Samoa, A Hundred Years Ago And Long Before eBook

George Turner (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 230 pages of information about Samoa, A Hundred Years Ago And Long Before.


[Footnote 1:  Gods supposed to come in Tongan canoes and foreign vessels.]

[Footnote 2:  The principal god of the family.]



In our last chapter we alluded to the food of the Samoans, and now proceed to a description of their clothing, the materials of which it is made, their modes of ornament, etc.

During the day a covering of ti leaves (Dracaena terminalis) was all that either sex thought necessary.  “They sewed” ti “leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”  The men had a small one about a foot square, the women had theirs made of longer ti leaves, reaching from the waist down below the knee, and made wide, so as to form a girdle covering all round.  They had no regular covering for any other part of the body.  Occasionally, during rain, they would tie a banana leaf round the head for a cap, or hold one over them as an umbrella.  They made shades for the eyes of a little piece of plaited cocoa-nut leaflet; and sometimes they made sandals of the plaited bark of the Hibiscus tiliaceus, to protect the feet while fishing among the prickly coral about the reef.

Native Cloth.—­At night they slept on a mat, using as a covering a mat or a sheet of native cloth, and inclosed all round by a curtain of the same material to keep out musquitoes.  In sickness, also, they wrapped themselves up in native cloth.  Their native cloth was made of the inner bark of the paper mulberry (Morus papyrifera) beaten out on a board, and joined together with arrow-root, so as to form any width or length of cloth required.

The juice of the raspings of the bark of trees, together with red clay, turmeric, and the soot of burnt candle-nut, furnished them with colouring matter and varnish, with which they daubed their native cloth in the form of squares, stripes, triangles, etc., but, with a few exceptions, perhaps, devoid of taste or regularity.

Tutunga is the native name of the paper mulberry.  A fabulous story is told of it and a stinging tree called Salato.  As the tale goes, they were two brothers, and had each his plot of ground and a distinct boundary.  One morning Tutunga stretched over his boundary and crossed to Salato.  Salato was displeased and complained to Tutunga, but he was sullen and made no reply.  The affair was referred to the parents; who decided that the two should separate, and that Salato should go further inland, and be sacred and respected; and so it is, no one dares to touch it.  On the other hand, Tutunga was severely punished for having proudly crossed his boundary.  He was to be cut, and skinned, and beaten, and painted, and made to cover the bodies of men.  Then to rot, and then to be burned.  And so it is—­thus ends Tutunga the proud.

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Samoa, A Hundred Years Ago And Long Before from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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