very few who are solely fishermen), and the Wanniyas eat the same food, and have in addition the small millet above-mentioned, called Kurahan by the Sinhalese, the Indian Ragi (Eleusine coracana). This is grown in temporary clearings (termed hēna in Sinhalese), made in the forest, all bushes and grass being cut and burnt off, but not the larger trees. After one crop, or sometimes two, have been taken off the ground, the clearing is abandoned, and allowed to be overgrown once more with jungle, and is not recultivated until from five to seven years have elapsed. In these clearings, which are exactly like those of the Sinhalese,
are also grown a few red Chillies and Gourds, and sometimes a little Indian Corn, and a small Pulse called Mun (Phaseolus mungo). A very few Village Vaeddas and Wanniyas who live in suitable places for it grow and irrigate a little rice, which the Forest Vaeddas are now learning to cook and eat when they can procure it.
Mr. Nevill was informed that of all food the greatest delicacy is considered to be little bits of lean flesh, chopped up, and wrapped in fat of the Iguana, taken from the entrails apparently. This is broiled.'1 The flesh of this lizard is white, and rather wanting in flavour, but not in any way unpalatable; I have often eaten it when stationed in the jungle, and it is a favourite dish of the Kandian Sinhalese villagers. Following the example of their Tamil neighbours, the Wanniyas and the Tamil-speaking Vaeddas do not eat Monkeys, which, however, form a regular item in the diet of all Vaeddas of the interior, and with the exception of the small brown Monkey (Thersites) are eaten by the majority of the northern Kandian villagers. The flesh is dark-coloured, and somewhat strongly flavoured; I have tried it more than once, feeling at the time that I was, as it were, the next-door neighbour of palaeolithic man, and practising something allied to cannibalism.
The Tamil-speaking Vaeddas informed me that they have no forbidden meats excepting the Monkey and some of the 'Vahanas' of their Hindu Gods, that is, the animals on which the Gods ride, such as the Peafowl and the Rat, the Vāhanas of Skanda and Gaņēsa.
The Coast Vaeddas subsist on fish, in addition; they alone catch them by netting or spearing them. Like the Sinhalese and Tamils of jungle villages, all are accustomed to capture fish in the dry seasons either by baling the water out of shallow pools, or by stupefying the fish by means of poisonous leaves or fruits thrown into the water. The crushed leaves of the Timbiri tree (Diospyros embryopteris), or the crushed fruit of the Kukuru-mahan bush (Randia dumetorum), and also, accord
1 The Taprobanian, Vol. i, p. 191.
ing to Mr. Nevill, the roots of a species of creeper called Kalavael (Derris scandens) are especially used for this purpose.
Unlike the Low-country Sinhalese, they never fish with the hook, a peculiarity that they share with the Wanniyas and nearly all Kandian Sinhalese, who for some reason, unknown even to themselves, hold that it is quite improper to do so.1 Whether the Sinhalese name for fish-hook, bili-katuwa, the word bili meaning also offerings made to devils, has had any influence, I cannot say; but the feeling may be connected with the fact that the north-western Kandians also think it a disgraceful act for a female, even though a child, to capture a fish in any way whatever. I have never been able to discover an explanation of this prohibition. Whatever the objection may be to the fish-hook, it is not applicable to the Tamils; I have seen Tamil women of jungle villages fishing with a line and hook, and proud to show the number of fish they had taken.
The millet is ground into flour on a flat stone, or in a quern by those who possess one, and is cooked by baking it inside a wood fire. The flour is first mixed with water on a deerskin or some broad leaves, into a stiff paste, which is made into a circular cake more than an inch thick and some nine inches in diameter. This is then covered on both sides with the large green leaves of the Halmilla tree (Berrya ammonilla). After the fire has burnt for some time, so as to contain a supply of redhot charcoal, it is raked away, and the cake is laid on the hot ashes, and covered up by more ashes and the burning charcoal, the heat of which in a few minutes is considered to have baked it sufficiently. The Wanniyas term this cake Alupota, Ashes-slab'; it is the Ginipuwa, or 'Fire-cake,' of the Sinhalese hunters, who also make it. Mr. Nevill states that cakes are also made of the dried and ground-up seeds of the Tree-fern (Cycas circinalis); the 'cabbage,' or bud of unopened leaves at the crown of the wild Date (Phoenix zeylanica), is doubtless also eaten, as by Sinhalese villagers.
As in the case of all hunters, meat is cooked by broiling. 1 Plutarch mentions that the natives of Oxyrhynchus in Egypt did not eat fish that had been caught with a hook.