Under the head of amusements, dancing, wrestling, boxing, fencing, and a variety of games and sports, call for description, and to these we shall briefly advert.

Dancing was a common entertainment on festive occasions, such as a marriage. Some of their dances were in the daytime, and, like dress-balls of other countries, were accompanied with a display of fancy mats and other Samoan finery. At the night assemblies the men dressed in their short leaf aprons. Sometimes only the men danced, at other times women, and occasionally the parties were mixed. They danced in parties of two, three, and upwards, on either side. If the one party moved in one direction, the other party took the opposite. They had also various gesticulations, which they practised with some regularity. If, for example, the one party moved along with the right arm raised, the other did precisely the same. It was posturing rather than saltation.

Singing, clapping the hands, beating time on the floor-mats, and drumming, were the usual musical accompaniments. Their music, on these occasions, was a monotonous chant of a line or two, repeated over and over again, with no variety beyond two or three notes. They sought variety rather in time. They began slow, and gradually increased until, at the end of ten or twenty minutes, they were full of excitement, the perspiration streaming down, and their tongues galloping over the rhyme at breathless speed. For a drum, they had two or three contrivances. One, a log of wood six or eight feet long, hollowed out from a narrow elongated opening on the upper surface; and this they beat with a short stick or mallet. Another was a set of bamboos, four feet long and downwards, arranged like a Pan's pipe, having the open ends inclosed in a mat bag, and this bag they beat with a stick. A third kind of drumming was effected by four or five men, each with a bamboo open at the top and closed at the bottom, with which, holding vertically, they beat the ground, or a stone or any hard substance, and as the bamboos are of various lengths, they emitted a variety of sounds. At these night-dances all kinds of obscenity in looks, language, and gesture prevailed; and often they danced and revelled till daylight.

Court buffoons furnished some amusement at dancing and other festivals, and also at public meetings. If a chief of importance went to any of these assemblies he had in his train one or two humourists, who, by oddity in dress, gait, or gesture, or by lascivious jokes, tried to excite laughter.

Boxing and fencing were common on festive days, and often led to serious quarrels. In fencing, they used the stalk of the cocoa-nut leaf as a substitute for a club. Women, as well as men, entered the ring, and strove for the fame of a pugilist.

Wrestling was another amusement. Sometimes they chose sides, say four against four; and the party who had the most thrown had to furnish their opponents with a cooked pig, served up with taro, or supply any other kind of food that might be staked at the outset of the game. A supply of some kind of food was the usual forfeit in all their games.

Clasp and undo was another kind of wrestling. One man clasped a second tightly round the waist, and this second does the same to a third. The three thus fastened together lay down and challenged any single man to separate them. If he succeeded, they paid the forfeit; if not, he did.

Throwing the spear was also common. The young men of one street or village matched against those of another; and, after fixing a mark in the distance, threw a small wooden javelin so that it might first strike the ground, and then spring upwards and onwards in the direction of the mark. They who threw farthest won the game, and had a repast of food at the expense of those who lost it. In more direct spear-throwing they set up the stem of a young cocoa-nut tree, with the base upwards, which is soft and spongy. One party threw at it, and filled it with spears. The other party threw, and tried to knock them down. If any remained after all had thrown they were counted until they reached the number fixed for the game. In another of these amusements a man stood in the distance and allowed another to throw spears at him. He had no shield, but merely a club; and with this he showed surprising dexterity in hitting off spear after spear as it approached him.

Fishing matches were in vogue at particular seasons. The party who took the most fish won, and were treated with cooked pigs and other viands by those who lost.

Pigeon-catching was another amusement, and one, like our English falconry of other days, in which the chiefs especially delighted. The principal season set in about June. Great preparations were made for it; all the pigs of a settlement were sometimes slaughtered and baked for the occasion; and, laden with all kinds of food, the whole population of the place went off to certain pigeon-grounds in the bush. There they put up huts, and remained sometimes for months at the sport.

The ground being cleared, the chiefs stationed themselves at distances all round a large circular space, each concealed under a low shed or covering of brushwood, having by his side a net attached to a long bamboo, and in his hand a stick with a tame pigeon on a crook at the end of it. This pigeon was trained to fly round and round, as directed by its owner, with a string at its foot thirty feet long, attached to the end of his stick. Every man flew his pigeon, and then the whole circle looked like a place where pigeons were flocking round food or water. The scene soon attracted some wild pigeon; and, as it approached the spot, whoever was next to it raised his net and tried to entangle it. He who got the greatest number of pigeons was the hero of the day, and honoured by his friends with various kinds of food, with which he treated his less successful competitors. Some of the pigeons were baked, others were distributed about and tamed for further use. Taming and exercising them for the sporting season was a common pastime.

Spinning the cocoa-nut was another amusement. A party sat down in a circle, and one in the centre spinned a cocoa-nut. When it rested they saw to whom the three black marks or eyes on the end of the shell pointed, and imposed upon him some little service to the whole, such as unhusking chestnuts, or going for a load of cocoa-nuts. This is especially worthy of remark, as it was the Samoan method ofcasting lots. If a number of people were unwilling to go a message or do a piece of work, they decided the matter by wheeling round the cocoa-nut to see to whom it turned its face, as they called it, when it rested. Sometimes they appealed to this lot, and fixed the charge of stealing on a person towards whom the face of the cocoa-nut pointed.

They had also a game of hide-and-seek, with the addition that those who hid tried to escape those who sought, and ran to a given post or mark. All who reached the post were counted towards making up the game.

Pitching small cocoa-nut shells to the end of a mat was a favourite amusement of the chiefs. They tried to knock each other's shells off the given spot. They played in parties of two and two, with five shells each. They who had most shells left on the place after all had thrown won.

They had also guessing sports. One party hid, the other bundled up one of their number in a large basket covered over with a mat or cloth. Then they too hid, all but three, who carried the basket to the other party for them to guess who was in it. If they guessed correctly, then they in turn got the basket to do the same. The successful guesses were counted for the game.

They were in the habit of amusing themselves with riddles, of which the following are a specimen: -

     "1. A man who continues standing out of doors with a burden on his 
     back. - Explanation. A banana tree, with a bunch of bananas.

     "2. There are twenty brothers, each with a hat on his 
     head. - Explan. A man's fingers and toes; the nails of which are 
     represented as hats.

     "3. A man who stands between two ravenous fish. - Explan. The 
     tongue, as being placed between the teeth of the upper and lower 

     "4. There are four brothers, who are always bearing about their 
     father. - Explan. The Samoan pillow, formed by four legs and a 
     bamboo; the legs being the four brothers, the bamboo the father.

     "5. There is a man who calls out continually day and 
     night. - Explan. The surf on the reef, which never rests.

     "6. There is a man who, when he leaves the bush, is very little; 
     but when he has reached the sea-shore, becomes very 
     great. - Explan. The bark of the paper-mulberry, which, when first 
     taken off the wood, is very narrow; but, when beaten out to make 
     the native cloth, becomes very broad.

     "7. A man who has a white head stands above the fence, and reaches 
     to the heavens. - Explan. The smoke rising from the oven.

     "8. The person who sleeps on a bed of whales' teeth. - Explan. A 
     fowl sitting on her eggs.

     "9. Many brothers, but only one intestine. - Explan. A string of 
     beads. The beads being the brothers, and the string the intestine.

     "10. A long house with one post. - Explan. The nose; the septum 
     being the post."

They had also games at rhyming. One party would choose the names of trees and another the names of men. Those who sided with the trees would say: "There is the Fau tree, tell us a name which will rhyme with it." The reply would perhaps be Tulifau.

Again, there is the Toa, and the other party would reply Tuisamoa. And so on they went till one party had exhausted all the names they could think of, owned the defeat, and paid the forfeit.

In a similar game one party would name a bird or beast, and the other a fish with a corresponding rhyme. For example, for the birds:

    Lupe, they would give the name of the fish, Une. 
    Ngongo, Do. do. do. Alongo. 
    Tiotala, Do. do. do. Ngatala.

Here, too, there was a forfeit if beaten. They had tripping and stammering games also. One party would say to the other - you repeat

     "O lo matou niu afaafa lava le la i tuafale, 
     Sasa, ma fili, ma faataa, ma lafo i fongavai."

If any one tripped when repeating it he had to pay a forfeit.

Another might be in rhyme and run as follows:

    "Na au sau mai Safata, 
    Ou afe i le ngatai ala, 
    E fafanga i si au tiaa, 
    Fafanga, fafanga, pa le manava. 
    Fafanga, fafanga, pa le manava."

Another as his puzzle to repeat correctly would give:

    "Na au sau mai Mali'oli'o, 
    Lou ala i umu, 
    Lou ala i paito, 
    Lou ala i puto pute, 
    Lou ala i pute puto."

If any one slipped in repeating he paid the forfeit.

In some of their evening sports theatricals were in vogue. Illustrations would be given of selfish schemes to take things easy at the expense of others, clownish processions to create laughter, or marriage ceremonies in which, when it came to the point, the bride rebelled and would not have her husband. Ventriloquism also was attempted, in which, as they say, "voices spoke to them without bodies."

They amused each other also by stories of hoodwinking and trickery, such as the following: - A Samoan and a Tongan made friends with each other. When the latter went away on a visit to Tonga the former begged him to bring back one of their large cocoa-nuts, which are prized as water-bottles. He promised to do it on condition that the Samoan would look out for him a fine white fowl.

The Samoan got ready the fowl, and made a basket in which to put it. The Tongan returned with a large unhusked nut, but on the voyage he split up the husk, took out the nut, and closed all up again. The Samoan had the gift of second sight, knew what the Tongan had done, and so he let loose the white fowl, and put an owl in its place in the basket.

The Tongan on his arrival gave him the large mock nut, minus the real nut and kernel, and the Samoan handed him the basket with the pretended white fowl.

The Tongan jumped into his canoe again, and went off in high glee singing:

    "Niu niu, pulu! 
    Niu niu, pulu!"

    "Cocoa-nut, cocoa-nut, 
    Only a husk!"

But the wind was taken out of his sail by the laughter and antics of his friend on the beach shouting after him:

    "Moa, moa, lulu!" 
    "Fowl, fowl, only an owl!"

They had sundry other amusements. Swimming in the surf on a board, and steering little canoes while borne along on the crest of a wave towards the shore, were favourite juvenile sports. Canoe-racing, races with one party in a canoe and another along the beach, races with both parties on land, climbing cocoa-nut trees to see who can go up quickest, reviews and sham-fighting, cock-fighting, tossing up oranges and keeping three, four, or more of them on the move: these and many other things were of old and are still numbered among Samoan sports. The teeth and jaws, too, are called into exercise. One man would engage to unhusk with his teeth and eat five large native chesnuts ( Tuscapus edulis) before another could run a certain distance and return. If he failed, he paid his basket of cocoa-nuts, or whatever might be previously agreed upon.

Our juvenile friends will be sure to recognise some of their favourite amusements in this description, and will, perhaps, feel inclined to try the novelty of some of these Samoan variations. What a surprising unity of thought and feeling is discoverable among the various races of mankind from a comparison of such customs as these!