CHAPTER IV. GODS SUPERIOR - WAR AND GENERAL VILLAGE GODS.
4. At the boundary line between two villages there were two stones, said to have been two young men who quarrelled, fought, and killed each other on that very spot, and whose bodies were immediately changed into stones. If any quarrel took place in either of these two villages there was never any general disturbance. "Go and settle it at the stones" was the standing order; and so all who were inclined to be demonstrative in any affair of honesty or honour went to the stones and fought it out. If either of the duellists was knocked down, that was the final settlement. No one else interfered, and so, by common consent in such matters, these two villages were noted for peace and order.
5. In a district said to have been early populated by settlers from Fiji, a number of fancy Fijian stones were kept in a temple, and worshipped in time of war. The priest, in consulting them, built them up in the form of a wall, and then watched to see how they fell. If they fell to the westward, it was a sign that the enemy there was to be driven; but if they fell to eastward, that was a warning of defeat, and delay in making an attack was ordered accordingly.
The iconoclast native teachers from Tahiti, in the early stage of the mission, when such stones were given up to them, had them taken off to the beach and broken into fragments, and so stamp out at once the heathenism with which they were associated. Hardly a single relic of the kind can be found at the present day.
23. LE SA - The sacred one.
1. The name of a war god in several villages, and incarnate in the lizard. Before going to battle the movements of a lizard in a bundle of spears was watched. If the lizard ran about the points of the spears and the outside of the bundle, it was a good omen; but if it rather worked its way into the centre for concealment, it was a bad sign.
A piece of matting was also spread over one of the posts of the house, and if a lizard was seen coming down on the matting, the sign was good; but if a bare post was chosen by the creature for its descent from the rafters to the floor, it augured ill. If a lizard crossed the path or ran against any one going to battle, that also was an evil omen.
2. In some places Le Sa was incarnate in an owl, was more of an agricultural god, who sent rain and abundance of food, and was worshipped about the month of April. He was prayed to and propitiated with offerings for the removal of caterpillars from the plantations, as they were thought to be servants under his orders to forage and punish. He was supposed to be fond of the bodies of thieves, and to go at once and devour them if prayed to do so. Bad-tempered parents frightened the children by saying that they would call Le Sa to drink them up. In cases of sickness the patient went and weeded some piece of bush land as an offering to Le Sa; and the consequence was often a wonderful cure to the indolent dyspeptic!
3. Le Sa in one place was a household god, and incarnate in the centipede. If any one was bitten by the reptile, or otherwise ailing, an offering of a fine mat and a fan was presented, and the god entreated in some such words as:
"Lord! if you are angry,
Tell us the reason
And send recovery."
24. SILI VAAI - Far-seeing.
1. This was the name of a village war god, and seen in a bird. Flight of the bird in the direction of the enemy was a good sign, otherwise the omen was bad.
2. This was also the name of a family god, and seen in a star.
25. SA FULU SA - Of the sacred feather.
This was the name of a village war god in Upolu. Incarnate in the kingfisher bird, which, if seen flying before the troops, was a good sign. If observed to come flying towards the people as they were preparing to start, the omen signified defeat.
26. SAMA - Yellow.
The name of the cannibal god of a village in Savaii. He was incarnate as a man, who had human flesh laid before him when he chose to call for it. This man's power extended to several villages, and his descendants are traced to the present day.
27. SALEVAO - Sacred one of the bush.
1. This was a war god in a number of villages, and incarnate in a dog - a white one usually. When he wagged his tail, barked, and dashed ahead in sight of the troops of the enemy, it was a good sign; but to retreat or howl was a bad omen.