« PreviousContinue »
a piece of flat ground free from grass or weeds, and a line about three feet long is drawn a few inches away from it. The players, two or three, or more, in number, take their stand at a mark ten or twelve feet from the line, which is thus between them and the hole, and each in turn holds a disk made from a piece of broken earthenware, or a cent piece, between his thumb and first two fingers and carefully pitches it at the hole.
The player whose aim is best now takes up all the disks that have been thrown at the hole in this manner, and from the same mark tosses all together at the hole. Then, while he is at the same spot, with a larger and heavier disk, a five-cent piece if they are playing with money, he must hit one of the pieces which the other players select among those lying round the hole and beyond the transverse line. If he miss it his turn is finished, but if he succeed in hitting it he again tosses all the disks at the hole, and those which fall in it become his property.
The next player begins in the same manner, using the disks that have not been won by the first one, and the game continues until all are won. Accuracy of aim when tossing the first disk at the hole, and at the one selected to be struck, is quite as important in this game as in Quoits.
Tattu Keliya, 'the Touching Game,' or SURĀ KAWADIYAN KELIYA.
In this game a rectangular diagram from 40 to 50 feet long and from 20 to 25 feet wide is described on a piece of level ground, and a line is drawn longitudinally down the middle of it. Three tranverse lines are then drawn, dividing the whole into eight equal squares (Fig. 271).
Three players are stationed
at the transverse lines and a fourth at the end line, while a fifth, called Tachchiya, patrols along the lateral border. The four former players endeavour to touch any one crossing their
FIG. 271. Tattu Keliya.
respective lines, and the Tachchiyā may touch any one whom he can reach while he stands anywhere on the outer side lines.
The players of the opposite side enter the first right-hand square at one end and endeavour to pass longitudinally through all the squares without being touched by the watchers. They go up the squares on the right side of the longitudinal centre line, out at the far end, and back down the squares on the left of the centre line, finally passing out across the transverse border line of the first left-hand square.
A player who passes successfully through the first four squares is termed Pachcha Kuttiyā; and when he has returned through the second row of squares he becomes Uppu. The nomenclature shows that this game was introduced into the island by Tamils.
In another and simpler form of Tattu Keliya, which is often played by both Sinhalese and Tamils, whether boys or men, a long line is drawn on the ground, and the opposing parties stand on opposite sides of it. Those on one side then endeavour to cross it without being touched by their opponents while doing so.
A third game is like one played by boys in England. Some players stand inside a series of posts or marks arranged in a wide circle round them. At these a number of others are stationed, and each one endeavours to get across to the next station without being touched by those inside while doing so. The parties in these games exchange places when all have been caught or touched.
BUHU KELIYA, Throwing the Ball.'
I have not seen this game played in the interior. As described by Mr. Ludovisi, who terms it, perhaps the only purely indigenous Sinhalese game,' it appears to be an adaptation of English cricket. According to his account it is chiefly played before and after the Sinhalese New Year.
Captains are chosen who form two equal teams, and the
1 Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1873. p. 25.
first innings is settled by mutual consent, or by tossing. For a wicket, two cocoanut shells with the husks on are placed on end, three or four inches apart, with a stick laid across them. The ball is formed of an unripe Pumelo fruit, rendered soft and elastic by being placed under hot ashes, and protected by a closely plaited envelope of strips of bark.
One party or team station themselves behind the wicket as fielders, and the captain of the other side opens the game by bowling at the wicket, which is not defended by any one. If he knock it down one of the opposing team goes out of play. If the ball pass the wicket those behind endeavour to catch it while rebounding, above the height of the knee, and on their doing so the bowler is out. 'The ball, whether caught or not, having passed into the ground of the second team, one of them becomes the bowler, and the game goes on alternating between the two sides, until one team has all gone out,' leaving the others the winners.
'The victim of defeat has to sit on the bridge of cocoanut shells, his head bowed on his knees, and submit with patience and resignation to the sneers and jibes of the victors,' which apparently are sometimes of a rather coarse character. This resembles the jeering and coarse language used at the Aņ-keliya or Horn-pulling game, described below, and in its origin it may have been intended to have a similar effect-the protection of the village from evil influences.
This is a form of Tip-cat played by boys, which Ludovisi stated (op. cit., p. 28)-he does not say on what evidence-to have been known long before our occupation of Ceylon. The 'Cat,' a stick three or four inches long, and pointed at both ends like that used in England, is 'pitched' or tossed at a small hole, three inches long by one inch wide, which slopes downward at one end, from a distance equal to the height of the tallest player, measured to the tips of the up-stretched fingers. An opponent who stands at the side of the hole endeavours to strike the cat' before it reaches the ground, with a stick eighteen inches long. Should it fall in the hole, or within
eighteen inches of it, or be caught when struck, the striker goes out, and the boy who pitched the 'cat' succeeds him. If, however, the striker hit it on its way to the hole, the distance at which it falls is measured in lengths of the striker's stick, and if it reach a number of lengths, ten or fifteen or more, that had been previously agreed upon, a player of the opposite party goes out of the game.
There is a penalty for the losing players which is not very clearly explained by Mr. Ludovisi. In it the stick for hitting
the cat is struck by the 'cat,' and followed up until the player who is doing this fails to hit it, or to send it more than the length of the loser, measured to the end of his up-stretched fingers. The loser must then run back to the hole while holding his breath, crying "Gūdo, gūdo, gūdo." I have not seen this game played in the villages of the interior, and I should expect that it is of European origin.
This is a nearly similar game played in Colombo, and described by Mr. Ludovisi (op. cit., p. 29) as being quite like the English Tip-cat. The cat' is struck as it springs forward on being 'tipped' by the striker's stick. The same penalty as above is paid by the losers. This game is also not played in the interior, but is common in Colombo.
An Eastern kind of football is played in Colombo, especially by Malays, with a skeleton ball, called Rāgama bōla, ʻ the Rāgama ball,' which is made of interwoven strips of bamboo. The game consists in two parties kicking it backwards and forwards, apparently without any special rules, and there are no goals or scrimmages.'
The POPGUN, Unaliya, Bamboo-stick,' is, as its name implies, made from a short section of bamboo about seven inches long. The small globular unripe seeds of the Pāvaṭṭā (Pavetta indica) and Tarana (Webera corymbosa) are used as pellets.
STILTS, Borupaya, 'False-foot,' are sometimes used by youths as in England. I have seen one Sinhalese man, a professional