Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/452

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slumber, and seeing his wife sitting on the floor, shaking a milk-sack in order to obtain a little butter to anoint her hair, the wily rain-maker adroitly replied, Do you not see my wife churning rain as fast as she can?" This ready answer gave entire satisfaction; and it presently spread through the length and breadth of the town that the rain-maker had churned the shower out of a milk-sack.

The moisture, however, caused by this shower soon dried up, and for many a long week afterward not a cloud appeared. The women had cultivated extensive fields, but the seed was lying in the soil as it had been thrown from the hand; the cattle were dying from want of pasture, and hundreds of emaciated men were seen going to the fields in quest of unwholesome roots and reptiles, while others were perishing with hunger.

All these circumstances irritated the rain-maker very much, and he complained that secret rogues were disobeying his proclamations. When urged to make repeated trials, he would reply, "You only give me sheep and goats to kill, therefore I can only make goat-rain; give me fat slaughter oxen, and I shall let you see ox-rain."

One night a small cloud passed over, and a single flash of lightning, from which a heavy peal of thunder burst, struck a tree in the town. Next day the rain-maker and a number of people assembled to perform the usual ceremony on such an event. The stricken tree was ascended, and roots and ropes of grass were bound round different parts of the trunk. When these bandages were made, the conjuror deposited some of his nostrums, and got quantities of water handed up, which he poured with great solemnity on the wounded tree, while the assembled multitude shouted "Pula! pula!" The tree was now hewn down, dragged out of the town, and burned to ashes. Soon after, the rain-maker got large bowls of water, with which was mingled an infusion of bulbs. All the men of the town were then made to pass before him,