Find and quote a statement in the story that most likely explain the original purpose of the ritual.
First part of the question was. What is the signifance of the fact that the original box has been lost and may parts of the ritual have been forgotten.
After the lottery has begun and people are talking amongst themselves as the initial phases progress, Old Man Warner expresses his irritation with those who have considered doing away with the practice, saying, "...Used to be a saying about 'Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.'..." The inclusion of this quote makes it clear to the reader that the practice of holding the lottery was based on a superstition that doing so would result in a good, early crop. Clues regarding the setting of the story, such as a reference to Mr. Graves's barn, also lead the reader to understand that this ritual takes place in what is probably a farming community; at one point, the narrator reveals that certain changes have been made to the ritual as time passed and circumstances changed:
"Chips of wood, Mr. Summers had argued, had been all very well when the villages was tiny, but now that the population was more than three hundred and likely to keep on growing, it was necessary to use something that would fit more easily into the black box."