« ForrigeFortsæt »
armed, lest they might excite in Finow a suspicion that they meant to take hostile measures, About mid-day, or a little after, the large canoe, in which were the prisoners, lashed hand and foot, pushed out to sea, under the command of Lolo Hea Malohi, an adopted son of Finow. They had on board three old small canoes, in a very leaky, rotten state,
in which the prisoners were destined to be put, and thus to be left gradually to sink, leaving the victims to reflect on their approaching dissolution, without having it in their power to help themselves.
The distance they had to go was about two leagues : the weather being calm, the canoe. was obliged to be paddled most of the way. In the mean while, some conversation passed between the prisoners, particularly between Nowfaho and Booboonoo. Nowfaho observed to Booboonoo, that it would have been much better if they had never made a peace with Finow, and, to a certain degree, he upbraided Booboonoo with not having followed his advice in this particular : to this the latter replied, that he did not at all regret the late peace with Finow, for, being his relation, he felt himself attached to his interests, and as to his own life, he thought it of no value, since
the king did not think his services worth having. Nowfaho stated, that he had a presentiment of his fate that very morning; for, as he was going along the road from Feletoa to Macave, he met a native woman of L'apai, and, as he passed, he felt a strong inclination, he knew not from what cause, to kill her; and this bias of his mind was so powerful, that he could not help turning back and effecting his purpose; at the same time he felt a secret presentiment that he was going to die, and this murder that he had committed appeared now to be a piece of vengeance on the Hapai people, weak, indeed, in itself, yet better than no revenge at all. Now faho, among other things, lamented that his friend Booboonoo had not repaired to the Fiji islands when peace was first made, and, by that means, have preserved his life: as to his own safety, he said it was not a matter of much consequence; he only lamented that he was not about to die in an honourable way. Booboonoo expressed sentiments to the same purpose. Cacahoo now and then joineil in the conversation, remarking, that he only lamented his death inasmuch as no opportunity had been afforded him of revenging hinuself upon his enemies, by sacrificing a few of them.
They were eighteen prisoners on board, of
whom the greater part, before they arrived at the place where they were to be sunk, begged that the manner of their death might be changed to the more expeditious one of having their brains knocked out with a club, or their heads cleaved with an axe: this was granted them, and the work of execution was immediately begun. Having dispatched three in this way, it was proposed, for the sake of convenience, that the remainder, who begged to be thus favoured, should be taken to a neighbouring small island to be executed; which being agreed on, they disputed by the way who should kill such a one, and who another. Such was the conversation, not of warriors, for knocking out brains was no new thing to them, but of others not so well versed in the art of destruction, who were heartily glad of this opportunity of exercising their skill without danger; for, coward-like, they did not dare to attempt it in the field of battle. The victims being brought on shore, nine were dispatched at nearly the same time, which, with the three killed in the canoe, made twelve, who desired this form of death. The remaining six being chiefs, and staunch warriors of superior bravery, scorned to beg any favour of their enemies, and were accordingly taken out to sea, lashed i.
two rotten canoes which they had on board, three in each, and left to reflect on their fate, whilst their destroyers remained at a little distance to see them sink. Booboonoo, whilst in this situation, said, that he only died unhappy on account of his infant son, who would be left friendless and unprotected; but, calling to a young chief in the larger canoe, of the name of Talo, begged, for the sake of their gods, that he would befriend his child, and never see him want either clothes or food suitable to the son of a chief; upon which Talo made a solemn promise to take the most attentive care of him, and Booboonoo seemed quite satisfied. Nowfaho lamented the sad disasters of that day, saying how many great and brave men were dying an ignominious death, who, some time before, were able to make the whole army of Finow trenble: he lamented, moreover, that he had ever retreated from his enemies, and wished that, on such an occasion, he had faced about, however inferior in strength, and sold his life at a high price, instead of living a little longer, to rlie thus a shameful death: he earnestly requested them to remember him in the most affectionate manner to his wife. Cacahoo swore heartily at Finow, and all the chiefs of Hapai, cursing
them in the most bitter manner*, and their fathers for begetting them, and heaping maledictions
all their generation ; he went on in this manner, cursing and swearing at his enemies, till the water came up to his mouth, and, even then, he actually threw back his head for the opportunity of uttering another curse, spluttering the water forth from his lips, till it bereft him for ever of the power of speech. They were about twenty minutes sinking, after which the large canoe returned immediately to Vavaoo.
Booboonoo and Nowfaho were both men that bore a most amiable character; in time of war they were brave and enterprising; in time of peace, gentle and humane. The conduct of Nowfaho, in killing the poor Hapai woman,
* The curses used among the Tonga people are very numerous; but, for the most part, they are rather horrible commands than curses, and are, generally, in regard to maltreating one's relations, or eating one's superior relations ; for it is considered a crime to eat food which a superior relation has touched ; how much more, therefore, to eat that relation himself! For a sample ;-“ Bake your grandfather till his skin turns to cracknel, and gnaw his skull for your share!"-"Go, and ravish your own sister!"-"Dig up your father by moonlight, and make soup of his bones,” &c. &c. Many of their sayings, in this way, are too indelicate to mention.