“Of witch-doctors there are two kinds. The first deliver oracles by bone-throwing. They have three bones carved with different signs; these they throw up, and according to the position they assume when falling, and the side on which they fall, they make the prediction. The other kind deliver their oracles in a slow and very shrill chant. Both are supposed to be on speaking terms with spirits. They are in constant request, but are usually poorly paid. Their influence, however, is tremendous; and in Lo-Bengula’s time their power was as great as, if not greater than, the king’s. Lo-Bengula always kept two or three of them near him. Chief among their works was that of rain-making; this was done with a charm made from the blood and gall of a black ox. No witch-doctors, however, could make rain except by the orders of the king. It was a risky trade; for they were put to death if they failed in their endeavors to produce rain. Dreams are considered of deep significance by the witch-doctors. Madmen are supposed to be possessed of a spirit, and were formerly under the protection of the king.
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