From J. Stanley Gardiner (1898), "The Natives of Rotuma," Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 27:503-518
I have considered it best to give these legends as near as possible in the same words as they were related to me; by changing the words much of the force, with which they were related, would be lost. At the end of each I have added such notes, as seemed to me to be necessary.
(a) Legend of Rahou (1).--Under Gofu, the king of Samoa, there was once a great chief, called Rahou, who only had one daughter. She married and bore a female child, called Maheva. Gofu about the same time likewise had a daughter, and, as Rahou was Gofu's head chief, the two children were brought up together. They were constant companions, and used to be always on the beach playing, their favourite amusement being fishing for penu (2). One day each caught one, but Maheva's was the finest. On the king's daughter demanding it, she refuses to give it up, and in return is taunted about one of her feet, which is deformed. Maheva begins to cry, and runs to Rahou, who inquires what is the matter. She tells him, and he is wild with anger. 0n the next day two girls come called Hauliparua, and Rahou tells them about the whole affair. In return they order him to make a basket that night, and promise to tell him on the following morning what he is to do. He is told to fill it with sand, and then to embark in his canoe. He does so, calls together all his hoag, and all get on board, carefully carrying the basket of sand. Two arumea (3) appear next in front of the canoe. "You will battle away on the sea as long as the arumea go over your head. As soon as they have gone far enough, they will sing to you, and you will drop the basket overboard." They then travel on for many days, with the birds in front. But at last the arumea sing, and Rahou throws the basket over the side. Rotuma then comes up with the canoe on top of it. Malaha first appeared, and then the rest, all covered with bushes and cocoanut trees.
One day Rahou thinks he will take a walk round the island, and place a taboo on the different cocoanut trees he may find; he does so, using green cocoanut leaves. On the same morning comes a man, Tokaniua, whom Honitemous (4) gets hold of; she tells him to follow Rahou and place a dry cocoanut leaf under each of Rahou's green leaves as a taboo. He follows Rahou accordingly right round the island, and back to Malaha, where Rahou has his, abode. They meet, and Rahou asks Tokaniua where he comes from. He replies that he is on his own land, and appeals to his taboos on the cocoanut trees. They are going to fight, when Honitemous calls Tokaniua, and advises him what to do. Tokaniua then proposes that they shall set each other different tasks, the one failing to do the other's to leave the island. Rahou runs and gets a leaf of the apaea (5), which he dips in the water and then on the sand, telling Tokaniua to count the grains sticking to it. This he does correctly, and tells Rahou in return to count the waves breaking in on the shore. Rahou counts and counts, but at last gets wild with anger, and calls his people together; they go to Ulhifou (6), where Rahou pulls up the tree Filmotu, which he carries with him to Mafiri. Here he drives in the tree, and begins to tear the island to pieces, the earth he throws out forming Hatana and Hoflewa Honitemous, seeing this, runs up, and, kissing his feet, begs him to spare the island. He pulls up the stick, and slings it away, making another small hole, Hifourua, where it alights. (7) Rahou then takes all his people, and retires to Hatana; on his way he turns three of the men into stone--Moiokiura, Papanouroa, and Likliktoa--as they had succumbed to the inducements of the Honitemous.
In Hatana Rahou lives quietly for some time, making two kings there. Once, visiting Rotuma, he makes Souiftuga the king. While Rahou is still living in Hatana, a boar pig comes down to Malaha. The people there kill it, and eat the whole except the head, which they send to Rahou (8), who, in a rage at this mark of disrespect, slings it away, forming Hof Haveanlolo.
Next Souiftuga dies, and word is sent to Rahou, asking him where he is to be buried. He calls the sisters Hauliparua to his aid again, and they summon the arumea, and direct them to show the people the place.
The two birds go up over hill after hill, but still go on over the highest, finally stopping at Seselo (9), since when all the sou have been buried there.
Rahou finally lived to an old age in Hatana, where he put two stones, Famof and Timanuka, into which he turned two chiefs. To Rotuma he gave its constitution and laws, finally dying and being buried in Hatana, where his grave, club, and kava tanoa are still to be seen (10).
(1) This legend is known to nearly every one on the island. I have received it on five different occasions and endeavoured to strike a mean of the different accounts. There are many other legends attached to Rahou; one makes Gofu come over from Samoa and bring him back there, relating his great achievements after his return.
(b) Legend of Tokaniua (1).--One day, "when there were no people in Rotuma," two women--Sientafitukrou and Sienjaralol--went to make mena (turmeric) at the well Tutuila. After they had rubbed up the mena, they mix four cocoanut shells full with water, and burying, them, leave them for the night. On the following day from these four shells is born a female child, called Sientakvou. The women then proceed to fill five more cocoanut shells with mena, and from these on the next morning is born a male child, called Tui Savarara. Sientakvou lived in Hotaharua, while Tui Savarara dwelt in Soukoaki. One day these two went to have a talk with one another, and stopped together, with the result that Sientakvou conceived. When they saw this, they were ashamed, since they were brother and sister, and so agreed to go and live in the bush. 0n their way to the bush Sientakvou told Tui Savarara not to look behind, for that, if he did so, the child would be born on the road. When they reached a spot called Kerekere, Tui Savarara looked round, and the child dropped out. Sientakvou then leaves the child to Tui Savarara, and goes into the bush, where she becomes a wild woman, under the name of Honitemous.
Tui Savarara wants to kill the child, but is afraid of the devil living in Sol Satarua, whom he sees looking at him. Meantime the child, who is called Tokaitoateniua, lay on a big stone, which ever since has had its menstrual periods, blood oozing up just in the same way as with a woman (2). Tui Savarara then lies down on the same stone and takes his kukaluga off. He puts the boy under his legs, and as far as possible makes himself appear like a woman. The devil sees, and thinks that he is a woman; he gets on top, and at once Tui Savarara opens his legs, and shows the child, which he says is the spirit's. The devil refuses to have the child, and Tui Savarara goes alone towards Oinafa, carrying the child and thinking how he may best get rid of it. He decides to throw it away, and hurls it first from Kerekere to Sol Saka, and then from Sol Saka to Iflala When Tui Savarara came up the third time, the boy, who was now called Tokaniua, tried to wrestle with him at a place called Hofpopo, but was again thrown, this time landing at Soukoaki, where Tui Savarara lived; in the fourth cast he is hurled to Niuafoou (3).
In Niuafoou the boy grows into a great fighting chief, but, when he gets old, returns to Rotuma to obtain a fighting man to help him. One day he is casting his net standing on a stone, Hofmea (4), when it opens under him and bears a child, called Pilhofu, who is all stone except his one eye and one of his big toes. Tokaniua then departs to Niuafoou with Pilhofu, whose invulnerability he proves with blows of his spear. He strikes him again and again, but at last, unluckily striking him in the eye, destroys it. Pilhofu then returned in disgust to Rotuma, whither he was shortly followed by Tokaniua (5).
(1) This legend is well known to all. The account given is compounded from an account, given me in English, by Susanna of Oinafa and an account furnished by four old men in conjunction.
(c) Legend of Pilhofu and his son Tokaniua (1).--Pilhofu had one son, whose name was Tokaniua, and whom he left in Niuafoou when he first returned to Rotuma. After a time, Tokaniua, who had become a great warrior, came over to Rotuma to search for his father, from whom he wanted help; he journeyed in a large double canoe, and landed at Soukama, in front of which lies the canoe to the present day with the curse on it that, if any one break it, a big wave will come and sweep over all the land.
Landing, Tokaniua first meets a girl called Leanfuda, whom he asks if she has seen his father. She refers him to Rosso ti Tooi (2), who tells him that he must ask Fetutoumal, a man living at Tarasua. He accordingly goes to Tarasua, and, in reply to his inquiries, is told that his father is in Upsese, a stone in front of Teukoi Point, combing his hair; further he is directed that, if he desires to see his father, he must quietly roll this stone back. But, when near Upsese, Tokaniua has to walk across the sand, and making a noise, is heard by Pilhofu, who at once takes to flight. Tokaniua pursues, but Pilhofu dives through a rock, and Tokaniua in following has great difficulty in stretching himself out sufficiently to squeeze through. But Pilhofu has turned himself into a stone, with the exception of one of his big toes, which Tokaniua seizes, and a conversation results.
PILHOFU. "Who is that?"
They throw, and Tokaniua's spear alone sticks. Tokaniua runs up, and seeing a drop of blood oozing out, throws a handful of sand on the eye, while all the people cry out, "Moriere, moriere" (4). At the same moment a strong whirlwind (5) came, and blew the sand into every one's eyes. It takes them, too, with some Niuafoou people, and throws them on Houa Island, off Oinafa. Here there is a small hole always filled with rainwater, and Pilhofu tells Fissioitu to go and fill his mouth with the water and blow it into his eye. Fissioitu goes to the pool, but finds that the whole surface has been covered with blood by the sister Hauliparua. He sucks this off though first, and filling his mouth with water, cures Pilhofu's eye with it.
Tokaniua then went to Teukoi, where on his death he turned into the atua of that village, who was called Fretuanak (6).
(1) This legend was related to me by Wafta, the chief of Juju, at a meeting of the chiefs. Manava, the chief of Itomotu, indicated shortly the last legend with this, relating them of father, son, and grandson. There is a patch of stones on the reef in front of Soukama, in Juju, which are said to be the remains of Tokaniua's canoe.
(d) The formation of the isthmus, or Soktontonu (1).-ÑOnce there walked through the sea to Rotuma from Tonga a great, mighty, and exceeding tall man, called Serimana; with him, floating on the spathe of the cocoanut flower, came his daughter Sulmata (2), a girl of great beauty and spirit. For a long time they remained in Rotuma, and Sulmata married its great warrior Fouma (3), who built a big fuag ri on Sol Sororoa, and took her to live there, while Serimana dwelt in Savaia.
After a long time, there came a whole fleet of canoes from Tonga looking for Serimana, with whom they took up their abode in Savaia. One evening the Tongans playing on the sand ran after some juli (4), and caught one, at which Serimana was frightened, thinking that they were getting too strong for him; accordingly he sends off for Fouma, who catches several very quickly. Next evening one of the Tongans threw up a canoe over Serimana's house, and caught it the other side as it fell. Fouma does the same, and Serimana is satisfied. On the next evening the Tongans put a big stone fence out from Savaia along by the beach with their left hands, and Fouma is conquered (5). The Tongans then talk of having a big fight with Fouma, and Selimana, who hears of it, urges them to try. Fouma meantime goes and makes an alliance with Onunfanua, another strong man and a left-handed one as well, who dwells in Solelli (6). Onunfanua tells Fouma that, if he will send to him, he will come on the fifth day after the fight has begun, but Fouma says that he will fight alone until the tenth day. Returning, Fouma jumps over the strait, and hastens to Sol Sororoa.
A long time passes, as the Tongans are afraid, but one day, when Fouma is returning from fishing off Halafa, he sees smoke on Sol Sororoa, and his house on fire. He rushes up and finds all waiting for him with clubs and spears. They make a rush at him as he mounts the hill, but he fends them off with his net and gets above them. They take to flight, but Fouma, slinging his net (7) over them, catches fifty, all of whom he smothers in the net. Going into his house, Fouma finds more than half his club burnt, but, in spite of this, rushes down to Maftau and fights the Tongans there for five days.
Meantime Onunfanua has been informed of the battle, and on the fifth day starts. On his way he hears two old men, Sokanava and Mofmoa, saying that it is a good thing to kill Fouma; he quietly puts his club over their heads, and they, noticing a cloud on the sun, look up. Onunfanua asks them about what they are talking, but they try to put him off; he tells them that he has heard all, but forgives them on their agreeing to fill up the strait during the night, so that he may cross on the following day. They do so in the given time, and, on taking leave, tell him that Fouma is nearly done, and that he will be beaten unless he cuts a hifo tree down with one stroke of his left hand. Coming up, Onunfanua fights for some time with the Tongans, but, getting pressed himself, thinks of the counsel he has received. Warding his enemies off with his right hand, with one blow of his left he cuts right through the tree. The splinters kill more than half the Tongans, so that the remainder fly to their canoes, and with all haste set sail.
Fouma, knowing that Serimana really put the Tongans on to him, tells his wife that he will kill her father. She goes down to Serimana and cries aloud, but being afraid of Fouma, will not tell him what is the matter. On the following day Fouma came down, and with one blow of his club cleft Serimana and his house in twain. (8).
(1) This legend was related to me by Albert and Marafu separately. In the chart of Rotuma a well-defined isthmus is seen, dividing the island into a small western portion and a much larger eastern part. The breadth here is not 100 yards, and the whole is simply formed of beach sand. To the west the basalt of the hill of Kugoi shows undermining from wave action at some past time, showing that this isthmus did not always exist. There are, too, in the reefs on the west and south sides of the island here passages and deep holes, which, I think, indicate a former channel. There is a tradition of the isthmus, being built up about one hundred and twenty years ago by Tue, the chief of Itomotu, with large stone blocks and sand. About sixty years ago, too, it is remembered by some that the isthmus was again filled up by the women and children with baskets of sand. Albert informed me also that, when digging for the foundation of the church, a number of large blocks of lava were found. The derivation of the term Soktontonu is doubtless from soko, to join, and tonu, water.
(e) The origin of the "Moa" (1).-ÑTo Noava was walking one day from Pepji to Matusa, when he was met by Karagfono (2), who was a spirit in the likeness of a man, born of a chief and the spirit of his dead koiluga (sweetheart), made of a drop of blood, without bones.
Walking together for some time, they reach Soukama, where To Nonva asks his companion to come into his house and have some kava (3). The women prepare everything, but only put a table in front of To Noava, seeing which Karagfono got up, and went out, returning after a few Minutes with a dry cocoanut, on which he proceeded to sit (4). On perceiving from this that his guest was a chief, To Noava told the women to get a table for him.
After the kava and food are finished, Karagfono invites To Noava in his turn to visit him, and takes him right along through Matusa to Luokoasta (5), where To Noava inquires as to their destination.
KARAGFONO. "I am going to take you to Limari."
Karagfono then dives off with To Noava, and in a short time they reach Limari, where To Noava is much surprised to find dry land, with all sorts of fruits and food. But soon the other spirits smell out that Karagfono has a mortal with him, and inquire why he has brought a living man there. On this Karagfono takes To Noava and hides him on the beams of his house on a fatafata (6), but after a day and a half of this To Noava gets tired, and asks to be taken back to the earth. Karagfono agrees, and says, "I should like to make you a present before you go, as you were very kind to me on the earth. I am giving you a moa fa and a moa honi (7), called Sukivou. When these breed, you can have the young ones, but you must return the old birds to me."
T. "How can I possibly get back to bring them?"
Talking thus, Karagfono dismisses To Noava, who is carried out of the sea by Sukivou and landed at Luokoasta (8), whence he had dived down with Karagfono. Sukivou had ten chickens, from which all the fowls of Rotuma are descended.
(1) The fowl. I am indebted to Marafu and Wafta for this legend.
Most of this is in a language now lost, but the following is as far as possible a literal translation:--
"Karagfono knows not where we go,
Moturere I have derived from otmotu, an island, and rere, above; it may however be the name of a place. Ojao is a word only used as applying to the biggest chiefs.
(f) The turtle of Sol Onau (1).--On the top of Sol Onau is a flat platform of rock about 25 fathoms above the sea, and overhanging it somewhat; near it was formerly a large playhouse. One day two girls came out of the house on to this platform, which has since been called Lepiteala, to ease themselves.
When one was doing so over the cliff, several canoes came suddenly into sight from round the point, a big vouroa (2) fishing. The people in the canoes see, and call out. The girl rises hurriedly in shame, but slips on the rock, and catching hold of the other to save herself, both fall into the sea below.
They are then changed into two turtle, the one white and the other red, and are called Eao. They still live in the deep crevices of the coral under the rock, and can be called up at any time by singing the following song(3):Ñ
"Eao manuse, ka Lepiteala
There first appears usually in one big crevice the sasnini, swimming along, and later come the turtle, usually one at a time. They continue swimming about on the top of the water for a long time, unless any one calls out, "Fieu, (4) vouroa," when they immediately disappear.
(1) Sol Onah, the island off Juju. There is a legend, similar as to details, about two sharks off the island of Makila, in the Solomon group. Captain W. W. Wilson, harbourmaster of Levuka, informs me that there is also a turtle at Batiri, Koro, Fiji, called Tui Nai Kasi Kasi, and that he has twice seen it called up.
(g) The coming of the "Kava" (1).--In Faguta there lived a Tongan, a very strong and brave warrior, called Kaikaiponi. His wife was of a Rotuman chief's family, and had three brothers, Muriak, Afiak, and Koufinua, who lived in Pepji. War was declared against them by Tukmasui (2), the chief of Malaha, but they utterly defeated him, owing to the great valour of Kaikaiponi and his experience in war. As a reward, the brothers desired to make him the sou, and, in fact, to re-create the office for him, because from the time of Souiftuga, appointed by Rahou, there had not been any fresh sou, appointed, this being long before the, Niuafoou people came to the island. To this, however, there was much opposition, so that they compromised the affair by making his wife the sou-honi.
When the souhoni was the ruler, kava first came to Rotuma floating down from Samoa, from a place called Hihifo. As it passed Noatau, it dropped two stones, the Hofrua, just outside the reef Round these rocks any crabs (3), prawns, or fish, that may be caught, are poisonous owing to the kava which has got into them. The root then drifted on past Oinafa to Fatu (4), where it touched the shore and left a tree, the oinipeji, which is of very hard wood, and grows nowhere else on the island. It then, finally, came on shore at the extreme west end of Lopta, from which place it proceeded for a walk along the road to Juju. But the kava, before reaching there, branched off and went round Sol Atja to a piece of land called Niuful (5), where it found a convenient hole, in which it planted itself and for a long time flourished.
But one day some dirt fell from a rat (6) in the roof of Kaikaiponi's house on him, and he, recognising the smell, tells all the people of the great drink, and a great search is started. At last they found the root, half burnt by Waromago, who was cleaning the land in Niuful. A great feast is held, and the root is cut into pieces and distributed all over the island, so that all may taste. Among others, one piece is sent to Fissoiitu, who is living at the back of Sol Satarua; but he does not understand its use, and throws it away. It takes root, and grows well, and from this piece all the kava in the island has sprung.
By the souhoni after this, Kaikaiponi had one child, a son, who one day went to play in the bush, and found two girls, Opopu and Rara, who had come down from Lagi (7), and were amusing themselves on a swing. Although much annoyed at being seen on the earth, they put the boy, at his request, in the swing, but he fell out and broke his wrist. In pain at the accident, he calls out for some one to fill the cocoanut shells with water for him, and the girls, alarmed at his cries, promise to do so. They depart, but as soon as they are out of his sight proceed to ascend to Lagi again. The people, who are hurrying up on account of the cries, see them, but they are too high for them to do them any harm. The people watch them ascending, and see them, after making a hole in the sky, pass through, and at the same time a great shower of rain came down at the spot itself, which is called Vakoi, and not only filled the cocoanut shells, but cured the boy as well.
Shortly after this Kaikaiponi and the souhoni departed in a large double canoe for Tonga, and never returned, while Muriak became the sou, and when he died his brother Afiak (8).
(1) This legend was related to me by Wafta, the chief of Juju, at a council meeting in Malaha; he was assisted by Marafu and the chief of Malaha. I afterwards heard that there are several songs sung by the kava, but unfortunately too late to get them transcribed. In Fiji the kava or, as it is there called, yaqona, is said to have come from Tonga, but I could find no legend about it. On the Ra coast of Viti Levu the following story of its discovery in Tonga was told me :--
(h) Rikolagi, or the house to heaven (1).--When the people were building Rikolagi, a house to reach the sky (2), a man, Souragpol, started from Atmofu with a stone for its foundation from Tooi, his wife, Henlipehea, nearly falling to pieces (3) at the time. He passes Teukoi point, and comes to Fahafa (4), where he meets a man, who asks him what he is carrying the stone for, and laughs at him so much that he throws it down, and there it lies to the present day. This man then proceeds to call out the people of Teukoi, and, with Souragpol and his people, they go to Noatau to fight, refusing any more to build Rikolagi. They are beaten, and take to flight, with Noatau in pursuit. Souragpol reaches Teukoi, but being hard pressed, takes up a stone to hide under, and himself turns into a stone, telling the people to call his child Fuoga.
One day, when Fuoga was nearly a man, the Teukoi people were carrying food to the sou in Noatau, but they left behind them Fuoga, who was asleep. Fuoga however awoke, and being hungry, makes after them, and catches them up between Pepji and Noatau. He has no food for the sou, and so pulls up a tree, off which he tears the branches, putting the stem over his shoulder. He forces the Teukoi people to give him all their food, which he eats; he then compels them to accompany him to Noatau. Here, reaching the sou's house, Fuoga brings on a fight, and kills the sou and all his strong men. He then proceeds to Rikolagi, where he has a great fight with the strong man (5) of the island, who is putting the ridge on the house; at last he wins, killing his enemy with one blow of his club and destroying the house with a second blow. He then takes the name of Fouma, and makes a Soukama man the sou.
(1) This legend was related to me by Friday and Marafu. They say that the Fouma, referred to in it, has no connection with the Fouma mentioned in the legend of the Soktontonu.