The crops died and hunger was manifest among the people.
This happened one year, again the next, and then for a third year.
So the people gathered at the praying place, and asked of each other the reason for their plight; then the question was posed to the Medicine-Man.
He spilled his gourd of its contents, upon the ground again and again.
Then he declared that the rains would come only when the maiden Wanjiru was bought.
He told them that each, from the youngest lad to the oldest man, must bring, on the appointed day, a goat to purchase Wanjiru from her family.
The day arrived, and all the people were present, with each man leading a goat.
The people gathered in a circle, and the relations of Wanjiru stood together, and she herself stood in the middle.
As they stood there, Wanjiru began to sink into the ground.
Soon she was in up to her knees. She cried, "I am lost!" The people pressed close and placed goats in the keeping of Wanjiru's parents.
She sank lower to her waist. Again she cried out, "I am lost but much rain will fall!" More goats were thrust upon her family.
She sank to her breast, and still no rain came. Wanjiru cried out another time, "A great rain will come!"
Now she sank to her neck, and then the rain poured down.
The people should have come forward to save her, but instead they placed more goats upon the family.
Then Wanjiru said, "My people have undone me", and she sank down to her eyes.
As one or another of her family moved toward her to save her, another of the people would present him or her with a goat and that family member would step back.
Wanjiru cried out for the last time, "My own family has undone me!" Then she sank from sight.
The rain poured down in a great deluge and the people hurried for shelter in their homes.
There was a young warrior who lamented the loss of Wanjiru.
He swore to find her and bring her back. He wandered for a long time, and eventually returned to the spot where Wanjiru had disappeared.
Here as he stood where she had stood, he slowly began to sink into the ground; and he sank lower and lower until the ground closed over him.
He found himself on a road beneath the ground, and as he trod down the road he came upon Wanjiru, all muddy and dishevelled, and without her clothing which had disintegrated.
He picked her up and carried her upon his back to where they had sunk beneath the ground.
Here they rose up together into the open air.
He took her to his mother's house, where she was fed the fat from slaughtered goats and clothed with their skins, until she, again, was beautiful and well-dressed.
It came to pass that the village was having a dance, and she and her warrior attended.
When her family saw her, they attempted to approach her, but her lover beat them off.
When her family made repeated attempts to see her over the course of the next few days, the warrior repented.
He paid the family the purchase price (labola) and allowed them to reconcile.