Volume 30 1921 > Volume 30, No. 119 > Notes on Tongan religion. Part I, by E. E. Collocott, p 152-163
NOTES ON TONGAN RELIGION.
THE Tongans, in common with other Polynesian peoples, have a fairly elaborate theogony, narrating the birth of great gods of Sky, Earth, Sea, and Underworld; who are in their turn, in varying degree, responsible for Tonga and the adjacent island groups, i.e., the known world. In the beginning there seem to have existed the sea and the spirit-world, Bulotu. In this primordial ocean sea-weed and soil came together and floated away to Bulotu, but thereafter separated. Between them appeared a rock called Touia-a-Futuna, of which were born four pairs of twins, male and female, named respectively Biki (Sticky, Adhesive) and Kele (Soil); Atungaki (Thrown by the hand) and Maimoa-a-Longona (Plaything of Longona); Fonu-uta (Land Turtle) and Fonu-vai (Sea Turtle); and Hemoana (Sea Wanderer) and Lube (Dove). Hemoana is a well-known deity found in the sea-snake (tuku-hali) of whose origin another account is also given, associating him more particularly with the island of Eua. This will be referred to subsequently. Each pair of twins, with the exception of Hemoana and Lube, married within itself, and begot progeny. The first child of Biki and Kele was a son, Taufulifonua (Oversetter of Lands, or War the Oversetter of Lands), followed later by a daughter, Havea-lolo-fonua (Havea of the Underworld). The second and third pair of twins begot each a daughter, named respectively Vele-lahi (Great Desire?) and Vele-jii (Little Desire?). At this point in the story intervenes the creation by unrecorded means of a land Tonga-mamao (Distant Tonga), by Biki and Kele as a home for their two children, Taufulifonua and Havea-lolofonua, to whom was born the important deity Hikuleo (probably Echo). Tradition is not quite certain as to whether Hikuleo were a god or goddess, but the general suffrage seems in favour of the female sex. The two other females of this generation, Vele-lahi and Vele-jii, were also mated with Taufuli-fonua, and became the mothers respectively of Tangaloa and Maui. Tongan tradition speaks of four Tangaloa, namely, Tama-bouli-ala-mafoa (Child of the Dark when Dawn is near), Eitumatubua, Tanga-loa-tufunga (Tangaloa the Craftsman) and Tangaloa Atulongolongo. - 153 Tangaloa the Craftsman would seem to be the especially representative type, as Tangaloa was the god of carpenters, who before eating used to throw a small piece upwards, saying, “for Tangaloa.” The plover is sacred to him, that being the shape in which he visited earth, Tangaloa Atulongolongo being the member of the family spoken of as paying such visits.
The Maui, too, are regarded as a group rather than as a single god. The stories mention Maui-loa (Long Maui), Maui Buku (Short Maui), and Maui Atalanga, who is the father of Maui Kijikiji, the most famous of the Maui, noted for his mischievous disposition, for his immense strength, and for the priceless boon he bestowed on mortals in stealing fire from the Underworld and bringing it up to earth. His father Atalanga, too, performed the signal service of thrusting the sky up high above the earth. Previously men had to go on all fours like the beasts, but as the price of a drink of water which he begged from a woman in Vavau he raised the sky to its present elevation. Atalanga is associated with Kijikiji, but always in a subordinate role, in a number of exploits which rid the world of certain dangerous animals and plants, especially notable being the great man-eating dog of Fiji. This feat is also credited to the hero Muni of the Torn-eye. Muni's mother was thrown into the sea before his birth, and the child was cast ashore on the island of Lofanga in Haapai, where a plover pecked at his eye as he lay on the beach. Hence the sobriquet of Torn-eye. In the case of both Maui's and Muni's adventure with the man-eating dog, the hero slays the monster and then dies himself; Maui in grief that the beast had devoured his father, and Muni because this fate had overtaken his devoted Fijian henchman. The bones of the Maui, father and son, became the father, by a Fijian woman, Sinailele, of a still mightier hero, Tui-motuliki, who came to Tonga, and was the progenitor of a line of gentry in attendance on the Tui Tonga. Legend mentions also another Maui, Maui Motua (Old Maui), who appears as the father of Maui Atalanga, and the guardian of the fire stolen by Kijikiji from the Underworld.
Between Hikuleo, Tangaloa, and Maui were divided Bulotu, Sky, and Underworld. Hikuleo received as her portion Bulotu (the Polynesian Paradise), abode of the souls of chiefs and great people. To Tangaloa was assigned the Sky, and to Maui the Underworld. To the fourth pair of the original twins, Hemoana and Lube, were given the Sea and the Land and Forests. Hikulea was bound by a great cord, one end being held by the Tangaloa in the sky, and the other by the Maui in the Underworld. The earth would have been destroyed by a visit from her, hence the precautions to keep her at home.
Especially connected with the Tangaloa is the plover, and embodied in this bird one of them was wont to visit the earth. His visits commenced before the creation of the islands known to the Tongans. - 154 In the Tongan Group the islands of Ata and Eua, and probably Euaiki (Little Eua) were first created. Eua was formed by Tangaloa, the craftsman, pouring down into the sea the scraps from his work-shop. At about the same time as this truly magnificent use was being made of the shavings from the bench of the craftsman god, Ata slowly made its appearance above the sea. On Ata were born the first men, three in number, formed from a worm bred by a rotten plant, whose seed was brought by Tangaloa from heaven. These three were afterwards provided by the Maui with wives from the Underworld. The well-known fishing expedition of the Maui hauled to the surface many of the remaining islands known to the early Tongans.
Later Maui Atalanga and Maui Kijikiji came up from the Under-world and settled at Koloa in Vavau, where a temple of Maui stood up to the time of the introduction of Christianity. Tradition is not quite consistent at this point. Atalanga married a woman of Vavau, whom one account represents as the mother of Kijikiji, who yet is regarded in other accounts, probably the most usual and authoritative, as having been a member of the expedition which fished up Vavau, and various other parts of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji. The whole question of the position of the Vavau of myth has an interest and difficulty not unlike that attaching to the Hawaiki series of place-names. Tregear, in his “Maori Comparative Dictionary,” says (s.v., Wawau), “There is reason for thinking that Vavau in the Friendly Islands is not the mythological Vavau or Wawau; the name has been localised anew all over the Pacific.” It is uncertain whether there will be ever complete enough information to make definite statement possible.
In spite of the widespread recognition of these major deities the practical affairs of life apparently did not so much compel resort to them as to a number of gods whose cults were in some cases nation-wide, and in others confined to different localities, or more strictly to various groups of people. The greater cults are always especially associated with chiefs and great gentlemen attendants of chiefs, who are their people's representatives before the gods as in more mundane affairs. In fact the deference and observances paid to the chiefs, and particularly to the Tui Tonga, would seem to be a very practical part of the ordinary man's religion. The attribute of chiefliness, of which the Tui Tonga, was the human fountain-head, was essentially a thing sacred and of those things which men regard with religious awe. Chiefliness is, in its origin, a gift of the gods, Ahoeitu, the first Tui Tonga, being the son of Eitumatubua, the Lord of Heaven, and a human mother. Although the gods of which one hears were worshipped by chiefs and larger or smaller groups, this does not mean apparently that almost any object might not be adopted as sacred by a man and his household. There is a gradation in the divine hierarchy - 155 from gods of populous tribes down to deities the private possession of a very few. Naturally, the gods of which one is best able to glean information are those whose devotees were fairly numerous. At the best all that we can get to-day is probably only a glimpse at the old pantheon. But this remnant is doubtless typical, and furnishes a fair idea of the beliefs of old Tonga, as well as interesting parallels with other parts of Polynesia.
The apparatus of worship consisted of a temple, apparently in some instances situated amongst trees just outside the village. Too much must not be made of this, however, as the villages which one sees to-day are of modern growth, and in earlier days the population was more scattered. There was at least one sacred grove. In the temples were kept sacred objects, such as war weapons, stones, pieces of wood, more or less roughly carved, and often painted with yellow turmeric. Several fine mats were indispensable, carefully preserved to be spread for the reception of the visiting god in the same way as a household brings out its good mats for a distinguished mortal visitor. At times of worship these mats were spread, and the priest sat either on or beside them, whilst the sacred objects of the temple were displayed on the mats, particularly, if possible, the animal or what not which was specially sacred to the god to whom the appeal was being made. The role of the totem was to act as a vehicle whereby the god might bring himself into physical relation with the material surroundings of human life. The Tongan words used to express the presence of the god in the object sacred to him signifies his “coming in” it, or “using it as a boat.” These material objects are seldom, most probably never, the god himself. This, however, is by now so much a commonplace as scarcely to need restatement in the case of any particular people. Not less was the god actually present in the inspired priest. Evidently there were others outside of the regular priesthoods who were liable to inspirations. To the present day some forms of sickness are believed to be due to demonic possession. So far as my personal observation in Tonga goes possession seems now to be always maleficent, but a native connected by blood with Fiji affirms that in that group there are exemplary and devout Christians who receive helpful accessions of divine influence from sources not usually included in any scheme of orthodox theology.
There were priests or priestesses connected with the various cults, who acted as the mouthpieces of the gods, and whose frenzied inspiration seems to have been the really important part of the divine manifestation. There are asserted to have been deities without any sacred animal or other object, but the accuracy of this statement is doubtful. The trembling body, foaming mouth, and wild eyes of - 156 the inspired priest have been more than once described. Very few contemporary Tongans have witnessed the performance, but I have been fortunate enough to hear from a very intelligent elderly chief a graphic description of the inspiration of a priest which he witnessed in his boyhood. This was in one of the last retreats of the old worship, and the wild awe of the scene, enhanced by the darkness of night, and a double row of lights at the end of which the priest sat, looking down a lane flanked on either hand by fire, has left an indelible impression on the old gentleman's mind. Amongst other things he noted the voracious appetite of the priest, who was a Fijian of ordinary stature, but who, under the influence of the divine frenzy devoured a great bunch of bananas or plantains. The native theory is that the inspiring god in some way eats the food. Another extraordinary circumstance was the manner of his speech. Usually this Fijian spoke bad Tongan in a small weak voice, but during his inspiration his voice was rich and full, and his utterances couched in eloquent and faultless Tongan, “like a Belehake,” as the native idiom has it.
The appetite of the priest, to which the natives nowadays sometimes make caustic reference, seems to have been a fairly constant factor or inspiration, but presents of food, an indispensable accompaniment of a ceremonious visit to a chief, would naturally be taken by worshippers waiting on their god. Kava, always presented to a chief on a ceremonial occasion, was also taken to the gods. The initial rite of worship was a kava drinking. A ceremonial kava drinking is a presentation to some person, usually the greatest chief in the gathering. If a number of people pay a visit to a chief they take kava to him, some of which will be prepared and drunk then and there, though all may not share in it. The visiting party and the chief to whom the visit is made, with his retainers, will drink together, precedence in drinking being strictly observed in accordance with rank, although the order is not a merely numerical one; for example, the third bowl is very commonly the most chiefly of all, and even further down, the fifth or seventh, etc., may take precedence of those earlier in the list. The due ordering of these matters is one of the things in which the chiefs' matabules, or gentlemen attendants, are expected to possess expert knowledge. Another prized qualification of a matabule is a full clear voice with which to call, in a kind of loud intonation, the person to whom the bowl is to be taken, the number of baskets of food presented, to whom the several portions are to be taken when the distribution is made, and the like matters. The chief to whom the kava drinking is a presentation is marked by his having the most chiefly bowl, commonly, though not always, the third, taken to him to drink, and a slight change in the words with which the matabule calls that bowl. In the case of the kava drinking with which - 157 a visit to a shrine commenced, the ceremony was a presentation to the god, and the priest, as his representative and vehicle, had the precedence. Kava is commonly drunk out of coconut-shell cups, but visitors to the gods were wont, apparently, to use cups of folded banana leaf. These are obviously more ceremonious than the coconut-shells, as they were used in 1918 at the important native ceremony in connection with the installation of the present Queen. I obtained possession of several of the cups used on that occasion, but unfortunately banana leaves are not very durable, and they have long been reduced to pieces of dried leaf, amongst which destructive insects have begun their work.
In passing it may be remarked in connection with kava that personal experience in Tonga has shown me nothing to justify the epithet “intoxicating” so often applied to this root. Kava drinking prolonged far into the night produces a very dull Tongan next morning, but bad hours would be enough in itself to account for at least a good deal of the drowsiness, and if there be a residuum directly caused by the absorption of large quantities of kava, as is quite probable, it does not seem rightly stigmatised as intoxication. Excessive tobacco smoking would produce much the same effect, as indeed would excess of almost any kind. Seeing how widely the kava is termed intoxicating by competent observers in other groups, I can only suppose that the suggestion which I have heard put forward, that the Tongans drink the root in a more advanced stage of maturity than the peoples of some other islands may be correct, and that the green root has more pronounced effects.
The priest, then, duly primed with the cheerful cup, and with the tangible evidence before him that the god's hunger will be satisfactorily appeased, proceeds to work himself into a condition suitable for the reception of deity. There are living to-day representatives of an old priestly family, of a highly strung nervous disposition, exhibiting in all probability characteristics that caused their forebears to be reverenced as channels of divine communication. A present-day member of the family has distinguished himself by intrepid and successfuf missionary pioneering in the Solomon Islands.
The worshippers usually resort to the gods for information concerning risky undertakings, such as war, and for deliverance, or protection, from the disasters that commonly afflict our life, such as sickness or bad seasons, caused by drought or hurricane. There seems to have been no special god of war, but for guidance in this important undertaking each tribe referred to its own god, the indications of the god's pleasure being given in some instances at least by movements of the clubs or other war weapons with which the shrine was provided. If the weapon from which the auguries were sought refused to budge that was an indication of the god's desire for peace.- 158
Sickness was regarded as a sign of divine disfavour, as it frequently is to-day. Christianisation has to a certain extent meant the shifting of old conceptions to a new set of supernatural beings. Some illnesses are regarded as possession by a maleficent sprite, who can be massaged and pummelled out of the system by a skilled practitioner. Of the old gods some had their specialities, much as mortals have, though the range of functions was generally very wide.
Often, especially in prayers for the healing of sickness, bodily mutilation was resorted to as a sacrifice, and in extreme instances a victim was slain. Mariner describes the sacrifice of a little girl in the hope that the god would be pleased to restore the great Vavau chief Finau to health. There is still living a man whose mother saw, and described to him, the strangling of a man as an offering to the important god Bulotu Katoa to ensure the recovery of a great Tui Haatakalaua chief. The victim, with his two executioners, got under a large piece of native cloth, which was held down by people standing on the edges. The unfortunate man was strangled and then taken to Bulotu Katoa's shrine, and two days later the chief on whose behalf all this trouble was taken breathed his last. There was a similarly unsatisfactory ending to Mariner's story of human sacrifice. One informant tells me, in reference to such sacrifice to the god Toko-i-Moana, that the persons expected to mutilate their little fingers were the family of the brothers of the sick person's mother. (Such terms as brother and mother are misleading if understood in the English sense. For instance, mother and mother's sister, including certain female cousins, are all called by the same term, and the system is followed through to its furthest discoverable limits). I have no doubt that these were the persons generally expected to undergo this altruistic operation, as they represent the branch of the family over which one enjoys superiority. I am told that amongst an earlier generation of Tongans it was comparatively rare to find anyone who lived a long life with both little fingers intact. There is still living an old gentleman who has lost in this way the top joint of his right-hand little finger. But he is now a curiosity, so much so that one can hardly begin talking to a native to-day on those topics without presently seeing him lift up his right hand and start truculently feeling his little finger with his left hand. All the while you see in his face the eager expression of a man who has something he wishes to ease his mind of, and at the first opening comes the inevitable query, “Do you know so-and-so?” As I happen to know the old gentleman fairly well, and have shaken the mutilated hand, the sacrificial digit has lost something of its novelty. However, the owner of the finger is far advanced in life, and in the ordinary course of nature it cannot be very many years before this, one of the few remaining links with the old order, will be beyond the possibility of observation.- 159
From my conversations with the Tongans I am not quite sure where the votaries and the priests sat during consultation of a god, but think that the people would sit round at a respectable distance on the green sward in front of the temple, and the priests would sit either just within or without the doorway. Descriptions seem to point to some such arrangement as this, and it is rendered almost certain by its thorough agreement with universal custom in the paying of a ceremonial visit to an important chief. It is hardly necessary to add that all references to the gods were couched in the most deferential language, terms being employed which were applied to the Tui Tonga and the Tamaha alone amongst mortals, though used now of the constitutional king. Such words are naturally used to-day of the Deity in Christian worship.
Another common mark of deference in approaching a superior is the wearing of a mat about the waist, girt on with a cinnet-rope belt. This addition to the dress, called a taovala, is universally worn at the fono, or assemblies where the people are gathered together to hear the will of their chiefs, or of the government, or when approaching a great chief, especially to ask a favour. It is also worn at funerals. Undoubtedly it was worn by the people approaching one of the ancient gods. A mark of still deeper humility is a wreath of the leaves of the ifi (Inocarpus edulis, Tahitian chestnut) round the neck. This badge of deference was used, for example, by supplicants suing for their lives. To sit with the head bowed, and these leaves round the neck, was the strongest possible expression of humility and entreaty. Whether it were a common adjunct or not of worship I do not know, but it would seem highly probable that it was employed at all events on occasions of great stress. Mariner describes it as being worn on a certain occasion in entering a temple, but in this instance the wearers were pleading for their lives to a great chief.
Naturally the gods varied in power and influence. Some were resorted to by the whole nation; others were the gods of powerful chiefs and their tribes and clans, whilst others enjoyed a more limited prestige, their devotees being the little group of allied households which forms the usual social unit. There was nothing to prevent a a man's setting up a tutelary deity of his own if he were so disposed. The number of the gods, moreover, was liable to constant augumentation by the deification of the illustrious or well beloved dead. A notable instance is Fakailoatonga, a chief related to Finau, of Vavau. In his life-time Fakailoatonga was a famous warrior, and subdued, or at least over-ran, a large part of Tongatabu, “but he was a leper.” For long he was ignorant of the nature of his malady, and his friends sedulously refrained from reference to it. But one day a companion told him the ghastly truth, and Fakailoatonga, in his disgust, buried himself alive. After his death he was elevated to the goddage. In the - 160 period of which we have information totemism has given way to a more highly developed polytheism, but there are indications that the development was by way of totemism. There are the usual restrictions on the eating of the sacred animal, though some fish which enjoyed a certain amount of sanctity were used for food by those in whose eyes they were sacred. The whole question of fishing was edged about with tabus, the consideration of which would lead us too far afield from the matter in hand. But I have not yet been able to positively ascertain whether the species of a fish in which a god was actually embodied was ever eaten by his devotees. For instance, there is more than one shark deity, but I know of only one clan who refrained from eating shark from religious motives. The two most famous shark gods manifest themselves in sharks which are not used as food, and, are in fact altogether exceptional, and probably purely mythical fish. Putting aside a few fish, which, if not actually the vehicles of gods, were at all events the subject of special tabus, the prohibition of the eating of the sacred animal is general and clear. A highly respected native minister of the Methodist Church informs me that to this day he gets a headache if he eats the sacred animal of his clan, though it is esteemed a delicacy by those who have the good fortune to be exempted from the tabu, and probably most who are not.
There is an old story which is perhaps a fragment from an ancient and forgotten body of lore in which the totem plays an important part in the impregnation of the woman of his clan. The tale of the birth of the lovely Vae, who became so beautiful that there was not her equal in the whole of Tonga, relates that during her mother's pregnancy the food for which she craved was the rail. The idiom used to express such cravings of a pregnant woman might be translated with strict accuracy, so far as the form of expression goes, as the food by which she was pregnant, or had conceived. The present day Tongan, however, uses the expression without any idea of pregnancy having been caused by the object in question, but merely as indicating the fastidious liking of a delicate woman for a special food. The god of Vae's father was the dove, and before the mother had given birth to her child the parents embarked on a voyage, taking with them the dove god. On the way the expectant mother, in her longing for her favourite dish, asked her husband for a rail. He, rather exasperated at so unreasonable a request out at sea, screwed the neck of his god and gave his wife a meal of dove. Being compelled by stress of weather to put in at an island, the mother there gave birth to her child, which to her disgust was marked on the face by the dove's head. In her chargin at this disfigurement she abandoned the infant, a little girl, at the foot of a tree when the voyage was resumed. The remainder of the story, telling of the child's adoption by a couple on the island, the disappearing of the - 161 mark as she grew, and of the wonderful beauty which made her the wife of one Tui Tonga and the mother of another, does not concern our present purpose. It seems, too, that women became pregnant by bathing in a pond sacred to the god Tui Haafakafonua.
Tattooing has largely fallen into disuse amongst modern Tongans. Indeed some seem to be uncertain whether it be a thing of home growth, or an exotic introduced from Samoa, where it is still extensively practised. It is undoubtedly certain, however, that tattooing was common in Tonga at least a century ago. So far I have been able to find only one instance where the markings had a clear totem or religious significance, namely in the tattooing of the bird called the kalae (a rail) on the throat of the priest connected with his worship. Something more will be said later about the individual gods, but the people who held the kalae sacred were in the habit of tying together a bunch of these birds, and taking it about with them. Such a bunch of sacred birds was tattooed on the throat of the priest. In general the artists who performed the operation of tattooing chose their designs in accordance with their individual notions of beauty, and gained reputation by the artistry of their work. Although most of the gods had their sacred animal, or other object, it is not certain whether this was quite universal, there apparently being deities whose manifestation was merely through their priests; but a negative is ever hard to prove, and after hearing in one quarter that a particular god had no sacred animal one may later stumble on an informant able to supplement his previous information. There are also cases where it is remembered that a particular animal was sacred, but nobody seems to know to what god. However, from time to time there may come opportunities to rectify some at least of the gaps in the tradition.
The best illustration of what I have been so far able to gather about the old Tongan deities can be given by setting forth what my informants have told me. These notes make no claim to completeness, and fuller information may supplement, or correct, much of what follows. It is, however, probably a fair sample, giving generally correct outlines of the native's outlook on his religion, however inadequate it may be in details. Unfortunately the time when reliable information can be gathered about many matters interesting to the student of primitive practices is fast slipping away. There are living to-day very few Tongans able to give a trustworthy and full account of any part of the older faith, and of those who, from motives of patriotism or intelligent curiosity, have been interested in hearing and remember what they could of their people's past, hardly one has himself witnessed anything of the ancient practices. Where possible both the names of the gods and of their sacred objects have been given, but there are instances in which one or the other has been forgotten by the Tongans with whom I have discussed these matters.- 162
Bulotu Katoa. Bulotu was the Tongan Paradise. As already related its chief deity was Hikuleo, but it was the home also of spirits of the departed, evidently only of chiefs and great people, to whom perhaps some sort of worship was paid. Sometimes one hears of a being called Tui Bulotu, i.e., King of Bulotu, but of him I have been able to learn nothing. Mariner calls him a minor god of the sea and of voyages, and protector of Finau's family. Tuivakano, the Premier of Tonga, suggests that some of the gods mentioned by Mariner are really the illustrious dead. In spite of the name Tui Bulotu there does not seem any reason to disturb the sovereignty of Hikuleo in Bulotu, home of wondrous plenty, of the life-giving water, Vai-Ola, Water of Life, into which the spirits of the dead seem to have been dipped to restore them to life and the power of enjoying the delights of their paradise, and of other marvels.
Bulotu Katoa, i.e., the whole of Bulotu, was the grandiloquent name of a great deity whose principal shrine was at Boha, in the eastern part of Tongatabu. This eastern district, though not now the seat of the capital, is the chiefly centre of the ancient polity, the residence of the Tui Tonga, the Tui Haatakalaua, and other great lords. To Bulotu Katoa the whole of Tonga resorted, the Tui Tonga alone staying at home. I have heard him spoken of as the god of the great warrior chiefs, the Tui Kanokupolu, who in process of time and change supervening on the coming of the European have displaced the Tui Tonga, but the real position seems rather to have been that whoever for the time being was most powerful, whether the Tui Kanokupolu or another chief, took the lead in national supplication to this great god, to avert the calamities of hurricane, drought, and famine. As a matter of fact Kuku, a very ancient and blue-blooded chief, was most intimately associated with the worship of Bulotu Katoa, and two related chiefs, Tamale (the present holder of this title has given me the best information about this and many other matters; his repute as a depository of ancient lore is probably more widely recognised than that of any living Tongan), and Ma'olo distributed the offerings brought to the god. The name of the priest was Takahi. When kava was presented to Bulotu Katoa the Tui Kanokupolu sat with the ring of outsiders at a distance from the kava bowl and the leaders of the ceremony.
The dog was the sacred animal of this god, and during his worship a dog lay at the side of the priest. It was customary to use the word kuli (dog) in names of Nuku's family. There is a proverbial expression pretty closely parallel to our English “Let sleeping dogs lie,” which is said to have had its first application to the dog of Bulotu Katoa.- 163
This was not the only god to whom offerings were made to ensure immunity from hurricane, but he seems to have had some especially close connection with the winds, as it is said that he has on occasion brought the people to cannibalism with his destructive hurricanes. A story is told of the heroic chief Takai, who was a match for his gusty majesty. Takai challenged Bulotu Katoa to a trial of strength, defying him to destroy a house which he should build. So the house was built strong and taut and the god invited to do his worst. Bulotu Katoa blew with all his might from the north. The house stood. The god veered round to the south. This was too much for Takai's workmanship, and the structure was demolished. Nothing daunted, Takai collected from all parts of the country beams of the hard wood called ngeji, and tried again. The god was invited to try his strength on this second building, but though he employed his greatest hurricanes it was in vain, for Takai's house withstood his every attempt.
It was to Bulotu Katoa that the man strangled under the piece of native cloth mentioned above was offered. This god is also brought into interesting connection with the murder of Tubou Niua by Tubou Toa, of which an eye-witness' account is preserved by Mariner. The two sons of Tubou Niua, Lasiki and Tubou Toutai, fled to Lakepa. In course of time Taufaahau (afterwards King George Tubou I.), the son of Tubou Toa, paid a friendly visit to the sons of the man whom his father had slain. Lasiki and Tubou Toutai besought Bulotu Katoa to slay Taufaahau, but the god replied that he was unable to do so, as the white man's God, whom Taufaahau then worshipped, was too mighty for him. On this confession of impotence Lasiki and Tubou Toutai slew the priest of Bulotu Katoa, and became Christians.
(To be continued.)