Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/455

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447
THE RAIN-MAKER.

er having kept himself secluded for a fortnight, he one day appeared in the public fold and proclaimed that he had at last discovered the cause of the drought. After keeping the audience in suspense for a short time, he suddenly broke forth, "Do you not see," he asked, "when clouds cover us, that Hamilton and Moffat looked at them? Their white faces scare them away, and you can not expect rain so long as they are in the country." This was a home stroke. The people became impatient, and poured forth their curses against the poor missionaries as the cause of all their sorrows. The bell, which was rung for public worship, they said, frightened the vapors; the prayers even came in for a share of the blame. "Don't you," said the chief one day rather fiercely to Mr. Moffat, "bow down in your houses, and pray and talk to something bad in the ground?"

But to shorten a long story: after exposing the missionaries to much risk and danger by his insinuations and accusations, the tables were turned in their favor. The rain-maker was now suspected; his gross impositions were unveiled, and he was about to pay the penalty of death—the well-merited reward for his scandalous conduct—when Mr. Moffat generously interfered, and, through his presence of mind and humanity, succeeded in saving the life of one who had so often threatened his own, and who would not have scrupled to take it, could he thereby have served his purpose. Death, however, soon overtook him, for he was eventually murdered among the Bauangketsi nation.

Mr. Moffat concludes his remarks on the career of this notable rain-maker by the following observation:

"It is a remarkable fact that a rain-maker never dies a natural death. I have known some, and heard of many, who had, by one means or other, fallen a prey to the fury of their disappointed employers; but, notwithstanding this, there was no want of successors. There is not one tribe whose people have not imbrued their hands in the blood of these