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George Turner (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 189 pages of information about Samoa, A Hundred Years Ago And Long Before.

NAMES OF THE ISLANDS.

Illustrating Migrations, etc.

1.  Of the group generally, it is said that a couple lived at Pulotu called Head of Day and Tail of Day.  They had four children—­(1) Ua, or Rain; (2) Fan, Long grass;(3) Langi, Heavens; (and 4) Tala, or Story.  The four went to visit Papatea.  Pulotu is in the west, Papatea in the east.  The Papateans heard of the arrival of the four brothers and determined to kill them.  First, Ua was struck on the neck; and hence the word taua, or beat the neck, as the word for war.  This was the beginning of wars.  Others stood on the neck of Fan, and hence the proverb in war:  “To-morrow we shall tread on the neck of Fan.”  Others surrounded and spat on Langi, and hence the proverb for ill-usage, or rudely passing before chiefs:  “It is spitting on Langi.”  Tala was spared, and escaped uninjured.

Tala and Langi returned to Pulotu and told about their ill-usage.  Then Elo, the king of Pulotu, was enraged, and prepared to go and fight the Papateans.  This was the first war in history.  They went, they fought, they conquered, and made a clean sweep of Papatea; and hence the proverb:  “Like the rage of Elo.”  Also for a village destroyed in battle they say:  “Ua faa Papateaina”—­made to be like Papatea.

All who fled to the bush were sought and killed, only those who fled to sea escaped.  A man called Tutu and his wife Ila reached the island of Tutuila, and named it so by the union of their names.  U and Polu reached Upolu, and hence the name of that island by uniting their names.  Sa and Vaila reached Savaii, united their names also, and, for the sake of euphony, or, as they call euphony “lifting it easily,” made it Savaii instead of Savaila.

Elo and his warriors went back to Pulotu.  Langi and Tala after a time came to Samoa, but went round by way of Papatea,[3] and from them also the people of Manono and Apolima are said to have sprung.

2 MANU’A.—­This name embraces three islands at the east end of the Samoan group.  Manu’a means wounded.  As the story runs, the rocks and the earth married, and had a child, which, when born, was covered with wounds; and hence the name of the said small group of three islands.

The story of Lu figures here again.  He had a son who was named Moa, after his preserve fowls, and this Moa became king of Manu’a.  From that time fowls were no longer called Moa on Manu’a, but Manu lele, or winged creatures, out of respect to the name of the king.

Fitiaumua, or Fiji the foremost, is also mixed up with Manu’a history.  He was said to have come from the east, was a great warrior, conquered at Fiji, and in his lust for conquest came to Samoa.  He subdued all the leeward islands of the group, reached Manu’a, and there he dwelt.  All Samoa took tribute to him, and hence the place was called the Great Manu’a.

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