Ledimo strode into the village full of confidence. He stood in the middle of the big meeting area and shouted to everyone to leave what they were doing and to gather around him, he had something very important to show them. He had placed the empty water container in front of himself and as they arrived the people looked at it in dismay.
“No water!” they cried. “The wedding is in two days’ time! What shall we do?”
Ledimo said nothing. He waited quietly until he was sure everyone was there. Then he called for silence, and stood dramatically with his feet apart in the center of the crowd. He held both arms above his head, the stone cradled in his hands, light flashing from between his fingers. “Rain!” he commanded to the sky.
Everyone looked at each other in dismay. He’d obviously been out in the sun too long looking for water and had gone completely mad! Then out of nowhere a huge black cloud appeared over the village and it started to pour down on them. The people looked up amazed. It had been so long since they had seen rain that at first they were not sure what was happening. Then they all ran in different directions, grabbing containers to put out to capture the water. Ledimo started to laugh. “Do not worry, my friends. There is plenty more. We will never have to worry about water again.”
The people watched in amazement as the containers overflowed and streams started to flow around their feet. When Ledimo felt there had been enough rain he lifted his arms into the air again and shouted “Enough!” and the rain stopped. The people lifted him high into the air, proclaiming him the god of life and all sorts of other exaggerated titles. They were overjoyed. Now they could get water whenever they wanted it. They would become the most powerful village in the land. Preparations went ahead for the wedding on a grand scale. All the most important people were invited. The village would use this wedding to show off and establish its dominance.
Ledimo had been very careful not to reveal the secret of the stone. He had made everyone think that it was he alone controlling the elements. He was given the best accommodation in the village and countless servants to wait on him. Reveling in all this attention he soon forgot the warning the voice had given him. Why should he worry about a warning from a silly voice with no body? He was the all-powerful Ledimo! Nothing could happen to him now.
Word of Ledimo’s rainmaking powers had spread quickly over the land and powerful people were arriving with many servants and lavish gifts. They camped outside the village, receiving as much water as they needed from the villagers.
The day of the wedding dawned, a clear, cloudless sky overhead. The ceremony was due to commence when the sun was directly overhead. Ledimo would first perform his rainmaking ritual, bringing a downpour on the gathered crowd and then sending it away. When everyone had been suitably impressed the elders would officially marry him and Bontle. They would wrap the two together in a ceremonial cloth and call on the ancestors to join them as one.
Everyone arrived in their finest outfits. A platform had been built in the middle of the large meeting area. Ledimo and Bontle stood there separated by three of the elders, Bontle looking more beautiful than ever, so that Ledimo could hardly keep his eyes off her. As the sun reached its zenith the crowd became quiet and Ledimo stood with his legs apart and his arms raised skyward, light flashing between his fingers. “Rain!” he commanded, and the sky opened up above them. The women shrieked, putting their hands up, trying to protect their fancy hairdos. The men just stood in awe, letting the rain soak over them.
“Enough!” shouted Ledimo, and the clouds lifted, the rain stopped, and all was clear. There was a moment’s silence and then cheering and clapping broke out. Ledimo bowed in recognition, using the opportunity to conceal the stone in his leather pouch.
“Let the ceremony commence!” he declared, and everyone fell silent as the elders approached with the ceremonial cloth. Two of them pulled Bontle and Ledimo together, facing each other, and the other one prepared to wrap the cloth around them. Ledimo looked deep into Bontle’s eyes, a feeling of ecstasy coming over him. Then he froze. He saw in her eyes a terrible fear! She was not looking at him but beyond him, over his shoulder at the horizon. Then he saw it, reflected in her eyes! The whirling black cloud! He turned. It was bearing down towards them at an incredible speed. Everyone else had now followed his gaze and gasps of horror broke out. People started to run in all directions, not quite knowing what was happening but realizing that they needed to get away. And then it was all over in a matter of seconds. The entire village—all its people, all its guests, and all their livestock—was gone. Ledimo stood there alone with the ceremonial cloth at his feet. The cloud disappeared over the horizon and Ledimo heard a voice in his head.
“You may never marry. If you disobey this rule you will destroy everything that is close to you and that you love and care for.”
Ledimo crumbled to his knees and wept.
to be continued……………….
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