The party in search of a keel went to the very place, liked the look of Toa, and decided to cut it down. They cut, and Toa was felled to the ground, but Pale, who was close by, immediately raised him up again. The carpenters were confounded—cut again—but it was just the same. They persevered, and the cutting, falling, and rising again, went on till night fell, when they gave it up. After they left Toa said to Pale, “What a Toa (trouble) I have been to you!” and hence the proverb to this day, when a person or thing has been a trouble to another, he says to the sufferer in a sympathising or apologetic tone: “What a Toa it has been to you!"
9. The following are a few more of these proverbs, but stated more briefly.
(1) “One and yet a thousand,” is a common description of a clever man, and equivalent to our own expression: “He is a host in himself.”
(2) “Only the appearance of plait.” Spoken of a thin worn-out person reduced to a mere shadow. Not a real plaited mat, but only the appearance of one.
(3) “Many footprints.” Spoken of a large settlement which makes many at a festival, or night-dance, or public meeting of any kind.
(4) “A single cocoa-nut.” Referring to a single nut hanging from a tree. This is said of a man who has no brothers, and who is therefore called the single nut of the family.
(5) “Great and yet small.” Applied to a populous place which has no courage. Or a large family, but without one who has any pluck.
(6) “The emptiness of a large basket.” A good deal of food seems but little if put in a large basket. Also the population of a large village, if the houses are widely apart, seems small until they really come together.
(7) “The break of a cocoa-nut leaf net.” This leaf net is an arrangement for enclosing fish by a long string of cocoa-nut leaves, which, if the leaves break, can be easily tied again. This is spoken of a chief who dies but leaves a number of sons to take his place.
(8) “Afterwards touched.” If a family is numerically strong, no one dares to injure them. If, however, a number die, then those who survive are more liable to insult or injury from the neighbourhood. In the event of such ill-usage they throw it back on their injurers: “You dared not touch us before.”
(9) “Helping with the burden.” As one may run in and stretch out his hand to ease the shoulder of a weak person struggling under a load, so a person who prompts a public speaker in a difficulty is said to help with the burden.
(10) “Covering the dead bird.” If a pigeon sees its mate fall dead it will drop down and cover the body with its wings even if it should be killed also. To this the Samoans compare a brother who will rush in among troops after his wounded brother even if he should be killed himself.