The Tamarind Tree of Leonard Woolf (ලෙනාර්ඩ් වුල්ෆ් නඩු ඇසූ සියඹලා ගස)

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The magistrate walked back slowly to the village, followed by Silindu and the headman and such of the spectators as were more interested in the inquiry than in the postmortem. The same procedure of inspection was gone through with Fernando’s body, which lay under another little canopy, where he had died by the stile of the Arachchi’s compound.

After the inspection came the inquiry : a table and chair had been placed under a large tamarind-tree for the magistrate to write at. The witnesses were brought up, examined, and their statements written down. After each had made his statement, Silindu was told that he could ask them any questions which he wanted them to answer. He had none.” (Woolf, 1913).

The above extraction from the novel The Village in the Jungle by Leonard Wolf, an assistant government agent in the Southern Province, where he administered the District of Hambantota.

The village in the novel is called Beddagama, which means ‘village in the jungle’. It lay in the low country or plains, midway between the sea and the great mountains which seem, far away to the north, to rise like a long wall straight up from the sea of trees.

The village in the novel is based on a real cluster of jungle villages in Meegahajandura in Hambantota and on Leonard Wolf’s experience during his period of service in Hambantota.

The Tamarind Tree in the novel is the tree which Leonard Wolf used to hold the mobile court when he visited the area during 1908-1911. The tree lies hidden adjoining the main road in Meegahajandura between Udawalawe – Thanamalwila road and Hambantota, A billboard lies underneath the tree identifying the significance of the tree.


  • Woolf, L.S. (1913) The Village in the Jungle. 2nd edn. London, England: Edward Arnold.

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