The Rain Bull - Bushmen Story
Then there is the wonderful rain bull which grazes in the reeds at the sources of springs. To make the wild onions grow and the earth to bring forth plenty, this huge, powerful creature must be quietly stalked and lassoed about the horns with a leather thong.
The only thong that a medicine man has bewitched is strong enough to hold this beast, which is then led across the lands that the men wish to make fruitful.
Later, rain falls in torrents and lightning flashes. The medicine men then kill the bull and cut up and boil its flesh, throwing it on the places where they wish rain to fall. Here wild onion leaves will sprout, for the people to dig, and food will be in abundance.
Even the rain cloud itself appeared to the lit Bushmen as a monstrous rain beast. The great dark clouds moving across the sky above their heads we like the belly of a gigantic monster whose legs were limned by the falling pillars of rain.
If it rained gently it was a rain cow, but if it rained fiercely and thunder roared, it was a rain bull bellowing and the people ran for cover.
One old rainmaker was approached 'to make his rain with caution'.
'You must not arouse a rain bull, you must make she-rain which is not angry. It is one that falls gentle, softening the ground, so that it may be wet inside the earth. The people are afraid of the rain when they hear it come thundering .'
The rain animal was ridden by dead men, and it was to them that the Bushmen addressed their invocations when it seemed that these rain spirits would pass them by:
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