Volume 7 1898 > Volume 7, No. 1, March 1898 > Folk-songs and myths from Samoa, by John Fraser, p 15-29
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Introduction.—I have five myths about Sangatea, all from independent sources; the fifth is unique, being unlike all the others; the four vary only in a few of the phrases, and in the order of the lines. I have therefore made a composite text of these four. Wherever two or more versions agreed in the form of an expression, I have adopted that as likely to be correct; where certain words were found in only one version, I have omitted them from the Solo. The fifth of these Sangatean myths has been revised and annotated for these pages by a very competent authority in Samoa, the Rev. J. E. Newell, of Malua. I think that his form of the myth is the best of all; it seems to me to show that this Sangatea is really a goddess of the Dawn. But, nevertheless, I give as a preface two native explanations about Sangatea, just as I found them in the manuscripts. On page 21 I have ventured to give an explanation of my own—the sense in which I understand Sangatea.

1. The first native explanation is this:—Sangatéa was a chief of Upólu. He had a wife, Sina-papālangi; her brothers were Le-tava'e-toto and Uli and Ma'o. He had, as a second wife, Fa'a-utu-Manu'a, the daughter of Tui-Manu'a. Each of these two had her own house; the house of Sina-papālangi was separate, and the house of Fa'a-utu-Manu'a was separate. The house of Sina was enclosed with a stone (fence), but the house of Fa'a-utu was fenced with the ‘ma'ali’ plant; that gave rise to the name A-ma'ali, which is equivalent to Ai-ma'ali, ‘the fence of maali.’ Then Fa'a-utu was badly treated by Sina, from jealousy; so Sina made a plot when they had a night-dance. [This narrative breaks off here.]

2. Another account says:—Sangatéa was an oppressive chief, I think, of Savai'i. His wife's name was Sina-papālangi. (His conduct at last) made her run away into the heavens, and she burned the bundle there. Sangatea was very angry because the bundle had been taken away; (so) he tied up the (whole) line of prophets, because they did not show who had carried off the bundle. Then Folasa and Maiā came and showed him that Sina-papālangi had taken it, and had burned it in the heavens.

A third explanation was sent to me last year by the Rev. J. E. Newell, of Malua, Upolu. It is this:—The song is that of “Tonga-Sā,” the King of Manu'a, - 16 and represents his anxiety to know the name of the person or persons who destroyed his large and valuable hoard of fine mats adorned with the red feathers of the tropic bird. His immense bundle ('au-afa or taui) of mats was destroyed, and the blaze of the conflagration shone out afar. It was seen shining at the mulifanua, ‘the west end’ of Upolu. He had uttered his intense longing to know the guilty party to the aitu, and they had secretly conveyed the tamaitai 'i'ite, ‘the lady prophetess,’ who lived in the land called Manaui, at Fasi-to'otai, in Upolu. She was conveyed in sleep to Manu'a, and the aitu, who accomplished the task, now old Tui-Manu'a that the lady was in the house. The song is sung by Tui-Manu'at to awaken Sangatea, who can tell him the secret. The secret is not divulged in the song. Sangatea's reply is not known.

XIX. O Le Solo ia Sagatea (I.).
Family Tree. Te'ite'i ane; i faguina ane;, I ala ane; a e maleifua, ali'i., Le po na ua loa; ia pu'upu'u ane;, Sili la le ao po ua ao; ua ata ea? Ua ao ea?, 5 E tuai le ao; e le i ata., Ua mafulu le fala; ua fuli fa'amano na tagata, A e liliu fa'alasi ona ali'i., Taulagi le soifua, ma tā fai 'ava ane., E te maua 'ava mai, maua 'ava, 10 'Ava aui, Folasa ma Maia;, Talatala'i ane lou atu folasa., Sagatea e, te'ite'i ane ia!, Ua fa'aita le tava'e-toto;, Na ia osofia i le la ma le matagi., 15 Sagatea e, fetulia a'e lou taui i le lagi., Ua teva Sina-papalagi., Lou taui ua mu pito tasi;, Ua mu mai i le mata-matagi;, A e tautoto'e i le muli-matagi., 20 Ua mu mai i le mata-fanua, A e tautoto'e i le muli-fanua (or Mata-Saua), I le to'elau ma lualua., Sagatea e, ai lou taui ua mu pito lua., 25 Refrain. Alāne ia, o le po ua loa, a e pu'upu'u ane., Ua loa le po, 'o le po loloa., Ma le po pito tasi., Taulagi le soifua, ma tā fai 'ava ane.
Variations in the Text.

Line 8. Ma ta al. ma tatou. 9. E te maua al. na maua. 11. Talatalai al. E talatalai. 14. Na ia osofia al. Ona osofia. 15. Al. Sagatea i maliu i lagi. 15. Al. - 17 Ta saili a'e i le lagi lou taui. 16. Ua teva al. Ua teva ma. 16. Al. Ua sola ma Sin papalagi; ua alaga fua ai. 17 and 18. Ua mu al. o loo mu. 22. Al. I le to'e lau ina agiagi; or, Ona o le toelau ina agiagi. Note:—Here al. means 'otherwise.

After line 11, Lavatai's version has:—

Ma lo ta alofa i le fale aiga na,
Samoa a po pea, a le ao e,
Sulu; fea nei ie lou maitai,
Alo ma le Vai-le-fua ma le Folasa-vai-ui.

The Solo (I.).—Translated.
Family Tree. Awaken her; let her be awakened;, Awake! awake thou, O chief., This night is stretching out long; let it be shortened., Ask about the daylight whether it is day; is it dawn? is it day?, 5 It is far from daylight; the dawn has not yet appeared., The mats are disagreeably hot; these men have tossed about a thousand times, And their chiefs have turned many times., Strike up the story of a life and let us (two) make kava., Ye shall get kava, get kava, 10 Kava of the best, O Folasa and Maia;, Proclaim it to your group of prophets., O Sangatea, awake!, Tava'e-toto is angered (or, is wearied);, And has risen against the sun and the wind., 15 O Sangatea, go in chase of your bundle in the sky., Papalangi goes off with it in anger., Thy bundle glows at one end;, It glows in the eye of the wind, But [a portion] is left in the end of the wind., 20 It glows at the eye of the land, But [a portion] is left in the end of the land, In the to'elau and the lualua. O Sangatea, perhaps thy bundle glows at both ends., 25 The Refrain., Awake! this night is long, let it be shortened., The night is long; the night is very long., And the night has one end., Strike up the story of a life, and let us (two) make kava.
Notes to the Preface.

1.—Upólu; elsewhere he is said to be a chief of Amoa, the largest district in Savai'i (see below).

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Had; ona; lit. ‘his;’ ‘he owned her’; she was ‘his.’

Sina-papālangi; ‘foreign’; this means ‘breaking through the sky,’ and is the name which the Polynesians apply to all foreigners. Sina means ‘white’ and, as a proper name, the ‘moon,’ which in Samoan is ‘masina.’

Brothers; tava'e is the ‘frigate-bird’; toto is ‘to bleed,’ or ‘red’ as blood; ‘uli is ‘black’; and ma'o is the name of a tree.

A second wife, tau-nonofo; tau is an intensive prefix and no-nofo is the plural or intensive of nofo, ‘to dwell.’

Maali is a sweet scented native plant (see below).

Badly treated; fuatiā, ‘was jealousied,’ a passive verb formed from fua, ‘jealousy.’

A plot; toga-fiti; this is a curious conjunction of the names Tonga and Fiti. Similarly the French say, il file comme un Anglais, or, il s' evanouit à l' Anglaise; while the English speak of ‘taking French leave.’

Night-dance; ‘po-ula’; a day-dance is ‘ao-ula’; ula means ‘to joke,’ ‘to sport.’

2.—I think; ‘mai,’ a particle which has reference to the speaker.

Made her run away; ‘fuā ona teva,’ ‘caused her running away in displeasure.’

Bundle; taui; what this bundle contained, this fragment of the story does not say. It was probably a roll of fine old mats—a valuable and much valued kind of property.

Tied-up; no-noa, ‘to tie,’ ‘to bind’; noa, ‘to strangle one's self.’ Observe here the anger and power of a despotic king, as also in the history of Daniel.

Line; atu, ‘row.’

Notes to the Solo.

1.—Awaken her, &c.; in this line and the next there are four words for ‘awake’; te'ite'i is to ‘startle,’ to waken suddenly; fagu or fa-fagu is ‘to rouse’ from sleep; ala is (intransitive) ‘to awake,’ and malei-fua is the same, but addressed only to chiefs.

4.—Daylight; ao is ‘the day;’ ata, ‘a shadow,’ ‘the twilight dawn.’

6. Mats; these are fala, the sleeping mats, on which the ‘common men’ (tagata) ‘turn’ (fuli) ‘10,000 times’ (fa'amano), because of the heat and in impatience for the dawn; but in the next line the respectfulness due to chiefs makes the poet speak more guardedly; they ‘turn’ (liliu) only a good ‘many times’ (fa'alasi). Instead of liliu another version has fe-liu, the reflexive form of liu

8.—Strike up; lagi is ‘to cry aloud,’ and tau is an intensive prefix; soifua, lit. ‘a chief's life.’ For an explanation about the kava and its fono, see notes to other myths; instead of , ‘us two,’ another reading is tatou, ‘us,’ including the persons addressed, which seems more suitable.

10.—Best; ‘ava aui, is a good kind of kava (piper methysticum); aui means ‘to wind round.’ Folasa is the great mythical prophet of Manu'a, as in other myths, and the atu folasa (line 11) are the ‘prophet's band.’

13.—The frigate bird tava'e and toto are both explained above. The red colour probably gives this bird some mythical relation to the sun, but I can only conjecture how this line and the next fit in here; indeed, it is hard to say what the rest of this solo means. The two readings are ita, ‘angry,’ or itu-itu, ‘wearied.’

15.—Go in chase of; tuli, ‘to drive, to pursue’; fe-tuli is its reflexive form.

16.—Papālangi, ‘the foreigner’; see notes on other myths and above.

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17.—Glows; mu, ‘burns, glows’; another version says loo mu ‘is burning.’

20.—Eye of the land; ‘mata-fanua’; another reading has Mata-Saua, which is an easterly point of Tau, in Manua.

22.—Trade wind; to'elau; ma lualua is unintelligible; but if the line were read I le to'elau fa'alualua, the meaning would be ‘In the uncertain (i.e., unsteady) parts of the trade wind.’

O le Solo Ia Sagatea (II.).

Introduction.—Sangatea was a goddess who ruled the night. The duration of the darkness depended upon the length of time she slept. There lived at Sā-tapuala a prophet (Pule-le-'i'ite) with his two attendants, A and Maiā. During the days of chaos and darkness the land suffered. Pule-le-'i'ite sent A and Maiā to search for water. In the gross darkness that prevailed, they could but scrape, about the sand (a'u= to scrape up dirt), and hence the name Vai-a'u-a'u in Sà-tapuala in the A'ana district of Upolu. This name is still given to the house in which Toalepai, the chief, now resides. Pule-le-'i'ite sends his messengers to awaken Sagatea, and the Solo is the permanent record of the event and its attendant circumstances.

The following is the text of the Solo given to me by the best native authority in Samoa, viz., the old and highly intelligent legend-keeper named Maunu Sauni, at present living in Tufulele, near Malua, Upolu.—J. E. Newell.

The Solo. Moe mai! moe mai! to'a i'inā! ma Iota mata'u ua po lasi.
Te'ite'i ane; ōu tau'upu ua ni pulu ma'ali.
Samoa a fano, ua iē; i lou maita'i.
Na ou tofugia le moana loloto.
5 Ua se fau tālau o se gogo. (talau=sa'a)
Le finagalo o Sagatea ia te a'u.
Ua fatu'ulu se fa'amana'o.
E mălili oti, ma sala e manu,
I Upolu ma Tutuila, Manono ma Apolima,
10 Savai'i ma nai ona nu'u la iti na.
E fa'amamao a ni o tă aiga.
Ua gata ai 'ava le tao a luga, a e le āutia tao a lalo.
Ua lata, ua lata; a e le pine le atamoga nā. O! O!
Translation: Literal.

By J. E. Newell.

Asleep! asleep! asleep there! and my (dread or) terror is now nights many.
- 20 Awake gently! thy thighs are like the scented gum of the ma'ali.
Samoa is about to perish, is weary; through thy ladyship.
I was [as one who] dived down in the deep blue sea.
And as the string of the hibiscus bark holding the tern.
5 So was the heart (will) of Sagatea to me. [with new.
The longing (for the daylight) is as the covering up of old thatch
Deaths are premature, and there is a scourge of beasts
On Upolu and Tutuila, Manono and Apolima,
Savai'i and a few of his own people there.
10 It will be distant from my relations. [orders.
The kava is limited to chiefs of rank, and reaches not the lower
It is near! it is near! the early dawn will not be long delayed.
O! O!

Line.—1.—To'a—‘to sleep,’ of chiefs of highest rank.

2.—Te'ite'i ane—from te'i, ‘to startle,’ therefore in reduplication, 'to awaken.

Tau'upu— the ma'ali is a tree bearing a sweet-scented gum.

Gently—Chiefs are always awakened by gentle means, such as gently tickling he feet, or by uttering words of praise in the ear; or by singing softly; or, as Mata-afa used to be, by the playing of a small flute or pipe.

3.—Maita'i—poetic for tamaita'i.

4.—Dived—Sangatea has been asleep so long, and it is now so difficult to awaken her that it is like diving in the deep sea—i.e., extremely difficult. But her awakening is like the flight of the tern gogo, ‘seagull,’ who is held by the beautifully plaited ‘fau’ or hibiscus bark string—i.e., a very pleasant sight.

7.—Fatu'ulu—‘to cover up old thatch.’ The application to this intense longing for the light is that the dread referred to in line 1 is now covered up in the joy that the light is near.

8.—Premature—that is, they drop like unripe fruit. The distress was all but universal. It affected the larger islands, and also came close home to himself,—i.e., Pule le 'i'itc—for it affected some of his own relations. The word 'i'ite is the same as kikite, or mata-kite in other dialects.

11.—It seems most probable that Pule-le-i'i'te says not tā; ‘my,’ not ‘our’ clan. The reference to the kava in line 13 is to the family or relations of the Prophet. The kava is limited—i.e., special chiefly privileges and exemption from rouble are enjoyed by the upper spears (‘tao’), and do not reach the lower.

12.—Another reading of this line is —Ua gata i 'ava le ui a luga.

15.—Atamoga, poetic for ata mua.

Additional Notes by J. F.

1.—My dread; the meaning might perhaps be ‘my vexation ’ or crossness.

2.—Thy loins or thighs; I imagine the text is corrupt here; certainly the connection of the clauses is not clear; ōu is the plural of lōu, ‘thy,’ ‘thine.’

9.—Manono and Apolima are two small islands off Upolu, on the reef; each is about four or five miles round. They once had great importance as the seat of - 21 Government. Apo-lima is ‘the cup’ of the ‘hand,’ which cup or crater is now inhabited. The island is a natural fortress.

10.—Savai'i—there are a few very small islands inside the reef of Savai'i.

Note.—My understanding of these myths is this:—Sangatea is the earliest blush of the dawn; atea and tea mean ‘bright,’ and sa-ga is perhaps for ‘first,’ from sa, ‘one.’ For several nights (ua po lasi) in succession the dawn has been long delayed; Sangatea seems to be angry with her Samoans; they toss about sleepless and weary on their mats, and there is a heavy hand on man and beast throughout the islands. The afflicted people call on her to awake and show her light, which they call a bundle (taui). It glows (loo mu) feebly at one end of the group—in the far distant east—but they entreat her to send her full brightness on both ends (pito lua). The poems end with the joyful exclamation, “It is near; the daylight is near.”—J.F.

Lau-ti-o-vunia. Tala and Solo.
About Lau-ti-o-vunia and his brother Tui-Tonga.

Introduction.—I was quite unable to discover any sense in these two solos. until I found the prose fragments among my MSS. But it is evident that the allusions in the verses were easily intelligible to Samoan hearers, and that the myth was a familiar one. How Lau-ti-o-vunia's history ends we are not told here, but the beginning of it comes from one of the most frequent causes of strife in the islands—too much familiarity with another man's household. The younger man was in consequence laid under dire curses by his elder and sacred brother the king to destroy him. He is compelled to swallow poisonous things and prickly barbs, to face many dangers and difficulties in war, and yet, somehow, he will not die. Let us hope that in the sequel of the story, when it is found, his brother falls on his neck and kisses him, and they are reconciled. This seems probable from the tenor of the first fragment, which says that Tonga's king remembered his brother with compassion; but the second fragment says that, while searching for the culprit, Tui-Tonga was killed, and Lau-ti-vunia's son succeeded him as Tui. I think, however, that these solos are worth preserving, because of their reference to native customs. Compare the story of the labours of Hercules.

The Samoan Text of the Tala.

1. E toalua avā a Tui-Toga 'o Ipu ma One, ma la soafafine e toalua. Na ita Tui-Toga ia Lau-ti-o-vunia, ona fa'ato lea le avā. Na avane i ai le tifi-tifi-tapu-i-ulu, ma le foto-i-ulu, e lei 'oti ai lava; ona to'e fa'aloto lea i le foto-i-fai; na folo e le tama ma le fili-anaoso, e lei 'oti ai. Ona to'e fa'ato lea i le maono, na folo atoa 'o le tama. Ona toe fa'ato lea i le taua. Ona lepetia lea 'o le olo, ma le matapā-niu na lepetia foi e le tama; e lei 'oti ai lava. Ona manatu - 22 ai lea 'o le tama i mea sa fa'ato ai ia e lona uso; ona alu ai lea, ua eli lona lua i lalovasa o le va'a tele; ona tanu fa'atu ai lea 'o le tama.

2. Ona to'e manatu alofa ai lea 'o Tui-Toga ina ua le iloa 'o lona uso. Ona sau ai lea, e saili i lona uso, ona sau ai lea ma le tofoga ia Tui-Atua-tui-tele le 'i'ite; na sau ma le i'e o tasi aea afi; ona sui lea 'o le igoa o le i'e o le Fala-afuta.

3. Ona tuta a'e lea 'o le va'a i le po; ona alu a'e ai lea 'o le utugavai. Ona fa'apea ai lea 'o le ali'i, So'o ma le folau le tuta a'e fua i le ulo le tagitagi; ua le tauilo le vai mā;i fua i le vai asa i sasae.

Which, translated, is:—

  • 1. Tui-Tonga had two wives, and two lady companions for them. Tui-Tonga was angry with Lau-ti-o-vunia, and cursed his wife, and gave him the tifi-tifi-tapu-i-ulu and the foto-i-ulu. He did not die. Then he tried again with the foto-i-fai. The young man swallowed it along with a fili-anaoso, but he did not die. Then he again cursed with a maono. The youth swallowed the whole of it. He cursed him again with war. Then the stockade was broken down, also the cocoa-nut fence was destroyed by the lad; but he escaped; he did not die. Then the lad thought of the curses of his brother, and he went and digged a hole for himself at a double canoe, and the lad hid himself there and covered up.
  • 2. Then did Tui-Tonga remember with compassion his brother, because he was lost. He came therefore seeking his brother. He came with an offering to Tui-atua-tui-tele, the seer. He brought a fine mat with a thousand stripes. Then the name of the fine mat was changed to Fala-afuta.
  • 3. The canoe reached the land at night. The drawers of water landed. Then said the chief, “Don't go up on a fruitless errand to that cracked cauldron [there]; it is well known that you will seek in vain [and get only] brackish water in that reed-covered spring of these eastern [isles]”. Desunt caetera.

1.—Cursed his wife; and his brother too; for the king (tui) had probably some matrimonial cause of bitterness against them both. His curses were not idle words, for as he was a tui; he and they were sacred, and ought to be efficacious.

Tifi-tifi-tapu-i-ulu, a poisonous fish; he condemned and compelled his young brother to eat this.

Foto-i-ulu, foto-i-fai; these are the barbed portions of two other fishes, the latter being the ‘sting-ray’ or skate.

Fili anaoso, a sort of twining thorn tree (caesalpinia banducella). The ‘Swallowing’ of this in the text must be a mistake.

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Maono, a fish which the youth had to eat.

By war; that is, he made him engage in a war in which, like the labours of Hercules, there were many hard and dangerous things to be done, such as the destruction of a wooden stronghold and a strong fence.

Thought of the curses; he thought his brother's curses would never end; so he tried to secure his life by hiding himself in a sandy hole on the beach, scooped out between a large canoe there and its outrigger (lalo-vasa).

2.—Tui-Tonga now relented. Atua, a district in Upolu. Tui-Atua-tui-tele is the ‘King-of-Atua-the-great-king.’ This one was a seer ('i'ite).

Fala-afuta; perhaps ‘mat-of-comfort.’

3.—Cracked cauldron; such is a waterless well. The text is corrupt in this last sentence.

2. Another Version of the Tala.

O Tui-Toga 'o lona uso 'o Lau-ti-vunia; taitasi lo la pito nu'u i Toga. Ua fa'asaga Tui-Toga i tamaitai; ua aumoe tulafale. E ave le afeafe 'o Tui-Toga i fanau a Ipu ma One, teine e toalua o 'Ula ma Uga. Ua ave i ai ina ne'i alu i ai lona uso 'o Lau-ti-vunia. Ia fai le mata-pā-niu. Na i ai le matautu papa i le tasi mea; 'o le ifi ua tu i tuā-pa; a i totonu 'o le lotoā le faui-ui. Ola 'o ia laau; ua fesau ai i'inei i luga. Ona alu lea i le teine matua; ua le iloa e ona matua. Ona iloa lea ua to le fafine. 'O ta'u lea ia Tui-Toga. 'O fa'ata'amilo ai lea i le atu Toga po o ai ua na faia lea mea. Ua ta le fa'apou; ona 'oti lea Tui-Toga; a 'o Tui-Toga le tama le atali'i 'o Lau-ti-vunia.

Which, translated, is:—

Tui-Tonga's brother was Lau-ti-vunia; each had his own district in Tonga. Tui-Tonga gave his attention to his ladies, for his tula-fale was courting them. So the apartment of Tui-Tonga was taken by the children of Ipu and One—two girls, Ula and Unga. It was taken in order that his brother Lau-ti-vunia should not enter. A coco-nut fence enclosure was made; there was a point of rocky land at the other end; a chestnut tree stood outside the fence; inside the ground there was a thorn-tree. These trees flourished; their branches spread out over the top. Then the elder girl went off, and her parents did not know of it. It was seen that the girl was pregnant. It was told to Tui-Tonga. He went round the Tongan group trying to find the man who had done this thing. Tui-Tonga was struck with a large club and died, but the boy—the son of Lau-ti-vunia—became King of Tonga.


A tulafale was one of the king's councillors and orator, a ruler of some part of the land.

The mata-pā-niu was a pu'ipu'i, or enclosure round the house. In the island - 24 Malekula of the New Hebrides, there is a village enclosed by walls of coral, and within it the chief's house is surrounded with coral.

Thorn tree. The faui-ui is the trema cannabina; see line 28 of the Solo.

Club. The fa'apou is a large club used by the natives.

Son. Atali'i is the son of a common person, not of a chief.

Lau-ti-vunia; in my MSS. this name is also written Lau-ti-mugia, ‘the reddish leaf of the dracaena tree,’ and Lau-ti-uligia, ‘the dark leaf of the dracaena.’

Lau-ti-vunia.—The Solo.—(I.)
A drink of stale kava, I do not care to use.
The kara [that is newly] mixed with water and in due proportions
Is the desire of my heart.
Where shall it be made?
5 Pull up some kava [root] from Niniva;
Shake it, pat it, break off [the branches];
Throw it into the house to be inspected;
Throw it outside to be chewed;
Chew, chew it, till it is soft;
10 But appoint a distributor and a master of the ceremonies.
Now our kava is going to be strained.
Let the top of the kava be given first
To the parents of us two.
But now distribute your kava.
15 Let us choose nut some cold food—
Some firstlings of the bread-fruit which I am fond of.
Some choice ‘anaoso’ to be greedily eaten:
Some banana fruit to gorge me with:
‘A tifi-tifi-tapu-ulu’ fish to choke me with,
20 And a ‘maono’ fish—the last to be swallowed—
[All laid] on the leaf of a ‘fiso’ and the leaf of a ‘tolo.
O Tui-Tonga, have you no compassion [for me]?
O brother, wearied of the richest of ‘taro’ dishes,
You must not trespass on my land towards the sea.
25 There was a cocoa-nut fence to go round;
A rocky point of land to be climbed;
A chestnut tree, which I attempted to burn;
But I climbed a ‘fau-ui’ tree
Which let me down in front of the door.
30 I am Lau-ti-vunia, O Ipu and One, who sleep in the doorway.
'Ua and 'Unga, go ye to Tui-Tonga;
Convey the mats of Tui-Tonga to Atua.
- 25 The food of Leu-tele which you get to eat
Is the parting gift of Tui-Tonga and Leu-tele.
35 You two shall wait for one another in the moon [light].
[So] they sat down by the food and divided it,
While the moon was shining [high] in Tufu,
But was sinking upright under the bow of the drill.
Le-Anongia and Le-Atoia
40 Feast on the cold food of the kava which these two brought.
Lau-ti-vunia.—The SOLO.—(II.)
O ‘toi,’ ‘toi’ tree,
Thou wert the last of the family [of trees] that I sought out.
There was a ‘fau-ui’ to be found,
A ‘fili-moto’ tree to be broken down,
5 A fence of cocoa-nut trees to be passed over,
A barrier of ‘ti’ tree to be jumped over.
Ipu and One were guarding the doorway;
'Unga and 'Ula were gathering up the rubbish.
[Yet] I entered the house and was not withstood.
10 I went outside the house and my hair was not plucked.
Le-Anongia and Le-Atoia, [his servants],
Are feasting on the kava of Tui-Tonga which they brought him
On the leaf of the ‘tolo’ and the leaf of the ‘fiso,’
Which he crushed in his hands and tore in shreds—
15The heart of the cocoa-nut, and the heart of the banana,
Which he trampled on and threw away.
O Tui-Tonga, a brother wearied of the taro dish—
A fish that men flee from!
Le-Anongia and Le-Atoia
20 Are feasting on the kava which they searched for;
A kava that they collected and chewed,
Some 'ava'ava-i-aitu and some ‘lalano’ which they chewed,
A ‘tifi-tifi,’ an ‘apiti,’ a ‘maono,’ fit to be swallowed alive;
Some firstlings of the Manu'a breadfruit.
The Samoan Text of No. XXII.
'Ava puaia, 'ava le 'aiia.
Ava à sui ma fa'atau
Finagalo o lo ta loto.
Pe fai i fea?
- 26 5 Lia'ina mai ni 'ava ma Niniva;
Luluina, pōpōina, fatifatia;
Lafoia i fale i silafia;
Lafoia i fafo i māia;
A māia, māia, ia pala;
10 A e togi se tufa, ma se tuaava.
A usi lo tatou 'ava.
Ia mua'i se matā'ava
Ia tă matua a e matua a'e lava.
A e ina tufa lo outou 'ava
15 Tatou filifili fono mai—
Se fotu i ulu na ou fonota'i.
Se fili anaoso na ou fologia!
Se foto i fai na alumia!
Se tifitifi-tapu-ulu na lavea a'i au,
20 A la'u toe folo le maono—
O le lau o le fiso, o le lau o le tolo.
Tui-Toga ua e le alofa ea lava?
Uso e, pasiā fa'al'ala,
Lo'u fanua i tai e lē uia.
25 Se matapā-niu, na ta'amilosia;
Se matautupápă na au taulia;
Se ifi na ou foumumunia;
Se fau ui na tu'utu'u ai au
Saina i luma o le totoa.
36 'O a'u o Lautivunia 'o Ipu ma One, 'o moea le totoa
O 'Ua ma 'Uga o ia Tui-Toga;
Molia fala o Tui-Toga ia Atua.
Le 'ai o Leu-tele lo na maua
'O le nāvaegā Tui-Toga ma Leu-tele.
La te fetalia'i i le masina.
Na nofo i le vai tufa'ina
Ae susulu i Tufu le masino
A o loo tanutu i lalo o le nivaniva
O le Anogia ma le Atoia
40 O fono o le 'ava na la molia.
Se maile loo ona tagisia.
The Samoan Text of No. XXIII.
Toi e, toi, e
O muli nei o aiga na a'u sailia.
Se fau-ui na ia sili'ia.
- 27 Se filimoto na ia gau'ia,
5 Se matapā-niu na ia laasia
Se matapā-ti na ia osofia.
'O Ipu ma One na leosia le totoa;
O 'Uga ma 'Ula na taea le otaota.
Tă ulu fale e le te'iia
10 Tă ulu fafo lo tă ulu ā futia.
Le-Anogia ma Le-Atoia
Fono o le 'ava a Tui-Toga na in molia
Le lau o le tolo ma le lau o le fiso
Sa ia nutia ma ia saeia—
15 Le uso i lei ma le uso i fai,
Na ia solia ma ia tia'i.
Tui-Toga e, se uso i pasiā fa'alala
Se i'a e sola, tagata!
Le-Anogia ma Le-Atoia
20 Fono o le 'ava na la sailia;
Se 'ava na la aofia na la māia
Se 'ava'ava-i-aitu, se lalano na la māia
Se tifitifi se apiti, se maono na foloolaina
Se fotu i 'ulu-manu'a na ia lomaina
25 Le laufanua o Toga na ia telea'eina
Lautivunia o tanutu i foga o le Aniva
A goto i Tufu le masina.

1.—A drink of stale kava, etc.; the text here is: 'Ava puaia, 'ava lē 'ai ia, that is, “the kava bad-flavoured-from-standing-too-long (puaia) is not the kava to be eaten ('ai)”. I, my; it is Lau-ti-vunia who speaks throughout.

2.—In due proportions; ‘fa'atau.’

3.—Desire; ‘finagalo.’

5-8.—Pull up, shake, pat, break, throw, chew; the verbs here are—lia-ina, lulu-ina, popo-ina, fati-fatia, lafoia, māia.

10.—Appoint; ‘togi,’ for ‘totogi’; a distributor, ‘se tufa’; a master of the ceremonies, ta'u-'ava, lit., one who calls out or tells the kava cup, a toast-master; for at a feast of chiefs an official always shouts out the name of the chief to whom the cup is next to be presented. Cf. the Roman arbiter bibendi and the Greek άρχιτρίκλινος and the cup-bearers of ancient kings.

11, 13.—Our, us two; that is Lau-ti and Tui-Tonga.

15.—Cold food; ‘fono’; the kava cup first goes round; then the food is eaten.

16.—Firstlings; ‘fotu,’ young fruit; am fond of; fonotai, ‘Make food (fono) of.’

17.—Choice; filia, ‘selected’; anaoso is a thorny tree (caesalpina banducella).

18, 19.—Gorge, choke, swallow, i.e., with purpose to kill him.

21.—Leaf, as a tray; fiso and tolo are varieties of sugar-cane.

- 28

23.—Richest of taro dishes; this is called ‘fa'a-lala,’ or ‘fa'a-usi,’ and is made of grated ‘ taro’ and cocoa-nut.

25-28.—Cocoa-nut fence, rocky point, etc.; these are the barriers against which he must strive; they are ‘mata-pā-niu,’ ‘mata-utu-Pápă,’. ‘ifi’ (chestnut), ‘fau-ui’, (trema cannabina).

28.—Climbed; in order to get down over the fence and within the grounds.

29.—I am, etc.; thus he speaks when he presents himself before the guardians of the door.

31.—Ula and Unga are ‘crayfish’ (as being ‘red’) and ‘soldier-crab.’ Ua here should be Ula, as in the next version.

32.—Mats; ‘fala,’ sleeping mats; these were often very fine and very valuable when old. In Mr. Pratt's time one of them was sold for 70 dollars. They were used as an article of exchange.

33.—Leu-tele; this may be for Le-tui-tele, as in par. 2 of the prose Tala(I).

36.—The food and divided it; le vai tufa-ina, ‘the divided food’; ‘vai’ is here for ‘suā vai,’ a chief's word for ‘food.’

37.—The bow of the drill; o le niva-niva. In Maori, aniwa-niwa is the ‘rain-bow,’ and that also is the reference here. In the next version (line 26) Aniva is the ‘milky way.’

39.—Le-Anongia, Le-Atoia; these are the two servants of Tui-Tonga, who feast on the choice food which he has rejected.

40.—Brought; molia, ‘conveyed’; also in line 12 of next version.

41.—The last lines in this and No. XXIII. are not very intelligible.

Second Version.

1-5.—Toi, etc.; these are the obstacles which he had to overcome to get into the garden of Tui-Tonga. The ‘toi’ tree is the ‘alphitonia excelsa’; the Samoans make a lather of its leaves wherewith to wash their heads; the ifi is the ‘inocarpus edulis’; the fruit is larger than our English chestnut, and is stored for winter use.

2.—Family; āiga, ‘family relations;’ but ‘aiga is the ‘eating’ of a meal.

8.—Rubbish; this may refer to the meaning of Unga and ‘Ula as above.

15.—Heart; uso, ‘pith’; cocoa-nut; ‘lea,’ a variety of cocoa-nut.

11-17.—Taro dish; ‘fa'a-lala,’ as above. Tui-Tonga is so disdainful that he rejects the food offered to him in these verses.

22.—'Ava-'ava-i-aitu, ‘the kava of the spirit-god’; it is a shrub, the piper latifolium; lalano, another variety of tree.

23.—Tifi-tifi, etc.; these are all fishes; in the first version ‘tifi-tifi-tapu-ulu’ is the name in full.


This is the last of the myths which the late Rev. George Pratt and I translated and annotated. To the first of the series I prefixed a short account (Vol. V., page 171) of the circumstances which led to their publication, but as some remarks in a recent number of this Journal (vol. vi., page 152) show me that that explanation has not been read, and that my position in relation to the myths is not understood it is desirable that I should now state their history in full.

These myths were collected by the Rev. T. Powell, who was for a long time a missionary in Samoa. They were communicated to him by the aged chiefs Taua nu'u, the official legend-keeper of Manu'a, and by Fofo and Onofia and others. and - 29 were written down by him, not “by natives,” as is alleged, and in Samoan. All the myths that I have published are copied from his manuscripts, and the press proofs of the Samoan text have been carefully compared therewith and, in many instances, revised by Mr. Ella himself. In one case only—that of the myth about Taema and Nafanua—was the instalment printed off without our seeing any proof; and we regret that there are too many blunders in the Samoan text there. Consequently Samoan natives should not be blamed (page 152) for these defects of punctuation and spelling.

The Rev. Thomas Powell went to Samoa in the beginning of 1845, and was settled on the west of Savai'i. In 1848 he joined the Rev. Dr. Geddie in the New Hebrides mission, but six yeers later was transferred to the eastern stations of Tutuila and Manu'a, in Samoa. He finally retired from the mission field in 1885, after forty years service, and went to England, where he died soon after. Mrs. Powell survived him five or six years. He made little use of his Samoan MSS., and on his death, about ten years ago, his widow sent a bundle of these myths to the Rev. George Pratt, Sydney, as the only man who was likely to be able to make any use of them. Mr. Pratt's eyesight had by this time become feeble, and so the myths remained untouched. I knew that Mr. Pratt had the bundle, and, in my converse with him, I one day offered to act as his amanuensis in the translation of them, and to endeavour to get them published in some one of our Australian Journals. We therefore devoted one whole day every week for several years to this work; I read the Samoan text to him as I found it in Mr. Powell's collection; I wrote down his translations, and also any explanations which he gave voluntarily or at my request, wherever interesting customs or obscure expressions occurred. The translations, therefore, are not mine, and the notes are mostly founded on information supplied by Mr. Pratt. If, therefore, “your readers must allow for inaccuracies in both the Samoan text and renderings,” I am not much to blame for these. But the introductions to the myths are all my own; for them I am responsible. While Mr. Pratt lived I read about forty of these myths to the Royal Society of New South Wales, and thus got them published (1890-95) in the Journals of that Society. The progress of the work was interrupted by his death, but a portion still remained in my hands unpublished, although translated and annotated. Knowing how easily the changes in life cause manuscripts to perish, I resolved to prepare this balance for the press; when ready, I offered them for preservation to the Council of the Polynesian Society, and thus the remainder of the myths—23 in number—have appeared in these pages. I still have a few Samoan myths of Mr. Pratt's collection; but they cannot be used until someone undertakes to translate them.

I have never considered myself an “expert in the language or customs of th Samoans,” but I do claim the credit (if any there is) of having rescued these myths from oblivion; I had all the manual and literary labour of preparing them for publication and of seeing them through the press. My labour has been given cheerfully and without recompense, in the hope that thereby something of the old language and literature and customs of Samoa may be handed on to the next generation.—John Fraser.