Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/453

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445
THE RAIN-MAKER.

when he sprinkled each person with a zebra's tail dipped in water.

Finding that this did not produce the desired effect, the impostor had recourse to another stratagem. He well knew that baboons were not very easily caught among rocky glens and shelving precipices, and, therefore, in order to gain time, he informed the men that, to make rain, he must have a baboon; moreover, that not a hair on his body was to be wanting; in short, the animal should be free from blemish. After a long and severe pursuit, and with bodies much lacerated, a band of chosen runners succeeded in capturing a young baboon, which they brought back triumphantly and exultingly. On seeing the animal, the rogue put on a countenance exhibiting the most intense sorrow, exclaiming, "My heart is rent in pieces! I am dumb with grief!" Pointing, at the same time, to the ear of the baboon, that was slightly scratched, and the tail, which had lost some hair, he added, "Did I not tell you I could not bring rain if there was one hair wanting?"

He had often said that, if they could procure him the heart of a lion, he would show them he could make rain so abundant that a man might think himself well off to be under shelter, as when it fell it might sweep whole towns away. He had discovered that the clouds required strong medicines, and that a lion's heart would do the business. To obtain this, the rain-maker well knew, was no joke. One day it was announced that a lion had attacked one of the cattle outposts not far from the town, and a party set off for the twofold purpose of getting a key to the clouds and disposing of a dangerous enemy. The orders were imperative, whatever the consequences might be. Fortunately, the lion was shot dead by a man armed with a gun. Greatly elated by their success, they forthwith returned with their prize, singing the conqueror's song in full chorus. The rain-maker at once set about preparing his medicines, kindled his fires, and, stand-