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me that the only one of which he heard was played with the small red seeds of the Olinda Creeper (Abrus precatorius), which one person tossed to another. I feel no doubt that other amusements are known to them.

Folk-Stories.-The most secluded Village Vaeddas1 of the interior told me that they are acquainted with many folkstories. The names of several that they mentioned, as well as others that I have collected from people of different villages, show that they are the same as the tales related by the Kandian Sinhalese of the North-western and North-central Provinces. They appear to have been learnt, like the one already given, from Kandian Sinhalese visitors or settlers, or perhaps have been passed down from the earlier Vaeddas of the Northcentral Province, who must have acquired them from their neighbours in that case. There is not one among them, so far as my information extends, which describes the primitive life, or ideas, or customs of the Forest Vaeddas. This almost makes one doubt if the Forest Vaedda is an altogether primitive being.

I reserve the stories for publication with a collection of other Sinhalese tales; but I append a translation of one, evidently of early date, about a Vaedda, that was written in Sinhalese for me in the North-central Province. Its conclusion is interesting. It will be observed that notwithstanding his poverty, the Vaedda is represented as being appointed the local king of the district in which he lived. I have adhered to the words of the story as they were written, and have inserted in brackets a few others that are required to explain the meaning in some places.


Once upon a time in a city a dāna [or feast for Buddhist monks] was given at the royal palace. On the next day the surplus rice was deposited for animals to eat, and dogs, cats,

1 Excepting one small Vaedi hamlet, there is not a village within ten or twelve miles of theirs.

pigs,1 fowls, and crows came and began to devour it. Then a Vaedi youth, who had gone to kill some game and was hungry, came and saw the fowls and pigs eating some cold cooked rice, whereupon he went to the heap of rice, and pushing aside the upper part of it took a little from the bottom and ate it.

At that time the royal Princess was at the open upper story of the palace. She saw this action of the Vaeddā, and remarked to her mother, "Anē! Amme! However poor a man may be he does not do that disgusting work." The Queen admonished the Princess, and said to her, “Appā! My daughter, do not say so of any man whatever; you do not know what may happen to you. [It might be your fate to be married to such a person.]" Then the Princess, speaking in ridicule of the Vaedda's want of good looks, replied, "If so, why should I wear this costume? [I may as well begin to dress like my future husband's people.]" The Vaeddā, after stopping and overhearing this conversation, went away.

As a lion used to come to that city [and carry off the inhabitants] the King subsequently caused the following proclamation to be made by beat of tom-toms: "I will give my daughter to any person whatever who kills the lion which comes to this city [and devours the people.]" On hearing this, the Vaedi youth dug a hole in the path by which the lion came, and having got hid in it, when the animal approached shot it with his bow and arrow and killed it.

When the King learnt that somebody had killed the lion, he gave public notice that its destroyer should be sought for. The Vaedi youth then came forward, and after he had [proved that he was the person who killed it] the King gave that royal Princess to him in marriage [and he went away with her].

While she was living with him another good-looking Vaedi youth accompanied him one day. On seeing him, the Princess. trickishly drove away the Vaeddā who was her husband, and married that handsome Vaedi youth.

It was not long before this Vaeddā one night killed a Buffalo, and [taking some of the flesh] said to the Princess, "Cook this

1 No pigs are now kept by Kandian Sinhalese of the North-central or North-western Provinces.

and give it to me." The Princess replied, The Princess replied, "It would be disgusting work for me to do; it is no business of mine"; [and she added] "What does it matter if my first husband is not good looking? he was good to me." Saying this, she drove this Vaeddā away, and seeking the place where the first Vaeddā whom she had married was stopping, went up to him, and said, "Let us go [home together]." But the Vaeddā refused.

After that she put on her Princess's robes as before, and came away.

In a little while afterwards that very Vaeddā was appointed to the kingship, and everybody subsequently lived prosperously and in health.1

When they can repeat, as they have done for me, page after page of these stories, varying in almost no detail from those of the Kandians, it does seem rather absurd that some who have described these people should have remarked that their memories are defective. What better test of their retentive powers could be desired?

Are the Forest Vaeddas Primitive ?-I have ventured to utter a doubt as to the position of the Forest Vaedda of these days. Is he, at least in part, the degenerate descendant of more civilised ancestors, and not altogether primitive? There are one or two facts which to a certain extent tell in favour of such an hypothesis.

It is made clear by Captain Robert Knox 2 that in the middle of the seventeenth century the majority of those who retained the name of Vaeddas were such as we should now term Forest Vaeddas. They were then found throughout a large tract of country in addition to the present Vaedi-rața or 'Vaedda Country,' on the east of the Kandian mountains. 3 He mentioned that about Hurulla, in the North-central Province, there are many of them that are pretty tame and 1 A proof, according to Eastern notions, of the excellence of the ruler.

2 An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon, 1681, p. 61.

At the beginning of last century Percival mentions Vaeddas as being found in considerable numbers in the Northern Province. Probably these were Wanniyas. (An Account of the Island of Ceylon, P. 273.)

come and buy and sell among the people,' and that he saw many of their camping-grounds in the forests between Anuradhapura and Arippu. Even if the tamer sort' could be found ' it must be with a great search in the woods,' as 'they have no Towns nor Houses.' All lived solely by hunting; they never Till any ground for Corn, their Food being only Flesh.'

I shall assume, therefore, that a few centuries ago the ancestors of all the present Village Vaeddas were in reality Forest Vaeddas—as we know was actually the case with many of them during the last century—and that at that period they acknowledged the same deities as their descendants.

The evidence, chiefly found in succeeding pages, which tends to indicate either the lapse of the Forest Vaeddas from a more civilised state, or their close connexion in former times with civilised people, is as follows:


1. They claim to belong to the highest castes of Vaeddas. Some of the wildest of them are members of the Baṇḍāra Warige,' the Chiefs Clan,' from which alone the Vaedda chiefs and kings were taken in ancient times. If these chiefs were civilised, many of the other members of the same leading clan were probably equally civilised.

2. Their knowledge of the Sinhalese language, which they spoke even in the time of Knox. Had they always been isolated from civilisation, as at present, it is difficult to comprehend how they could acquire this language. The fact that they understand and use in invocations such classical expressions as Nirindu,1 'Chief of men,' a poetical title meaning a king, proves a more or less intimate acquaintance with the tongue in ancient times. Such a word is never employed in modern colloquial Sinhalese.

3. Their adoption of the worship of the Goddess Mōhini, which must have been acquired through Sinhalese who had taken it over from Tamils, if not directly from Tamils. In either case it postulates an intimate and lengthened acquaintance with civilised people.

1 This word, the Sinhalese form of Nara + indra, occurs in an invocation of the Vaeddas which Dr. Seligmann was good enough to show me.

4. Their cult of Panikki [the] Vaeddā, a distinguished Vaedi chief who lived in the North-western Province, and was created a Baṇḍāra Mudiyansē or Mudaliyār (the title of a superior chieftain), in the latter half of the fifteenth century. 5. Their adoption of a whole series of the demons of the Sinhalese, which were acquired by the latter from the Dravidians of Southern India. Nothing but a very close connexion with the Sinhalese or Tamils can account for their taking over these evil deities and learning their attributes.

6. The mixed blood of the Forest Vaeddas, as well as that of the Village Vaeddas. While the majority are brown, some have black skins, which cannot have descended from Sinhalese, among whom a really black colour is quite exceptional; it must be derived from a strain of Dravidian blood. To acquire it they must have been on terms of intimacy with Sōla or Pandiyan Tamils.1

In the face of these facts it is difficult to resist the conclusion either that nearly all were once partly, if only slightly, civilised, or that at the least they must have been joined in their forest life by considerable numbers of Sinhalese and a few Tamils, that is, by civilised people. Knox even stated that this was the case. He remarked, 'They are reported to be courteous. Some of the Chingulays [Sinhalese] in discontent will leave their houses and friends and go and live among them, where they are civilly entertained' (p. 63). This adoption of the hunting life by occasional civilised villagers most probably continued for many centuries, and the cumulative effect of its influence on the Vaeddas is evident in their language and beliefs. 2

I have already drawn attention to the incontrovertible fact that there was a considerable Vaedda population at Anuradhapura in the time of Paṇḍukābhaya; and I may remark that the evidence of the caves is conclusive as to the abandonment of the cave life by nearly all the Vaeddas in pre1 Dr. Seligmann has met with some Tamil expressions in the invocations of the Vaeddas.

2 Mr. Bell says of the Vaedda villages in the North-central Province, 'Low-Country Sinhalese squatters have settled in every hamlet.' (Archaeological Survey. Annual Report for 1897, p. 1o, footnote.)


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