An Account of Samoan History up to 1918
The Story of Pili and Sina. — (as related to the history of Fagaloa.)
The Story of Pili and Sina.
(as related to the history of Fagaloa.)
Loa of Fagaloa was the husband of Sinaletigae who belonged to Afagaloa, a town now extinct between Taga and Salailua in Savai'i. They made their home at Afagaloa and their four children were born here. The names of the children were Sinasamoa (a girl) and Pili, Fuialaeo and Maomao (boys). Pili assumed the form of a lizard and as he grew he expanded until he filled the house, necessitating the erection of another house for his parents and his brothers and sister. Loa and his wife became so afraid at the size of their son Pili that the fled, takign with them their other three children. They went to Fagaloa the homeland of Loa. Sinasamoa, the daughter, took away with her the water bottle in which she always carried water to her brother Pili. It was her duty to supply Pili with water and the two brothers supplied him with food. They all still loved Pili and whenever they sat down to eat they first of all threw a small portion of food and poured out some water from the water bottle of Pili in remembrance of him. Pili felt the loss of his parents and brothers and sister and knowing that Fagaloa was the home of his father he assumed the form of a human being again and started out to find the District of Fagaloa, the land of plenty. In due course he arrived and found his sister sitting alone in a fale. She did not know him. On entering thr fale Pili asked as to the whereabouts of his family and was told that they were out working on their plantation. He begged her to go and tell them that a visitor had arrived but Sina refused to go. Pili then asked for a drink of water from the bottle she had with her. She again refused stating that the bottle was reserved for her brother Pili. Pili said “very well, this place will henceforth be known as Vaitu'u” and the malae is called by this name which means “water reserved or kept here.” The place was henceforth looked upon as the ruling town of Fagaloa and still is. Pili asked Sina to state why they had run away from Pili. Sina replied stating that Pili had grown so bign that they were afraid of him and Loa had ordered them page 6 to run away and go to his home. It was expected that Pili would follow them when he had reassumed a human form. Pili then said “I am Pili and I have come to you.” The remainder of the family who were in the bush returned and happiness reigned. Sina became a very beautiful girl and the word of her heardlovliness went abroad and was much talked about. The King of Fiji of Sina and he paid a visit to Samoa to see her. Loa advised his daughter to become the wife of the King of Fiji but she would not do so without the consent of her brother Pili. Pili gave his consent because he believed that if children were born as the result of the marriage much power would come to Fagaloa. The ceremony attended with a great display of the products of the land took place and was applauded by the Fijians who acknowledged that their King was fortunate in having found such a beautiful wife. Preparations for the return journey to Fiji were made and Pili hearing of them asked Sina to take him with her because if trouble occurred on the voyage he would be of assistance. Sina did not wish to tell her husband of this arrangement and to hide the presence of Pili she made a small basket into which Pili who had again assumed the form of a lizard was hidden. The canoes were much longer at sea than was usually the case in making a journey to Fiji from Samoa and all the food was consumed. The Fijiians blamed their troubles to Sina who they accused of being possessed of a Devil. When Sina heard the talk of the Fijiians she told Pili who advised her not to bother but to tell the King of Fiji to call in at a small Island which lay on the starboard side of the canoe. Here they would fin plenty of food in the form of taro, yams, bananas, pigs, fowls etc. This was done and the King was very surprised. Having replenished their food supplies the canoes proceeded on their way but day after day passed without Fiji appearing. Food again ran short and the people again became anxious. Pili who was the cause of all this trouble tapped with his tail on the basket in which he was hidden page 7 in order to call Sina's attention. He told Sina to ask the King to call at an island which would be found on the port side of the canoes. They found the island and were again surprised to find a large quantity of food. The Fijiians became more than ever suspicious that Sina possessed a Devil for how otherwise would she know that these Islands were in the locality and that there was an abundance of food on them. When Sina heard all this she became afraid and when the King decided to search her to find where the Devil was hidden she dropped the basket containing Pili into the sea and this gave rise to the saying “Pili a'au or swimming Pili.”
Back in Samoa Loa had a dream which showed that his son Pili had been harshly treated, so he ordered his two sons who had remained with him to launch their canoe and proceed to Fiji to search for Pili. The two brothers started off and after a time came across Pili swimming in the sea. Pili asked them to take him to the Island named Pu'agagana and land him and they could then proceed on their way back to Samoa. Tagaloalagi who was the brother of Loa predicted what would happen to Pili when he left with Sina. Some time later Tagaloalagi ordered two of his sons to proceed to Fiji to make observations of the Group. The sons did as they were ordered and on their way called in at the Island of Pu'agagana. As had been predicted by Tagaloalagi they found Pili sitting on a Pua tree. When Pili heard that they were going to Fiji he asked to be taken to the home of the King. The elder brother answered saying that there was not sufficient room in the canoe for another person in addition to which their father had forbidden them to take a third person. Pili said that he did not require a seat as he could be put in the bilge of the canoe and by squeezing he could become very small. He was accordingly taken by the brothers and landed at one end of the town of Tuifiti. Pili immediately went into the forest and planted various foods. The two brothers assisted him. Beside his Samoan wife the King of Fiji had a wife from amongst his own people and this wife was much loved by her people. When famine threatened the country the people brought page 8 food for the King and passed it through his Fijian wife hoping that by so doing he would love only her and hate his Samoan wife who was not able to present him with food. This so worried Sina that it created in her a continual flow of tears. Pili on hearing of Sina's plight crawled down to the town where the King lived and this action gave rise to the expression “Pili totolo” which means crawling Pili. He asked Sina to go inland with him and he would show her ways and means of retaining her husband's love. He implored her not to worry as she had brothers who would assist her. Pili told her that all her troubles were due to her weakness in throwing him into the sea. Pili's words pierced her heart and caused the tears to flow faster than ever and when he husband noticed her plight he asked the cause. She said that her tears were only for her kind brother Pili in Samoa. She then went with Pili and saw the immense plantation made by Pili and the two brothers for her, the whole plantation being full of food fit for the King. Pili told Sina that he would create a spring of hot water and also one of cold water so that she could cook and clean her food. A yam would also grow down to her doorstep so that she could reach out and break off pieces to cook. He also advised her that she should always visit him by herself when she wanted anything and she must never tell her husband of his whereabouts. Sina enriched beyond belief and filled with joy returned to the village where she found the springs both hot and cold. These springs still exist in Fiji. Sina also found the ever-creeping yam and this yam was the origin of the saying used by Orators “O le Tuli matagau nei le ufi a Sina” which means “searching after the broken end of Sina's yam.” The King continued to love Sina and he discarded his Fijian wife. Pili and his two friends returned to Samoa after his sister had given birth to two children; a daughter named Sinavaituu and a son named Latu-Tuifiti.