Volume 58 1949 > Volume 58, No. 4 > Proverbial expressions of the Samoans, by E. Schultz, p 139-184
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IN the field of rhetoric the Samoans have shown both skill and artistry. The most frequently used and best beloved embellishment of the language to which the orator resorts, is the muagagana or alaga'upu. They are proverbial expressions, mostly in elliptically mutilated form, taken from the mythology, the history and the everyday lives of the natives and serve to illustrate their opinions and utterances. Both words are similar in meaning, but differ in so far as the alaga'upu points towards the existence of a story from which the proverb originates (o le tala e ala ai le upu). Muagagana (from mua, first, excellent and gagana, language, speech) could be translated: embellishment of the language, elevated style.

In the existing Samoan literature the proverbial expressions have suffered woeful and undeserved neglect. However, the orators use them so frequently and they shed so much light on the past history and the present opinions of the people, that their importance cannot be overrated. The grammars and dictionaries present a few muagagana, but leave them often untranslated and unexplained. The present collection is an attempt to rectify this deficiency.

According to the thought expressed, the muagagana can be divided as follows:

  • 1. Upu fa'aaloalo: expressions of respect and courtesy.
  • 2. Upu fa'amaulalo: respect and courtesy in the form of self-abasement.
  • 3. Upu vivi'i: laudatory and complimentary remarks.
  • 4. Upu fiafia: expressions of joy and contentment.
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  • 5. Upu alofa: expressions of love, compassion, and sympathy.
  • 6. Upu fa'anoanoa: expressions of repentance and remorse.
  • 7. Upu fa'aulaula: raillery, ridicule, jests.
  • 8. Upu faifai: offensive expressions, insults.
  • 9. Upu fa'aalualu: encouragement, persuasion.
  • 10. Upu fa'amafanafana: comforting, consolatory expressions.
  • 11. Upu taofiofi: warning, exhortation, appeasement.
  • 12. Upu fa'afiti: denial, refusal.

In compiling the proverbial expressions I consulted the works of Kraemer, Pratt, v. Buelow, Journal of the Polynesian Society, Sierich, Stair, Stuebel, and Turner. Most of the material, however, I obtained directly from the Samoans themselves, about thirty of whom gave me their generous and unselfish assistance. (Abridged.)


SCHULTZ, E. Sprichwortliche Redenserten der Samoaner. Apia, 1906. (A copy is in the Alexander Turnbull Library.)

— — Proverbial Sayings of the Samoans. Translated into English by H. Neffgen, Govt. Interpreter. Apia, Samoa, 1916. Type-written copy. Remarks of translator:

“1. This translation is only a private one and must not be published at all. 2. The translation is not made in correct English, but as far as possible literally according to the German original.” (Only 5 copies made.)

  • 1. Col. R. Logan, Administrator.
  • 2. Capt. L. Tottenham, Provo. Marshal.
  • 3. Mr. T. Smith, Private Secretary to Logan.
  • 4. Mr. F. Nash, Commissioner of Police.
  • 5. Mr. Neffgen, Govt. Interpreter. (This copy is now in the Alexander Turnbull Library.)
II.—HUNTING 88-132
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1. The Samoan fish-hook consists of a longish shaft of polished pearl shell, pa, and a hook made of tortoise shell, maga. The hook is ingeniously fastened to the pa with thin threads of coconut fibre. The whole contraption is known as matau, or more simply, pa.

To polish the pa, pieces of coral are used: the rough kind called puga, as well as the softer 'ana.

Ia a le puga, a le 'ana, or la a le puga niisi, a le 'ana niisi.

Some parts are polished with puga, others with 'ana.

Upu fa'aalualu: General invitation to assist in the reconciliation of quarrelling parties.

2. Laua is the name of a bay in Falelima as well as the name of one of Falelima's five divisions. In the days of yore Tuiuea (the king of Uea or Wallis) came to this village. The king had a pa but he did not know how to tie it correctly into a fish-hook. He invited all the tautai (fishers and sailors) of Samoa to come to Laua and help him. They finally succeeded in tying the hook.

Ua 'atoa le faga i Laua. All have assembled in the Bay of Laua.

Upu fa'aaloalo: Respectful term used to designate a full meeting.

3. The feathers of certain birds, e.g., the tava‘e or tropic bird, are attached to the fish-hook to serve as artificial bait. Before the introduction of firearms, this bird was caught in the following way: The hunter searched for a nest with young and climbed up to it. With a thread pulled through the young bird’s nostrils, he tied up the fledgeling's bill in such a way that it was still able to cry but not to swallow. When the parents returned, they were so terrified at the young one's inability to eat, that they left all caution aside and could be caught easily. The Samoans maintain that if the parents were left undisturbed, they would remain with their young and allow themselves to starve to death.

E gase a uluga. The dying of the pair of birds.

Upu alofa: Loving words referring to friends who stick together through thick and thin.

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Upu fa'aalualu: Ta te gase a uluga. Words of encouragement: Let us die together.

4. Se'i muamua ona ala uta. Try the fish line first on land.

So that it may be used effectively the following morning.

Upu taofiofi: Warning: Look before you leap.

5. A pair of fish-hooks tied together is called talaga. The tying is done on the evening before the fishing expedition. The following morning the fisher embarks in his canoe, unties the hooks, and fastens the line of one to his right leg and the other to his left leg. The best hooks are those with a perfectly white pearl shell shaft.

Ua talaga a pa sina. A couple of white pearl shell fish-hooks.

Upu vivi'i: Words of praise referring to the speech of one high chief or orator and the reply made by another.

6. O le pa ua sala i le maga. The hook has been torn off the shaft.

It is more difficult to make the shaft, pa, than the hook, maga; therefore, the pa is more valuable. If the maga breaks or is bitten off by a fish, the loss can easily be repaired.

Upu fa'aulaula: Playful words referring to losses easy to bear and easy to repair. In the estimation of the Samoans the death of the wife or a little child is to be counted among these. The death of the head of the family, on the other hand, is considered a great loss.

7. O le pa ua sala le fausaga. The fish-hook is incorrectly bound.

When the hook is badly bound, the fish will not take it.

Upu fa'anoanoa. Expression of regret meaning: The undertaking failed because some error was committed in its execution.

8. Se'i motu le pa 'a 'ua iloa. May the pearl shell fish-hook never be lost before it has been shown to others.

He who has a fine fish-hook should not nervously hide it, but allow others to see and admire it; else, he could not proclaim its eventual loss, for the people would say that since they have never seen the hook, his boastful words are meaningless.

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Upu fa‘alumaluma. Mocking words meaning: Don’t speak boastfully about the loss of an object whose existence was unknown.

Upu fa'anoanoa. Words of regret used by the loser.

The following applications are also customary: “It is mean to hide one's possessions.” With the communistically minded Samoans avarice is one of the worst vices.

If you have to form a resolution, do not revolve the matter in your own mind only, but discuss it with others. Should things take an unfavourable turn, they will then be willing to help you (just as he who is familiar with a fine fish-hook, is able to find a similar one).

9. Ia uluulu matafolau. Go and look in the fishermen's houses.

According to the communistic system of the Samoans, a travelling party is allowed to beg fish-hooks at the houses where they call. A wider interpretation is often given to this custom, known as malagafaga, and the begging may be extended to other objects. To get good hooks one has to ask in the houses of the tautai (afolau 1); elsewhere only inferior hooks will be offered.

Upu fa‘aalualu. Words of encouragement: don’t be negligent, but do the thing thoroughly.

10. Sa'a fa‘aoti le utu a le faimea. Let the fisherman’s bamboo receptacle be completely emptied out.

Faimea are those tautai who are clever at making fish-hooks. Utu is the bamboo receptacle in which the hooks are kept. Fa'aoti (from oti, to die) is a figure of speech for fa'auma (completely, so that nothing is left).

If a visitor comes to the faimea to get a fish-hook, the latter should empty the receptacle completely and not niggardly hide a hook.

Upu fa'aalualu: (1) In a discussion each one should tell his opinion unreservedly; only then can the right decision be reached. (2) At a reconciliation the opponents should openly confess the cause of their dissatisfaction, so that permanent peace may be concluded.

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11. O le va'a ua seu vale, 'a o ala le mafua. A canoe is steered in the wrong direction while a swarm of little fishes arises.

When a number of matai turn out for a common fishing expedition (alafaga), each canoe must keep its place and be steered properly, lest the fishing lines get tangled. Failure to do this is particularly troublesome when the little fishes appear, because they will be chased by the big ones and, at the same time, they serve as free bait for the fishermen.

Upu fa'amaulalo and upu faifai. The saying is used in a fono (council meeting) by an orator who interrupts another speaker or who wishes to express a different opinion.

12. Seu foga'afa. To steer a canoe in such a way that the fishing line (of another canoe) is turned in the wrong direction.

This proverb is also used to describe the troublesome condition explained in No. 11. Foga'afa is idiomatic for faga'afa.

I was also told that Seu foga'afa designates a usage customary at the alafaga and resembles the malagafaga (No. 9). A fisherman who has lost his hooks may approach another canoe, take hold of a fish line and remove the fish-hook.

O le a ou seu foga'afaina is an upu fa'amaulalo used in the same sense as No. 11. In the form of E te seu foga'afa, it is an upu faifai addressed to another who has caused an interruption in a fono without apologizing with an upu fa'amaulalo.

13. Ua sa'a i le tai le ‘upega o Pili. Pili’s net has been poured out into the sea.

Pili, a hero of Samoan mythology, taught the Samoans how to fish with nets. In the Apolima Strait he spread a net that reached from Savai'i to Upolu. So many fish were caught in it, that the boats could not hold them and many had to be thrown back into the sea.

Upu fa'amoanoa used at the loss of some benefit anticipated or already obtained, particularly when it is lost through negligence.

14. Ua tu'u tasi le upega o Pili. Pili cast his net by himself.

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Upu vivi'i used of a person or a community that performs an undertaking unassisted.

15. In Aleipata, too, Pili showed the people how to fish with nets, but the expedition was unsuccessful. When the girls grumbled because the anticipated tit-bits failed to appear, Pili soothed them with the words:

O le upega e tautau, 'ae fagota. The net is now hanging up (to dry), but it will soon be used for fishing again.

Upu fa'amafanafana. An exhortation not to allow one-self to be downcast by a single failure.

16. A big fish net is made in parts (tulavae) by individual persons. The tulavae are afterwards joined together. Before the work begins, the mesh-sticks (afa) are measured and made equal, so that all the meshes may be of the same size. When the net is finished people say, Ua peiseai sa fai i se afa e tasi; or elliptically:

Ua se afa e tasi. It looks as if it were all made with one and the same mesh-stick.

Upu vivi'i used to express a common opinion or a unanimous verdict.

17. Ua 'ou seuseu ma le fata. I am fishing because I have helped to make a fata.

The tulavae is a portion of the fish net made by one person, as explained in No. 16. All the tulavae made by a section of the village are joined into a fata. The totality of the fata, again, form the complete net. A person who has supplied a tulavae for the fata is entitled to take part in the fishing and to share in the catch. He may not be repulsed.

The saying means: I have the right to take part in the discussion.

18. Ua tu'u i tai le va'a tele. The big net has been spread out in the sea.

Va'a tele (big boat) is used figuratively for 'upega tele (big net). When a village is making a new net, the nearby villages are not allowed to fish for some time before its completion. They may resume fishing, however, a little while after the new net has been tried out for the first time.

Upu fa'aaloalo. It is becoming to listen to and to consider the speech of a distinguished orator.

19. Fa'atilotilo masae. To look, like a fish, for a hole in the net.

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The explanation given by Pratt “to seek an occasion to quarrel” is incorrect.

The fish caught in the net looks for some advantage, namely for a hole through which it may regain its liberty. Man, also, strives after material advantages. He tries to find out if the other person is good natured, liberal, hospitable and how he can turn things to his advantage.

Often one hears this saying at the reception of guests. Samoan etiquette requires the visitor to assure his host that he has not come to fa'atilotilo masae, i.e., to sponge on him.

20. O le upega le talifau. A net that is beyond repair. Used of a weak, sickly old man.

21. When fishing for anae (mullet) the fishermen post themselves around the big net. As the fish take to flight by jumping out of the net, they are caught in small hand nets (alagamea). This method of fishing is known as seu. Samoan custom requires that a man who has caught many fish, give a few to his neighbour who has not caught any. This is called:

Va lelei. To keep up friendly relations with one's neighbour.

22. O le i'a a tautai e alu i le fa'alolo. The fish seems to do the will of the tautai (chief fisherman).

When the fish see an opening in the net, they swim to the place where the tautai stands as if they obeyed him. The tautai alone has the right to push down the net and catch the fish.

Upu fa'amaulalo: Obedience.

23. When the members of a family are fishing with their net another person will, perhaps, put to sea and join them in the hope that he will get his share of the catch after having assisted them. He will say to the tautai: Fa'amolomole, o lo'u va'a o le va'a si'i vale, au ou sau lava i lo'u fia fagota, i.e., I beg your pardon; I have launched my canoe without a good excuse; I have come to help you. The tautai may not refuse him.

O le va'a si'i vale la'u lauga nei. My speech is like a canoe launched without a sufficient reason.

Upu fa'amaulalo by which is meant: The matter on which I am now going to speak does not really concern me - 147 and I am overstepping my rights in taking the word. However, as my opinion may be of some value to you, I will express it and, at the same time, beg your pardon for my tactless interference.

It is also used as an upu faifai to repulse someone's interference.

24. O le upega e fili i le po, 'ae talatala i le ao. The net that became entangled in the night will be disentangled in the morning.

For a certain kind of night fishing the Samoans use a particular net called tapo. After the catch, the net is carried ashore and hung up. The following morning it is properly put in order.

In order to settle a dispute, it is necessary to be clear about its causes.

25. The method of fishing called lauloa consists in enclosing a large space of shallow water in the lagoon by means of a coconut-leaf net. The fish are then driven to a spot previously agreed upon. The whole village led by the tautai takes part in the drive. Should anyone, in the excitement of the work or to show off, give orders to his neighbours, no one will heed him, for only the tautai may give orders. The busybody's pretended wisdom, therefore, will be of no avail.

O le poto a lauloa. The wisdom shown at lauloa fishing.

Upu fa'alumaluma referring to a matai who has no vote in the village or family council and who yet insists on giving instructions and advice which everyone will ignore.

26. At lauloa fishing some men must mind the net lest it become entangled and tear in the stones and coral slabs, while the others are dragging it.

Fa'aui lau lavea. To disentangle the coconut-leaf net.

This is used of someone who tries to prevent or settle a dispute.

27. E ta'ape a fatuati. The collapse of the heap of stones.

Fatuati is a heap of stones erected under water in the lagoon to attract fish. When this contraption has been destroyed deliberately or otherwise, the fishermen will come and rebuild it.

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Upu fa'amafanafana referring to a disunited family or village community whose reconciliation is at hand.

28. O le lamaga ua fa'atau aitu. At torch fishing an aitu appeared on either hand.

One night two women planned to go fishing with torches on the reef. As they had to wait for low tide, they lay down and fell asleep. While they slept, an aitu (spirit, devil) came along and took on the form of one of the women. He then awakened the other and went out with her to the reef where he intended to kill and eat her. However, a second aitu, much revered by the other woman's family, approached her and said “Run away quick and I will conceal your flight; that is not your friend but an aitu.” While she was running away, he changed himself into her form and went fishing with the first aitu. When day broke the latter saw that his plan had miscarried.

The saying means: To countermine another's evil designs.

29. Faiva o Fiti ia lililo. Let the Fijian method of fishing remain a secret.

The Tuifiti (King of Fiji) had two wives, one a Fijian, the other a Samoan. Each had born him a son. One day the boys went fishing for their father. The Fijian used bow and arrow; the other fished with a spear like the Samoans. The Fijian met with failure, but the Samoan caught many fishes. Thereupon the two determined to tell their father that both had used the spear. They also decided that the Fijian method of fishing being so unsatisfactory, should no longer be taught to others. In Samoa, in fact, fishing with bow and arrow has hardly ever been popular; today is has completely fallen into disuse.

The saying means, not to reveal a certain matter, such as the commission of an injustice.

30. A fisherman at his work or returning from the sea, being asked whether he has caught anything, will give a negative answer if he wants to keep all the fish for himself. From this we have the saying:

O le fa'afiti a tautai. The denial of the fisherman.

A petitioner uses it to indicate he realizes the negative answer he gets is only an evasion.

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31. When a tauta (landman, oppos. of tautai) advances an opinion regarding fishing or navigation, he receives the answer:

O le va'ai a le tauta. That is the opinion of a landlubber.

It means that his opinion is of no value. The saying also has the same meaning as No. 25. Besides, it refers to a faint-hearted person who is ready to give up as soon as he meets with a difficulty.

32. When a matai tauta (landlubber) who owns fishing tackle but understands nothing about fishing, wants some fish, he will give the tackle and a present to a tautai and ask him to go fishing for him. If the tautai has no luck, people will say it is the punishment for some sin he has committed and that he must try again until he makes a catch.

O le sala a tautai e totogi. The tautai must pay for his sins.

Upu fa'amaulalo meaning: If I have caused some trouble, such as a quarrel, I must try my best to set things right.

33. A tulituliloa 'ua o le mago i Foa? Is he to be pursued like the shark of Foa?

Mago is a species of shark; pa'itele was a sea-monster about which little is known. Once upon a time a mago and a pa'itele had a fight. The mago fled towards Savai'i followed by the pa'itele. On the coast near Asu the shark crept into a submarine cave. The pa'itele tried to follow, but it was so big that it got stuck. The mago escaped through a side opening. Later the shark went to Foa and proposed to Sinafalemoa, the daughter of the chief. As he was rejected, he died of grief. This is why he is known as the Shark of Foa.

Upu fa'anoanoa or alofa used when one is pursued by misfortune.

34. O le malie ma le tu'u malie. Every shark must be paid for.

The first shark caught in a new boat must be presented to the village by the owner of the boat. In return the owner will receive a gift of food. This gift is known as tu'u malie or payment for the shark.

The saying refers to “retribution” in a good and in a bad sense.

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35. O le tiuga a Matala'oa e tiu ma afifi. When the Matala'oa people go fishing, they fish and wrap up.

Matala'oa was a bush village in Falealili, inland of Poutasi. It exists no longer. Its inhabitants had the reputation of avoiding all waste when fishing. Their village being so far inland, they knew how to appreciate their catch. Anything they caught was carefully wrapped up and at once sent to the village.

Another explanation is as follows: Matala'oa was a crippled girl in Falealili. She lived in a small hut behind the big house occupied by her brother and his family. One day her brother went out to noose sharks and stayed away a long time. During his absence a strange chief came along and put up at the big house. Matala‘oa suspected him of having illicit intercourse with her brother’s wife, so she watched him and found her suspicions confirmed. She did not let on. At last her brother returned, but he had caught nothing. She told him that she also had been fishing and that she had carefully wrapped up the fish and stored it away. She then related what she had seen.

The meaning of the saying is the same in both cases. It is an upu vivi'i, commending a person for his retentive memory.

36. To'ai fa'a i'a a po. To come like a fish in the night.

This pictures a fisher who sits in his boat on a dark night and is startled by the sudden appearance of a shark.

Upu fa'aulaula addressed to a person who appears unexpectedly. The visitor, too, may use the words but in a negative sense: Ou te le to'ai fa'a i'a a po, i.e., I do not come secretly like a fish in the night, but I am here to meet you all, to converse with you, to tell you my wishes.

37. Fa'afanauga a laumei. Like the young of the turtle.

It is the belief of the Samoans that the turtle lurks near her eggs on the beach and that she catches and eats her young as soon as they are hatched.

Upu faifai. Mocking words referring to loveless, undutiful parents.

38. Ia o gatasi le futia ma le umele. The sinnet ring and the stand for the fishing rod must be equally strong.

The bonito fishing rod is fastened to the thwart by means of a sinnet ring (futia). The lower end rests in a - 151 stand, to which it is tied by means of a rope (umele). Both ropes must be of equal strength, lest one of them tear when a bonito bites.

Upu fa'aalualu. When two men are in partnership, they must be of one mind. Should one be weak and faint-hearted, the undertaking will fail.

39. O le foe fa'ae'e i le tau. The paddle lying on the deck of the fishing boat.

The canoe used for bonito fishing (va'aalo) is small. The bow and the stern are partly decked in. A paddle lying on this half deck may easily fall off.

Upu fa'amaulalo signifying that a person is unwilling to vouch for the correctness of his report or the unalter-ableness of his opinion.

40. Ua se le atu i ama. The bonito was mistakenly pulled up on the outrigger side.

When a bonito has taken the bait, the fisherman will swing in his rod with a forward motion on the starboard side, the canoe still moving on. This cannot be done on the left side because of the outrigger. Should the fish or the line strike the outrigger (this may happen to an inexperienced or a hasty fisherman) the hook is likely to be torn out and the fish will be lost.

Upu fa'amaulalo. The saying is used by a speaker as an apology for having, in the heat of the discussion, offended one of his listeners or for having unintentionally omitted one of the set forms of speech required by Samoan etiquette.

41. Ua tuliloa le atu a le sa'u. The bonito is pursued by the swordfish.

The swordfish (sa'ula) likes to pursue the bonito and follows it even when it seeks shelter near a boat.

Upu vivi'i to commend the energy and perseverance with which a person strives towards his goal. Upu alofa to express sympathy for one who is pursued like the bonito.

42. Talanoa atu, 'ae le talanoa manu. The bonitos swim about thoughtlessly, but the seagulls are on the alert.

An incautious person will be surprised by his enemy.

43. Nafanua, the war goddess, dwelt in Falealupo, Savai'i. The land where her house stood now belongs to Chief Auva'a. There were three entrances to her house. - 152 The front entrance was used by those who came with a request. Through the back entrance she received the food which had to be offered to her as tribute. The side entrance had a different purpose. It was called “the passage of the bonito” and through it the bonito fisher had to bring her a fish, even though he had caught only one. Opposite this entrance was Nafanua's seat.

Tau ina uia o le ala o le atu. Let it go the way of the bonito.

This is said by a person when Samoan custom requires him to give away some valuable object, such as a pig or a fine mat. Often a somewhat inferior object is chosen for such a presentation. The saying is then used by a member of the family or a third person to indicate that the quality of the gift does not correspond with the dignity of the receiver.

It is also used as an upu fa'amaulalo, an apology to the receiver whom courtesy then requires to praise the value of the gift.

44. O le sapatu motu pa. The barracuda that tears off the hook.

The sapatu (barracuda) is a big predatory fish which, when caught, is very violent. It is, therefore, compared to a quarrelsome person.

45. O le sapatu moe 'ese. The barracuda that sleeps apart.

The barracuda sleeps by itself because the other fish fear and avoid it.

Upu vivi'i. Words of praise to commend a person's power and strength.

46. The inhabitants of the old village Papa (near Satupaitea, Savai'i) once noticed a big school of fish out in the sea. Thinking they were bonitos they hurried to the shore, embarked in their canoes and went out. However, the fish were not bonitos but aitu (devils, spirits) in the form of big sea eels. The eels rushed the people and started to devour them. A few men managed to regain the shore. However, another aitu named Pagoa was lurking there and ate up those who had escaped the eels. Thus the whole village perished. Ua malaia nisi ia pusi, malaia nisi ia Pagoa; or elliptically:

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Ua a pusi, a Pagoa. Some were destroyed by the eels, others by Pagoa.

Upu fa'anoanoa or alofa. He who wishes to avoid Scylla falls into Charybdis. The Maoris have a similar proverb: Those who avoid the sea-god will be killed by those on shore. (An allusion to the legendary custom in the ancestral home of Hawaiki, of killing shipwrecked strangers.)

47. O le galo e gase i Pa'au. The galo dies in Pa'au.

The galo is a full grown fish, which in its earlier stages is called fugausi and laea. Pa'au is the name of a piece of land and a lagoon between Vaisala and Sataua, Savai'i. The galo is frequently found in this lagoon. This is why the Samoans say that the full-grown fish come from all over Samoa to Pa'au, where they are caught.

During his lifetime a person frequently changes his abode, but when he is about to die he remembers his birth-place and his family and returns there to await the end.

48. Ia moe le ufu, to'a le paipai. The ufu sleeps; the paipai sits calmly by.

The fish fugausi secretes a whitish substance in which it hides itself and feels secure from its enemies. In this state, which is considered a symbol of repose, it is known as ufu. The paipai is a small crab that moves about slowly and does not resist capture. Some maintain that ufu is the name of a certain fish and paipai the substance secreted by it.

Upu taofiofi. An admonition to live in peace and harmony.

49. The fuga has soft dorsal fins; the maono, hard and spiny ones. The former, therefore, is compared to a peace-loving person; the latter, to a quarrelsome one.

Ia tafatafa fuga, 'ae 'aua le tafatafa maono. Have dorsal fins like those of the fuga but not like those of the maono.

It has a meaning similar to No. 48. Introduced with the verbal particle ‘ua, the saying also refers to a person’s disposition.

50. The trunk-fish moamoa moves very slowly and is easily caught. The Samoans say that its existence is useless - 154 (ola fua), since it does not try to evade its enemies. (Kraemer's contention that the moamoa is not eaten in incorrect.)

Ua ola a moamoa. Like the life of the trunk-fish.

Upu fa'anoanoa or alofa, having a similar meaning to No. 33.

51. Fetuia'i fa'afaga a 'apoa. To prick one another like a school of 'apoa.

The 'apoa have spines on the back and breast. They are gregarious. When lying in the sand, they can easily hurt one another.

Upu faifai. Rebuke for relatives, friends and neighbours who are quarrelsome and trying to harm one another.

If the saying is to refer to incestuous brothers and sisters, it may be used only as an obscene jest, but never in the presence of relatives.

52. Ua se unavau. He is like an unavau.

The unavau is a poisonous fish that occasionally appears in a school of edible pelupelu. (Kraemer II, 416, says the unavau is the poisonous stage of the pelupelu.) The Samoans maintain that if a single unavau happens to be in a swarm of pelupelu, the latter will all be poisonous. The fact is that, now and then, fatal poisonings occur after the natives have partaken of pelupelu that were caught with an unavau. I am not competent to judge how the unavau's poison is communicated to the pelupelu, whether this happens in the sea or when the two fish are accidentally cooked together.

Upu faifai referring to a meddler or a slanderer who endangers the peace of a family or a village.

53. E a sipa le lama, 'ae fano malolo. The torch is tilted over while the flying fish die.

Sinasegi, the daughter of the Tuiaana Fa'apilipili and his wife Sinalaua, went fishing one night on the reef of Falelima. The glare of her torch unexpectedly attracted a large number of flying fish that fell into the canoe although it was not flying fish she wanted but a different kind.

Another explanation is as follows: For the capture of the dolphin (masimasi) the hook is baited with flying fish.

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The latter are caught with a small fish-hook. While the fisher is waiting for a bite, his boat must move on slowly. The sail is, therefore, somewhat lowered until it hangs in an inclined position (sipa).

Upu fa‘anoanoa or alofa referring to a person who has come to harm through another’s fault.

54. Ua ta i matau, ta i ama fa'alamaga ise. When fishing for ise we swing the net sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left.

The ise (garfish) is caught by torch light with a hoop-net.

An orator who digresses from his topic and speaks now of this, now of that, so that no one knows what he wants to say (fa'a le maua se tonu) is compared to the ise fisher who swings his net in every direction.

55. When the gatala has been impregnated, it moves very slowly. The Samoans compare this state of repose to grief and mourning and maintain that the matulau is then often seen in company of the gatala. Both fish are frequently caught together.

Ua fa'anoa fua le matulau i le fa‘anoa a gatala. The matulau share the gatala’s grief without reason.

Upu faifai referring to a person who meddles with other people's affairs without the slightest reason.

56. Ua se matulau. Like unto a matulau.

When exposed to the air the matulau dies very quickly.

Upu faifai referring to weakness and inefficiency.

57. The swarms of lo (whitebait) usually appear first at Fagaiofu, a sandy coast between Falelatai and Lefaga. Not so long ago there was a village there, whose people are now living in Falevai, a fuaiala (section) of Falelatai. From Fagaiofu the lo travel to Falelatai and then along the coast to Manono. Hence the fish appear first at an insignificant little village while the politically important towns have to wait.

Ua mua'i ta i'a Fagaiofu. Fagaiofu goes fishing first.

Upu faifai. Mocking words referring to common people who begin to eat before the high chiefs, and to similar cases.

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58. When the lo appears, Samoan custom requires the family of the husband to present a number of these fish to his wife's clan. Her family repay the gift with siapo (tapa cloth). In Manono the lo appears so often that it is paid for with lo.

Avatu ni lo, aumai ni lo. To give lo and to receive lo.

Tit for tat.

59. Ua se tifitifi. Like a tifitifi.

The tifitifi is a small fish. According to Pratt the word means “a nimble warrior.” I have never heard it used in this sense. I think it is simply used as a faianaga, a jest referring to a lean person. The aesthetic sense of the Samoans requires a person of dignity to be well-fed and portly.

60. On a malaga to Satuimalufiliufi (Faleolo) Leao-savai'i, a chief from Savai'i called on High Chief Lilomaiava. The latter was just returning from fishing. Entering the house, he poured the fish in front of his guest. A little tifitifi, that was still alive, sprang up and fell into a deep hole and Lilomaiava said, “Perhaps you want that fish too?” “Yes,” replied Leao and Lilomaiava said, “Well, then the post must be taken down.”

Fa'i pea le pou i Faleolo, 'ai su'e le i'a a Leaosavai'i.

Break down the post in Faleolo and look for the fish of Leaosavai'i.

Upu fa'aalualu. Words to encourage a person to strive after his goal, and not allow himself to be deterred by any consideration or obstacle.

61. E sola le fai, 'ae tu'u le foto. The sting-ray escapes, but it leaves its barb behind.

The sting-ray (fai) has a sharp barbed spine in its tail with which it can inflict severe wounds. The barb easily breaks off and remains in the wound, while the fish escapes.

Upu fa'anoanoa. The evil a man does, lives after him.

62. Aua e te fagota i le sao. Do not fish with the stick.

To catch the octopus within the reef, the fisher uses a stick, sao, with which the fish is tickled and enticed from its lair. The fisher then pulls it forth with his hand and kills it by sinking his teeth through its head. Experts may use their hands only to catch small octopi; but the correct and most efficient method is fishing with the help of the sao.

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Upu taofiofi. Do not enquire too deeply into the things which do not concern you, e.g., the affairs of another family (aua e te sagolegole).

63. O le vaivai o le fe'e. The softness of the octopus.

Notwithstanding its soft body the octopus is a powerful fish.

Upu vivi'i referring to a small but influential family or village, a calm but momentous speech and to similar circumstances.

64. The fish had a fono regarding the advisability of declaring war on the birds. Because of its small size the igaga was not invited to the meeting. However, when hostilities began he joined the fish.

O le i'a ititi o igaga. The igaga is only a tiny fish.

Thus says a person who has not been invited to express his opinion at a council meeting.

65. Ua fa'afugafuga gutulua fa'apea. He has two mouths like the sea cucumber.

In the war between the birds and the fishes (No. 64) fortune was changing. The sea cucumber always held with the victor. (The fable evidently owes its origin to the fact that the sea cucumber's anus may easily be mistaken for a mouth.)

66. Folau a alamea. The cure of the alamea.

The alamea is a spiny sea star. The sting of the alamea may be cured by turning over the animal and allowing it to suck out the spines.

Like cures like.

67. Once upon a time there was an aitu (devil, spirit) who had the form of a trumpet shell (Triton shell, pu, foafoa) and ate men. At night he came ashore through a passage in the reef to look for his prey and in the morning he returned to the sea. The inhabitants of the coast finally determined to rid themselves of the oppressor. One night, under the direction of an experienced fisherman (tautai), they stretched a net (lologamata) across the reef passage. When the aitu wanted to return, he became entangled in the net and cried out in a loud voice. The fishermen said “Ua tagi le pu ina ua maua i le upega, o le a mate.” (The pu cries because it is caught in the net where it will die.)

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Ua tagi a pu mate. Like the crying of the pu that is going to die.

Upu fa'anoanoa or alofa referring to a person who is in danger of his life.

68. The aitu tried hard to free himself and the fishermen feared he would tear the net. The tautai, however, knowing that the net was strong enough to hold him said, “E le afaina.” (It does not matter; there is no danger.)

Ua to i lologamata. He is secure in the net.

Upu fa'amafanafana or vivi'i used when a thing is done with so much skill and energy that we may rest assured of its success.

69. On fixed days in October and November every year the palolo worm appears on the reef and is caught in large quantities by the natives who highly esteem it. The fish, too, lie in wait for it. When the catch is poor, the fishermen exaggerate on their return, saying that they saw the palolo only in the mouths of the fish they caught.

Tau ina iloa ia i'a. Only seen in the mouths of the fish.

Upu fa'amaulalo used as an excuse by a person who has so little food, tapa, etc., that it is not worth while making distribution.

70. Ua penapena i tua o tai i'a. They were too late for the catch.

It means the palolo was gone by the time the people reached the reef.

Upu fa'aulaula, alofa or fa'anoanoa: He who comes too late must content himself with what is left.

71. Ua se i'a e moe. Like a sleeping fish.

Originally this was used metaphorically for a beautiful calm day when the sea and the mountains are perfectly visible. Thus people say, Ua se i'a e moe o mauga o Savai'i. The mountains of Savai'i are like a sleeping fish. Since the spread of Christianity the saying refers to the repose of the soul after death.

72. Ua se i'a e sola. He is like a fish that escaped.

Upu vivi'i: A figure of speech for “speed.”

73. O le i'a ua lata i le loto. The fish is near a deep spot.

As soon as the fisherman appears, the fish will escape into deep water where it can no longer be caught.

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Referring to a person about to leave his home, never to return. It also refers to elderly or sick people whose days are numbered, but in this case it may not be used in the presence of the person to whom it is applied.

74. Ua fa'afaiva o matu'u. It is like the fishing of the heron.

The Samoans say that the greedy heron eats all the fish it catches and brings nothing to its family.

Upu faifai. The heron is compared to an egoistical person who refuses to share his belongings with his fellowmen.

75. Ua le fa'asino pu, le tautu'u palapala. He neither searches the holes nor does he dig away the mud.

A certain crab called tupa that lives in salt-water swamps, is caught by digging it out of the hole in which it makes its home.

Upu faifai referring to a lazy person or a shirker who will not lend a hand at a job undertaken by the community.

76. E gase le pa'a i lona vae. The crab dies by its own leg.

When the fisherman has caught a crab, he pulls out its leg and with it pierces the animal.

Upu fa'anoanoa or alofa or faifai referring to a person who has come to harm through his own fault or that of a relative or friend.

77. E pata le tutu i ona vae. The crab brags about its legs.

The tutu is a crab with big, strong legs.

Upu faifai referring to a person who brags in a difficult situation when he knows that help is near.

78. The papata crab had born a child and there was much rejoicing among the relatives. All the crabs came to see the baby Sina and they brought food for the mother as is right and proper. Only the matamea crab presented herself without a gift. She simply came to sponge and, sitting by the mother, she smacked her lips covetously until she was reproved for her unseemly behaviour.

O le mitimiti a matamea. The sponging of the Matamea crab.

Upu faifai referring to a person who feigns love and affection.

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79. The following saying is based on the same story. (No. 78):

E le'i mitimiti papata. The papata crab has not yet smacked her lips, i.e., has had nothing to eat yet.

Upu faifai: You have not shown by your deeds that you wish me well.

80. E a le uga i tausili, 'ae tigaina fua le atigi alili. The hermit crab is doing the climbing, but it is its shell that suffers the damage.

The hermit crab often wanders inland. When it tries to climb over rocks and tree trunks, it frequently tumbles down. The shell, then, has to sustain the fall while the crab itself gets off unhurt.

Upu alofa, fa'aulaula or fa'anoanoa. The chiefs and orators make the decisions, but the common people (tagatalautele) must carry them into effect and suffer all the consequent hurt and damage, e.g., after a declaration of war.

81. 'Ai la'ai fa'avalo. To join another at his meal like the crayfish.

Upu faifai: The little crayfish valo that leaves its hole and, unbidden, enters its neighbour's hole, illustrates a person who officiously meddles with other people's concerns.

82. O le i'a a vai malo. Governmental power is like a fresh water fish.

Fresh water fish, e.g., the tuna (river eel) are slimy and slippery and, therefore, hard to catch and hold. So it is with governmental power. When one party has, with much trouble, conquered another and established a government, it has to watch lest its newly acquired power be wrested from it.

Upu fa'aalualu referring to the frequency of the Samoan civil wars. When the saying is applied to girls (o le i'a vai tama'ita'i), it is used as a faianaga (jest).

83. O le faila tu i le ama. A piece of forked wood standing on the outrigger.

The faila is a piece of forked wood fastened to the front part of the outrigger of a canoe. Its purpose is to support the fishing rod, the spear, etc., lest they obstruct the narrow hold of the boat.

Upu fa'amaulalo. A visiting matai applies these words to himself when he thinks that, owing to his presence, his - 161 hosts are prevented from discussing their affairs. O le faila tu i le ama a'u nei, i.e., don't mind me; I am standing outside the canoe.

84. At low tide two girls were fishing in the lagoon of Sale'imoa. The chief Amituana'i came along and abducted them.

Ua fano lua i masa. Both perished at low tide.

This refers to a mishap that befalls several people at the same time. It is also used jestingly at the preparation of food or kava, when the portion set aside is likely to prove insufficient and the whole available supply had better be used.

85. La'ulu is the name of a reef near Falealupo, very rich in fish. Ua tagi le tagata e ona le va'a i le tautai ia ave le va'a i La'ulu ia goto ona o le tele o i'a. The owner of a boat begged a tautai to take his boat to La'ulu even though it should sink with the weight of the catch.

Na tagisia La'ulu o se va'a ia goto.

Upu fa'aalualu: Meet the danger with courage and confidence and you will be assured of victory.

86. E 'asa le faiva, 'ae le 'asa le masalo. A fishing expedition may have no success, but a suspicion usually has some ground for it.

A motto characterizing the Samoan who is suspicious himself and often invites suspicion.

87. Sili le foe. To hang up the paddle (after a fishing expedition).

It means, to refrain from further participation in an affair; to leave the decision to another.


Introductory remarks: The fauna of Samoa is poor. For the chase it offers only feathered game. The following are the principal game birds: the lupe (pigeon), the manutagi (a small species of pigeon), the manuali'i, the ve'a (swamphen), the tava'e (tropic bird), the gogo and some other sea birds.

The people hunted mostly with the help of decoy birds. To bait the manuali'i, a bunch of bananas was used (No. 123). In Tutuila people knew how to catch sea birds with- - 162 out a decoy (No. 126). Birds were caught either with a hoop-net or in a cage in whose open top the decoy bird (manutagi) was fettered. They were also shot with bow and arrow (No. 112). For the community hunt a tia (cleared space in the bush for hunting) was prepared and shelters or hiding places erected for the individual hunters. This was particularly done for the purpose of hunting pigeons.

The numerous muagagana (proverbial expressions) relating to pigeon catching prove how popular the sport was with the Samoans. The modern firearm has put an end to the old Samoan sport. Only the manutagi is still caught in the old way and, if the report be true, the chiefs of Aopo and Tiave'a will, occasionally, net pigeons according to the ancient rules of the hunt.

88. Muniao (la'au fa'alava) is a transverse piece of wood placed across the net to keep it properly stretched.

Fetu'una'i muniao. To push the cross-piece back and forth (in order to spread the net).

Upu taofiofi: Look before you leap.

89. Ua leai se manu e olo. Not a pigeon is cooing.

Thus say the hunters when, entering the bush, they notice no sign of the game.

The saying is used of a family or a village where perfect peace reigns.

90. E sa'olele le tuamafa i lou finagalo. Your will is as the flight of an old pigeon.

Tuamafa is an old pigeon, the leader of the flock. It flies where it will and the others follow.

Upu fa'aaloalo: Obedience.

91. Ua fuifui fa'atasi, 'ae vao 'ese'ese. Gathered into a flock from different parts of the forest.

The pigeons are scattered in the bush to look for food, to mate, etc. Then they will gather into a flock to travel to another part of the forest whence they will scatter once more.

Used of an asembly whose members have come from different villages and who, later on, will disperse again.

92. E pipili tia, 'ae mamao ala. The tia are close together but it is long way from one to the other.

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Two tia (cleared spaces in the bush for pigeon catching) on opposite hills may be so close together that one can be seen from the other, but because of the intervening valley the way between them may be a long one.

Thus, two families or two villages may live in close proximity and yet be far removed one from the other through lack of kinship. This was the original meaning of the proverb. The introduction of Christian ideas has given it a wider meaning: Men are living together on earth, but whether they will ever meet depends on the will of God who may send sickness, storms or other obstacles.

93. O le fogatia ua malu maunu. The catching place is full of decoy pigeons.

Upu vivi'i referring to a village that boasts of many experienced orators.

94. Ua numi le fau. The string (to which the decoy pigeon is tied) is entangled.

The affair is complicated and difficult.

95. E atagia taga tafili. The motion of the hunter's hand is visible.

The hunter sitting in his shelter lets the decoy pigeon fly with a toss into the air. If he is doing this awkwardly, so that the motion of his hand can be seen, the wild pigeons will be suspicious and fly away.

Upu faifai or Fa'aulaula: Your designs are too apparent and will fail.

96. O le a sosopo le manu vale i le fogatia. A worthless bird flies over the tia.

By manu vale is meant any bird other than a pigeon. Should such a bird fly over the tia, it will be ignored by the hunters as only pigeons are wanted.

Upu fa'amaulao having the same meaning as Nos. 11, 12, 23. According to Pratt: “Applied by one of himself when speaking before great chiefs.”

97. Ua le se'i seu fa'aalo. Pratt translates: “Why do you not steer out of the way?” The word seu has two meanings: to turn the head of a canoe and to catch birds or fish in a net. If it is used in the first sense, Pratt's translation is correct and the figure is taken from the method of fishing - 164 known as alafaga (Nos. 3, 11, 12). If used in the other sense, it refers to pigeon hunting. One of the hunters tries to catch all the pigeons without considering those who have caught few or none. The information I have had from the natives convinces me that the second explanation is the correct one. The translation, then, would be: “Why do you handle your net without considering the others?”

Upu faifai: Why don't you pay respect and deference to others? The aggrieved person usually leaves it to another to utter this reproach unless he is unable to contain his anger. It is also used as an upu fa'amaulalo: Fa'amolemole, ai a'u nei ua ou le seu fa'aalo. (Compare Nos. 11, 12, 96).

98. O le lupe o le taeao. The pigeon of the early morning.

To catch the first pigeon of the day is considered a special achievement.

Upu fa'aaloalo: A polite expression referring to the first speech delivered at a meeting or at the reception of a travelling party.

99. When a chief, with the help of his tulafale, succeeds in obtaining the hand of a noble lady, the latter (as well as the child issued from the marriage) is praised as

O le lupe na fa'ia mai i le fuifui. The pigeon that was detached from the rest of the flock.

The same figure of speech is used when the offspring of a noble family has been adopted by another village and honoured with a matai name.

100. When the wooing has presented particular difficulties, as through the lack of connections between the families of the bride and the bridegroom, then the young wife and her child are referred to as

O le lupe na seu silasila. A pigeon caught in the sight of all.

This figure of speech presupposes that a single pigeon was spied by a hunting party and that it was artfully enticed and caught in presence of all the hunters.

The tulafale try their utmost to bring about the wedding of their chief and when this is accomplished they are not sparing in flatteries, as they will be well rewarded with the fine mats that constitute the bride's dowry.

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101. Va i lupe maua. To catch one pigeon after the other.

A successful hunt. Upu fiafia referring to events that bring joy and contentment. Ua va i lupe maua le aso nei—this is a happy day, indeed.

102. A hunter who catches many pigeons rejoices in his shelter. As this is closed on all sides, his companions know nothing about it.

'Oa'oa i faleseu. Delight in the hunter's hut.

Upu fiafia. Inward joy.

103. The chiefs Lefaoseu of Atua and 'Ulumu of Tufutafoe were going to have a competition in pigeon snaring. Ulumu politely offered Lefao to take station in the falemua—the front hut. When a flock of pigeons came down, Lefao caught a great number of them before the other was even ready to swing his net. Lefao then cried out:

Ua tau lupe a Lefao. Lefao's pigeons are counted (i.e., the contest is ended; I am the victor).

The competition had not been conducted according to the rules, but it was a fait accompli. Lefao's people heard the call and repeated it so that the news of his victory quickly spread through the bush and through the town. The surprised Ulumu could not but recognize Lefao's dexterity.

Ua malo fai o le faiva,
Ua se togi le seu lagatila
Ma le fa'apulou i tualima.
Ua malo fai o le faiva.
Congratulations to the victor.
Quick as a stone the net flew to the left,
Backhanded it swept to the right.
Congratulations to the victor.

Nevertheless, Ulumu could not help protesting against his opponent's unsportsmanlike behaviour, but the latter tried to sooth him with the words: Sau ia, ia e fa'amolemole.

104. Ua pona i vao, 'ae liai'iina i ala. The fault was committed in the bush, but it is now talked about on the highway.

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Applications: (1) The news is not true, but it has spread too far to be retracted. (2) Howsoever cleverly a thing may be concealed, it will come to light at last.

105. O le faiva 'ese lo Pepe. Pepe made a strange catch.

On a narrow neck of land near Puipa'a in Faleata there was a tia. One day chief Pepe, a visitor, was catching pigeons there. A man from Faleata tried to net one of the pigeons that had been enticed to the tia, but he failed. The pigeon flew away, just skimming over the water near the place where Pepe was hidden. Pepe tried to catch it. At this very moment a fish (malauli) happened to jump out of the water and, with one swoop of the net, Pepe caught both pigeon and fish. The neck of land is now called Tiapepe.

The saying is used when some person meets with some unexpected fortune while his thoughts and actions were directed to something else.

106. Fa'alupe tupola. Like a pigeon sitting on the pola (plaited coconut leaves used to enclose the sides of a house).

A tame pigeon having strayed or escaped from its master and failed to find its usual resting place, will sit on the pola of the first house it finds.

Upu fa'amaulalo, fa'anoanoa or alofa referring to a person who has neither home nor family. See also the next three proverbs.

107. Fa'alupe tumulifale. Like a pigeon sitting behind the hunter's hut.

The hunter is interested only in those wild pigeons that appear in front of his hut.

Same meaning as No. 106, with particular stress on the fact that the homeless person gets no consideration.

108. Fa'asega tu launiu. Like a sega sitting on a coconut leaf.

The sega is a tiny parakeet, the only bird of the parrot family found in Samoa. As it feeds mostly on the blossoms of the coconut tree, a cluster of bloom is its usual dinner table. Finding no blossoms it will set on the leaves.

Same meaning as Nos. 106, 107, 109.

109. Fa'ape'ape'a le tu. Like the swift that never rests.

Same meaning as the three previous ones.

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110. Ua sili mea le seuga. The hunting implements are hung up.

Thus say the hunters when they have returned home from their expedition and hung up the nets, etc.

Refers to the conclusion of a speech, a fono, etc. See also the following.

111. Ia tala mea fa'asolo. Take down the huts and put everything away.

Thus says the leader at the termination of the hunt when the tia is not to be used for some time to come. Same meaning as No. 110.

112. Aumai le u matatasi e fana a'i le lupe ua i le filifili. Bring the one-pronged arrow to shoot the pigeon in the thicket.

The Samoan arrows had one or more prongs. A many-pronged arrow could not be used to shoot pigeons in a thicket, as the leaves and branches would have hindered or deflected its flight.

Upu fa'aaloalo: In a difficult situation only a wise tulafale can give advice and help; we, therefore, rely on him to make the decision.

113. Ufiufi manu gase. To cover up dead birds.

Turner, on page 221, says: “If a pigeon sees its mate fall dead, it will drop down and cover the body with its wings even though it should be killed also. To this the Samoans compare a brother who will rush in among troops after his wounded brother, even if he should be killed himself.” This explanation is by no means exhaustive. The wider meaning of the saying is: To stand up for a friend or relative, to help him bear his misfortune, to forgive and “cover up” his mistakes.

As a request: Ia e alofa, ia e ufiufi manu gase. Granting the request. O lenei lava le ufiufi manu gase.

114. The wild manutagi, hearing the call of the decoy bird, approaches gradually by hopping from tree to tree, before it enters the cage.

Sa (matou) tu'u la'au mai nei. We have rested on many trees on our way hither.

Thus says a travelling party when entering a house, after having previously called at some other villages. (A paraphrase for moemoesolo.)

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115. When the wild manutagi has entered the cage of the decoy bird, the hunter, crying 'ae'ae, jumps out of his shelter and covers the cage.

'Ae'ae lea manu ua ulu. 'Ae'ae, the bird has entered (the cage).

Upu fa'aalualu: When you see an advantage, turn it to good account. Don't throw away a favourable opportunity.

116. When a decoy bird refuses to call, people say it is to'ia—stricken (with sickness or obstinacy).

Ua fa'atagito'a. Like the call of a stricken decoy bird.

Upu faifai applied to an orator whose speech does not meet with approval. Also used as an upu fa'amaulalo.

117. O le manu tafi manu. A decoy bird that keeps away the wild birds.

Some manutagi have the bad habit of driving the wild birds out of the cage before the hunter has had time to catch them.

Upu faifai applied to a repulsive person whom nobody wants to associate with.

118. O le a gase manu vao, 'ae ola manu fanua. The wild birds shall die: the tame ones shall live.

This is the order given by the leader when the hunt is to be terminated. The captured birds will be killed; the decoy birds will be given rest.

Used at the end of speech, fono, etc.

119. Ua aliali le va'ava'a o le tava'e. The tropic bird's breastbone is visible.

The bird's breast feathers are very sparse.

Upu faifai applied to a person who talks nonsense or behaves foolishly; also to one who neglects his personal appearance. The saying is also used as an upu fa'amaulalo.

120. Ua se tava'e le ausu i le fulu. He is like the tropic bird which is proud of its feathers.

Ua maefulu le tava'e. The tropic bird is careful of its long tail feathers.

According to the Samoans the bird is so proud of its long tail that, being approached from the front, it sits immediately and allows itself to be caught, for fear of damaging its feathers by turning round. If it is approached from behind, it will fly off.

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Upu fa'alumaluma applied to a fop or a dandy who only thinks of grooming himself and is useless for serious things, such as war.

121. O le manu sina e le soa. A white bird that has no friend.

A white tern that is so proud of its glossy plumage that it will not associate with darker birds. In Aana the expression refers to an aitu incorporated in a white tropic bird that lived on Mount Tafua.

Upu fa'aaloalo or vivi'i referring to the speech of a high chief or a tulafale who brooks no contradiction.

122. Patupatu amo fale. The clumsy, loutish fellow carries the house.

This refers to the preparations for the hunt of the manuali'i. The matai orders his men to build a small hunting hut and carry it with the rest of the hunting implements to the swamp which is the bird's usual habitat. The heaviest object, i.e., the house, is carried by the strongest fellow—the Cinderella—who has to do all the heavy work.

Upu fa'amaulao: I am inferior to you. Also, upu faifai.

123. Se'i muamua se fa'asao a manu vao. Before bird-catching an offering should be made.

Refers to the introductory ceremonies to any function, such as the ceremonial greetings introducing a speech, grace before meals, etc.

When the men prepared for the hunt of the manuali'i they first made an offering to the gods, such as a bunch of bananas. The offering was called fa'asao a manu vao. A bunch of bananas also served as bait for the manuali'i.

124. Ua se u ta'afale. He is like an arrow that lies about in the house.

The hunter watching in his hut lays three arrows in front of him. One is for the birds approaching in front, the other for the birds coming from the right and the third for those from the left. A fourth arrow for emergencies lies behind the hunter and may be shot in any direction. This is the u ta'afale.

Upu fa'alumaluma: To the u ta'afale we compare a person who meddles in all kinds of things and thereby causes discord, particularly a tale-bearer.

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125. Va i fale ve'a. The space between the huts at the ve'a hunt.

The ve'a (swamphen) was shot with bow and arrow, the hunter hiding in a small hut. As the ve'a is extremely shy, the huts were built close together so that the hunters could take counsel with each other in a low voice.

A figure of speech for vavalalata, to live in close proximity. It is particularly used in a salutatory speech: O le pule o le Atua ua mafai ai ona tatou fesilafa'i i le aso nei, aua e ui ina va i fale ve'a o lo tatou soifuaga, 'ae pule lava le Atua i lo tatou soifua. The omnipotent God as brought us together today, for although we are living close together it is He who rules our lives. See No. 92.

126. In Tutuila the sea birds that rest exhausted on the cliffs are caught with nets without the aid of decoy birds. (See below.)

Ia seu le manu, 'ae silasila i le galu. Catch the bird, but watch the breakers.

Upu taofiofi: Be careful in an undertaking and mind the obstacles.

Remarks: This method of hunting is not to be confounded with the hunt of the fua'o that nest in large numbers on Pola Rock in Tutuila. According to Kraemer the hunters climb the rock and kill the sleeping birds or seize them with their hands. To this refers the popular song: A'e i le Pola ne'i gase—Ne'i sosola o manu e. Climb the Pola Rock noiselessly lest the birds fly away.

127. Ua pafuga le a pei o le faiva o seu gogo. They are shouting together as at the tern hunt.

When the hunter has allured the gogo, he pulls in his decoy bird and imitates the tern's call-note “a.” He will be answered by the tern with another “a.”

Applied to people who meet and take counsel together.

128. Tavai manu uli. Give water to the black birds.

There are two explanations: (1) During the hunt of the tern a pause is made for the purpose of feeding the decoy birds. Coconut milk was usually given to the birds. However, if there were but few nuts available, only the valuable white birds got coconut milk; the common dark or speckled birds had to content themselves with water. (2) In the war between the birds and the fishes, a black tern (gogo uli) was - 171 killed and eaten by a fuga fish. At the termination of the war the birds held a fono and drank kava. When the cup was presented to the black tern the gogo sina (white tern) said, “Don't give him any kava; let him drink water; he has disgraced his family.”

Upu fa'aulaula with which a matai refers to the common people (tagata-leutele). The matai takes precedence and must be given what is best. Se'i-loga o ni mea lelei tou te 'a'ai ai, e le tavai manu uli?

129. Fa'amanu po'ia i le ofaga. Like a bird caught in its nest.

To be taken unawares. The host, for instance, addresses the words to an unexpected visitor to excuse the delay in having things ready for his reception.

130. O le punapuna a manu fou. The jumping about of a newly caught bird.

A bird that has just been caught jumps about and struggles to escape. After a while it will grow exhausted and surrender to its fate.

Upu faifai referring to lack of energy and perseverance.

131. Ua sanisani fa'amanuao. The joy of the welcome was like that with which the birds greet the dawn.

Upu fiafia used at the reception of relatives, friends or guests. (See also the following.)

132. Ua savini fa'apunuamanu. To rejoice like a young bird on the return of its parent with food.

The word savini means the beating of the young birds' wings at their first attempts to fly.


Introduction: The two principal objects at the use of the Samoan are his house and his boat. Both are well protected by the law of the land. Their wilful damage is considered in the same light as a bodily injury and a personal insult to the owner. Hence, house building and boat building are the two most respected trades. The old implements have now been replaced by steel tools. Civilization, however, has spared many of the original usages. In the Samoan villages the papalagi house built of weather boards - 172 is the exception, whilst in Tonga it has become the rule. Even European building material is rarely used in the construction of native houses.

Of the five kinds of boats mentioned by Kraemer, three are still in general use: (1) The small outrigger canoe (paopao); (2) the large outrigger canoe (soatau); (3) the bonito canoe (va'aalo). The large double war canoe ('alia) and the two-bowed taumualua have been superseded by the big row-boats which the natives have learned to build European style.

The plaiting of mats is exclusively the women's business. The matai's sole indoor occupation is the making of sinnet ('afa) out of coconut fibre. He will often use the long hours of the fono to do this work.

133. Ua mua ane lava se fale. Before everything else a house.

Refers to a man who always speaks of building a house, but has neither the energy nor the means to do so.

Upu faifai. Mocking words applied to a boaster.

134. Fa'ae'e ia le 'au'au, 'ae tatou velo 'aso i ai. Place the ridge pole first, then we shall pass the battens.

Upu fa'aaloalo: Explain the general aim of the meeting, then we shall give our opinion. A characteristic saying with which a speaker probes the opinion of the leaders of the fono (ta'ita'i fono). It is also used in the form of: Ua fa'ae'e le 'au'au, etc., after the leader has concluded his address.

135. Mutiagiagi are the four small rafters in the gable of the round end of the Samoan house. The lower end of the rafters is tied fast, the upper end lies hidden in the timber work. Because of this incomplete fastening the term:

is applied to a visiting matai who remains in a village only temporarily and is, therefore, not entitled to take part in a discussion or get a share in the distribution of food. Upu fa'amaulalo or alofa.

136. E tele a ululau. Large like a bundle of sugarcane leaves.

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The bundles of sugarcane leaves fetched by the women from the plantation for the purpose of thatching the houses are large and bulky but light in weight.

Upu faifai applied to a community (family, village, district) composed of many but unimportant individuals.

137. Fatu'ulu. To use thatch a second time.

To store up grievances.

138. The Samoan fale is built in such a way that it can be taken into parts to be transported to some other place. The work begins with loosening the rounded ends of the house from the fatuga (timbers to which the purlins are fastened).

Ua vaea i ulu fatuga. Divided on top of the fatuga.

Applied to a family, village or district which, through dissension, is divided into two equally strong parties.

139. The middle portion of the roof and the round ends are then carried to their new emplacement. The round ends are now temporarily tied with ropes (tautala) to the middle portion and the carpenter examines whether the house is standing straight. Should this not be the case, the house will be turned around until it stands right. The fastenings are then completed.

Ia ta'amilo pea ma tautala. Turn the house around; the ropes will protect it.

Upu taofiofi: Act after mature reflection. Don't be overhasty.

140. Ua osofia moega luaga. The purlins are well joined.

When the fale is being re-assembled, the carpenter has to take particular care that the purlins of the side of the house are well joined with those of the end.

Applied to a resolution corresponding to what is customary in the family or the village.

141. O le malu i fale'ulu. The protection afforded by a house built of breadfruit wood.

Upu fa'aaloalo or fiafia. A house built of the wood of the breadfruit tree is particularly durable and may, therefore, be compared to a chief or a tulafale who is able to protect his family.

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142. A gau le poutu, e le tali poulalo. When the middle post is broken, the side posts cannot withstand (the weight of the roof).

Applied to the loss a family or a village suffers by the death of a matai or an influential chief. (Compare No. 6.)

143. Taia i le tafao, taia i le va'ai. The stroke of the mallet miscarries because the workman looks away. (Ua sese le ta i le tafao, ua sese le ta ona o le va'ai 'ese.)

The figure is taken from the work of the boatbuilder setting a plank. According to Kraemer the carpenter first daubs the plank with vali, a mixture of earth or lega (turmeric) with water. He then fits it in place and with his wooden mallet (tafao) hammers it down, his assistant holding it. If the assistant is inattentive and looks away, the plank will not fit in and the work miscarries.

Upu fa'anoanoa or alofa: An undertaking miscarries through the negligence of one of the participants.

144. Ua liua le tua ma le alo. The top and the bottom are turned back and forth.

When the boatbuilder does not find a suitable plank, he shifts the one at his disposal back and forth, vainly trying to fit it in place.

All endeavours to effect a reconciliation prove in vain.

145. The deck-planks of a large war canoe were laid simultaneously from either side. If the boards met exactly in the centre, the job was completed.

Ua fetaui fola. The floor boards meet.

Upu fa'aaloalo used when two chiefs or orators agree in a fono. Further discussion is then superfluous; the matter is settled.

146. Ia lafoia i le fogava'a tele. Cast it on the big deck.

The deck of the large double canoe is roomy and able to carry heavy loads.

Have patience and forgive those that trespass against you.

147. O le fogava'a e tasi. One single deck.

Belonging to one and the same family.

148. O le aso ma le filiga'afa, o le aso ma le mata'inatila. Sinnet should be made daily and daily the rigging must be examined.

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At the building of the double canoe it is necessary that an ample supply of sinnet be available, lest the tying of the planks and the completion of the boat be retarded. When the rigging is finished it must be examined carefully, so that existing defects may be corrected. Even though no defect has been discovered, it is well to wait and to repeat the examination, for the errors cannot all be found at once.

Upu taofiofi: Weighty decisions should not be made precipitately, but only after mature reflection; each new discussion may bring new ideas.

149. O le va'a fau po fau ao. A boat that is being built day and night.

Upu vivi'i: An enterprise conducted with zeal and care.

150. Ia oloolo pitova'a. Let each one smooth his part of the boat.

A new boat was smoothed with pieces of coral, each workman being assigned to a particular part of the boat.

Upu taofiofi: Let each one attend to his own affairs and not meddle with those of others.

151. Vaomua of Saua in Satupaitea (Savai'i) was building a big boat. Samoan custom required that all the family members assist at such an undertaking, either to help in the building or to supply food. Thus also did Vaomua. Those who heeded not his summons, he henceforth refused to recognize as members of his family.

E le'i iloa i Saua; e le iloa i le fa'alagamaea. They appeared not in Saua; they appeared not at the drying of the rigging.

Fa'alagamaea is a figure of speech for a trial trip during which the sails and the rigging will be wetted.

Upu faifai or fa'afiti: To refuse a request because the petitioner has previously shown himself unloving and hardhearted.

152. Ia fa'autu ia le fao. Put the gouge aside.

The fao is a nail, a drill, or a gouge used in making the holes through which will be threaded the sinnet that ties the planks.

Upu taofiofi: Leave off your work.

153. Ua vela lana umu i lo tatou nu'u. His work in the village is useful.

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The word umu signifies a hole, a groove. It is used for the pit in the ground in which the Samoans cook their food with hot stones. It is also used for the notch made by the carpenter in a tree trunk or a beam to facilitate his work. At the time when the Samoans had only stone tools, much strength and skill were required to cut this notch. If the apprentice passed the test, the carpenter said: Ua vela lana umu—his oven is hot. The double meaning of the word umu forms an untranslatable pun.

Upu vivi'i applied in a figurative sense to a man who, because of his good qualities and hard work, is an acquisition to his community.

154. E tenetene fua le livaliva, 'ae sagasaga 'ai le vili ia. Profitless is the turning of the drill plate, whilst the drill goes on eating through (the wood).

v. Buelow and Kraemer give the following explanation: The one dances about and wastes his time with useless things, whilst the other by persevering efforts goes straight towards his goal. From various other sources I had the following: Two men undertake a job. One is unsuccessful because of weakness, stupidity or for other reasons; the other meets with success. I prefer this explanation. The Polynesian drill, on which the saying is based, must be considered as an entity, the plate having as much to do with the work as the drill itself. Neither is it unusual amongst the Samoans that in a common undertaking one partner tries to overreach the other.

155. Ua sasagi fua le livaliva, 'a ua gau le matavana. In vain rejoices the drill plate when the drill point is broken.

Upu fa'alumaluma referring to profitless labour. However, it presupposes that only one person is engaged in an undertaking, or, if there is more than one, none of them meets with success.

156. Ua se temeteme. He is like the plate of the drill.

Temeteme is the spindle of the drill with the drill plate.

Upu faifai applied to a restless person or a chatterbox.

157. If one wishes to drill a hole in a thing, as in a piece of mother-of-pearl for a fish-hook, he first bores from one side and then tries to hit the hole from the other side. This often miscarries.

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Ua logo 'ese'ese fa'amea vilivili. To drill holes that do not meet.

A council meeting in which no decision is reached.

158. E le se tunuma ma moe fa'atasi. It is not like a container in which the tattooing instruments are sleeping together.

A tattooer who has a job to do will, on the previous evening, put all his instruments into a container (tunuma). There the instruments remain together, one knowing the other. With people it is different. Each one has a mind of his own and does not know the thoughts and designs of his neighbour.

Upu fa'afiti in the sense of: Ou te le iloa le loto o lena ali'i. I don't know the views of that person.

159. E lafi a taga usi. Hidden like a tattoo design.

The lavalava covers the design. When the lavalava is moved aside by the wind or by the man stepping out, the tattoo becomes visible.

Used of secrets that have been divulged.

160. Si'i le matalalaga. To make a closer plait.

The plait of the fine mats ('ie toga) should be uniformly fine and close. Few mats, however, meet these requirements. Out of indolence one half is usually woven tight and the other rather loose. When wearing the mat, it is folded in two and the coarser half is worn underneath. Negligence, too, may be the cause of an uneven plait; the woman then usually tries to rectify her mistake in the second half.

The saying is applied to a change of behaviour, opinion, etc. Ua si'i le matalalaga—things have changed. Upu fa'afiti, fa'amaulalo: ou te le toe si'itia le matalalaga. Upu taofiofi: Soia le si'itia le matalalaga.

161. E tasi, 'ae afe. Only one, but worth a thousand.

An honorific designation of an old sacred mat whose story may be found in v. Beulow, Turner and Kraemer.

Upu vivi'i applied to surpassing qualities in persons or things.

162. Ua solo le falute. The bundle of mats has fallen into disarray.

When a number of mats are to be stored away, they are gathered up evenly and rolled into a bundle. If new mats - 178 are to be added the bundle must be undone and the mats will then fall into disorder.

Upu fa'anoanoa or alofa: The former concord is at an end.

The word falute originally referred only to mats; it is now also applied to other things that must be gathered up evenly.

163. By exerting slow pressure on the scraped bark of the 'o'a tree a reddish-brown dye is obtained. It is used for colouring siapo (tapa).

Fa'atauga'o'a. Like the pressing out of the 'o'a.

Upu taofiofi: Slowly and thoroughly; without precipitation.

164. Ua fa'ai'u laufala. Like the tip of the pandanus leaf.

The leaves of the pandanus, used for making the mats called fala, have a few spines at the tip.

Upu fa'anoanoa or alofa, applied to things that were well begun, but ended badly.

165. Ua vela le fala. The mat is warm.

From the bodily warmth of the one who sits or lies on it.

Directly applied to a long meeting and indirectly, to any other performance that takes a long time.

166. Ua solo le lavalima. The work is progressing fast.

Lavalima refers to the Samoan sinnet and signifies the progress made in plaiting it; it also refers to the work of the carpenter who winds the string around the rafters as a substitute for nails. Pratt translates: to be prosperous.

The favourable progress of an undertaking is a good sign of final success.

167. Ua se fau e ta'i. Like the twisting of a cord.

In the bush villages and sometimes also in those near the seashore, the inner bark of the fausoga tree is twisted into a cord used to make fish and lobster nets and for other purposes. The work, called milota'i, is usually done by the women. The twisting is done with the right hand on the right thigh, the cord at the same time being wound up with the left hand.

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Applied to a unanimous decision. Upu vivi'i: Ua se fau e ta'i le nu'u nei—the people of this village are all of the same opinion (ua tapulima fa'atasi, loto gatasi). He, against whom a decision is directed, says: Ua se fau e ta'i o outou finagalo—your decision against me is unanimous; I shall not oppose it.

168. A woman wanted to carry a burden on her back, so she took some fau fibre to tie it fast. The fibre being too short, she lengthened it with polata (fibre from the midrib of the banana leaf). Polata, however, is not very durable and the ribbon tore time and again. Finally she added another piece of fau and the cord held.

So'o le fau ma le fau. To tie together two pieces of fau.

Upu fa'aalualu: To effect a union or an alliance; to pursue a goal with united strength.

169. Na o Neiafu na mele ai le to'elau. Only at Neiafu is the trade wind despised.

An old childless couple of Neiafu were gathering dry coconut leaves (material for lighting and cooking). Instead of the gentle, steady trade wind, they prayed for a stormy westerly that would cause the leaves to fall down and save them the trouble of climbing up the trees.

The trade wind blows mostly during the cool season and brings fine weather for sea travel. Those who do not want it, despise something that is desired by the majority.

Neiafu is not the village of this name in Savai'i, but a piece of land near Falepuga, Upolu.

170. Ua fa'amea tapena i ua. Like things carried out of the rain.

Applied to a thing done so hurriedly that order and care suffer; for instance, a hurried journey in which things are forgotten.

171. O le fili va i fale. The enemy between the houses.

Refers to the weeds growing between the houses.

Applied to petty quarrels between families which are not of a political character and do not threaten the general peace of the community.

172. A fai 'ea a'u mou titi se'ese'e? Shall I become your working girdle?

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When a Samoan has to do manual work, he takes off his lavalava and puts on a girdle of ti leaves. This is the titi with which one can slide about (se'ese'e) in the dirt.

Upu fa'anoanoa or fa'aulaula addressed to one constantly begging (Pratt) or to one who becomes a nuisance through tale-bearing or in other ways.

A fala se'ese'e is an old dirty mat used to sit on during work.

173. Ua se ta'ata'a a le ala. Like the grass on the wayside.

Upu fa'alumaluma applied to a person who knows everybody and talks about everybody. (Pratt translates: One who has no fixed abode.)

174. O le ala ua mutia, 'ae le se ala fati. The road is overgrown with grass; it is not a new road.

Mutia is a short kind of grass found on much-used roads. Ala mutia—an old road. A new road is ala fati. Before the Samoans had steel tools a new path was made by breaking (fati) the twigs off the trees.

Upu vivi'i applied to two villages or families long related to each other and united through their common origin.

175. O le la'au e tu, 'ae oia. The tree still stands but it is doomed.

Upu fa'anoanoa: Man is mortal. It also means that several men have plotted to harm another.

176. Se'i to le niu i le tua'oi. Plant the coconut tree on the boundary.

Coconut trees serve to mark boundaries.

Upu fa'aaloalo used to introduce some complimentary remarks about the previous speaker, if the latter was a high chief or an orator of rank.

Same meaning as No. 187. Compare also Nos. 123, 201.

177. Ia ifo le fuiniu i le lapalapa. May the cluster of nuts bow to the midrib of the coconut leaf.

As to each coconut leaf belongs a cluster of young nuts, so each individual belongs to his family.

178. Ia fua le niu. May the coconut tree bear a rich harvest.

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Upu fa'aaloalo applied to the wife of a chief or a tulafale: May you be blessed with many children.

179. O le pa'u a le popo uli. The falling of a ripe coconut.

A ripe coconut that falls off the tree strikes root and grows. An unripe nut will rot.

Upu fa'amafanafana or vivi'i: A strong village that has been defeated in battle will fight again. A strong-willed, wise man who is unsuccessful in a first attempt, will try again.

180. Ua taulua i le tuga. A pair of coconut trees, one of which is full of maggots.

Two persons, families or villages related to each other but unequal in strength, means, number, etc.

181. Pa'u i se niu 'umi (loa). Fallen off a high coconut palm.

He who falls off a high coconut tree will sustain some hurt; to fall off a small tree (niu muli) is not dangerous.

Applied to someone who succumbs to a high chief or an orator, also to a taupou (village virgin) who elopes with a man of rank. As an upu fa'amafanafana: E le afaina, ua e pa'u i se niu umi—Take comfort, it is to a person of rank that you have succumbed. Or: Ou te fia pa'u i se niu 'umi, ou te le fia pa'u i se niu muli—If I am to meet with defeat, let it be at least through a person of rank.

182. Fa'a'ulu toli i gaoa. Like a breadfruit plucked on stony ground, (i.e., plucked off a tree growing on stony ground, so that the fruit will be crushed and no longer usable).

Upu fa'anoanoa or alofa expressing disappointment when one's expectations are not realized or when a counsel given is disregarded.

183. E sau le fuata ma lona lou. When the breadfruit harvest comes, the lou will be found, too.

The lou is a long pole with a crook at the end, used in gathering breadfruit. After the harvest the pole will be laid aside or thrown away. For the next harvest the old lou will be fetched again or a new one will be made. Thus, there is a lou for every harvest.

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Upu fa'amafanafana. Consolatory words used at the death of a matai: Every generation has its chiefs and orators.

184. Se'i lua'i lou le 'ulu taumamao. Gather the breadfruit from the farthest branches first.

Upu fa'aalualu: Do the most difficult things first.

185. Ua saia fua le ma'ave'ave le fua. You shake in vain the branch that has no fruit.

When gathering breadfruit with the lou, it may happen that branches not bearing any fruit are knocked about and injured.

Same meaning as No. 80.

186. When the breadfruit tree called puou is uprooted in a storm, it will not die but grow again.

O le mafuli a puou. Like an uprooted puou.

Upu fa'amafanafana used at the death of a matai who leaves relatives as his heirs. Also used in the form of a pious wish: Ia mafuli a puou.

187. Se'i toto le ta'amu te'evao. Plant the giant taro to prevent the weeds from spreading.

The ta'amu is a coarse, little-esteemed species of taro. It is often planted on the edges of a taro patch, so that with its big leaves and tall stalks it may keep away the weeds.

Same meaning as No. 176. Compare also Nos. 123, 201.

188. Ia lua mata to 'ese. Let each plant two taros in a particular spot.

When a family wishes to lay out a big taro plantation, it is well that a specified spot be apportioned to each member. If they work in common, one will rely on the other and nothing is done.

Lua mata is a figure of speech for a small taro patch; to 'ese is elliptical for toto i se mea 'ese.

Upu fa'aalualu: Don't rely on your neighbour; let each attend to his own work. Pratt translates: Better have a small plantation of your own, than be joined with another.

189. Ia tupu i se fusi. May you grow in a swamp.

In wet soil taro thrives particularly well; it is, therefore, whenever possible, raised in a swamp.

Upu alofa: A pious wish addressed by the head of a family to a favourite child.

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190. Ua fa'alua'i talo Asau. Like the taro holes in Asau.

In Asau, Savai'i, the soil is very stony. If the people there wish to lay out a taro plantation, they have much trouble in removing the stones and digging the holes. That is why, after the harvest, they use the old holes a second time.

Applied to everything that corresponds with old usages and customs; used also of a widower who marries a relative of his late wife.

191. Ua le sau i le afu, le sau i le tutupu; ua sau i le lalau. It came not when the yam plant withered; it came not when it sprouted again; it came when the plant was once more in leaf.

The yam is a perennial plant. When its tuber is mature, the leaves wither. When the plant sprouts once more, the tuber can still be used; but as soon as it has new leaves, the tuber becomes uneatable. Therefore, he who comes for it at this stage, is too late.

Same meaning as No. 70.

192. Ua nunu le to'au. The stalks of the wild yam are all jumbled.

When the wild yam is mature, the stalks wither and break into pieces. It is then difficult to find the runner that has the edible root.

Same meaning as No. 94.

193. Tafi le va i ti. Pull out the weeds between the ti plants.

The leaves of the ti plant were used to make the titi (leafy girdle; see No. 172). The roots are edible.

Upu faifai. Paraphrase for: To remove someone from a family, a meeting, or a village.

194. E fa'apupuati le gase. Like a ti plantation that never dies.

When a ti plantation has been abandoned, the plants are not choked by the weeds but will grow up again as soon as the weeds are removed.

Upu vivi'i: Traditions, family trees and the happenings of ancient times are not forgotten, but survive among the people.

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195. O le gase a ala lalovao. The paths in the bush are never obliterated.

The shade of the high trees in the forest will not allow the weeds to come up and the path is always visible.

Same meaning as No. 194.

196. E sua le 'ava, 'ae to le 'ata. The kava plant is dug up, but a twig is planted immediately.

Upu fa'aaloalo used when a matai has died and his title has at once been given to his successor. The king is dead, long live the king.

197. The owner of a certain plantation had his crop stolen time and again. So he prayed to Tagaloalagi, the highest god, to help him. The god gave him a fetish (tupua) which the man hung up in an aoa tree (banyan). When the thief returned and saw the charm, he was frightened.

O lo'o mamalu le atua i le aoa. The god shows his power in the banyan tree.

The thief soon found out that the fetish did not harm him, so he stole again.

Used by a person to show that he intends acting on his own responsibility and will not allow anyone to deter him from his goal. It is also used as an excuse; for instance, when one wishes to discuss village affairs in the presence of a stranger: Ia fa'amolemole, o le a se'i mamalu mai pea le atua i le aoa. The stranger then replies with the muagagana No. 83.

(To be completed in two further parts.)

1   Afolau is really a longish boathouse. A tautai must have a long dwelling house where he can store away his long fishing rods. This is why a long dwelling house is also called afolau. It is supposed that in ancient times the tautai frequently lived in boathouses.