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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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are, in Kaffreland, a class of crafty and designing men who profess to have supernatural influence and powers. When no rain has fallen upon the land for several months, and the ground is parched and dry, and both grass and water are becoming exceedingly scarce, the people apply to the rain-maker, who immediately exerts himself on their behalf, if they bring him satisfactory presents. A large gathering of the people now takes place, an ox is slaughttered, and a large quantity of Kaffre beer is imbibed; and when the rain-maker has become sufficiently animated by the part he takes in the feast, he commences his incantations. He dances round the camp-fire, and exerts himself with such violent gesticulations that the perspiration streams down his naked body. He then commands the people to go and look towards the western horizon for the appearance of the rain-clouds. If no indication of coming showers is seen, the wily rain-maker tells the deluded natives that the presents which they have brought him are not sufficient. They then go to bring more, the feast is renewed, and the heathen ceremonies are repeated to gain time; and if the foolish exercises are continued till a shower actually falls, the rain-makers triumph in their success. The presence of Christian missionaries in Kaffreland has of late years greatly impaired the power and influence of the rain-makers, and bids fair to annihilate the gross deception altogether.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Rain-Makers'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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