Within a short distance of the salt lakes, buffaloes, boars, and
in fact all kind of animals abound, and I have no doubt that if
it were once proved to the natives that the hides could be made
remunerative, they would soon learn the method of preparation.
Some persons have an idea that a native will not take the trouble
to do anything that would turn a penny; in this I do not agree.
Certainly a native has not sufficient courage for a speculation
which involves the risk of loss; but provided he is safe in that
respect, he will take unbounded trouble for his own benefit, not
valuing his time or labor in pursuit of his object.
I have noticed a great change in the native habits along the
southern coast which exemplifies this, since the steamers have
touched regularly at Galle.
Some years ago, elephants, buffaloes, etc., when shot by
sportsmen, remained untouched except by wild beast; but now
within one hundred and fifty miles of Galle every buffalo horn is
collected and even the elephant's grinders are extracted from the
skulls, and brought into market.
An elephant's grinder averages seven pounds in weight, and is not
worth more than from a penny to three half-pence a pound;
nevertheless they are now brought to Galle in large quantities to
be made into knife-handles and sundry ornaments, to tempt the
passengers of the various steamers.