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TORTOISE and a Cloud once made the following agreement: Whenever Tortoise very much desired fine weather, he was to stand outside his house and call: “Pass! Pass!” and then the Cloud would roll away p. 85 and allow the sun to shine. And when Tortoise desired rain, he was to cry: “Fall! Fall!” and the rain would pour down. In payment for this service, Tortoise was to place on the ground each time a certain number of cowries.
Tortoise was delighted with this arrangement, and at first he duly placed the sum of money on the ground every time he asked the Cloud for fine or wet weather.
One day, the occasion of a Chief’s wedding, the sky was very cloudy, and it seemed likely to rain. Tortoise heard the Chief complaining: “We have promised the drummers a great deal of money, but if it rains nobody will come to see the maidens dance at my wedding!”
Tortoise went to the Chief and said: “If you will give me a certain sum, I will hold up the clouds on my hard back and there will be no rain.”
The Chief readily agreed to pay the cowries Tortoise demanded, and Tortoise stood at the back of his hut and cried to the Cloud: “Pass! Pass!” The Cloud p. 86 rolled back, the sun shone brightly, and the wedding took place with much rejoicing.
But Tortoise did not lay any money on the ground, and instead, he kept the whole amount for himself.
The next day a man came to Tortoise’s house and offered him much money if he would cause the rain to fall. “For,” he said, “my fishing-stakes are too high, but if it rains the river will swell and the fish will come into my baskets.”
“Very well,” replied Tortoise. “I will throw a spear into the clouds, and the rain will fall.”
Then he stood at the back of his house, where he could not be seen, and cried to the Cloud: “Fall! Fall!” It began to pour with rain.
But again he neglected to lay money on the ground and kept it all for himself. Soon, in this way, he grew rich and famous, and almost every day someone asked for fine or rainy weather. He stored many bags of cowries in his house and gave nothing to the Cloud.
When two people asked him for rain and sunshine on the same day, Tortoise pretended that he had grown tired with holding up the clouds on his back, and so the rain fell.
But after some time, seeing how rich Tortoise became, the hard-working Cloud was angry and decided to punish him.
One day Tortoise wished to set out on a journey with his family, so he stood outside his house and cried: “Pass! Pass! Let the sun shine on my journey!”
But as soon as he had set out, the Cloud rolled back again and rain poured down in torrents, causing a great flood in which Tortoise and all his famiIy were drowned.
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