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India 486

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INDIA 486. Ceylon.—Let us imag ine ourselves getting off a steamer at the city of Colombo in the island of Cey lon. Dark-skinned people, with white turbans wound around their heads, carry from our ship cases of oil from America and cotton cloth from Manchester. Piles of boxes are waiting on the wharf to go back on the steamer. What is in the boxes? Things that grow on this island, but not in our own country—tea, copra (Sec. 245), and rubber from the plantations of Ceylon. Dark-skinned native workers and English managers have made many rich plantations on this island.

487. Southern the mainland of India, we find the summer so hot that we go about only in the morning and evening, and rest in the shade in the middle of the day. People do this in nearly all tropic countries. The houses in these vil lages of the tea workers have grass -roofs and mud walls built with bare hands, and are shaded by tall mango trees. The chil dren are petting strange birds in cages and eating strange fruits. Every house has its garden, with banana trees, climbing beans, and many vegetables. Everybody grows some crops about his little house. Along the dusty road, men drive carts drawn by oxen with great humps on their necks. (See Fig. 477.) Sometimes we see a boy watching a village herd of humped cows at pasture.

Right at the end of the fields is the green wall of the jungle, the tropical forest, so full of bushes, vines, and creepers that we could scarcely get through it, even if we wanted to. We do not go into the jungle, for we have heard people talk of the tigers, leopards, and snakes to be found there. Snakes kill thousands of persons in India every year. We have seen this thick tropic jungle before, when we were visiting the rubber gatherers. (Sec. 269.) It is hard work to fight back the jungle growth and make a field.

488. Central India.—For two days, we ride northward by slow train, on a railroad that the English have helped the natives of India to build. The little train takes us through forests, villages, gardens, and fields. Finally, after crossing some for ested mountains, we find ourselves in the plateau of Dekkan, where is located the city of Hyderabad. (See Fig. 444.) We

are surprised to learn that it is a large city, as big as San Francisco, or Buffalo. We walk along the main street. It is full of dark-skinned people. More people come. The street becomes so crowded that we cannot walk. Soldiers pass. They line up and .hold the people back. To-day the Nizam, or native king, of the state of Hyderabad, is having a procession. The people of India love processions. They cheer loudly as His Royal Highness passes, riding on an elephant, and richly decked in gold cloth and ornaments, and sur rounded by many soldiers.

489. An elephant the United States we see elephants only in the circus, or at a zoological garden, but the people of India train elephants to work for them. In a lumber yard by a railroad, we see an elephant lifting big timbers and logs of wood as easily as a boy picks up apples. The driver, who sits on the elephant's neck, speaks to him, and he obeys as intelligently and as quickly as a well trained dog. Where did the Indians get this elephant? Catching an elephant would be a great sight to see.

Let us suppose that we have the chance to go into the forest with a party of elephant hunters, to a place where they have built a stockade, or pen, with a strong fence made of logs planted• deeply in the ground and tied together with chains. We will climb into a tree beside the stockade to watch the end of the hunt. The sound of shouting and drums comes out of the forest. Presently a wild elephant rushes into the stockade and tries to break it. He is followed by another and another, as a long string of five hundred men gradually draw nearer and nearer the stockade from all sides, beating drums, firing guns, yell ing horribly, and scaring all the elephants before them, so that the beasts run into the open side of the strong stockade, which is then closed to keep them in. After the wild elephants are captured, they are given to the elephant tamers, who conquer the wild animals by having tame elephants hold them and help the men chain them. Finally they learn that man is to be obeyed. Then they go to work in the lumber yards, pull wagons, and carry travelers who are not in too great a hurry.

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