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The few who have rice boil it; being in the neighbourhood of Sinhalese or Tamil villages, where common pottery is obtainable, such persons are able to procure earthenware pots for
Including even the wildest Forest Vaeddas, all are accustomed to chew sliced Areka-nuts with Betel-vine leaves, when they can get them from other villagers. In default of them they (like the inhabitants of remote Kandian villages who are without them) use the leaves of aromatic herbs, especially a Basil, Talā (Anisochilus suffruticosus), and the bark of the Kaeppitiya (Croton lacciferum)-one of the bushes on which stick-lac is found-and other trees, among which Mr. Nevill includes the Demata (Gmelina asiatica) and Dawata (Carallia integerrima), and the seeds of a Lac-bush (Gardenia carinata). He states that lime is sometimes burnt from shells of Cyclophorus involvulus, and taken with the barks as a luxury. Some Forest Vaeddas looked with suspicion on some cut tobacco which I offered them for chewing, and refused it, as they had not previously seen any like it; but they readily took the uncut leaf.
According to Mr. Nevill, they will drink the clear water in a natural [rock] cistern, but will not drink the clear water of pools in the bed of a river or in forest hollows. If water is wanted at a stream, they scoop a little hollow in the sand, where it looks clean and sharp, and wait until the water filters through into it. They particularly like water lightly tinged yellow with mud, called Bora-diya, and it is considered better flavoured and more wholesome than plain water. They will drink river water, unless it be clear and stagnant; and the clear water of streams, running, they also drink if there be no sand in their bed in which to scoop a hollow. Stagnant clear water is considered very bad, in fact, poisonous.'1 Kandian villagers also prefer 'bora-diya,' and the water of pools which are covered with a green vegetable growth. I have found this water always good and sweet.
Utensils. At their dwellings the simple wants of these people are easily supplied. In some parts of the interior the 1 The Taprobanian, Vol. i, p. 187.
wilder Vaeddas have a few large hollow black shells of the hard fruit of a high tree which grows in the eastern forests, the name of which I omitted to note, slung by some bark strings for carrying. More commonly they use the shells of small Pumpkins, with a section cut off at the stem, similarly strung, and termed Panliya. These are about seven and a half inches in diameter, and are used for carrying water or honey (Fig. 18).
The only other household article that they really require is a bag, or perhaps two, made of the inner bark of a short slightly tapering length of the Riți tree, which is stripped off or drawn off in one piece, after being well beaten, and is sewn together at the larger end. This makes a strong and very durable bag, called a Riti-malla, which lasts for some years, and has almost the appearance of having been woven. One in my possession, blackened with age, is thirty inches long, ten and a half inches wide near the mouth when laid flat, and fourteen inches wide at the other end (Fig. 19). The bag is used for carrying or storing millet, or any other food. Some also make small baskets of the same inner bark. The Wanniyas and those who live near the sea have, like the Kandians, whole gourds (labba) for holding water, and also use common earthenware pots, obtained from Sinhalese potters, for cooking and for containing water. Mr. Nevill learnt that in ancient times the [Village] Vaeddas had household vessels made of copper and even gold, for holding water and for cooking, and he saw copper ones still in use. There is no probability that the wilder Vaeddas ever possessed such articles. Neither Vaeddas nor Wanniyas are acquainted with the art of making pottery, and certainly the former, and I believe also the latter, do not understand any form of mat or other weaving. Deer-skins supply the place of mats for sleeping on, or when preparing food.
The blades of axes and especially those of arrows answer all the purposes for which knives are usually thought to be indispensable. Those who cultivate millet or rice purchase for the purpose, by exchange of honey, meat, deer-skins, or horns, or beeswax made into thick circular cakes, the digging
hoes termed by us ' Mamoty '-(more correctly, the Tamil word man-vetței, earth-digging implement)-and by the Sinhalese Udaella. For excavating purposes, such as taking up wild yams, or digging out of their burrows the Pangolin or Scaly Ant-eater (Manis pentadactyla) and the 'Iguana,' they, like the Kandian hunters, merely use a sharpened stick. All who make clearings for millet-growing buy the Bill-hooks (kaetta) which are used by their Sinhalese or Tamil neighbours.
Fire-making.-Fire is commonly got by striking a spark with the aid of the axe, the word for it being gini-gahanawā, 'to strike fire.' A piece of flint and a little tinder are generally carried, or the latter is soon made from a bit of rag. But all Vaeddas and Wanniyas are also able and accustomed to obtain it by means of friction with two dry sticks. There are two ways of doing this. In one they use the twirling-stick, both races invariably turning it between the hands while the point rests in a hollow in a lower stick which is held on the ground by the feet. The expression used for this by the Vaeddas is gini-gahen ginna gannawa, 'to take fire from the fire-tree'; it is one of the very few alliterative sayings used by them or the Sinhalese, with the exception of simple duplicated words and the refrains of songs. The Vaeddas and Wanniyas use various woods for getting fire by this method, but Velan (Pterospermum suberifolium) is a general favourite.
The other method, which when practised with wood picked up in the forest is much more laborious, is by simply rubbing one stick across another; the Wanniyas and Sinhalese express it by the verb mandinawā. Only extremely dry Velan wood is used for obtaining fire by this process, which, as the wood is probably even then not thoroughly dry, I was told sometimes occupies nearly two paeyas,' or forty minutes.1
This is the mode of fire-making employed by some tribes of Central Australia, but not other Australians, the edge of a
1 Dr. Schweinfurth, in The Heart of Africa, 3rd Ed., Vol. i, p. 254. describes this method of obtaining fire in the Higher Nile districts, 'the whole proceeding being a marvel which might well nigh eclipse the magic of my lucifer matches.' It is also practised in Senegal. (Caillié, Travels through Central Africa, Vol. i, p. 123.)
piece of wood used as a spear-thrower being rubbed 'backwards and forwards upon the shield; in a short time the light wood is charred, then it glows, and with judicious blowing the glow is fanned into a flame.' 1
This method of getting fire is found in Malayalam and Travancore, the very district from which it is probable that the earliest settlers came to Ceylon. In Mr. Thurston's Ethnographic Notes of Southern India, pp. 468, 469, it is stated that fire is made by cross-friction by the Pulayans of Travancore and the Paniyans who live at the base of the Western Ghats of Malabar. He gives an illustration of two members of the latter race engaged on this work, which he describes as follows: A portion of a bamboo stem, about one foot in length, in which two nodes are included, is split longitudinally into two equal parts. On one half a sharp edge is cut with a knife. In the other a longitudinal slit is made through about twothirds of its length, which is stuffed with a piece of cotton cloth. The latter is held firmly on the ground with its convex surface upwards, and the cutting edge drawn, with a gradually quickening sawing motion, rapidly to and fro across it by two men until the cloth is ignited by the incandescent particles of wood in the groove cut by the sharp edge. The cloth is then blown by the lips into a blaze.'
When no flint or chert is available, the Kandian Sinhalese also employ both processes, but naturally they prefer the twirling stick, which they always turn by means of a bow and slack string, using in the north either Velan wood for both. sticks, or often the wood of the Lōlu tree (Cordia myxa) for the lower stick, and Mayila wood (Bauhinia racemosa), which is very hard, for the upper one, or twirling-stick. The use of
1 Messrs. Spencer and Gillen's The Native Tribes of Central Australia, P. 586; The Northern Tribes of Central Australia, p. 619.
2 In the illustration only one man is doing the sawing work, while the other holds the lower stick. Captain Lewin described a nearly similar method employed by the Chittagong Hill Tribes. A semicircular groove was cut round a split bamboo, and a flexible strip of bamboo worked in it until the dust became incandescent.-Wild Races of S. E. India, p. 207.