Billeder på siden

Finow first became sovereign of Hapai and Vavaoo, news was brought him of a large dead whale being drifted on a reef, off a small island, inhabited only by one man and his wife; who had the cultivation of a small plantation there. Finow immediately sailed for this place, and finding the teeth taken from the whale, questioned the man about them, who thereupon went to his house, and taking down a basket from the roof presented it to him, but in it were only two teeth. The man protested that he put them all there, and knew nothing more about them; and taxing his wife with having concealed them, she acknowledged that she had secreted one, and brought it to him, from a place in which no others were found ; but this she assured him was all she had taken. The man defended his innocence on the plea that the teeth would be of no use to him ; for being poor, he could not sell them for any thing else, since every chief who could afford to give their value would question his right to them, and take them from him: and, for the same reason, he could not wear them. Finów was not satisfied with this plea, and being unable to make them confess by fair means, he threatened them both with death: the man still protesting his innocence, Finow ordered him to

be immediately dispatched with a club ; which being done, he again threatened the woman, and she as strongly protested her innocence: but when the club which had just ended the life of her husband was raised over her own head, she acknowledged that she had concealed another tooth, and accordingly brought it from a different place; and being unable or unwilling to produce any more, she shared the same fate. Finow's conduct here seems very cruel ; but however, we are to place a great deal to the account of the state of society in which he lived ; and at the same time, we must consider that robbery is punished with death in other countries, as well as in Tonga. But what is most worthy of reflection is the strong hold which that ridiculous passion avarice takes of the human mind, which sometimes disposes a man to suffer death rather than part with what he cannot or will not ever make use of. Both the man and woman, in all probability, were guilty ; the woman certainly was; and yet she could bear to see her husband sacrificed before her face rather than confess all she knew of the matter, and entreat mercy for him at least, if not for herself. The remainder of these teeth were discovered a long time afterwards, by the particular intervention (as the natives will have

dug up,

it) of the gods. A few years had elapsed, when there being occasion to build and consecrate a house to some god, on the island of Lefooga, it was taken into consideration what valuable article should be deposited beneath its foundation, according to the custom on such occasions. They were about to get ready a large bale of gnatoo for this purpose, when the inspired priest of the god declared it to be the wish of the divinity to have some whale's teeth; and that there were several buried together on the small island just spoken of, in such a particular spot: which place being referred to and

the teeth were found in a perfect state. This discovery was most firmly and most piously believed to have been made by the sacred interposition of the god himself, who inspired his favoured priest with the requisite knowledge to make it.

In the Fiji islands, whales' teeth are held, if possible, in still greater estimation, for it would be dangerous there for a man, unless he be a great chief, and even then, if he were a foreigner, to be known to have a whale's tooth about him; the personal possession of such a valuable property would endanger his life: the axe, or the club, on some unlucky occasion, would deprive him of it for ever, and of his life too.

The whale of which we have been speaking as just found was, for the most part, in a very corrupted state ; there were, however, some places where it was not quite so bad ; and as whale's flesh was rather a novelty, (and as novelty is often a provocative of appetite) the lower orders managed to make a meal of it.

Another month now elapsed without any important circumstance occurring, when there arrived from the Fiji islands four canoes, bringing a Tonga mataboole, named Cow Mooala, and his retinue, who had been absent from Tonga about fourteen years: but a narrative of this person's adventures at foreign islands will best form a chapter of itself.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


Cow Mooala's narrative-His early residence at the Fiji

islands- Is drifted to Fotoona on his return to TongaParticular customs of Fotoona-Arrives at Lotooma on his return to Fiji-Character of the people- Popular, tale of two giants-Arrives at Navihi Levoo, one of the Fiji islands Character of the people--Their cannibalism -Observations-Sails for the island of Pau, the most important of the Fiji islands: its traffic-Account of an European vessel wrecked there—Anecdote of a gigantic lizard, (probably a crocodile) which did much mischief at a neighbouring isle : stratagem used to destroy it-Farther account of Pau.-Description of several customs of the Fiji islands—Description of the island of Chichia, and its strong fortress: some account of its war with Pau-Description of a cannibal feast—Feast given by Finow on Cow Mooala's return to Tonga.

[ocr errors]

Cow Mooala went out to the Fiji islands with a number of young men, - for the sake of an excursion, and to mingle in the wars of those people; sometimes at one island, sometimes at another, from the same motives probably as actuated Tooi Hala Fatai : (see p. 74). After having been absent about two years, he set sail on his return home, and having arrived within sight of Vavaoo, the wind became unfavour

« ForrigeFortsæt »