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An Account of Samoan History up to 1918

The Turtles of Tigilau

page 10

The Turtles of Tigilau.

There was a man named Tigilau who was looked upon as a semi-God of the District of Amoa in Savai'i. He lived in the western part of the village of Puapua. In a pool at this spot he kept two very big turtles and the names of these turtles were Toga and Utuutu. Tigilau was well known in Samoa and Tonga and Fiji. When an Orator of the King of Tonga heard of Tigilau he paid a visit to Puapua and stayed with Tigilau. The Orator's name was Ae. Ae after being well treated for many months asked Tigilau to send him back to Tonga. He did not wish to go by boat and asked Tigilau to return him to Tonga on the backs of the turtles. Tigilau agreed but pointed out that these turtles were highly thought of by the District and the people would be very angry if any harm came to them. Tigilau promised to consult with his District and also get their approval to the proposal. The District agreed and Tigilau then went to the pool and asked the turtles if they were willing to carry Ae back to Tonga. They were and Tigilau asked them to get ready. He further told them that he would watch the passage “Togotogo” through which they would pass from the lagoon to the open sea every day and if he ever noticed that the water in this passage was splashed with red or blood he would know that something had happened to them. Tigilau then said to Ae “sit on the neck of the turtles-they will carry you to Tonga.” He also asked Ae to get off the turtles when they came to the reef at Tonga where the water was too shallow for the turtles to safely swim. Ae was then to send the turtles straight back to Samoa. When the turtles arrived at Nukualofa in Tonga where the water was too shallow to safely swim they recognised the spot as a place called Tafola and they asked Ae to get off. Ae begged them to take him further shorewards and Utuutu said to Tonga “very well take Ae further in where he can stand on the bottom.” This was done and Tonga said to Ae “Jump off I cannot swim any further.” Ae jumped off and caught hold of the front legs of the turtle and called to his people on shore to come quickly as he had caught a big turtle. They came and brought the turtle ashore and ate it. When the other turtle saw what was happening he swam quickly to sea page 11 Tigilau watched the passage all day as he had promised. When Tonga was killed by the Tongans he saw the water change to red and he knew that trouble had happened to his turtles. Utuutu returned to Samoa and was caught by the fishing party from Salega District. This was the turtle caught by Saumaniafaese. (see story in place names of Sagone.)