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TRADITION RESPECTING THE COCOA NUT TREE.
About one-and-hall mile from Belligam, a fishing hamlet on the south-east of Ceylon, hetween the towns of Calle and Matura (heing seventeen iniles distance from each) compleirly concealed from riew by the density of the Cocoa-nut groves, a large roek of granite displays the gigantic figure of a former Prince called kotlah Penjah: it is about eighteen feet high skulptured in the soliil rock. This Rajal or Sovereign Prince, became suddenly afficied with a cutaneous disease which covered him with a while sculs substance from heail to foot, depriving him of human appearance, and sacrifices were Tesorted to hy his people, appease the anger of the great demon sip; osed to be the author of the Rajah's sufferings. He objected to assist at any diabolical sacrifices, but preferred to submit to the decrees of the superior power; but with due humility paid his accustomed devotions and offered sweet swelling flowers according to the relixion of Budhoo, and after repeating a long prafer, he fell into a sound sleep, which lasted several days. Duriuz bis trance he beheld a large expanse of water, which he found salt and nauseous, although of a fine green color, having ou its margin immense groves of trees of a rare kind, such as he had never seen before, instead of branches as other trees had, a laft of large leaves, as they then appeared 10 him, crowned the lofty summit of parh, on an immense beight, but was totally dirested of branches. The Kottah Rajah, after his trance, felt deeply impressed with his dream, and he renewed his oblations and prayers, in hopes of a happs result. A Cobra de Capella the sacred snake of the Budhists, shortly after approached and having expanded its speckled masked hood, raised its head a cubit ahore the ground, and observed steadily the Rajuh for some moments, when the animal extended its hlue forked tongiie and thrice boxing its head, la pped water from the leaf, which served the Rajah for his use, after which the snake retired to the jungle. This
a conviction of Budhoo's faror. Again the Prince grew very ill, only reposing under the shelter of the shady Bogaha.* During this sleep, the former visjon appeared with the additional appearance of an aged man- was Maha Sudora, the father of tbe god Budhon, who thus accosted the Rajah: “From ignorance of the sacredness of the ground orer which god's favorite tree casts its skade, tbou didst omit the respect due to it from all created beings, its deeply pointed leaf, distin. guished it ahore all other trees as sacred to Budhon, and under apotber tree of the gaine heavenly character thou not liest a mass of sores and ulcers, which * the impurity of the red water within the large and small rivers of thy body, "has, at the deity's command, brought upon thee externalls, but since the kind
snake, the shelterer of the god Budhoo whilst on earth, has partaken of thy drink, thou wilt derive health and long life, by obeying my commands. In that
• Ficus Religiosa.
direction," pointing south, " lies thy remedy ; a hundred bours journey will bring thee to those trees, whichi ilivu shalt see in reality, aud faste their frait to thy lippebt, but on the top only it is to he produced, by fire it mest he obtained, the inside partly cf transparent liquiil, partly of innocent fund, bust be thy sole diet till thrice the great moon (Maha Hanilah) has given and refused her light, thy disease will then leare thee, and thon wilt be cltan again, but forget 110t with the restoration of thy health, sacrifices of sweet flowers and fruits wiih much thanksgiving to that greal Brahma of all trahmas, to whon all other gods and even demons pas homage, thro' whose mercy and forgiveness, thy bodily vigour will be reatored.” A sound, as of teu thousand lom toms struck at once, seemed in the delighted Rajab as a manifestation of the Bessenger's authority. This sound contivued for aunie hours after he awoke. As thau considered it his duty to obey commands su mysteriously conrered Haring summoned his immediate followers from their rarious te mporary resting plaies, and having repeated to them the divine prophecy, and made a propiti. story offering us before under the sacred tree, be aud bis relinue proceeded in a direct course thru' rivers and forests, southward. When a hundred hours' journey had been performed without any perceptible fatigue to himself of ettevilunts, he found the anticipated view of that boundless expanse of bloo water, which had appeared in his dreams, and on its margin immense grores of trees with Tufts of leaves (for the first time perceived to be large branches) whicb gratified bis astonished but delighted sight. Beneath these branches sheltered from The rertical sun bong large clusters of fruit, much larger than he had ever seen in his own country, of green, yellow, and red colore, and others apparently black. There were po human beings on the coast, but wild beasts, leopards, bears, storks and elephants inuumerable. To elimh the creuanut tree was then unknown, and considered beyond the power of mortal man, but as fire had been pointed out as the means of obtaining the frnit, the followers were immediately employed to kindle a flame; scarrels had hour elapsed, when a stupendous tree came prostrate with the earth with a tremendous crash, when from its capacious and verdant crest crept out creatures innumerable; large blue scorpions, brown and yellow sentipedes, snakes of various hues from the polonga to the less dreaded ear snuke, various colored beetles, tarantulas and spiders of all sorts. The novel fruit was at first opened with some difficulty, and the Rajah was astonished lo observe that the stately trees seemed to thrive best where ang ordinary ones could not survive the least sprinkling of the briny spray.
Mute with astonishment at the vast expanse of ocean which he then for the first tine approached, the Rajab bent to taste the liquid element and he Sonnd it as prognosticated, and he had a full belief that “ere the great moon bad thrice given and refused her light" that he would be cleansed from bio foul disumpor. The Rajah and followers continued to live on the prescribed
diet, for indeed from necessity, as there were no other fruits to be found near the oc-an, The prescribed time rolled on, the Rajah gradually lost the white and scaly skin, wbich had enveloped him like the armour of the great ant eater of the interior (the Negombo Devil) and he was now convinced of the approach of his recorery. After again performing the sacred duties pointed out to him in bis vision on the first stone which appeared durable and out of the reach of the sea, in token of his gratitude he caused to be carved on the granite rock, a gigantic statue of himself, remarking that its great height would shew the wonderful recovery be had experienced being a very little man in stature, and as a memorial of the blessing of 'God, to be handed down to millions then unborn. Numerous families froin the high country, (Kandian signifying mountainous) soon emigrated to the sea coast, for the Rajah made it an imperious duty to give publicity to the virtues of the fruit of the cocnannt tree, therehy giving a general knowledge of that splendid production, whilst the conviction of its transcendent utility, pointed out its propagation as a never failing source of individual advantage and 'of progressive national prosperity.
THE BAWALY TANK.
The following account of this celebrated Tank has heen estracted from the reports made by my late father Gabriel Casie Chitty Modeliar and Mr. Reinier Van Gunster. District Surveyor of Calpentyn un. der date the 231 of July 1832.
The Bawaly Tank is situated about 5 miles east of Pallikandel, in that portion of the Chilaw District designated Pomparippe Pattoo. It is a work of considerable antiquity and appears to have been built by the then sovereigns of the country for the pare pose of securing a sufficient quantity of water to facilitate the cultivation of the whole of the low lands, which lie to the north of the Pomparippo river ; but is now gnite out of repair and over grown with jungle. It is nearly surrounded by a chain of small hills; but on the west and south sides where nature does not afe ford a harner, an embankment, composed of clay, has been formed to the length of threę and one sixth part of a mile. The hollow ground Allached to the Tank is about two miles in breadth from the curve of the bank to the eastward but when it is full of water it might nobably extend to half a mile more over the elevated parts. The perpendicular height of the bank must at one time have been very considerable, but at present it is, however, not equal in all places, and in the highest part measures only fifteen feet. A stream called Vaivittan Aar, which flows from ihe Kandyan
country daring the rainy season, has 'forced à passage through the bank on
the west side, and which, together with the disordered state of the sluices, has contributed to rüin the Tank. On the south side of the Tank is the river, called Pomparippo, and on the west a branch of the same, called Votámadoo Aar. Between the Tank and the Pomparippo river there is a tract of high ground containing an extent of about 380 acres, which is well adapted for planting Cocoanut, Areka and Jack trees, and at a small distance to the „eastward are found the remains of some ancient buildings consisting as usual of a great number of black granite pillars and trago ments of brick.
The Tank has three large breaks and before they are repaired it would be necessary to throw ng a dam across the Ooloomados Aar in order to prevent its communication with the Pomparippo river, and likewise to block up the passage of the Vaivitran Aar. Three sluices are required to be built and as the height of the bank has become much worn
out by the treading of wild animals it should be heighted five feet in the elevated parts and ten in the lowest that the whole may bear å level of twenty feet and be capable of confining within its compass seventeen feet of water.
The expenses required for the repairs of the Tank are estimated at £5,360 ls. 3d.
There is every reason to believe, that under the government of the Tamil sovereigns, the country about Pomparippo overflew with inhabitants, who had directed their attension exclusively to agriculture and, that it was since the destruction of the Bawaly Tank, it became deserted and allowed to be overgrown with forests, which now form the în disturbed domain of elephants and other wild ani. inals. Out of the many hundred villages irrigated by this Tank, Pallikandel, Pumparippo, Naseevenkolam, Moolakandel and Kalla: kandel are the only ones cultivated at present but that also to & very inconsiderable extent by means of the small Tanks attached to theni, and the annual produce does not average more than 3 or 4000 Parrahs. If the Tank in question were repaired the whole of the jungle tracts may be reclaimed and an extent of 30,000 Parrahs can be cultivated (viz. 20,000 for the Maha and 10,000 for the Yalla harvest), the general produce of which will arerage at the minimum 3,00000 Parrahs but it shonld be remarked, that in oriler to effect this desirable object a great number of husband. men is necessary, at least 1,500, but the present number of inhabitants in the whole of the Pomparippo Pattoo including women and children does not exceed 500.
S. C. C.
ERNMTHE YEAR 1739-40 TO 1760-61, INCLUSIVE.
Amsterde LEE, Esq.)
TUE £ Si