Author: R. L. Brohier
Publisher: Sooriya Publishers
Fifth Edition 2012
There are few professions, the activities of which are less known to a popular world, than the Survey. There are none more rich in opportunities for the study of Nature in its many aspects, for the exploration and investigation of vestiges of an old-time civilization or for gleaning the lore and legend, and the simple thoughts of people who find refuge away from civilization.
The book is the product of over forty years of travel, on the highways, and along byways of Ceylon, in association with “the theodolite and the tape”. It consists largely of legends and traditions which have come down by word of mouth from one generation to the other. They therefore defy close analysis of observation, but are unconsciously held by a simple, conservative people to be true.
These stories, collected in the course of my circuits, call to memory trek through forests – where the company of tree-tops shuts out sunlight, and the strange odours of herbs and leaves and rotting wood pervade everything; the sun-scorched plains—where soggy and sodden with sweat one traverses open chenas while heat-waves dance in the dazzling sunshine; up craggy mountains—where in a biting wind as cold as charity, one patiently waits the lifting of mist to make an observation. They call to mind many elderly “story-tellers” (many of them perhaps now dead), who can always be found among the forest dwellers, the village rustic and the temple recluse—provided one is prepared to lend a sympathetic ear to what they have to tell.
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