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.

Hop-Mauls, are Flowers growing upon great Trees, which bear nothing else, they are rarely sweet scented; this is the chief Flower the young people use; and is of greatest value among them.

CHAP.  VI.

Of their Beasts, Tame and Wild, Insects.

[What Beasts the Country produceth.] Having spoken concerning the Trees and Plants of this Island, We will now go on to speak of the Living Creatures on it, viz.  Their Beasts, Insects, Birds, Fish, Serpents, &c. useful or noxious.  And we begin first with their Beasts.  They have Cowes, Buffaloes, Hogs, Goats, Deer, Hares, Dogs, Jacols, Apes, Tygers, Bears, Elephants, and other Wild Beasts.  Lions, Wolves, Horses, Asses, Sheep, they have none. [Deer no bigger than Hares.] Deer are in great abundance in the Woods, and of several sorts, from the largeness of a Cow or Buffalo, to the smalness of a Hare.  For here is a Creature in this Land no bigger, but in every part rightly resembleth a Deer, It is called Meminna, of colour gray with white spots, and good meat.

[Other Creatures rare in their kind.] Here are also wild Buffalo’s; also a sort of Beast they call Gauvera, so much resembling a Bull, that I think it one of that kind.  His back stands up with a sharp ridg; all his four feet white up half his Legs.  I never saw but one, which was kept among the Kings Creatures.  Here was a Black Tygre catched and brought to the King, and afterwards a Deer milk white; both which he very much esteemed; there being no more either before or since ever heard of in that Land.

[The way how a Wild Deer was catched.] If any desire to know how this white Deer was caught, it was thus; This Deer was observed to come on Evenings with the rest of the Herd to a great Pond to drink; the People that were ordered to catch this Deer, fenced the Pond round and plain about it with high stakes, leaving onely one wide gap.  The men after this done lay in ambush, each with his bundle of Stakes ready cut.  In the Evening the Deer came with the rest of the Herd to drink according to their wont.  As soon as they were entred within the stakes, the men in ambush fell to their work, which was to fence in the gap left, which, there being little less than a Thousand men, they soon did; and so all the Herd were easily caught; and this among the rest.

[Of their Elephants.] The King hath also an Elephant spotted or freckled all the body over, which was lately caught; and tho he hath many and very stately Elephants, and may have as many more as he pleases, yet he prefers this before them all.  And since I am fallen upon discourse of the Elephant, the creature that this Countrey is famed for above any in India, I will detain my self a little longer upon it.

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