In the beginning, Maori, the Supreme God and Creator, made the first man and called him Mwuetsi, “Moon.” Maori placed Mwuetsi at the bottom of a lake (the sea in one version of the legend) and gave him a ngona horn (an antelope horn symbolic of the crescent Moon) filled with ngona oil. Mwuetsi begged Maori to let him live on Earth. Maori allowed him to do so but warned him that he would regret it; the end would be his death.
At that time Earth was cold and empty; there were no trees, plants of any kind, or animals. When Mwuetsi complained about this condition, Maori gave him a maiden to be his wife for two years— Massassi, the Morning Star (the morning phase of the planet Venus). Massassi made a fire with fire-making tools Maori had given her. Then she and Mwuetsi lay down to sleep. Mwuetsi did not know why Maori had given him this woman. He touched the ngona oil with his finger and then touched Massassi with the same finger, symbolically anointing her. The next morning, Massassi began to give birth to grasses, bushes, other plants, and trees until they covered the entire Earth.
After two years, Maori took Massassi back. Mwuetsi mourned her so bitterly that Maori gave him another woman to be his wife for two years— Morongo, the Evening Star (the evening phase of the planet Venus). Morongo would not let Mwuetsi simply touch her with his finger; she demanded that he have intercourse with her. Each time that Mwuetsi lay with Morongo, she gave birth the next day. The first day, she gave birth to chickens, sheep, and goats; the second, to eland and cattle; the third, to human children who were fully grown by night fall. On the fourth night, Maori sent a thunderstorm and spoke through it to the couple, warning them to stop what they were doing. Morongo told Mwuetsi to make a door for their home so that Maori could not see them. The next day, she gave birth to dangerous creatures—lions, leopards, snakes, and scorpions.
When Mwuetsi wanted to lie with Morongo again, she told him to have relations with his daughters instead. The daughters gave birth to children who were fully grown in just a day. Mwuetsi became the mambo, or leader, of all the people. Mwuetsi still wanted to lie with Morongo, but she had coupled with a snake that was still in her bed. When Mwuetsi lay down, the snake bit him, and he fell ill. Following this, the rain ceased falling, rivers and lakes dried up, plants withered, and people and animals began to die. Mwuetsi’s children consulted the oracle to find out what could be done. They were told that Mwuetsi had to be sent back to the primordial lake (or sea). So Mwuetsi’s children killed him. As Maori had warned, death was the end.