Barakha’s Laughter

Barakha, god of storm and sheep, herds the clouds across the sky and brings us their rains, as well as guiding us with the lightning. One day as the god herded a great flock of clouds, the trickster god Seshe interrupted the drove and proposed a wager: If Seshe could make it rain, Barakha would loan Seshe half the flock.

Knowing no other had the power to command the rains, Barakha accepted the wager. Seshe declared it would win in moments, but interrupted itself to tell the story of another wager, one it had just won with god of sea and stone Asha. The wager had been over cracking a great stone in two, and victory had earned Seshe a great horn of godwater, which Asha hoards and which Seshe shared with Barakha. Seshe painted Asha in such a humorous light that Barakha burst out laughing—and just after taking a deep draught of the godwater Seshe offered. Barakha spit out the water in a great spray that fell to earth as a rain of tiny mists. Seshe won the wager, and that is why we call such rains Barakha’s laughter.

What Seshe did with half Barakha’s flock is another story.

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