There, Demeter secluded herself and sent a terrible famine upon the world. No plants grew, no seeds were successfully planted, and no field could be properly plowed. The gods went to her and begged her to stop the famine, but she refused, saying that the world would starve and the gods would go without offerings until she was allowed to see her daugheter once more. Finally, Zeus relented and ordered his brother Hades to allow Persephone to return to the world of the living.

Hades slyly agreed, but not before tricking Persephone to eat some seeds from a pomegranate, a fruit of the underworld, thus tying her forever to him. However, the girl did not know this, and she happily returned to her mother. The reunion was joyous, but Demeter quickly ascertained that Persephone had eaten food from the underworld. Thus, the girl was cursed to return to Hades' side for one third of the year, but spend the remaining two thirds in Olympus with her mother.

Demeter, however, agreed to this compromise and caused the earth to flourish with plants once more. She also taught her rites at Eleusis, mysteries so secret that none who were initiated into them could speak of them or the details of their blessing.