Some Folk-Songs and Myths From Samoa
‘O le tala i le fa'a-ifo o le aso o Malietoa-fe'ai.
‘How the human sacrifices offered to Malietoa-the-fierce were stopped.'
Introduction—1. The story of Tangaloa-a-Ui shows that human sacrifices were offered to the gods; this story tells us that great chiefs also feasted every day on the flesh of men. What the gods do, chiefs may do also. Here, the ‘aso’ was stopped through the contrivance of two brothers.page 129
Mr. Powell's Summary.—2. Tupu-ai-vao was another person to whom human sacrifices were offered, but Fua-lau of Fale-alili informs me that ‘Malie-toa-the-fierce’ and he were two different persons. Malie-toa lived ‘far far back,’ but Tupu only about ten generations ago; he daily feasted on human flesh, like the king of Fiji. The story runs thus:—
3. Malietoa-fe'ai was very oppressive; he had his man-eating day; men were brought to him as food. The people of the west had all been eaten up. A man of Sale-sa-tele, whose name was Tui, guessed that he would soon come to Fale-alili. Then he and his brother, Vaea, made a plan to put an end to his having a man-eating day.
4. There was inland a pig that came there through the marriage of their sister to Atu-u'u of Siumu. They baked the head of the pig; then they hung it up at a place where the king passed along. He looked at it, and then desired it. A council of the people was held on one of the days when the offering to the king should be made; then Tui and Vaea proposed that they should be the first to provide the feast. The king said to them two, ‘Of what use is your offering; let a tray be set right below my seat, and let it be placed before me.’ Then these two said to the people, ‘Let the pig be prepared, and let the two lumps of lard and the liver be rubbed down together.’ The chief kept on asking for the offering, but Tui said, ‘Do you first eat the made-dish that is prepared.’ The chief wrongly thought that it was part of the offering, but it was only the lard and liver of the pig. The king was pleased and said, ‘Friend, this is the first day that I have eaten good food; but go and skin your offering of to-day.’ Then they two went and Tui deliberated; the green cocoa-nut leaf was nearest to the body, but the dry cocoa-nut leaf was on the outside. He brought it and placed it before the king. He tore away the dry cocoa-nut leaf. The king looked down upon it, and the eyes of Tui shone. Then he said, ‘Let this be the end of the man-eating days; let the east and the west now live, since you have found so good a substitute for human flesh.’ Ever since there has been no man-eating day.
Notes to no. XVII.
Par. 2. Tupu-ai-vao is the ‘king from the bush.’ Malie-toa is the ‘agreeable cock’ or warrior.
3. Man-eating day or offering; ‘aso'; q.v., as above, p. 127. Fale-alili a district in the island of Upólu.
4. Pig; the usual present to the bride's family at a marriage.
Skin; the aborigines of Northern Queensland also skin a human body at their cannibal feasts.
King; ‘tupu,’ a high chief; tray; ‘laoai.’
Made-dish; ‘ofu,’ native food, tied up in a leaf, ready to be cooked.
The ‘tupu’ thought it was part of the ‘aso,’ and enjoyed it much.page 130
Tui deliberated. There is a hiatus after these words; the ‘tala’-maker should have told us that Tui got his brother to place him alive in the tray or basket, and to cover him up with cocoa-nut leaves so as to make the whole look like the usual ‘aso’; and the brother carried this offering into the presence of the king and set it down before his seat. Then the story goes on to say that the king removed the wrappings and found Tui there, and Tui's eyes beaming upon him. This touched Malietoa with compassion as towards a friend, and he thereupon abolished human offerings.