Kikuyu - Fables and Legends

Rugano rwa Wanjiru (a lake sacrifice)


See A Communal Sacrifice in the Lake for another version of the same tale. From "Gikuyu Oral Literature", by Wanjiki Mukabi Kabira and Kerega wa Muthahi (1988: East African Educational Publishers, PO Box 45314 Nairobi, Kenya). See the copyright notice for textual extracts.


Rugano rwa Wanjiru (a lake sacrifice), by Nyokabi wa Maithori


Long ago there was famine in Gikuyu land. This famine had made the cows and goats die. Only human beings were left and even them, it could be seen that they were not going to live much longer. Now the people asked themselves "What shall we do?". It was decided that the most beautiful girl, one called Wanjiru should be sacrificed to God to that the rain could fall.
   She was brought to a place where there was a very big river, she sang:

Rain fall and make this ridge green
Make this ridge green
My father said I should be lost. I should be lost
My mother said I should be lost. I should be lost
Rain fall and make this ridge green
Make this ridge green

She went down up to the knee, she sang:

Rain fall and make this ridge green
Make this ridge green
My father said I should be lost. I should be lost
Rain fall and make this ridge green
Make this ridge green

The water reached the waist, she sang:

Rain fall and make this ridge green
Make this ridge green
My father said I should be lost. I should be lost
My mother said I should be lost. I should be lost
Rain fall and make this ridge green
Make this ridge green

The water reached the neck, she sang:

Rain fall and make this ridge green
Make this ridge green
My father said I should be lost. I should be lost
My mother said I should be lost. I should be lost
Rain fall and make this ridge green
Make this ridge green

The head went in. Very heavy rains fell on this land. The grass grew and a lot of food grew and the people began to feel better. Now when Wanjiru went she found her people who had died before her. These people had a lot of cows and goats. Now they asked her what she would like. She said she wanted cows and goats. She was given many goats and cows and then she was told to lie down in a place. When she woke up she found that she had returned back to her people. She woke up at a place where there was a river and she had her cows and goats. Now when the people saw her they rejoiced greatly.

The story ends there.


 
 
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