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look his fill and be thankful that he can
see their likenesses for nothing as often as
he likes.


LET others trace the birth of the Singhalese
people in a way that would meet the limited
understanding of our own ethnologists. The
Singhaleseno doubt, the best authorities upon
their own past historyaccount for themselves

In ancient days there was a great war in
Ceylon, known as the Rawena Jooddé, after
which the island was overrun by demons for
about two thousand years. In his visits to
Ceylon, Budha destroyed, or drove away all but
a few of these malignant spirits; and foretold
the arrival of a warrior, one Vijee Singheba
Kumaria, who with the help of seven hundred
followers would finish the job. Before entering
on his final rest (Nirwána, cessation of existence)
Budha gave a thread to Sekkereh Devee Edrya,
with instructions that it was to be worn as a
neck-tie by Vijee on his landing, and he left
also a consignment of holy-water with which
Vijee's followers were to be sprinkled.

This Vijee Singheba Kumaria was the son of
Sinhebahoo, king of Vagooratteh. Who can
doubt a fact so impressive? Sinhebahoo was
the son of a father to whom there belongs a

There reigned in Vagooratteh a king who
claimed descent from the sun, and this monarch
had a daughter who was the most beautiful girl
in the kingdom. Vagooratteh was infested by
lions. One of them was most furious and kept
the people of the country on the qui vive to
know who next should be eaten. This lion,
whilst prowling one day in the royal pleasure
grounds, espied the king's lovely daughter and
became enamoured of her. The monarch of the
forest seized the damsel, carried her off to his
stronghold, and made her his mate. He was, in
fact, the father with a tail. The offspring of his
marriage with the loveliest of princesses was a
son, human in form, but lion-hearted, to whom
his mother gave the name of Sinhebahoo. This
mother, who never ceased to yearn after the
home of her youth, and in whom the affectionate
remembrance of her parents was ever fresh,
instilled into the mind of her son an abhorrence
of his noisy, greedy father, and an ardent desire
to escape from the paternal den. In course of
time he took his opportunity, fled from the
only home he knew, and found refuge in the
royal city of Vagooratteh. Now this lion,
exasperated by the conduct of his son, became more
furious than ever, and so ravaged the country
that he was regarded by the people as a tax
from which it was the duty of their king to free
them. The king not having enough confidence
in his own strength to fight the lion personally,
and not being able to persuade any of his
warriors to have a bout with him, made proclamation
that whoever would destroy the lion should
receive the highest honours. Sinhebahoo then
went to court, tendered his services, and
received the royal mandate to go in and win.
He proceeded to the forest, did go in, sought
out his lion-father, fought him, beat him, and
became a highly meritorious parricide.

Sinhebahoo having abolished his father and
released his mother, returned in triumph to the
capital. A day of general rejoicing was
proclaimed, and Sinhebahoo was summoned to
appear before the aged king that high honours
might be conferred upon him, as per agreement.
The victorious warrior, on being admitted to
the royal presence, presented to the king his
long-lost daughter; and she declared that the
hero was her son. The monarch, filled with
gratitude towards the deliverer of his daughter,
and faint with admiration at the valour of
Sinhebahoo, acknowledged him as his grandson,
and made him heir to the throne of Vagooratteh.

Sinhebahoo had a son, whom he named Vijee
Singheba KumariaSingheba means descended
from the lion, for he was the lion's grandson.

About two thousand four hundred and ten
years ago,* Vijee, who inherited the lion-heart
of his father, conceived the idea of taking the
beautiful Lankádipa (Ceylon) from the demons
who held it, and of founding a new kingdom
for himself. He accordingly gathered together
a band of seven hundred giants, and at their head
invaded the island. On landing he and his
followers were met by a she-devil, named
Cowénee Jackinee, beautiful in form and bewitching
in manners; she fell in love with Vijee, and
wishing to preserve him from the rest of the
demons, led him and his companions into a
lonely part of the island, where they might live
unmolested. They had many adventures in
eluding the search of the other devils, many
flirtations together, and much love-making, at
least on the part of Cowénee. The adventurous
Vijee being thus thwarted in his project of
making himself master of the country, soon
yielded to Cowénee's request that he would
marry her; she promising that as soon as she
should become his wife, she would give him
power over all the other bad ones. As soon as
the marriage rites were concluded Cowénee
produced the holy-water, which Budha had
given to Sekkereh Devee Edrya, and with it
she sprinkled Vijee and his companions in arms.
By the efficacy of this holy sprinkling and
guided by Cowénee, Vijee and his little army
soon fell in with the devils and destroyed them
all but one, that one being Cowénee herself.

Cowénee, who had a vixenish temper and strong
passions, ruled her husband with a rod of iron;
and as he was impetuous, and kicked under her
rod, domestic tiffs were frequent. But as soon
as he submitted, her old flame rekindled and
she was as kind as ever. One day, after one of
these quarrels and reconciliations, whilst they
were billing and cooing together, Cowénee

* It is noteworthy that the period of Vijee's arrival
in Ceylon corresponds with the commencement of the
Budhist era, which dates five hundred and forty-three
years before the Christian era.