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and the answer to the report of the gun was a
He had sunk upon his knees stone dead. I could hardly believe my eyes. The sight of so large an animal being killed at such a distance by one shot had an extraordinary effect. I heard a heathenish scream of joy behind me, and upon turning round I perceived the now courageous gun-bearers running towards me at their best pace. They were two of the Topari villagers, and had been perfectly aghast at the idea of one person, with only one single-barrelled rifle, attacking a tank rogue in the open plain. The sequel had turned their fear into astonishment. They now had the laugh at me, however, as they swam fearlessly up to the dead elephant to cut off his tail, which I would not have done for any reward, for fear of crocodiles, which abound in the tank. The ball had struck the white mark exactly in the centre, which pleased these natives exceedingly, and they returned in safety with the tail.
I have frequently tried these long shots since, but I never succeeded again except once, and that was not satisfactory, as the elephant did not die upon the spot, but was found by the natives on the following day.
RUINS OF POLLANARUA.
On my return to the village I took a short gun and strolled along the banks of the lake. The snipe were innumerable, and I killed them till my head ached with the constant recoil of the gun in addition to the heat. I also killed several couple of ducks and teal, in addition to twenty-eight couple of snipe. This was the Paradise for sport at the time of which I write. It had never been disturbed; but it has since shared the fate of many other places.
The open forest in the vicinity of the lake abounded with deer. Grassy glades beneath the shady trees give a park-like appearance to the scene, and afford a delightful resort for the deer.
In strolling through these shady glades, you suddenly arrive among the ruins of ancient Pollanarua. The palaces are crumbled into shapeless mounds of bricks. Massive pillars, formed of a single stone some twelve feet high, stand in upright rows throughout the jungle here and there over an extent of miles of country. The buildings which they once supported have long since fallen, and the pillars now stand like tombstones over vanished magnificence. Some buildings are still standing; among these are two dagobas, huge monuments of bricks, formerly covered with white
cement and elaborately decorated with different devices. These are shaped like an egg which has been cut nearly in half and then placed upon its base; but the cement has perished, and they are mounds of jungle and rank grass which has overgrown them, although the large dagoba is upwards of a hundred feet high.
A curious temple, formed on the imperishable principle of excavating in the solid rock, is in perfect preservation, and is still used by the natives as a place of worship: this is presided over by a priest. Three large images of Bhudda, carved out of solid rock, occupy the positions in which he is always represented; that in the recumbent posture is fifty-six feet long, cut from one solid stone.
I was strolling through these ruins when I suddenly saw a spotted doe feeding among the upright pillars before mentioned. I was within twenty yards of her before she was aware of my vicinity, and I bagged her by a shot with a doublebarrelled gun. At the report of the gun a herd of about thirty deer, which were concealed among the ruins, rushed close by me, and I bagged another doe with the remaining barrel.
The whole of this country must at one time
have been densely populated; perhaps this very density may have produced pestilence, which swept away the inhabitants. The city has been in ruins for about 600 years, and was founded about 300 years before Christ. Some idea of the former extent of these Ceylon antiquities may be formed from the present size of the ruins. Those of Anarajapoora are 16 miles square, comprising a surface of 256 square miles. Those of Pollanarua are much smaller, but they are nevertheless of great extent.
The inhabitants of the present village of Toparí are a poor squalid race; and if they are descended in a direct line from the ancient occupants of the city, they are as much degenerated in character and habits as the city itself is ruined in architecture. Few countries can be more thinly populated than Ceylon, and yet we have these numerous proofs of a powerful nation having once existed. Whereever these lakes or tanks exist in the present day, a populous country once flourished. In all countries which are subject to months of drought, a supply of water is the first consideration, or cultivation must cease. This was the object in forming the tanks, which are especially numerous throughout the Tambancadua district. These
tank countries afford a great diversity of sport, as they all abound with wild-fowl and with snipe in their season (from November to May). During the time of drought they are always the resort of every kind of wild animal, who are forced to the neighbourhood for a supply of water.
The next tank to Toparí is that of Doolana; this is eight miles from the former, and is of about the same extent. In this district there are no less than eight of these large lakes. Their attractions to rogue elephants having been explained, it may be readily understood that these gentry abound throughout the district. I shall, therefore, select a few incidents which have happened to me in these localities, which will afford excellent illustrations of the habits of "rogues.'
Having arrived at Doolana, on the 5th April, 1847, with excellent Moormen trackers, who were elephant-catchers by profession, I started for a day's sport in company with my brother B. This particular portion of the district is inhabited entirely by Moormen. They are a fine race of people, far superior to the Cingalese. They are supposed to be descended from Arabian origin, and they hold the Mahometan religion. The Rhatamahatmeya, or head-man of the district, resides at