From the Preface.
That moment when an author dots the last period to his manuscript, and then rises up from the study-chair to shake its many and hulky pages together is almost as exciting an occasion as when he takes a quire or so of foolscap and sits down to write the first line of it. Many and mingled feelings pervade his mind, and hope and fear vie with one another and alternately overcome one another, until at length the author finds some slight relief for his feelings and a kind of excuse for his book, by writing a preface, in which he states briefly the nature and character of the work, and begs the pardon of the reader for his presumption in undertaking it.
A winter in Kashmir must be experienced to be realised. The air is most invigorating, and the quiet is sublime. Even an ordinarily busy missionary enjoys much leisure through such a season in this beautiful country
I have now spent two long quiet winters here, and this "Dictionary of Kashmiri Proverbs and Sayings" is the result of many hours of labour, study, and anxiety, during these leisurable months. As a missionary, on arriving in the Valley, I at once devoted my attention to the study of the language; and believing that Proverbs taught "the real people's speech," discovered "the genius, wit and spirit of a nation," and embodied its "current and practical philosophy," I quickly began to make a collection of them. This book, I believe, contains nearly all the Proverbs and Proverbial sayings now extant among the Kashmiri people. They have been gathered from various sources. Sometimes the great and learned Pandit instinctively uttered a proverb in my hearing; sometimes I got the barber to tell me a thing or two, as he polled my head; and sometimes the poor coolie said something worth knowing, as carrying my load he tramped along before me. A few learned Muhammadan and Hindu friends also, have very materially helped me in this collection and its arrangement; and here I again heartily acknowledge their kind and ready service.
Actum est. It is done; and now the manuscript has to be sent to the publishers, and notices have to be posted to the different papers and journals interested to advertise the work as "in the press." What will the little world say, into whose hands it may chance to arrive? How will the philologist, the ethnologist, the antiquarian, the student of folklore, and the general reader regard this which has cost some considerable time and study. Dear reader, in order that your criticism may not be so hard as it might, perhaps, otherwise be, please permit me to remind you that Kashmir proper is but a small country, a little vale surrounded by snow-capped mountain ranges, about eighty-four miles long from north-west to south-east, and from twenty to twenty-five miles in width, with an area of about 1,850 square miles; that the Kashmiri language is virtually minus a Dictionary and Grammar, and that besides one or two very unimportant works written in the Persian character, all true Kashmiri books are printed in a kind of mongrel-Devanagari character called Sharada, which only a very small proportion of the population can properly read; that the Kashmiri language itself is very difficult, and is spoken differently by different persons-the Hindus and Muhammadans, especially, speaking distinct dialects; that information from books of travel, &c, like Vigne's, Hugel's, Knight's, Drew's, Bellew's and others, is very crude, scanty, and contradictory, concerning the manners and customs of the Kashmiri; and that this individual is not naturally so communicative as might be expected from his cheery look and humorous disposition.show more