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Manner of Taking the Elephant in the Island of Ceylon. 83 Incongruous Adoption.—The Game of Hazard.
elephant, which are here very numerous, and particularly destructive amongst the young trees and plantations. In order to accomplish their purpose, an immense number of cocoa or palm-trees are provided, which are well secured in the ground, and bound together both at top and bottom with a cordage made of the bark of the same tree, which, notwithstanding its great length, the elephants frequently break through, and kill their pursuers. As soon as an inclosure is formed with these trees, the shape of which resembles a drag-net, and extends nearly a mile in length, and about thirty or forty yards in breadth, gradually decreasing towards the extremity, where there is a division formed in the same manner as the rest, with the addition of a trap-door, through which the elephants are forced, and when they have pasfed, a person who sits there for that purpose, lets down the trapdoor, and prevents their return. A party of about twelve or fifteen hundred men are now employed to surround these creatures, perhaps it may be at the distance of forty or fifty miles; and by the means of firing muskets, beating drums, and keeping fires constantly round them in the night, they continue to drive, for many days, sometimes weeks, until at length they get them into the inclosure, the smallest part of which will barely admit one only, at a time, and when there, by thrusting a tree behind him, can neither get backwards or forwards. - Two tame elephants are then brought to the spot, and after being made fast between them, some of the trees are removed, and he is condućted to a place L 2. already
84 already prepared, where he is again secured until he becomes tame and gentle, which very "shortly happens; but should he prove unruly, the tame elephants beat and lash him with their trunk or proboscis.
In this manner we had an opportunity of seeing from a scaffold erected for that purpose, forty taken at once; some of the young ones not more than three feet high, but these were all trampled to death by the others, it being impossible to take them alive.
The Dutch take great numbers annually, and carry on a confiderable trade with them to the continent of India.