Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/558

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52 2 Reviews.

the plumage of his bird bride, and she lives happily with him ever after.

As in other volumes of this excellent series, the monograph is well illustrated with coloured drawings and photographs.

W. Crooke.

The Veddas. By C. G. Seligmann and Brenda Z. Seligmann.

Cambridge University Press, 191 1. 8vo, pp. xx + 463. A complete survey of that interesting race, the Veddas, in supplement to the investigations published in 1893 by Drs. Paul and Fritz Sarasin under the title of Die Weddas von Ceylon und die sie lungebenden Volkerschaften^ was a task peculiarly suited to those skilled explorers Dr. and Mrs. Seligmann. Further oppor- tunities for such a survey will soon disappear, because the tribe is now verging on extinction, and their characteristic beliefs and customs are being seriously affected by contact with Tamils and Sinhalese. Though pure-blooded Veddas are still not rare, Dr. Seligmann was able to meet only four families, and to hear of two more, which have never practised cultivation. Another cause of their degradation from the anthropological point of view is that some of them have now assumed the role of the professional primitive man, exhibiting themselves to travellers clad in their traditional scanty garments, whereas, when not on show^, they dress like the neighbouring peasant Sinhalese.

Dr. Seligmann pays a well-deserved tribute to the work done by his wife while they were engaged on this survey, and it is clear that the presence of a lady, whose tactful intercourse with the women of the tribe secured information on family life not other- wise attainable, contributed largely to the success of the expedition. The work, which thus appears under the joint authorship of the explorers, must rank as an anthropological classic, and it is necessary to direct attention only to a few of the more important results.

The Sinhalese beUeve that the Veddas were once a rich and powerful people, and this tradition is corroborated by reference to them in the Mahawansa chronicle. A few of their rock shelters