Bloodthirsty And Barbarous The Tyrant, The More Was He Dreaded By
The Awe-Stricken And Trembling Population.
The power of such a
weapon of annihilation as the command of the waters may be easily
conceived as it invested a king with almost divine authority in
the eyes of his subjects.
Now there is little doubt that the existence of precious gems at
Newera Ellia may have been accidentally discovered in digging the
numerous water-courses in the vicinity; there is, however, no
doubt that at some former period the east end of the plain,
called the "Vale of Rubies," constituted the royal "diggings."
That the king of Kandy did not reside at Newera Ellia there is
little wonder, as a monarch delighting in a temperature of 85
Fahrenheit would have regarded the climate of a mean temperature
of 60 Fahrenheit as we should that of Nova Zembla.
We may take it for granted, therefore, that when the king came to
Newera Ellia his visit had some object, and we presume that he
came to look at the condition of his water-courses and to
superintend the digging for precious stones; in the same manner
that Ceylon governors of past years visited Arippo during the
The "diggings" of the kings of Kandy must have been conducted on
a most extensive scale. Not only has the Vale of Rubies been
regularly turned up for many acres, but all the numerous plains
in the vicinity are full of pits, some of very large size and of
a depth varying from three to seventeen feet.
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