Illustrating Migrations, etc.

1. Of the group generally, it is said that a couple lived at Pulotu called Head of Day and Tail of Day. They had four children - (1) Ua, or Rain; (2) Fan, Long grass;(3) Langi, Heavens; (and 4) Tala, or Story. The four went to visit Papatea. Pulotu is in the west, Papatea in the east. The Papateans heard of the arrival of the four brothers and determined to kill them. First, Ua was struck on the neck; and hence the word taua, or beat the neck, as the word for war. This was the beginning of wars. Others stood on the neck of Fan, and hence the proverb in war: "To-morrow we shall tread on the neck of Fan." Others surrounded and spat on Langi, and hence the proverb for ill-usage, or rudely passing before chiefs: "It is spitting on Langi." Tala was spared, and escaped uninjured.

Tala and Langi returned to Pulotu and told about their ill-usage. Then Elo, the king of Pulotu, was enraged, and prepared to go and fight the Papateans. This was the first war in history. They went, they fought, they conquered, and made a clean sweep of Papatea; and hence the proverb: "Like the rage of Elo." Also for a village destroyed in battle they say: "Ua faa Papateaina" - made to be like Papatea.

All who fled to the bush were sought and killed, only those who fled to sea escaped. A man called Tutu and his wife Ila reached the island of Tutuila, and named it so by the union of their names. U and Polu reached Upolu, and hence the name of that island by uniting their names. Sa and Vaila reached Savaii, united their names also, and, for the sake of euphony, or, as they call euphony "lifting it easily," made it Savaii instead of Savaila.

Elo and his warriors went back to Pulotu. Langi and Tala after a time came to Samoa, but went round by way of Papatea,[3] and from them also the people of Manono and Apolima are said to have sprung.

2 MANU'A. - This name embraces three islands at the east end of the Samoan group. Manu'a means wounded. As the story runs, the rocks and the earth married, and had a child, which, when born, was covered with wounds; and hence the name of the said small group of three islands.

The story of Lu figures here again. He had a son who was named Moa, after his preserve fowls, and this Moa became king of Manu'a. From that time fowls were no longer called Moa on Manu'a, but Manu lele, or winged creatures, out of respect to the name of the king.

Fitiaumua, or Fiji the foremost, is also mixed up with Manu'a history. He was said to have come from the east, was a great warrior, conquered at Fiji, and in his lust for conquest came to Samoa. He subdued all the leeward islands of the group, reached Manu'a, and there he dwelt. All Samoa took tribute to him, and hence the place was called the Great Manu'a.

(1.) Tau is the name of the principal island of Manu'a. Its principal village is also called Tau. It is said to have had its name from the child of Faleile-langi - House roofed by the heavens, that is to say, no house at all, and alluding to the remote tradition of a time when people had no houses. This lady was the daughter of the god Tangaloa, and had a child who was dumb, and from that child she named the island Tau. U expresses the hollow unintelligible sound emitted by the dumb.

Fitiuta, or Inland Fiji, is the name of a principal village. It was formerly called Anga'e, or Breathing hard, from the hard breathing at its birth of a child of Rocks and Earth. But the name was changed. Moiuuoleapai, a daughter of Tangaloa, married the king of Fiji and went and lived there. She was ill-used and sent to the backwoods of Fiji. Taeotangaloa heard that his sister was being ill-treated, and went off to Fiji to see if it was true. It was true. He stood by her, cheered her solitude, and by a great yam and banana plantation he turned the bush into a fruitful garden. The king of Fiji heard of it, went and made up matters with his cast-off wife, as he much wished the yams, which were scarce at the time, and hence the proverb: "Do you call them friends who are but friendly to the yam?" The king named the fertile spot Fitiuta, and when Taeotangaloa returned to Manu'a he changed the name of the village from Anga'e to Fitiuta.

(2.) Olosenga is the central island in the Manu'a group. This was called the land of the god Fuailangi, Originator of the heavens. He dug up the earth on the land of the chief Niuleamoa on Tau. The latter pushed it off into the sea as a floating island, jumped on to it with the god Fuailangi, together with a lady called Olo, and other two chiefs named Puletainuu and Masuitufanga. Away they went to Tonga, seeking some place suitable for the residence of a war god. They returned to Samoa, touched at Savaii and Upolu, and then went to Tutuila, but as the people there began to make a dunghill of their floating island, they went back to Manu'a, and rested between Tau and Ofu, as Fuailangi thought he could there fight at pleasure with the people on either side of him.

Senga, the chief of Ofu, looked out, was surprised to see the new island, went over to look at it, and soon after married Lady Olo. They united their names, and called it Olosenga. The god Fuailangi in after years was in repute, and dreaded. He was incarnate in the sea eel, had an altar which the people carried about with them, and any persons cooking or eating the sea eel had their eyes burned and their scalps clubbed as a punishment. Another story is that some parrots flew ashore from a Fiji canoe. Olo means fort and Senga a parrot, and hence the island was called Olosenga - the fort or refuge of parrots.

(3.) Ofu is the name of a third island at Manu'a. Ofu means clothed. Faleile-langi, the daughter of Tangaloa, had another child, and this one they clothed, and, in remembrance of the early tailoring, the island was called Ofu.

3. TUTUILA. - The prevailing story of the origin of the name of this island is the one already referred to. Tutu the man and Ila the woman came from the eastward, and dwelt on the island. They had a daughter born to them there and called her Salaia. When weak and dying they begged that after their death their names might be remembered.

After they passed away Salaia, or, as some call her, Sangaia, united the names of her parents, and named the island Tutuila.

4. NUUTELE is a small island off the east end of Upolu. It is said to have been so named from two men who came to seek a steersman for the king of Fiji. Nuu was the name of the one, and Tele the other. The union of their names became the name of the island.

5. UPOLU. - There are a number of diverse stories as to the origin of this name, as is the case with all these ancient legends.

(1.) The most prevailing fragment is the one already alluded to of the two called U and Polu who fled from Papatea. Their united names became the name of the island. They had a son, and they named him king of Upolu. He called his village the Malae, or meeting-place of Upolu, and all the gods of the group assembled there at times. It was here they met to discuss the question as to the duration of human life (see p. 9).

(2.) Upolu was said to be the capital of Pulotu. In a time of war a number of people fled from Pulotu, reached this island of the Samoan group, and called it Upolu, in remembrance of their native land.

(3.) Timuateatea, Wide-spreading rain, the daughter of Tangaloa of the heavens, married a chief on earth called Beginning. They had a son called Polu. The father, in thinking of some employment for his boy, looked over to the mountains of Savaii, and it occurred to him that it would be well to get a canoe and go over and see whether there were people over there or only mountains. He called Polu, and told him to go up to his grandfather in the heavens and fetch some carpenters, that they might build a canoe, cross the channel and explore Savaii. Polu refused, but at length yielded and went up. The carpenters did not care about the job, but Polu was most urgent, and would take no denial. U is the word for urge. His grandfather asked the name of his island. Polu said it had none; and on this Tangaloa said: "Very well, when you go down call it U_polu, in remembrance of your being so urgent on the carpenters."

6. MANONO, a small island, 3 miles in circumference, between Upolu and Savaii, has the following historic fragments: -

(1.) Nono came from Fiji. He was the son of Tuiolautala, king of Fiji. There came with him Sa'uma, the brother of the king, and Tupuivao, the god of Fiji. A family quarrel about a fish led them to come away. Their canoe made the land between Savaii and Upolu. The god Tangaloa came down and stood on the bow of their canoe and told them not to go to Savaii or Upolu, lest they should be trampled upon, but remain where they were. Then Tupuivao vomited a quantity of land he had swallowed at Fiji, and so made Manono and its neighbouring island Apolima. He also appointed Sa'uma to live on the latter, and Nono to take up his abode on Manono, which they so named from Ma and Nono.

(2.) The chief Lautala came from Fiji on a war expedition. He first touched at Manu'a, and then came and conquered Upolu. After that he lived on Manono. He made a net, fished, and hung it up to dry. In the night a number of gods came and tore it to pieces. Lautala then attacked the gods, and drove them off with great slaughter. He could not count the number killed, but supposed them to be Mano, or ten thousand, and hence the name of the island Manono.

(3.) Lautala was the name of an island at Fiji, and noted for war. It broke away from Fiji, and was brought sailing along the ocean to Samoa by the chief Nono, who came to seek a suitable place for carrying on war. He first went to Manu'a, but did not like it. He then went to the space between Tutuila and Upolu, but did not fancy that either. Then he came to the space between Upolu and Savaii, and thought that would do, as he could attack Upolu or Savaii, whichever he pleased. He anchored his island there, where it now is, and named it Manono, after himself. Hence it is said that Manono is not a part of Samoa, but a fragment of Fiji, and that of old there was no land between Upolu and Savaii.

7. APOLIMA is a small island three miles from Manono. Manono and Apolima were two sons of the king of Fiji. One day Manono cooked an oven of yams for his father and brother chiefs, but served it up without a fish. His father was angry, and so off went Manono with a spear and speared a fish and took it to his father. His father was still angry, and hurled a spear at him. He fell, pulled it out of his neck, and got up and ran off to Samoa.

Apolima remained still in Fiji, but after a time came in search of his brother and found him where he now is. Before he left Fiji his father told him to call himself Apo-i-le-lima, or Apolima, which means, Poised in the hand, from the spear which he held when he speared Manono. They have been often attacked, but never conquered, from their impregnable island fortress. It is a great high hollow basin-shaped island, inaccessible all round but at one narrow chip in the west side of the basin, which can be easily defended.

8. SAVAII is the largest island of the group, and the name is accounted for in various ways: -

(1.) The king who propped up the heavens had a wife called Flying Clouds, and two children, the one was called Savaii the Great, and the other Upolu the Great. Savaii dwelt on Savaii, and Upolu on Upolu, and gave their names to their respective islands.

(2.) A couple came from Fiji, the one was named Sa and the other Vaii, or Vaiki, according to some. They landed at the south-west side of the island, and lived there. Vaii, the husband, died, and then Sa put her name first and united the two, as Savaii, the name of the island.

(3.) Two brothers, the one called Vaii, and the other Polu, with their sister, Vavau, came from the east. The young woman, Vavau, divided the land - told Polu to go to Upolu, and Vaii to remain on Savaii. Her name is perpetuated in the word, which as a noun, means "ancient times," and, as an adjective, is used to express ancient, perpetual, and everlasting.


[Footnote 3: There is an island called Maatea in the Paumotu group.]