Village Folk-tales of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), vol. 1-3

by Henry Parker | 1910 | 406,533 words

This folk-tale entitled “the kadambawa men and the dream” is gathered from oral sources sources, tracing its origin to ancient Ceylon (Sri Lanka). These tales are often found to contain similarities from stories from Buddhism and Hinduism. This is the story nr. 45 from the collection “stories of the tom-tom beaters”.

Story 45 - The Kadambawa men And The Dream

WHEN some Kadambawa men, having joined together, were going away to Puttalam, it became night while they were on the road. Having got a resting-place, and cooked and eaten, while they were sleeping a tusk elephant appeared to a man in a dream.

On the morning of the following day the man said to the other men,

“Friends, last night I saw an evil dream.”

The men asked,

“What was in the dream ?”

The man said,

“I saw a tusk elephant.”

Then the men began to interpret the dream. They said,

“What is the meaning ? If there is a tusk elephant there will be elephant’s dung; if elephant’s dung, paddy [which the elephant has eaten]; if paddy, uncooked rice; if uncooked rice, cooked rice ; if cooked rice, it is a thing [found only] in the village. Therefore the elephant means the village. Something must have happened. It is useless for us to go on. Let us go back to the village.”

So all, weeping and weeping, set out to return to the village.

As they came to the rice field of the village, the women and boys of the village having heard the men coming crying and crying aloud, said,

“Ane ! Our men are coming crying and crying. What is it ? It will be a dreadful thing.”

So the women and boys, having come from the houses to that side of the field before those men came across, began to cry also.

On seeing them, the man who saw the dream said to those

other men,

“Look there ! Did I tell you falsely ?”


the men cried the more. Having seen it, these boys and

women, they also cried more and more. The two parties having come quite near each other still cried. The women and boys on that side of the stile [at the edge of the field], these men on the field side of it, except that they cried said nothing.

While they were crying and crying until it became night, as a man from another village was going along the path he heard this uproar, and came to see what it was.

He asked at the hand of the men,

“What is it ? Who is dead ?”

Then the men, crying and crying, said,

“Who is dead we don’t know.”

After that, the man having gone near those women and boys, asked,

“What is it ? Who is dead ?”

Then those persons also said, crying and crying,

“Who is dead we don’t know.”

Afterwards the man having stopped the crying of both parties, when he had asked them about it, there was nothing dreadful. So the man went away, and these men and women and boys, they also went to their houses.



In Indian Nights’ Entertainment (Swynnerton), p. 348, a weaver girl said to herself that it would be a good thing if she married in her own village, but if she had a son and he were to die, how her relatives and friends would lament! The thought of it made her cry. When her aunts and friends observed it they all cried too, and her father and uncles and brothers coming up and seeing all these people crying, also cried. When a neighbour asked the men what it was about, who was dead ? they could not tell him, but referred him to the women. He then learnt that these also did not know, but cried because they saw the girl crying.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: