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POETICAL SKETCHES OF THE INTERIOR OF THE ISLAND
BY THE REV. B. BAILEY.
Descend this hill : and on the other side
should ever dwell
How strange-soe'er the oriental name
Above this stream the Doombera Mountain rears
ON LEAVING KANDY.
And Í alone
Yon hill, 'tis said, contains the hidden gold
A MORNING SCENE!
That long white silvery cloud that fills the vale
As o'er this silent stream you slowly pass,
CEREMONY OF THE BURIAL OF THE KINGS OF KANDY.
This was the old Ferry over the Mahavella Ganga to Trincomalie. It is at the foot of the hill on which the Davy tree stands; and through it passed the ạnhappy victims who were cruelly butchered, as related in the last note. This ferry was the scene of the final ceremony of the burial of the kings of Kandy. After the burning of the remains of the deceased king at AwadanaMadonwe, the royal burying ground, and putting some of the calcined bones into a pot or urn of earthenware, covered and sealed, the rest of the ashes being deposited in the grave the following and final ceremony took place. “The urn was placed on the head of a man masked and corered all over with black, who, holding a sword in his hand, and mounted on an elephant or horse, proceeded to the Mahavelle Ganga. At the ferry called Katagastotte, two small canoes, made of the kakoonga, were prepared, lashed together, and covered with boughs, in the form of a bower. The masked bearer, entering the canoe, was drawn towards the mid-channel of the river by two men swimming; who, when they approached the deepest part of the stream, pushed the canoe forward, and hastily retreated. Now the mask, having reached the proper station, with the sword in one hand and the urn in the other, divided the urn with the sword, and in the act planged into the stream, and
diving, came up as far as possible below, and landing on the opposite side, disappeared. The canoes were allowed to float down the river; the horse or elephant was carried across, and left to graze at large, never to be used any more ; and the woman who threw the țice upon the coffin (one part of the ceremony before the consumption of the remains) with the men who carried them, were also transported to the other side of the river, under the strict prohibition of recrossing. The chiefs returned to the great square, informed. the prince that the ceremony was ended, and were again ordered to purify themselves." Davy's Ceylon page 162,
I have several times visited the spots, both of the ferry and the tree, since I compiled, and wrote the above notes, and the lines which occasioned them. My admiration is in no degree diminished; though I have since likewise seen the greater and finer part of the iuterior, which comprehended the old Kandian dominions, now provinces,-rich in varied, bold, and beautiful scenery,
At every point around Kandy this delightful river is visible, circling the town. Its banks are eminently beautiful. It flows over a bed of rocks. At low water--and indeed always except immediately after rains when the river is swollen---the rocky bed is visible. There is, however, deep rapid current through the middle,—the rocks being abruptly cleft, apparently by the force of the water. No regetable matter is collected in masses on the sides, or banks. Yet any continuous sojourn upon them is dangerous to Europeans from the almost certain infection of fever. It is indeed a singular fact-and known only as a fact, and not in its causes-that, in this island, the banks of beautiful rivers and running streams are, I believe, always infected; where our lakes are the great preservatives of health. Kandy, even for natives, waspot esteemed healthy, until the present lake was excavated by the late king. Colombo is perhaps the healthiest station in the island for a permanency. The sea is on one side of us, and a large, beautiful, and natural lake on the other.
I was told by a native, who spoke very imperfect English, that in a rocky hill just opposite to and visible from the Resthouse at Gampolla, -the first stage on the Nuwera Ellia road from Kandy,—the king, or kings, of Kandy bad hidden a vast treasure. He confessed to me, however, with some naiveté, that although he and others had often sought, they never could find any access to the rock where the treasure was supposed to be deposited. It is þowever, generally believed, from the partial confession of the last king, that poney and jewels to a large amount were secreted somewhere in the vicinity of the capital. It is a customary practice of alunost all uncivilized nations to bury their treasure. .