As Temba returns to his village bearing a bundle of wood for his mother, members of his village take a stick or two from the bundle for their own use as he passes. Each thanks him and remarks "what would we do without Temba?" The village headman observes his generosity and gives him one of his feathers from his headress. Some of his "friends" notice this exchange and express their jealously. When Temba reaches his mother with the wood she also praises him by stating "what would we do without Temba?"
Temba's village is overcome by a drought. He ventures off alone to find food and water. He is joined by the three "friends" who have decided that whatever Temba finds they will take from him and return to the village as heroes.
Temba fends off danger and is given a magical set of bones by a wise old man. When the bones are cast and the word "Jirimpimbira" is said any desire that one wishes is granted.
Temba desires for himself to be the headman of a magnificent village. When the three friends who have been following him see that he has become the headman of a great village they decide to spy on him. One night they see him casting the bones, steal them and begin using them for themselves. Temba's village disappears when the bones are taken.
He recovers the bones and in the process learns the most precious gift of all is friendship. He returns to his village, sharing the magical power of the bones to prevent starvation.