Called Palolo mua, or the first of Palolo. This is the first month of the half year, called the Palolo season in contradistinction to the other half, which is called the Trade-wind season. Palolo (Palolo virides) is that singular worm which swarms out from certain parts of the barrier reefs for three days in the course of a year, of which the natives are very fond, and all the more so from its rareness. If the last quarter of the moon is late in October palolo is found the day before, the day of, and the day after, that quarter. If the last quarter of the moon is early in October palolo does not come till the last quarter of the November moon. The middle day, or the day of the quarter, is the principal day for gathering these swarms of marine worms.
This month was called Palolo muli, or after Palolo. Pa means to burst, and lolo, fatty or oily, and hence probably the origin of the name in the fatty or oily appearance of the worms as they break, burst, and are mixed up in the heaps directly after they are taken. They are only found for about half an hour before sunrise, after sunrise they disappear.
1. Mulifa was the name given to this month which means end of the stem of the talo, or “arum esculentum.” The month being unusually dry and parching, the scorching rays of the sun left little of the talo stem but a small piece at the end.
2. The end of the season for catching the fish called Fa, is another derivation of Mulifa given by some.
This month was called Lotuaga, or rain prayers. It was so called from the special prayers which were then offered to the gods for rain.
Taumafamua was the name of this month, the first of plenty, that means, fish and other food became plentiful, and then followed what were called the palolo and fly-hook feasts. Public dinners in the houses of the leading men of the village were the order of the day.
This month was named Toetaumafa, or the finish of the feasting. Food now was less plentiful, and after some of the December gales or cyclones there was a great scarcity.
THE ORIGIN OF FIRE, AND OTHER STORIES.