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the bow for this purpose is one of the very few practices which differentiate the Sinhalese from the Vaeddas.
There is a third method of making fire by means of two sticks; in it the pointed end of one stick is rubbed in a long groove made in the other. I believe it is unknown in Ceylon. Dr. Guppy, who calls it 'the Polynesian method,' saw it used in the Solomon Islands, and stated that the friction in some three or four minutes produces smoke; and finally a fine powder, which has been collecting in a small heap at the end of the groove, begins to smoulder. After being carefully nursed by the breath of the operator, the tiny flame is transferred to a piece of touch-wood, and, the object is attained.' 1
Darwin also observed this mode of fire-making in Tahiti, and wrote of it, 'The fire was produced in a few seconds'; he himself tried it, and found that it required the greatest exertion.'2
In the Eastern Archipelago A. R. Wallace noticed that cross-friction was employed."
Thus we find that fire may be obtained from two pieces of dry wood by three different methods: (1) by drill-friction of a point in a hollow, the mode most generally used, which is again subdivided into hand-drill friction, bow-drill friction, and cord-drill friction (as used for the sacred fire of Hinduism); (2) by transverse friction of a knife-edge in a groove; and (3) by longitudinal friction of a point in a groove.
The fact that even those Vaeddas who have seen fire obtained by turning the twirling-stick with a bow never copy this method, although they understand the action of the bow and the ease with which fire can be obtained by using it, shows how extremely conservative in their ideas such people are. When they had said of it to me, "The Sinhalese do it, but it is not our custom," there was an end of the matter, so far as they were concerned. This is exactly the way of the northern and north-western Kandian Sinhalese. When I asked one of the latter whom I knew well why he did not try the effect of
1 The Solomon Islands, p. 65.
A Naturalist's Voyage, ed. 1882, p. 409.
manure on his rice field, which he complained was not very productive, he made the usual reply, “We are not accustomed to do it." After I had explained the matter further, and suggested an experiment on one small patch, he ended the discussion by remarking, "My father did not do it. Am I a better man than my father?" When this is the mental position of primitive races, it is clear that immense periods of time must be allowed for the development of the slightest and simplest advances towards civilisation.
Weapons and Tools.-The weapons of all the Vaeddas and Wanniyas consist only of a diminutive axe (Fig. 10) and a bow and arrows, generally two in number according to Mr. Nevill, and rarely three among the former race; but usually three among the latter people. Mr. Nevill had an axe that was two and a half inches wide and five and a half inches long in the blade; but some are much smaller than this. These axes have handles from eighteen inches to two feet in length, which are passed through a socket-hole in the head. Nearly similar tools are in general use by the Kandians, and are illustrated in a later chapter. Neither Vaeddas nor most Wanniyas carry knives, which Kandian Sinhalese find indispensable. The steel heads of these tools are obtained from Sinhalese or Tamil smiths in exchange for skins, honey, or meat.
The correct length for a Vaedda or Wanniya bow is considered to be a little more than the owner's own height, but there is no fixed standard, the length partly depending on the strength of the person who is to use the bow. Some considerably exceed their owner's height; but short ones are often preferred for use in thick forest, as being more convenient to carry than long ones. One Wanniya bow that I got (Fig. 16) is only four feet ten inches long, and the old man from whom. I obtained it stated that he always used similar short ones;
1 It is laid down in the Ordinances of Manu (iv, 178) that a good man should always follow the path of his father and grandparents, so the attitude of the villager was quite correct.
2 Some bows of British archers in mediaeval times were only five feet long.
other men informed me that they preferred longer ones. longest are perhaps six feet in length.
The Vaeddas of the interior make them of Kolon (Adina cordifolia) and Kaekala wood (Cyathocalyx zeylanicus), split and thinned down to the required size, and also of Kobbā or Kobbae-wael (Allophylus cobbe). The Tamil-speaking Vaeddas to the south of Trincomalee employ the wood of the Ulkenda tree for them. All are rough, round in section, and not always straight, and are without notches. They are not decorated in any way. The Wanniyas informed me that they only cut their bows during the south-west monsoon, as they have an idea, possibly well founded, that the constant bending and relaxing of the fibres caused by the strong winds of that season render the wood more elastic and tougher than at other times. The roughest sort of Sinhalese bow does not differ from that of the Vaeddas; but others vary in the material used, the length and thickness, and in having elaborate decoration in coloured lac. The length is usually greater than that of the Vaedda weapon.
Mr. Nevill states that pellet-bows like those of the Sinhalese, with two strings at the middle of which a piece of skin is fixed, are used by Vaedda boys for killing small birds.
When shooting, the bow is commonly held by the left hand, but occasionally by the right. Some Vaeddas and Wanniyas are also accustomed to shoot while sitting on the ground, holding the bow by the foot, between the big toe and the next one. This is chiefly, if not entirely, done in shooting animals at night when they come to drink at a water-hole.
The twisted inner bark of two or three different trees is used for bowstrings, or where they are available the exceedingly tough fibres found in the long narrow leaves of a rock plant called Niyanda (Sansievera zeylanica). Many Vaeddas of the interior employ for this purpose the fibres of the thin aerial roots of the Banyan tree (Ficus indica). The Tamil-speaking Vaeddas make use of the inner bark of a creeper called Gaeravaela in Sinhalese or Tevalan-koḍi in Tamil. The Wanniyas employ the inner bark of Velan trees. The string is sometimes rubbed with the split fruit of the Timbiri tree, which is
said to strengthen it. It is permanently fastened to one end of the bow, and tied round the other when about to be used (Fig. 11).
The shafts of the arrows (Figs. 12-15) 1 of all alike are made of small Velan saplings, thinned down to about half an inch in thickness, and the whole length is often three feet, but varies from two to three. A wide notch is cut at the butt end. Whether used by Vaeddas, Wanniyas, or Sinhalese, they invariably have flat, narrow, and elongated steel heads rounded at the points, without barbs. The Vaedda arrowheads are wider near the butt than those of the modern Sinhalese, and very slightly concave on the sides, but some ancient Sinhalese arrows nearly resembled those of the Vaeddas in shape. They vary from two and a half inches to nearly eighteen inches in length, the latter size being of course rarely used, and only for large game such as Elephants; the smallest are required for Hares and birds. The usual length of the blade is four or five inches. A set of three which a Wanniya used varied from four to eight inches in length. The arrows have nearly always either three or four feathers, which in every case, even among the Sinhalese, are the primaries (or long feathers) from the wing of the Peahen.2 These are rarely fixed in slight grooves cut in the stem. Occasionally five feathers are employed, and Mr. Nevill stated that in some instances they are placed in a slightly spiral direction. The fine strings of bark which tie the feathers to the shaft or bind the shaft at the head are sometimes protected from wear by being covered with a hard gum. A Wanniya arrow in my possession (Fig. 17) is wrapped at the head with a thin strip of deer-skin in a spiral. In former days, according to Mr. Nevill, pieces of the shells of River Mussels (Unio lamellatus
1 The arrows numbered 13 and 14 are in the possession of Mr. H. B. Christie, recently Provincial Engineer in the Public Works Department, and were obtained by him from Village Vaeddas. They differ from the usual Vaedda type shown in the other arrow heads, and Fig. 14 resembles those now employed by Sinhalese.
2 Used in India also. Kālidāsa describes an arrow which Raghu used against Indra, as being 'fledged with peacock's plume.' (Raghuvança, Johnstone's translation, p. 26.)
and U. marginatus) were used by some Vaeddas of the interior as arrow-blades; and he observed that the Sinhalese who live in their district in the Eastern Province still term these bivalves 'arrow-head mussels.' 1
Until recent times no ancient stone weapons or implements had been discovered in Ceylon, and it was therefore assumed that the aborigines were unacquainted with the art of their fabrication. It was thus with great interest that I learnt from my friend Mr. F. Lewis, of the Forest Department, that for a considerable number of years several types of primitive stone implements have been found in the Kandian hill-tract in Maskeliya, by Mr. John Pole and Mr. G. B. Gardner. Through the courtesy of these gentlemen I am able to append the following particulars of their discoveries.
Mr. Pole, who has recently published a short account of his collection in the Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, writes that the first examples of these weapons and tools were discovered twenty-five years ago by himself and Mr. E. E. Green, who is now the Government Entomologist in Ceylon, on some hillocks at Imbulpitiya, near Nawalapitiya. He states (in epist.): 'I have collected within the last twenty-four years over a thousand of these stones, in all their fantastic shapes and material, and my conclusion is this: The men of this age arrived at no type of implement. They split the stone and made the implements they immediately required, from the shards as they split them off, according to their adaptability. A serviceable shard or flake was helped to an "edge," and when they found a "point" amongst their shards they chipped the sides to make the point more serviceable. There was no attempt at copying any known design; the material was too obstinate to allow this.' He states that he considers that the agreement of a few specimens with some primitive types is merely an accidental coincidence. Of course in these remarks Mr. Pole is referring only to the stone implements in his own collection.
In his paper on them he mentioned that similar flakes have been found in the districts of Puttalam (that is, in the early 1 The Taprobanian, Vol. i, p. 33.