An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon in the East Indies eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 438 pages of information about An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon in the East Indies.

CHAP.  III.

Of their Corn, with their manner of Husbandry.

[The Products and Commodities of the Countrey.] Having discoursed hitherto of the Countrey, method will require that I proceed now to the Products of it; Viz. their Fruits, Plants, Beasts, Birds, and other Creatures, Minerals, Commodities, &c. whereof I must declare once for all, That I do not pretend to write an Exact and Perfect Treatise, my time and leisure not permitting me so to do; but only to give a Relation of some of the chief of these things, and as it were a tast of them, according as they that occur to my Memory while I am writing.  I shall first begin with their Corn, as being the Staff of their Countrey.

[Corn of divers sorts.] They have divers sorts of Corn, tho all different from ours.  And here I shall first speak of their Rice, the Choice and Flower of all their Corn, and then concerning the other inferior kinds among them.

[Rice.] Of Rice they have several sorts, and called by several names according to the different times of their ripening:  However in tast little disagreeing from one another.  Some will require seven Months before it come to maturity, called Mauvi; some six, Hauteal; others will ripen in five, Honorowal; others in four, Henit; and others in three, Aulfancol:  The price of all these is one and the same.  That which is soonest ripe, is most savoury to the tast; but yieldeth the least increase.  It may be asked then, why any other sort of Rice is sown, but that which is longest a Ripening, seeing it brings in most Profit?  In answer to this, you must know, [Grows in Water.  Their Ingenuity in watering their Corn Lands.] That all these sorts of Rice do absolutely require Water to grow in, all the while they stand; so that the Inhabitants take great pains in procuring and saving water for their Grounds, and in making Conveyances of Water from their Rivers and Ponds into their Lands, which they are very ingenious in; also in levelling their Corn Lands, which must be as smooth as a Bowling-Green, that the Water may cover all over.  Neither are their steep and Hilly Lands uncapable of being thus overflown with Water.  For the doing of which they use this Art.  They level these Hills into narrow Allies, some three; some eight foot wide one beneath another, according to the steepness of the Hills, working and digging them in that fashion that they lye smooth and flat, like so many Stairs up the Hills one above another.  The Waters at the top of the Hills falling down wards are let into these Allies, and so successively by running out of one into another, water all; first the higher Lands, and then the lower.  The highest Allies having such a quantity of Water as may suffice to cover them, the rest runs over unto the next, and that having its proportion, unto the next, and so by degrees it falls into all these hanging parcels of Ground.  These Waters last sometimes a longer, and sometimes a shorter

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An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon in the East Indies from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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