Volume 59 1950 > Volume 59, No. 3 > Proverbial expressions of the Samoans, by E. Schultz, p 207-231
PROVERBIAL EXPRESSIONS OF THE SAMOANS
(Continued from previous issue)
415. Ua te'i ina ua tu i Fagalilo le Tonumaipe'a. There was alarm when Tonumaipe'a appeared in Fagalilo.
Chief Tonumaipe'a is the holder of one of the highest titles (ao) in Samoa. Fagalilo is a bathing pool in Vaialua near Nofoali'i. It is said that once upon a time a Tonumaipe'a who wanted to take a bath in Fagalilo unexpectedly met a girl in the water.
Same meaning as No. 129. Compare also No. 36.
416. La'iopalolo, the wife of Aumua le Sigano of Aleipata, ran away and returned to her home in Falealupo. Aumua, the husband, complained of this to Malietoa. The latter asked, “Do you want to make this an occasion for war (lauama tau) or shall we try to settle the affair in a friendly way (lauama to'oto'o)?”
Lauama to'oto'o. To settle a dispute in a friendly way.
As upu taofioi: Ia lauama to'oto'o.
Their negotiations at Falealupo had the desired result.
417. When Aumua had recovered his wife (see No. 416) it was said:
Ua maua le fili o Aumua le Sigano. Aumua le Sigano has attained his desire.
Upu fiafia applies to hopes realized in spite of difficulties.
418. Tau o se puipui 'au a Tuliamoeva'a. Only the retinue of Tuliamoeva'a.- 208
Upu fa'amaulalo: The inferior chiefs surround the high chiefs to protect and honour them.
The saying relates to an ifilele tree called Tuliamoeva'a, which, surrounded by a number of smaller trees, once stood in Saluafata and in which a god was incorporated; or it may refer to an aitu of that name who lived in Tufu Gataivai and to whom young girls were offered in order to obtain his good-will.
419. Ua o Tapatapao le fealua'i. It is the habit of Tapatapao to wander about.
Mataiva, the nine-eyed chief of Safata, married Lady Olo. The wife being ashamed of his looks, ran away. In Safotulafai she gave birth to a number of mountains, Atuolo. One of them, Tapatapao, got into a fight with his brothers and left for the north side of A'ana. There, too, he could not live in peace, so he changed his abode to Falease'ela and Lefaga.
Upu fa'aulaula applied to a restless person. Compare Nos. 106, 109.
420. A chief came with his retinue from Safune in Savai'i to Lepe'a to court the daughter of Faumuina. Being unsuccessful they set out on their return journey. As they passed through Puipa'a, they met the tulafale Paga (Aupagamalie) who, dressed in an old girdle (pa'upa'u), was working in his plantation. When the latter heard of the 'aumoega's (courting party) ill-success, he offered to return with them for another attempt. They laughed him to scorn because of his dirty clothes. He replied:
E pa'upa'u 'ae o'o i Lepe'a. It may be only an old girdle, but it will bring results at Lepe'a.
His proposal was accepted and they returned to Lepe'a, where thanks to Paga's skill, the heart of the fair lady was won. Ever since that time Aupagamalie has been Faumuina's talking chief.
Upu vivi'i. Same meaning as Nos. 63, 161, 339, 397, 398.
421. In the days when Samoa suffered under the yoke of the Tongans, there lived at Sili a married couple, Taomatamu and Mualepuso. When a son was born to them, they travelled with the child to Samauga to visit the father's - 209 relatives. On their return they met a Tongan ship at Amoa. The crew were giving night dances (poula) and the parents looked on. Having spent the rest of the night under the sail of the Tongan vessel, they set out again at daybreak. The child was left behind, for each parent thought he was with the other. When the Tongans prepared to sail on, they discovered the boy under the sail and took him along. He was given the name of Samoa-na-galo, the Forgotten Samoan. The Tongans made a call at Mulifanua. As it was raining, the child sought shelter under a coral rock (puga). The spot is called to this day Falepuga, the house of coral. After a while the Tongans set sail for Samatau and the boy was forgotten again. He ran after the ship and between the promontories of Tulatala and Tulivae near Samatau, he managed to attract the crew's attention. This place is called Le-one-sa'a(the sand where the boy danced about). The ship now sailed to Tonga. After many days the travellers reached the first island of the group (Vavau) where they were the guests of High Chief Le Sa. When they left for Toga-mamoa (Tongatabu), where the Tuitonga ruled, the boy was forgotten for the third time. Because of his stay with Le Sa, he was later called Sanalala (he who spent the evenings, alala, with Le Sa). The reigning Tuitonga was married to a lady from Safata, Upolu, who had born him two daughters, Paitoitogamau and Tunaifitimaupologa. The latter heard of the Samoan youth who lived with Le Sa and wished to marry him. One evening, as the sun was setting, she said to her father: Se'i e va'ai, Tuitoga, i le ataata ua ta'oto mai nei, o le ataata o le tagata manaia, o la'u tane lava leo—See, O King of Tonga, the evening glow sparkling on the waters; it is the reflection of a handsome youth who shall be my husband. The king consented. He sent for the boy and married him to his daughter. A son was born of this marriage, also called Sanalala, who later played an important role in the history of the Samoan kings. A second son was named Latuivai.
Ua ta'oto le atatata o Taulelei. The reflection of Taulelei lies on the waters.
Upu fiafia: The joy of expectation.- 210
Taulelei is an honorific designation for the expected bridegroom and means: Ua taunu'u lelei le gafa i le Tuitoga—The Tutitonga will have handsome descendants.
Samoa-na-galo ripening from an infant into a youth on the trip to Tonga, is meant to illustrate the great distance between the two island groups.
Another explanation: Chief Le Saelagi of Tutuila set out to wage war on Tupumamoe of Atua, Upolu. Before going to meet the Tutuilans, Tupumamoe said to his people, Afai, e tau mai le ataata mu, ua ou oti; 'ae afai e tau mai le ataata felo, o le ataata o Taulelei lena, ua ou ola. “If the sun sets red, I have fallen in battle; but if the sun sets yellow, it will be a sign that I am alive.” The yellow glow of the setting sun showed the people that their chief had gained the victory.
422. O le pupulu a Valomua. The intercession of Valomua.
This is said when one is doing a thing half-heartedly or when a person pretends love and friendship. Upu fa'aulaula or faifai.
Tupuivao, a son of Queen Taufau, suspected his wife Iliganoa and his brother Toilolo of having illicit intercourse, so he banished his brother to Tutuila. When Tuilolo left Satupaitea to go into exile, Chief Valomua—a relative—met him. Feigning friendship for Toilolo, he took him by the shoulders and pretended to intercede (pulupulu) for him.
423. Toilolo's canoe (see above) sailed past Vaie'e, Upolu, where Tupuivao's house stood. When the exile saw his brother on the beach, he called out to him:
E o'u le aso, 'ae o oe taeao. Today my turn, tomorrow yours.
As an upu fa'amafanafana, the saying is used in a good sense; for instance, at a distribution of fine mats: Take patience; your turn will come. E le pine atu.
Toilolo's prophecy was fulfilled. Because of his cruelties—he was a cannibal—Tupuivao was later banished to Tutuila.
424. Vainafu is a place in the bush, inland of Falevao. Tupuivao (see above) often went there to catch pigeons. - 211 Chief Mata'utia of Saleaaumua, who had a secret understanding with Tupuivao's wife Iliganoa, one day came to the spot. Tupuivao was engaged in his sport. So the visitor took the opportunity and had a little walk with Iliganoa. As he was afraid of her husband, the woman said:
O tua o Vainafa i nei. We are far away from Vainafa.
Same meaning as Nos. 29, 207, 239. Also used to stress an assurance.
425. Tupuivao returned with Iliganoa (see above) to Vaie'e, where they were followed by Mata'utia and his tulafale Leausa. The latter two reached the village in the depth of night when the couple were asleep. Mata'utia crept to the back of the house. His talking chief posted himself in front and awakened Tupuivao with a song. Iliganoa understood the situation and urged her husband to take the tulafale to a neighbouring house and offer him a drink of kava. While the kava ceremony was going on, the other two had a happy lovers' hour. Mata'utia had asked his companion to take the last drink and to call it out in a loud voice as a signal that the ceremony was ended.
Ua malele le 'ava a Leausa. The kava call of Leausa has been heard.
The saying is addressed to a straggler who comes late.
Same meaning as Nos. 70, 191, 215, 265, 403, 412.
426. Ua gase i le vao le tagata o Tupuivao. Tupuivao's man has perished in the bush.
A slave who was taken as a food offering to Tupuivao (see above) escaped into the bush and never returned.
Applied to a person who, in a fit of anger, leaves his home and severs all relations with his family.
427. Tupuivao (see above) went to Satupaitea where he met some old men beating coconut fibre to make sennit. He asked them one after the other, “Are you sina'aiuga or sinamatua?” i.e.—Are you a foolish or a wise oldster? The first ones humbly answered, “We are sina'aiuga.” The others were so filled with fear, that they could not answer at all, but began chewing the coconut fibre.
O le vale 'ai 'afa. Like the fools eating coconut fibre.
Applied to a foolish fellow. Compare No. 383.- 212
Note: The Samoans believe that those who eat uga (hermit crabs) will get grey hair. Therefore, a sina'aiuga is a foolish old man who got his grey hair from eating uga and a sinamatua is a wise old man.
428. Ua tino le soifua, ua to i tua Apolima. Life is assured. Apolima has been passed.
For some time Tupuivao (see above) lived near Papa, Savai'i. At a place still called Apolima, between Papa and Satupaitea, he had stretched a string across the road. When a traveller touched the string, Tupuivao would rush out and kill and devour him.
Upu fiafia used when some danger has been avoided.
429. Saveasi'uleo, aitu and ruler of the underworld (Pulotu) ate up his brothers and sisters. The parents wishing to save their last-born, a boy by the name of Ulufanuasese'e, took him far inland because Savea, who was half man and half eel, lived in the sea. One day Ulufanuasese'e amused himself by sliding down a hill on the midrib of a coconut leaf. While he was doing this, his ususu call rang far and wide over land and sea. Savea, who was just then riding the breakers, fa'asese'e, on the reef, heard it and was filled with fear at the strange sound.
Ua se'e lili'a Saveasi'ulao. Saveasi'uleo glides over the waves in fear.
Upu fa'amaulalo applied to a person who is filled with fear lest his undertaking miscarry.
430. Despite his parents' warnings Ulufanuasese'e went to the sea and there met his cruel brother. The latter was going to devour him, but suddenly he changed his mind and swam away, addressing these parting words to the youngster: We separate for ever, but our race will live in our children.
O le mavaega nai le tai e fetaia'i i i'u a gafa. The farewell at the seashore with the promise to meet again in the children.
The saying is used by persons who, when taking a last farewell of each other, express the hope that their descendants will meet some day.
The place on the strand of Falealupo where the farewell took place is called Le One; hence:
O le mavaega nai i le One. The farewell at Le One.- 213
431. Ulufanuasese'e married Sinalaeofutu, the daughter of Tagaloa i Pata of Falelatai, who bore him twin daughters. The girls, Taema and Tilafaiga, were grown together. One day the twins set out to swim to Tutuila. On the way they called one morning at Namo, Solosolo. A number of orators and chiefs who were assembled there, laughed at the unusual pair. This made the girls so angry that they jumped up, Taema rushing on one side to punish the offenders and Tilafaiga, on the other. Thus it came about that their bodies were severed. The Namo men tried to seek safety in flight, but the girls, who were half aitu, caught up with them and devoured them. From this place had its name (fa'ananamo—general death).
O le taeao nai Namo. The morning in Namo.
The saying is applied to a day on which an unhappy event occurs. As mentioning cannibalism is considered bad manners, the saying is often used thus:
O le taeao na a'e ai le i'a sa. The morning on which the holy fish (turtle) arose.
The twins are likened to turtles.
Frequently the following three expressions are heard at a big fono:
The last phrase refers to the twins' unusual appearance out of the sea. The expression together means: It is astounding how so many people have come from great distances to meet here.
432. Taema and Tilafaiga (see above) then swam on towards the east. To this part of their travels, between Upolu and Tutuila, refers the following:
Ua le i Pau, le i Vau. It is neither in Pau nor in Vau.
Pau and Vau may be forgotten place names or they may stand for Upolu and Tutuila, just as the names Paid and Lafai are used in the sense of, “every Tom, Dick and Harry.”
Applied to a person who, in order to reach his goal, has to give up an advantage already gained and fears that he has made the sacrifice in vain.- 214
433. Late at night Taema and Tilafaiga (see above) reached Afono in Tutuila. The daughters of the Tuiafono, who were torch fishing on the reef, welcomed them and took them to the village.
Na si'i le faiva o se alili, a ua maua ai le puiali'i. They were looking for shellfish, but caught ladies of rank.
Used when one meets with unexpected success.
434. Ua 'a'au 'a'au taunu'u i le nu'u o le 'ape. They swam and swam until they reached 'Ape's village.
Upu fiafia: A difficult and wearying undertaking has ended successfully.
I have not been able to obtain an explanation of the name 'Ape. It probably refers to the village of Afono.
435. Taema and Tilafaiga remained for some time in Tutuila. One day they sat in the house and painted themselves with lega (turmeric). The Tutuila girls asked them for some of the dye. When the twins gave them only a small piece, the girls grumbled but the others said, “Take it; it will be enough.” Behold, when all the girls had used it, there was still some left.
E ititi a lega mea. It is only a little lega.
Applied to a strong-willed, wise, outstanding person; also to a short but significant speech. Similar to Nos. 63, 161, 359, 397, 398.
436. While the Tutuila girls were bathing and painting themselves (see above), Taema and Tilafaiga were sitting by and looking on. Usually when a taupou is busy at her toilet, her companions wait until she is through with the cosmetic (lega). In Tutuila, at that time, there was no taupou and the girls painted themselves without regard to priority. The twins who were ladies of high rank, wondered at this and said, Ua sama o se mago, 'ae le fa'atali se'ia muamua le tama'ita'i—She who is dry applies the cosmetic without waiting for the lady of rank.
Ia sama o se mago. Let he who is dry paint himself Upu fa'aulaula. Similar to No. 275. Treat everybody alike.
437. There was a famine in Tutuila. Taema and Tilafaiga went with a small basket into a house and begged for masi (fermented breadfruit; see No. 216). When the - 215 people saw that they had only a small basket, they did their bidding. The basket (mugagi), however, was enchanted and could not be filled, however much was put in. The result was that the whole supply of masi was exhausted.
O le 'aisila a Mugagi. The begging of the Mugagi.
Applied to a person who is constantly begging. Compare Nos. 172, 224.
438. Tilafaiga eventually married her uncle Saveasi'uleo in Pulotu and bore him two daughters, Nafanua, the famous war-goddess (see No. 43) and Suaifanua. Thus the prophecy of Saveasi'uleo was fulfilled (see No. 430).
In those days Falealupo, Tilafaiga's home town, suffered under the yoke of Salega. The victors took delight in illtreating the vanquished. Tulafale Tai'i, for instance, was forced to climb a coconut tree feet foremost and pluck nuts. When he reached the top, breathless from the effort, he emitted a whistle sound such as the Samoans are wont to do at a heavy job. The sound penetrated to the twins in Pulotu (the underworld) and, taking pity on their poor relatives, they asked the war-goddess to avenge them.
O le mapu a Tai'i. The whistling of Tai'i. Or:
Ua logo mai ia Pulotu le mapu a Tai'i. The whistling of Tai'i is heard in Pulotu.
Applied to a person who may expect help in his difficulties.
439. To prepare for this war (see above) Nafanua had two clubs and a paddle made out of a toa tree. The clubs were called Fa'auliulito and Fesilafa'i; the paddle, Ulimasao (uli, to steer; sao, to escape from danger).
Ia Ulimasao le la'au a Nafanua. May there be a happy ending to Nafaua's undertaking.
440. Through Chief Matuna and his wife, also called Matuna, Nafanua ordered the Falealupo people to prepare for war (see above).
Ua tonu mai ia Matuna. The orders came from Matuna.
The orders of those in authority must be carried out. Also used in the form of: Se'i logo ia Matuna—Put your trust in Matuna and take his orders.- 216
441. The Falealupo people, unable to stand their oppressors' arrogance any longer (see above), urged the couple to begin the war. Matuna and Matuna replied:
Talisoa le i'a a Nafanua. Wait for the fish (help) of Nafanua.
Talisoa is derived from Fa'atali and fesoasoani. Le i'a a Nafanua is a figure of speech for war.
Upu taofiofi: The right moment, the favourable opportunity has not come yet; the preparations are not completed. Likewise:
442. Taliifiti le toilalo o le A'easisifo. The vanquished of the west (Falealupo) are looking towards Taliifiti.
Taliifiti was the name of Matuna's dwelling house.
443. Before the battle started Nafanua killed with her clubs (see above) the two children of Matuna and Matuna. According to the Polynesians the effectiveness of a weapon is guaranteed only when a man has been killed with it. So it is also said of a fish net: Ua ola le 'upega—“the net lives” after the first fish have been caught with it.
Ua ola i fale le la'au a Nafanua. Life was given in the house to Nafanua's war club.
“In the house” is used figuratively for “through the death of relatives.”
Upu fa'alumaina applied to a matai who wrongs one of his relatives, particularly to one who has illicit intercourse with a girl of his family.
444. The Tuiatua Fotuitama'i married Utufa'asali, the daughter of Funefe'ai of Safune. All Savai'i came with fine mats to the wedding at Aleipata. On their return they sailed past Lufilufi, where talking chief Matuainu stood on the shore and invited them in. They could not accept his invitatation as their highest Tulafale Lavea had already travelled on. Angry at this Matuainu called out to them:
E lala Salafai, a o soa o Lavea. Salafai (Savai'i) has many branches, but they are all the servants of Lavea.
Upu fa'amaulalo: Obey him to whom obedience is due. Upu faifai: Don't boast; you are not entitled to say anything.
445. Ua feagai Vana ma Lolua. Vana and Lolua lie opposite each other.- 217
Vana and Lolua are the names of two stones lying on the bottom of a bathing pool in Samauga, Savai'i. According to legend they were a married couple turned into stone. The section of Samauga lying near the pool is now called Vana; Lolua is the name of the land on which stands the house of the village chief Malaita'i.
Same meaning as Nos. 145, 413.
446. Near Samauga there used to be a small village called Nu'uletau. No one had ever seen its houses, nor did the inhabitants have much intercourse with outsiders. Only on very special occasions would they make an appearance and then vanish as mysteriously as they had come. One day there was a big fono at Samauga to which Nu'uletau came, too. An old tulafale of Nu'uletau delivered a fine speech which was loudly applauded. The real speaker, however, was not he, but his daughter Vala. She sat close beside him and whispered to him phrase after phrase. While she was doing this, she noticed her father's eyes filling with matter. So she said: To let somo le i lou mata—Wipe the matter out of your eyes. Obediently the old man repeated the words as part of his speech. The people understood and said:
Ua sala ia Vala. It is Vala's fault.
She should have known that the old man would repeat her words. Same meaning as Nos. 76, 366, 367.
447. In Sasina there lived the legendary couple Faga and E'e who gave their names to the village section Fagae'e. They kept a big sea bird from Fiji which they had tamed. One day they set out on a journey to westward and took the bird along with them. Near Cape Utufia, between Sasina and Asau, a big flock of seagulls appeared overhead. Immediately the Fiji bird attacked them, but as there were too many of them he was defeated and killed.
Ua fa'aosofia le manu i Utufiu. Like the attack of the bird at Utufiu.
Applied to a person who, excited by the success of others, tries to emulate them but without success. Upu faifai or fa'aumaulalo.
448. Anini, Anini, Aveavai.
This saying, as well as the next one, refers to the volcanic eruption which occurred in Savai'i about 125 years - 218 ago and caused the destruction of the village A'opo. A'opo which now consists of only a few houses, then had a hundred sub-divisions. (This need not be taken literally; it simply means that the town was very popular and important.) Only five sections of A'opo escaped destruction; that is why the orators often refer to the town of falelima (the House of Five). Among the destroyed sections were Anini and Aveavai. Both lay to the north of the road leading to Sasina, the former a little more inland than the latter. Near Aveavai there is a spot where the old coral reef is still visible under the lava. Pratt, without mentioning the location of the villages or the volcanic eruption, has this so say: “The town Anini was burned and Aveavai said it served them right for they were thieves, but the fire spread to Aveavai and they, too, were burned out.”
My informants did mention the thievish proclivities of the Anini people, but it appears that when Aveavai saw Anini burning, they still thought themselves safe and took no further precautions.
The saying, therefore, would just relate to the unconcern people feel for the misfortunes of their neighbours and is a warning to the unwary lest misfortune befall them, too.
449. Maupenei of Tufu Gataivai married the king of Tonga. When she left Samoa, the strand of Tufu was sandy and shallow, but during her absence a volcanic eruption turned the coast into a solid wall of lava rock (iron-bound). When Maupenei returned from Tonga and saw the change, she said:
Na ta alu fo'i o tai lelei, a ua ta sau ua tai pupu. When I left the coast was shallow; on my return I found it iron-bound.
Used by a person who, having left in peaceful circumstances, finds it, on his return, full of strife and dissension.
450. Tagaoalagi (see Nos. 197, 392) offered to the village of A'opo the choice between a spring of fresh water and a paepae lei. (Paepae is the stony platform on which the Samoan house is built; lei, whale's teeth.) A'opo chose the paepae lei and for ever after suffered from a dearth of water. The spring was given to Saleaula and became then known as Vaitu'utu'u (tu'u ifo mai le lagi—brought down from heaven).- 219
Ua mele le vai e A'opo. A'opo rejected the water.
Same meaning as No. 169.
451. In 'Auala, a section of Vaisala, there lived a warrior known for his strength and fierceness. A certain chief challenged him to a spear fight. The challenge was accepted and a day appointed for the match. The Auala man prepared his weapons and trained diligently. Finally he ran the spear through his father and carried the pierced body about the country, in order to frighten his opponent. The people were terrified at the sight and said:
O le vale mai 'Auala. It is the mad man from 'Auala.
Same meaning as No. 427.
452. Aumua and Maninoa, a married couple from Fiji came to Samoa to search for their son who had left their home on the back of a turtle. They landed in Pa'au (see No. 47) where they were made welcome by Utuutu and Faitau. The visitors said: Ua malie mea taumafa, ua malie ma le faga i Pa'au; or elliptically:
Ua malie ma le faga i Pa'au. (We are satisfied with the food and) the reception at the bay of Pa'au.
Upu fiafia. Gratitude for benefits received.
Utuutu and Faitau are the names of two tulafale of Sataua.
453. E nana fua le tetea, 'ae le lilo. The albino was hid in vain; she did not remain concealed.
A woman in Papa near Sataua bore a girl who was an albino. The parents being ashamed of the child, hid her in a cave between Papa and Pu'ava and left her to her fate. Years later, her grown-up brother went fishing and sought shelter in the same cave. He met the girl and slept with her. He then went home and told his parents about the albino. The parents understood it was their abandoned daughter.
Same meaning as Nos. 104 (2), 159.
454. Sina becoming tired of her husband, Chief A'afi'a of Falealupo, gave ear to the solicitations of Fatutoa of Aleipata. When the latter came to Falealupo she was ready to elope with him. Her husband was so enraged that he struck the rocks on the coast with his staff and burst them asunder. Sina was terrified and returned to A'afi'a. Profit- - 220 ing by another opportunity she made another attempt at flight. A'afi'a, however, followed her and said:
Ne'i galo A'afi'a i lona vao. Lest you forget A'afi'a in his bush.
Used at a parting: Remember me and come back.
Sina was persuaded and rejoined her husband. The cleft rock is known as Avata, which is also the name of a section of Falealupo.
455. Fatutoa seeing that his prospects were hopeless (see above), planned to return to Aleipata. As he rounded Cape Pu'ava, the west wind, like a messenger from Sina, struck his back.
Ua tata i tua o Fatutoa le la'i o Pu'ava. Fatutoa's back is struck by the wind from Pu'ava.
Same meaning as Nos. 70, 191, 215, 265, 403, 412, 425. According to legend Fatutoa was changed into a rock at Pu'ava.
456. On the land of Chief Fagalele of Falealupo there grew two valuable trees, and ifilele and a pau (used for making kava bowls). The chief loved them dearly and called them his daughters. The Tuiianu'a having heard that Fagalele had two beautiful daughters, came to Falealupo with the intention of courting one of them. When he inquired where the girls were, Fagalele said, “In the bush.” Tuimanu'a expressed his desire to meet Ifilele; so the chief ordered the ifilele tree to be cut down and brought to him.
Ua oia le vao i Fagalele. Fagalele's tree is doomed.
Used when a person sacrifices a valuable object in order to deliver himself or another from a difficult situation; such as offering a fine mat in the ceremony of ifoga (abject submission).
457. The Tuiman'a would not take the tree (see above).
Ua mele faga. He rejects the (tree on the) beach.
Elliptical for: Ua mele i le faga, ua tu'u i le faga. Same meaning as Nos. 169, 450.
458. Fagalele (see above) accepted the Tuimanu'a's invitation to visit him in Manu'a. On the highest point of Manu'a there was a kava plant in which the king took great interest. Just as Fagalele had sacrificed his ifilele tree for - 221 the Tuimanu'a, so the latter now had to give up his kava plant. As the visitor was digging it out, the Manu'a people asked: Po o ai ua ana pei le taualuga o Manu'a? Who is that breaking the roof of Manu'a?
Ua peia le taualuga o Manu'a. The roof of Manu'a is broken.
Same meaning as 456.
459. E lumafale i le moana, 'ae tuafale i le papa. In front of the house is the sea; in the back is the rock.
So it was with the war goddess Nafanua's house in Pulotu; that is, there was no room for a plantation.
Same meaning as Nos. 228, 229.
460. The trade wind to'elau tuafanua blows on every point of the south coast with the same gentleness. Only in Tufutafoe is it boisterous.
O le puta i Tufu. The strength (of the trade wind) in Tufu.
Applied to a person who is arrogant with his own people, but cowardly with outsiders. Pratt translates: Only a threat.
461. O le ua na fua mai i Manu'a. The rain came from Manu'a.
As the prevailing wind comes from the east, the people of the western isles of the Samoan group can tell whether it rains in Manu'a and whether the rain will spread to them. The following story will elucidate the saying:
The Tuimanu'a had two daughters, Sina and Aolele. Without her father's consent Sina had married Chief Lemanunu of Le Manunu, between Si'uvao and Falelima, Savai'i. The king sent his second daughter to Savai'i with orders for the couple to separate if they loved their lives. Fearing the Tuimanu'a's supernatural powers, the two could not but obey. Sina said to her husband: We must leave each other; but we shall meet again in my tears. I shall return to Manu'a and weep and my tears shall fall upon you.
When it rains in Manunu, the people say that Sina is weeping.- 222
462. The following is another saying based on the above legend:
E taufa a le Manunu. It is the rain of Le Manunu.
According to the people of Faleliia, Le Manunu never gets any torrential rains but only gentle showers. The saying is applied to an event that gives no cause for worry.
463. A similar saying refers to the dry north coast of Aana (Itu Alofi).
O le fa'aua a le Alofi. Like the rain on the Alofi coast.
464. In Manu'a there was a boy by the name of Umatagata (trunk) who had no legs. His relatives carried him about the islands with the purpose of finding a pair of legs for him. The party finally reached Falelima where Chief Folasa le 'i'ite (the prophet) lived with his wife Maile'ia. The chief was ready to give up his son Tapuna, but the mother said: O manava (loto) O Maile'ia ia avatu a'u, 'ae sao le tama—I request that you take me, Mailelia, but leave the boy. Folasa would not listen to her. He cut off his son's legs and gave them to Umatagata. The body he buried. Sorrowing, the mother followed the Manu'a people as far as Vaisala where she was changed into a stone.
O manava o Maile'ia. The request of Maile'ia.
Upu alofa used to express sympathy for another person's troubles and regrets at being unable to assist him.
465. In Falelima there lived a chief by the name of 'A'au to whom his wife 'Upega had presented ten sons. One day the chief was bathing in the village pool. Having scrubbed his body with some coconut fibre, he laid the fibre aside. A gecko (mo'o) came along and nibbled at the fibre, with the result that she became pregnant and in due time gave birth to two boys, Filo and Mea. As she feared the ten sons of 'A'au, she kept her children constantly at home. However, when the twins were grown up, they ran away into the bush where they met their half brothers. A fight ensued and the ten got a thrashing. They immediately proposed a game of tagati'a (see No. 243) as a return match. The twins said, “All right, but se'i logo ia Mo'o—we have to inform the mo'o first.” Following their mother's advice, Filo and Mea made their darts (ti'a) of mamala wood and won the match. The ten then proposed a cock fight. Again the twins answered, “Se'i logo ia Mo'o.” Their mother gave - 223 them a pair of tiotala (kingfishers) which were far superior to the cocks of the others. It was now arranged they would have a club match. Mo'o showed her sons a certain palm tree, the midrib of whose leaves they were to make into clubs. For the fourth time the victory was theirs. The ten now wondered who those two champions were. Learning they were their brothers, they made peace and carried their clubs to Foga'a, the house of 'A'au (moli la'au i Foga'a, see No. 386).
Se'i logo ia Mo'o. Take advice of Mo'o.
Same meaning as No. 440.
Another explanation: Pili, the lizard (called in Manu'a Pilipa'u—fallen from heaven) set out on a trip without first advising his sister Mo'o, the gecko. Mo'o prayed to the winds to send her brother back to her and the winds granted her request.
466. Ua matua i le foaga. He has a whetstone for father.
When Pulele'i'ite was still a little boy, he went alone from his father's home in Asau to Samata where he played with the children. After the games, food was served. Each child sat with his father and got something to eat. Only Pule sat apart on a whetstone lying on the malae, just as if the whetstone were his father. He had nothing to eat.
Same meaning as Nos. 106, 109.
467. In Samata there was a beautiful spring of fresh water between the rocks on the sea beach. The people were not contented because the cleft between the rocks was rather narrow. So they set about bursting (foa, foai) the rocks in order to widen the opening. Finally the sea rushed in and the spring was spoiled for ever.
Foai foai mai. Burst and burst: saltwater.
To content oneself with what one has.
468. Chief Tagaloaimalo of Vaipu'a had sent for the carpenters of Atea (o le 'autuguga o le 'Atea) to build him a boat. They asked an exorbitant price besides insisting on being given the chief's sister Nia for breakfast. Tagaloaimalo could not resist their demands. He enticed Nia under a coconut tree and, climbing up, he dropped a nut on her - 224 head. The body was packed into a basket and laid before the carpenters; but behold, a gentle shower of rain fell upon the girl and brought her back to life.
O le sau o le ola. The coming of life. Or, the life-giving dew.
Used to express one's gratitude on escaping from a peril. Pratt: Said when the rain falls after a drought.
This variant explanation is doubtlessly given to avoid the mention of cannibalism: When at the first presentation of food the various gifts were enumerated, such as taros, pigs, chickens, etc., the carpenters asked after the mention of each eatable, Ma ni a? What else? Tagaloaimalo thought they wanted his sister Nia and killed her as related above. Although the girl came back to life and the misunderstanding was cleared up, the chief was still much incensed. When the carpenters tested the boat on the high seas, he prayed to his aitu to avenge him. A terrible storm destroyed ship and crew and they were never heard of again.
Leatiaitiogie, the daughter of Leatiogie, is also said to have been resurrected by a shower from heaven. (See No. 383.)
469. The blind chief Leaifale'ava had promised his daughter to the aitu Taemanutava'e who lived in Sili. Father and daughter, accompanied by the aitu Vave, who was incorporated in the bird manuali'i, set out for the bridegroom's home. They reached a village where ufipoa—a pungent yam—was being cooked. The smell (poapoa) of the yam was everywhere and they called the place Fogapoa. Soon after, they found a banana leaf covered with the fatty sauce of fa'ausi (scraped taro with coconut). The bird having eaten of it, took a bath (fui) in the water that had collected in a hollow stone (fatu). This is the origin of the names Fatausi, used euphemistically for fa'ausi and Fuifatu. The three names now designate sub-divisions of Safotulafai. The travellers finally reached Palauli, the home of Vave. All the foods in the village had been made taboo for Vave's benefit and so many eatables were served to the aitu, that no one thought he could dispose of them all. During the night, however, the bird got up and swallowed everything.
Ua gutu ia Vave le sa o Vave. Vave ate up all that had been made taboo for Vave.- 225
Upu fa'aulaula or faifai. At a distribution of food, mats, etc., an outsider should be appointed as distributor; a relative might be tempted to act like Vave.
Compare No. 268.
470. Vave remained in Palauli (see above). The other two went to the place usually haunted by Taemanutava'e. On the way the blind man struck his staff against a stone, so that the stick stood higher (sili) than the surrounding ground. From this the place had its name Sili. Taemanutava'e was bathing and gliding about (fa'ase'e, see No. 429) in the river, but he was not visible. The travellers' attention was attracted to some hairs by the river bank and a voice coming from a fau tree (hibiscus) asked them to tie these fast to the nearby bushes. Thus the aitu was secured.
Ua noanoatia lauao o Taemanutava'e. Taemanutavae'e's hair was bound fast.
Upu fa'afiti used when one is unable to grant a request or keep an appointment (fa'alavelavea).
471. The fau tree near Sili (see above) henceforth became an oracle. When its roots were scraped, it would answer the questions directed to it.
Valuvalusia a'a o le fau. Scraping the roots of the fau tree.
Upu fa'amaulalo. To address a request to a person in authority.
472. O talu o Sili ma Vaiafai ua mai ai vai o le Tagaloa. Because of Sili and Vaiafai the water of Le Tagaloa became saline.
The inhabitants of Sili and Vaiafai of which Le Tagaloa was the chief, ill-treated Fa'atuliaiupolu, a boy from Salemuliaga. This led to a war with the boy's home town. Sili and Vaiafai were defeated and Le Tagaloa had to suffer through the fault of his people.
Same meaning as Nos. 76, 366, 367, 446.
473. Whenever Chief Valomua of Saua, Satupaitea, desired tribute from his villages, he sent to the people of Matautu'a'ai, who had the privilege of appointing the taxgatherer. The latter made it a point to ask double the quantity in pigs, chickens, etc., that the chief had requested and, of course, he kept half the contributions for his own village. When the people murmured, Valomua said:- 226
E tasi mai i Saua, 'ae fa'aluaina i Matautu'a'ai. One thing was ordered by Saua, but Matautu'a'ai made it two.
Another explanation: The Tuimanu'a La'a, who with his wives lived in Saua, Manu'a, came to Aleipata where he married the pretty Lagilefuli. She became the mother of Samatauanu'u, who later acquired the title of Tuiatua. The Tuimanu'a loved Lagilefuli so much, that he transferred the name of his Manu'a house, Matautu'a'ai, to his new home in Aleipata, thereby signifying his intention to make it his permanent home. One day, however, a quarrel arose between him and his new wife, as a result of which he returned to Saua. Once again he gave all his love to his family in Saua, while in Matautu'a'ai it had been divided.
Applied to a person who tries to thwart a decision.
474. Ua naumatia Vailoa. Vailoa is destitute of water.
The saying is based on an obscene episode in the life of Lilomaiava who married Samalaulu, the daughter of Tuiaana Faumuina. Vailoa is near Palauli, Savai'i.
Same meaning as Nos. 228, 229, 459.
475. Even to this day the Samoans try to protect their plantations against theft by hanging up taboo signs (see No. 197). There are many such signs as, for instance, two coconuts tied together, a plaited piece of matting, etc. The hope for protection is based on the belief that the family or village whose aitu is represented by the taboo sign, may count on the demon's assistance. The village of Amoa has a thunder taboo. The trespasser is expected to be killed by thunder (i.e., lightning). When a plantation owner hangs up this taboo, he walks about his land and shouts: Faititili e, ou te se Amoa lava a'u—O Thunderer, I am a man of Amoa. This precaution is necessary so that the demon may become acquainted with the owner and not kill him by mistake. When the owner brings in his harvest, he also uses the cry:
Ou te se Amoa lava a'u. I am a man of Amoa.
Upu fa'afiti: I am innocent; I have nothing to do with the affair.
476. In a cave near Pu'apu'a, Amoa, there lived a lady with a crippled body and a loathsome skin disease named Meto. One day some young men from Amoa were playing - 227 tagati'a (see No. 243) near the cave. The ti'a of Alo, son of Na'i, happened to fly into the cave. When Alo entered to retrieve his dart, the cave closed up through Meto's supernatural powers. The lady had observed the handsome young man and fallen in love with him. Alo repulsed her in disgust, but Meto threatened not to open the cave till he had done her will. The young man surrendered, but he was unable to rid himself of the woman. She first asked him to build a house for her, which he did with the assistance of the family of his mother Sinafatu'imoa. Then she wanted a paepae lei (see No. 450). From Tigilau (see No. 380) Alo got a whale's tooth which had the power to produce other teeth and he was thus able to fulfill this second wish, too.
Meto tagivale. Meto requests one thing after another.
Same meaning as Nos. 172, 224, 437.
477. A legend relates that Chief Losi went to god Tagaloa in heaven and obtained many useful things there. On his first visit he stole a taro shoot and hid it in a secret recess of his body. The celestials searched him, but not finding the plant, they gave him a thrashing and chased him off. Losi swore to be revenged and with some aitu made his preparations. First he sent his servant Vaeau, who was noted for his speed, to spy out the heavens. Vaeau went there and returned the same day. Hence the saying:
Ia e vae o Vaeau. May your legs be like those of Vaeau.
Upu fa'aalualu inviting one to hurry.
478. When Vaeau (see above) returned with a favourable report, Losi had some stingrays caught as a gift for Tagaloa. He then went with his companions to the heavens where they arrived before daybreak and laid the fish between the door posts. When the celestials stepped on the fish, they slipped and hurt their heads.
'Ai ma le foa mea a Losi. They ate Losi's food with sore heads.
Same meaning as No. 212.
479. The celestials now planned to revenge themselves on the humans (see above). They invited Losi and his men to float with them down a river which tumbled over a waterfall. This was without any danger for the immortals but was supposed to bring the others to grief. However, Losi's - 228 aitu Fulufuluitolo posted himself near the waterfall and caught the terrestrials one by one.
O le lave a Fulufuluitolo. Saved by Fulufuluitolo.
Used when someone has assisted another in a difficult situation. Compare No. 468.
Losi then stole kava, breadfruit and coconuts. The story ends with a fight in which the celestials are defeated and Tagaloa has to surrender six high titles (ao) which were divided as follows: Tagaloa to Falelatai (Pata), Fetafune to Samauga, Lavasi'i to Lefaga, Tuifa'asisina to Satuimalufilufi, Taimalelagi to Mulifanua, Fiame to Samatau.
480. Mosopili received a message that his wife was seriously ill. He was hindered, however, from seeing her immediately. When he finally reached her she was dead.
O le fotuga a Mosopili. The appearance of Mosopili.
Same meaning as Nos. 70, 191, 215, 265, 403, 412, 425, 455.
481. Two brothers, Ve'a and Mu, went to the war. When Mu got a spear wound in the leg, he called: Ve'a e tu, Ve'a e tu; ua lavea le vae o Mu—Ve'a stand by me; the leg of Mu is hurt. Ve'a came to the rescue and killed the enemies that surrounded Mu.
O le taimalie a Ve'a. The opportune appearance of Ve'a.
Used when one meets some unexpected success.
482. Foaga met some people who were fighting. He approached too close and got a thrashing, although he had nothing to do with the quarrel.
Ua fasia fua Foaga, e le'i fai misa. Foaga got a thrashing although he was not fighting.
Same meaning as Nos. 53, 181 (1), 294, 400. Compare also Nos. 80, 185, 236.
483. Ua mele le manu e Afono. Afono spurned its fortune.
The Tuiafono of Afono, Tutuila, sent his two sons to Fiji to get him a talisman. The Tuifiti gave them an 'aulosoloso (the stalk from which the coconuts have been picked), but they could not see anything very bewitching in the thing and on their return to Afono they threw it into the sea where it was lost.
Same meaning as Nos. 169, 450, 457.- 229
484. E tasi le po 'ae ogaoga. Only one night, but a long one.
Sagatea had two daughters who both were named Sina and were both married to the Tuimanu'a. In accordance with the custom of the country, he slept with them turn about, but he liked the one better than the other. That is why he called the former Sinaavi (avi, desired) and the latter Sinaleavi (undesired). Sinaleavi complained to her father who promised to help her. He said, “The next time your husband sleeps with you I will hold back the sun and make the night longer.” So it was done and Sinaleavi became pregnant.
Same meaning as Nos. 63, 161, 339, 397, 398, 420, 435.
485. The Tuitonga had two wives, a Tongan and a Samoan by the name of Leutogitupa'itea. The Tongan bore a child, but Leutogi murdered it out of jealousy by piercing its head with the midrib of a coconut leaflet. The king condemned her to death by fire. A heap of firewood was prepared under a fetau tree and the woman was tied into the fork of the tree. Then the fire was lit and the executioners went away. But a flock of flying foxes came along and sprinkled their water on the fire until it was extinguished. When the Tuitonga's servants returned, they found the woman alive. She said:
Ua tatou fetaia'i i le magafetau soifua. We meet alive under the fork of the fetau tree.
An expression of joy frequently used on meeting relatives and friends in good health.
486. Ta te nofo atu nei, a o a'u o 'Ae. Here I sit; I am 'Ae.
A request for pardon based on the following story: Ae went from Samoa to Tonga where he became the talking chief of the Tuitonga. After a while he felt homesick and begged the king for leave of absence. The request was not only granted, but the Tuitonga also gave him two turtles on which to ride to Samoa. When he arrived, the people killed one of the “sacred fish” and ate it. The other escaped to Tonga and told the king what had happened. The latter was so angered at Ae's negligence, that he prayed to his gods to send him back that he might punish him. The gods - 230 heard his prayer. They took hold of Ae while he slept and carried him back to Tonga. In the morning, between sleeping and walking, it seemed to Ae that he heard the crowing of the king's roosters. Thinking it to be a dream, he slept on. When he awoke and found himself in his master's house, he was speechless with terror. All he could say was: Ta te nofo atu nei, a o a'u o Ae. Here I sit; I am Ae.
487. The people of the island Atafu-mea were much oppressed by their king, the sun. One day some girls sat together, talking about the sad situation and abusing the ruler. They thought they were alone; but in the corner of the house there was a boy named Tufugauli, who was a relative of King Sun. He pretended to be asleep, but his ears were wide open and he reported everything to the ruler. The sun was very angry and inflicted a heavy punishment on the village. As the boy was exempt, everybody knew that he was the informer. The girls said:
Ua tafao taliga o le Tufugauli. Tufugauli's ears go wandering about.
Upu tafaofiofi: Beware of traitors. Compare No. 333.
Atafu is probably not, as Percy Smith says, Kandavu in Fiji, but Atahu (Duke of York Island) in the Tokelau group. According to tradition some Atahu people fled from their island because of the cruelties of their ruler, who was a cannibal, and settled in Malie, Upolu. Compare Newell's Notes on Tokelau.
488. Pulotu is a land in the east from which the Samoans originate. The king of Pulotu had a son Fali (grass), and a daughter, Lagi. The two once visited Papatea, but had a very bad reception. Lagi (heaven) was spat upon (anu, feanu). Hence the saying:
Ua anu Lagi. To designate unbecoming behaviour against a person in authority.
489. Fali (grass) was trampled under foot (soli).
When the Tuipulotu heard about the insult to his children, he vowed revenge and declared war upon Papatea. Ever since, the words sosoli le fali designate a declaration of war.- 231
490. Pulotu was victorious (see above). Papatea was devastated and its inhabitants exterminated. When a village has been razed in war, one says:
Ua fa'apapateaina. It has been made like unto Papatea.
491. In this war (see above) one of Tuipulotu's warriors, named Elo, distinguished himself particularly. When he had slain his opponent, he ran amok and attacked his own companions.
Ua o le tomai o Elo. It is like the coming of Elo.
Applied to a person who suffers persecution at the hands of his own relatives.
The war between Papatea and Pulotu led to the settlement of Samoa. A few of the Papateans sought safety in flight. They were pursued by the warriors from Pulotu and the pursuit led past Samoa, where four couples of the attacking party settled down as they liked the islands. Sava and I'i remained in Savai'i, U and Polu, in Upolu, Tutu and Ila, in Tutuila. The fourth couple went to the eastern isles. Arrived there they laid their newly born child on the beach while they went in search of some food. When they returned, they found the baby's back wounded (manu'a) by the pebbles on the shore and they named the country Manu'a.
492. Ua logo le na i ama, logo le na i atea. He feels a bite on both the outrigger side and the starboard side.
Application: (1) Upu fiafia referring to an undertaking that was concluded successfully; (2) Same meaning as Nos. 261, 338, insofar as the bite of a fish is known immediately by its pull on the line.