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The Pearl of India

Maturin Murray Ballou

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .n authentic and most invaluable record of the national history of Ceylon. A scholarly translation of the same is now extant in English. Pali, as the reader doubtless knows, is a dead language founded upon the Sanscrit, though Buddhists claim that it is the original of all tongues. This is an assumption easily disproved by Egyptian inscriptions dating back over six thousand years. The island, under its Sanskrit name of Lanka, is also the subject of a mythical poem of the Hindus, and its conquest by Rama is the theme of the Ramayana, doubtless one of the most ancient epics in existence. The Mahawanso, though the oldest, is by no means the only Singhalese chronicle of a historic character. It was designed by a priest named Mahanamo, who compiled the early portion, commencing five centuries and more before Christ, and bringing it down to the year 301 of our era. After this it was continued by able successors, who carried on the original plan of the beginner to the period when. . . Read More