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From Paradise to Taprobane is forty leagues; there may be heard the sound of the Fountains of Paradise.

Traditional: reported by Friar Marignolli (A.D. 1335)

The country I have called Taprobane does not quite exist, but is about ninety percent congruent with the island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Though the Afterword will make clear what locations, events and personalities are based on fact, the reader will not go far wrong in assuming that the more unlikely the story, the closer it is to reality.

The name Taprobane is now usually spoken to rhyme with plain, but the correct classical pronunciation is Tap-ROB-a-nee

as Milton, of course, well knew:

"From India and the golden Chersoness

And utmost Indian Isle Taprobane

(Paradise Regained, Book IV)

Arthur C. Clarke The Fountains of Paradise | The Fountains of Paradise | 1. Kalidasa