Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/451

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443
THE RAIN-MAKER.

siasm, saw already their corn-fields floating in the breeze, and their flocks and herds return lowing homeward by noonday from the abundance of pasture. He told them how, in his wrath, he had desolated the cities of the enemies of his people by stretching forth his hand and commanding the clouds to burst upon them; how he had arrested the progress of a powerful army by causing a flood to descend, which formed a mighty river, and stayed their course. These, and many other pretended displays of his power, were received as sober truths, and the chief and the nobles gazed on him with silent amazement. The report of his fame spread like wildfire, and the rulers of the neighboring tribes came to pay him homage.

In order to carry on the fraud, he would, when clouds appeared, command the women neither to plant nor sow, lest the seeds should be washed away. He would also require them to go to the fields, and gather certain roots and herbs, with which he might light what appeared to the natives mysterious fires. Elate with hope, they would go in crowds to the hills and valleys, collect herbs, return to the town with songs, and lay their gatherings at the magician's feet. With these he would sometimes proceed to certain hills, and raise smoke; gladly would he have called up the wind also, if he could have done so, well knowing that the latter is frequently the precursor of rain. He would select the time of new and full moon for his purpose, aware that at those seasons there was frequently a change in the atmosphere. But the rain-maker found the clouds in these parts rather harder to manage than those of the Bahurutsi country, whence he came.

One day, as he was sound asleep, a shower fell, on which one of the principal men entered his house to congratulate him on the happy event; but, to his utter amazement, he found the magician totally insensible to what was transpiring. "Hela ka rare! (halloo, by my father!) I thought you were making rain," said the intruder. Arising from his