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.

The Tongan on his arrival gave him the large mock nut, minus the real nut and kernel, and the Samoan handed him the basket with the pretended white fowl.

The Tongan jumped into his canoe again, and went off in high glee singing: 

    “Niu niu, pulu! 
    Niu niu, pulu!”

    “Cocoa-nut, cocoa-nut,
    Only a husk!”

But the wind was taken out of his sail by the laughter and antics of his friend on the beach shouting after him: 

    “Moa, moa, lulu!”
    “Fowl, fowl, only an owl!”

They had sundry other amusements.  Swimming in the surf on a board, and steering little canoes while borne along on the crest of a wave towards the shore, were favourite juvenile sports.  Canoe-racing, races with one party in a canoe and another along the beach, races with both parties on land, climbing cocoa-nut trees to see who can go up quickest, reviews and sham-fighting, cock-fighting, tossing up oranges and keeping three, four, or more of them on the move:  these and many other things were of old and are still numbered among Samoan sports.  The teeth and jaws, too, are called into exercise.  One man would engage to unhusk with his teeth and eat five large native chesnuts (Tuscapus edulis) before another could run a certain distance and return.  If he failed, he paid his basket of cocoa-nuts, or whatever might be previously agreed upon.

Our juvenile friends will be sure to recognise some of their favourite amusements in this description, and will, perhaps, feel inclined to try the novelty of some of these Samoan variations.  What a surprising unity of thought and feeling is discoverable among the various races of mankind from a comparison of such customs as these!



Mortality, longevity, diseases, and the treatment of the sick, will now form the subject of a few observations; and here we begin with—­

Infants.—­Before the introduction of Christianity probably not less than two-thirds of the Samoan race died in infancy and childhood.  This mortality arose principally from carelessness and mismanagement in nursing; evils which still prevail to a great extent.  Even now, perhaps, one-half of them die before they reach their second year.  The poor little things are often carried about with their bare heads exposed to the scorching rays of a vertical sun.  Exposure to the night-damps also, and above all stuffing them with improper food, are evils which often make us wonder that the mortality among them is not greater than it is.  The Samoans were always fond of their children, and would have done anything for them when ill; but, with the exception of external applications for skin diseases, they had no proper remedies for the numerous disorders of children.  Were their care in preventing disease equal to their anxiety to observe a cure when the child is really ill, there would probably be less sickness among them, and fewer deaths.

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