Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/454

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ing on the top of a hill, he stretched forth his hands, beckoning to the clouds to draw near, occasionally shaking his spear, and threatening them with his ire should they disobey his commands. The populace believed all this, and wondered the rain would not fall.

Having discovered that a corpse which had been put into the ground some weeks before had not received enough water at its burial, and knowing the aversion of the Bechuanas to a dead body, he ordered the corpse to be taken up, washed, and re-interred. Contrary to his expectation, and horrible as the ceremony must have been, it was performed. Still the heavens remained inexorable.

Having exhausted his skill and ingenuity, the impostor began to be sorely puzzled to find something on which to lay the blame. Like all of his profession, he was a subtle fellow, in the habit of studying human nature, affable, acute, and exhibiting a dignity of mien, with an ample share of self-complacency, which he could not hide. Hitherto, he had studiously avoided giving the least offense to the missionaries, who he found were men of peace, who would not quarrel. He frequently condescended to visit them, and in the course of conversation would often give a feeble assent to their opinion as to the sources of that element over which he pretended to have sovereign control. However, finding all his wiles unavailing to produce the desired result, and notwithstanding the many proofs of kindness he had received from the missionaries, he began to hint that the reverend gentlemen were the cause of the obstinacy of the clouds! One day it was discovered that the rain had been prevented by Mr. Moffat bringing a bag of salt with him from a journey that he had undertaken to Griqua-town. But finding, on examination, that the reported salt was only white clay or chalk, the natives could not help laughing at their own credulity.

From insinuations he proceeded to open accusations. Aft-