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An Account of Samoan History up to 1918


page 13


At the time of Tigilau and his Government of Savavau there was a law made by Tigilau that all male children born must be killed but that all female children should live. The reason of this law was that Tigilau was afraid that a boy might be born who was better looking than him. A boy was born to a couple who lived in this district and this boy was killed by Tigilau. This couple then decided that it would be a good idea to go down to the shore and live on a cape running into the sea. They escaped and went to live at this spot and a seond son was born to them. The continued to live here until the son had grown to manhood and Tigilau did not know of this boy. This boy was exceedingly good looking and his name was Seia. The time came when the news of this boy and his beauty was borne on the wind to Tigilau. Tigilau was very angry and he commenced to scheme to bring about the boy's death. A messenger was sent by Tigilau to the pllace where the boy lived with his parents and the message he carried was that Tigilau desired to see and talk with the boy-when the morning comes, go and call on Tigilau, was the purport of their message. Seia replied that he would do so. The parents of Seia began to cry because they knew that Tigilau would try and kill the boy. When the day dawned Seia left and arriving at the malae he called out “Tigilau, Tigilau” but Tigilau slept on. He again called out “Tigilau, what is this business you have with me. Everybody then awakened including the Aualuam(single ladies.) They lifted up the polas or blinds of their houses and saw that Seia was surely a fine looking man. He was dressed in his tapa cloth and necklace and his body was oiled and glistened in the sunlight. Tigilau said to him - you were brought here to take away the roots or butresses of the Toa tree which are obstructing the front of my house.. Seia said “Very well” and he went to the Toa tree and kioked it on its several sides and the buttresses fell down. Tigilau and his people were surprised at the strength of Seia. Seia then said to Tigilau “Hold the meeting of Savavau, I will return to the seashore because it is very hot.” This caused Tigilau to be increasingly desirous of bringing about Seias death. After two days he again sent his messenger to Seia with a request that he for the second time go to Tigilau on page 14 important business. For the second time Seia departed at daylight and arrived and stood on the malae and called to Tigilau who did not awaken. Seia then called out asking what business Tigilau had with him and Tigilau heard him. Tigilau told Seia that he had bee brought for the second time to in order to pick breadfruit for the fono of Savavau. This particular breadfruit was a cannibal spirit and if the breadfruit was picked up quickly after it had been knocked down (picked up by the cannibal spirit) the spirit would then eat the person who went up the tree to get the breadfruit. Seia olimbed up the tree and stood in the forked trunk. He reached out with his hand and shook the small branches. All the breadfruit fell down and the cannibal spirit slowly picked them up. No breadfruit remained on the tree, Seia then descended from the tree and called out to Tigilau “there are the breadfruit for the fono of Savavau-I will return to the shore as it is hot. Tigilau was very angry to know that Seia had not been killed and he continued to think up schemes by which to encompass the death of Seia. On the third day he again sent his messenger to Seia. The messenger on arrival at Seia's house called out “Tigilau again wants you to go to him in the morning to transact some business.” The messenger was afraid on this occasion to go to Seia. Seia again went inland and stood on the malae and called out but Tigilau did not awaken. He then asked what business Tigilau had with him and Tigilau awakened. He told Seia that he had brought him again to catch the Tanifa (a large species of shark) for the fono of Savavau. Seia returned to the shore and went into the sea where there was a large stone jutting out of the water. He sat on this stone and the beached was lined with people who came to watch Seia and to see in what manner he was able to catch the Tanifa. As the sun rose it threw a reflection of Seia on the water and Seia then saw the Tanifa. It was a fearsome sight on account of its size. Seia raised his arm and it cast a picture on the water. The Tanifa made a dash for this shadow and then jumped out of the water. Seia jammed his arm down its throat and pulled it on to the rook and dashed it on to the hard stone until it was dead. Seia then jumped into a canoe and towed the page 15 tanifa ashore. The people marvelled at the strength of Seia and Tigilau was very annoyed to learn that he had again escaped his trap. After due consideration he again sent his messenger to Seia with instructions to advise Seia that Tigilau wished to see him early in the morning. As soon as day broke Seia departed from his home and on arrival at the malae of Tigilau called out that he was there and asked what he wanted of him. Tigilau said that he had sent for Seia because he wanted some kava from the bush for the fono of Savavaux. Tigilau knew that there was no kava in the bush but he knew that a cannibal lived there and he hoped that Seia would be killed and eaten. Seia departed in quest of the kava and after travelling a long way through the bush he espied a light. As he approached this light he saw a fine house which was the fale of the cahnibal and his wife named Sina. At the time Seia reached the fale the cannibal was absent and only Sina was in evidence. She saw Seia coming and jumped up and asked him where he had come from and why he had come. Seia replied that he had come in search of kava for the fono of Savavau. Sina told him that there was no kava to be found in the bush and that he should return lest her husband find him there. The name of the cannibal was Uluiva. Seia replied that he would wait until Uluiva returned. Uluiva returned andas he neared his house he noticed the smell of a stranger. He called out to Sina that there was a strange smell in his house and Sina replied that he was mistaken and that there was no one but herself there. Seia then stood at the door of the house and called out to Uluiva “You cannot see whether there are any visitors in the house or not.” Uluiva replied that he thought there were visitors and he then entered his house. He laughed when he saw Seia and asked who he was. Seia replied that he was a visitor who wished to fight Uluiva. Uluiva said that Seia was the first stranger who had ever come to his house and he would oblige him by fighting. He told Seia to chose a sword from a number in the house and he, Uluiva, would fight with his rusty sword. Seia asked to have a look at the sword that Uluiva intended fighting with and Uluiva handed it to him. Seia then said “I page 16 will fight withis sword and you can please yourself what weapon you use. The fight commenced and after a time Uluiva found himself weakening and he said to Seia “I desire to live and will give you the secret of my strength if you will spare me.” Seia said “what is this secret” and Uluiva replied “it is a wheel which enables me to fly from place to place.” Seia then killed the cannibal and planted his body as a “faatiapula” (a tiapula is a taro top used for replanting.) He then said to Sina “Come we will go to the shore. Sina was a very beautiful woman the two of them rode on the wheel of Uluiva to the seashore. The people of the village saw Seia and Sina coming on the magio wheel and called out in wonderment “Oh Seia.' Oh Seia! Seia answered them “Yes I am Seia the beautiful boy, with the tree roots that I pulled up and the breadfruit that I shook down and the tanifa I killed and the cannibal I killed and planted asa taro top together with Ubuiva's wife and his magic wheel. The magic wheel continued on its way and again was seen by the people who called out “oh Seia, Oh Seia!” Seia called out “Yes I am Seia.” He continued on his way until he arrived at the place where the fono of Seia was being held. As soon as the people saw Seia he called out to them to hold the fono of Savavau and he would return to the shore as it was hot. The hearts of the parents of Seia were very pleased when they saw him but Tigilau was very sore because his scheme had again failed to work. He decided that there was only one more trick that he could try and if it failed he would lose everything including his life. He accordingly sent his messenger to Seia bidding him come to the malae at daybreak, and they would go looking for lovers- they would go to the woman who was living in the west and who was talked about at that time. If this women accepted one of them the other would be burned in anoven. The messenger went as instructed and delivered the message of Tigilau to Seia. Seia sent a message back that he agreed but that Tigilau should be the first to try his luck and he would go himself later on in a boat. The messenger returned and explained Seia's message to Tigilau. As soon as day broke Tigilau with ten boats set out. Seia told his wife that he would have a sleep but as soon page 17 as she saw the boats of Tigilau she must awaken him. Whilst Seia slept Sina commenced to plait his girdle and mix his scented oil and make his necklet. The boats of Tigilau came into sight and Sina awakened Seia. Seia took his magic wheeh and fastened it to his boat and with Sina denarted to find Tigilau. Seia went first with his boat and waited before the village of the lady they were to make love to. When the boats of Tigilau arrived he said to Seia “You will go first to the lady when evening falls” but Seia said “No, you will go first and if the lady accepts you the oven will be made for me.” Tigilau departed when night fell and tried to find the lady but her home was in the heavens and her rest house was below the earth. The party of Tigilau wandered into the rest house of the lady but there was nobody there and Tigilau and his party rushed hither and thither looking for the lady and for the place where she slept. He was not aware that she slept in the heavens. The cocks began to crow as dawn approached and Tigilau returned to the shore without discovering the lady. When he met Seia he told him that he had not been successful and that it was Seia's turn the following night. Seia replied “very well but I wish to say that it is the custom of this village to place a guard round the lady every second night, and last night when you tried to find her there was no guard.” As evening fell the village lighted torches and stood on guard from the mountain ridge to the reef. Seia lifted up his torn tapa cloth and tied it round his waist and tied up his scented hair in a taro leaf lest the smell of it make his presence known. He placed his fine tapa cloth and girdle and necklet inside his fishing basket and hung the basket round his neck. He then turned somersaults until he stood on the reef when he cast his fishing net. Those who were standing guard asked who the man was who fished on forbidden ground. Seia replied that he was fishing because the chiefs had a fancy for fish. The questioners were thus satisfied and wished Seia luck because he was trying to catch fish for their chiefs. Seia continued this trick until he reached the shore when he donned his fine tapa cloth and necklet and girdle. He then continued to somersault until he stood before the house of the lady desired. The girls guarding the page 18 lady slept in two lines leading from the house and on seeing them, Seia hid. He took off one of the seeds of the pandanus from which his necklet was made and threw it in the direction of the place where the lady slept. She awoke with a start and went to the place where Seia was hidden and asked who it was who had thrown the fala. Seia replied that he was Tigilau and he did this because he wished to know if the lady wanted Tigilau. The lady replied “if you dont speak the truth and tell me who you are I will call out.” The lady then caught hold of the hand of Seia and lead him away because she wished Seia to be her husband. Seia then said “come with me, we will go to my boat which is on the shore, but you must first of all untie the taro leaf from my head. She did so and smelt the scent of the oil on his head. The girls who were supposed to guard the lady awakened and sniffed at the scent in the air and the men on guard right down to the reef also noticed it. Seia then said to his lady” hold tight to me and he turned Bomersaults until he reached his boat where Sina waited. He then told them that he was tired and would have a sleep but as soon as day dawned they should jump in the sea and have a bath. It was done as ordered and when day broke the people on the boats of Tigilau saw that there were two girls in the boat of Seia. They awakened Tigilau and he saw that Seia had with him the lady desired. Tigilau then jumped into the sea with his spear and killed himself. Seia ewakened and went off in his boat. His parents saw him as he approsched and were delighted to learn that their dear son had once again returned in safety and had successfully overcome all the schemes of Tigilau.

As related by Alavao, Native Department.
24th March, 1932.