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An Account of Samoan History up to 1918

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life.

A Samoan woman named Leutogitupaitea who was the daughter of Muliagalapaitagata and Pouliofata married the King of Tonga. The King had another wife who was a Tongan, and by her he had a child. The Samoan wife failed to conceive. One day the Tongan wife wished to go to the sea for a bath and the Samoan wife promised to look after the infant. She was jealous of this child and whilst the mother bathed she broke off a tooth of her hair comb and drove it into the skull of the baby who died. The mother of the child thought at first that the cause of death was a sickness, but she later on discovered the piece of the comb in the childs head.

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The King on being informed of the happening ordered the people to gather firewood and to burn the woman who had killed his child. He ordered her to be placed in the fork of a Fetau tree and the wood to be piled high round the tree. This was done and the fire lighted. The flames ascended and the woman was about to be consumed when thousands of flying foxes flew over the fire and urinating on it extinguished the flames. The King then decided that the woman's life would be spared and he said “this tree shall be called the Fork of Life, for a woman's life was saved on it.” I give back the woman her life, but she shall be taken to a desert Island and left there.” This was done and Leutogi was taken to the Island of Nuutuufua. Whilst she slept one night a number of pieces of wood and some fruit were dropped on the Island by some mysterious agency and she was enabled to make an over and cook some food. Tuioua paid a visit to this Island and took Leutogi to wife. She bore two sons who were Tonumaipea and Tauiliili.