Volume 24 1915 > Volume 24, No.95 > A Samoan legend, p 118-119
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- 118
A SAMOAN LEGEND.

[WE believe this story was sent to us by Mr. Churchhill some time ago, and refers to the building of the stone house behind Apia, Upōlu, Samoa, called Te Fale-o-le-Fe'e—fe'e is the octopus. In “Hawaiki” (3rd edition), p. 161, the Rarotongan edition of this story is shown, and it is therein stated that the house was built by Ari who flourished circa A. D. 450. Ari was one of the Tonga-fiti branch of the face and, we suggest, they are the aitu of the Samoan story.—EDITOR.

THE Octopus is an aitu which came out of Fiji. On his first arrival at Apia he lived on the beach, but it is not known where he lived exactly. Afterwards the Octopus went inland from the beach and lived in a cave. He carried up slabs of coral and set them about where he was stopping. For the first time he now built himself a house. He broke off scantlings, aso, from a crag behind his house, many aitu helped to build his house. It came to pass on a certain day, while the house was yet unfinished, that a company of women came up from the town Taga to bathe. Among these women was one who was pregnant and near her confinement. While they were bathing in the stream the woman felt the pangs of her travail, and knew that she would give birth in the water. The women cried aloud and made a stir, and the woman gave birth above the water. When the aitu heard this, the aitu who were building the house, they came near and viewed the spot where the women were. When they beheld the woman who was lying down, and had given birth, they were afraid, for it was the first time they had seen anything of the sort, and they fled inland and up the mountains accompanied by the Octopus rolling his thunders inland. Thereupon the Octopus dwelt on the Sierra. This was unfamiliar to him, for the coral slabs had been carried away from the place where he had been stopping. There came up another aitu of the name of Pava. He was familiar with the region in the valley where the Octopus had established himself, and for that reason the Octopus made him his messenger. Meanwhile the news of the confinement of the woman at the stream had been carried to the folk at Taga, and they had come up and taken the woman back to the town. Pava's errand was to go down and look at the place where the women had been to see whether they had gone away or not. For the Octopus had a great longing to go down again to the place where he had been before, for there were there many slabs of coral. The Octopus said: “Pava, I want to go back to the place where I was before.” Pava went to the place where the women had been, and - 119 there were no women there. Returning to the Octopus he said: “No women are now in the stream.” The answer of the Octopus: “I will go to the place where I was before. I will be the matua of the land and their sign in all things. But I will return to my habitation.” Pava declared himself content with this. Then the Octopus returned to his habitation, and for sheer joy set his thunder rolling seaward. He lived here at this house in company with Pava. There was a married couple, Muliumu the name of the woman, Matafagatele of the man, and they were on friendly terms with Pava. Then the Octopus gave to Pava his emblem of the turban of siapo, and likewise gave up everything to Pava. Then the Octopus became the war aitu of the Vaimauga. If the Vaimauga should be planning war, and should by day or night hear the Octopus roll his thunder inland, then they became anxious, the warriors without courage and all the people afraid. But if they should hear the Octopus rolling his thunder down toward the sea, they rejoiced and took courage, and the warriors went bravely to battle.