Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

face, and would have made one vast continent, when unfortunately the line broke, and the islands of Tonga remained to show the imperfection of Tongaloa's earth-fishing

The rock in which the hook was fixed was already above the surface, and used to be shown to the curious in one of the islands. The hook was in the possession of the Tuitonga family till about a hundred years ago, when it was accidentally burnt with the house in which it was kept. Tongaloa soon made his islands something like Bolotoo, but of course very inferior, the trees, flowers, and plants being subject to decay and death. Being willing that Tonga should also be inhabited by intelligent beings, he commanded his two sons thus (I give, as near as possible, a literal translation of the actual words of the Tongan tradition, as told Mr. Mariner seventy-four years ago):

"“Go and take with you your wives, and dwell in the world at Tonga. Divide the land into two portions, and dwell separately from each other.”

• They departed accordingly. The name of the eldest was Toobo, and the name of the youngest was Vaca-acowooli, who was an exceeding wise young man, for it was he who first formed axes, and invented beads, and cloth, and looking glasses. The young man named Toobo acted very differently, being very indolent, sauntering about, and sleeping, and envying very much the works of his brother. Tired at length with begging his goods, he bethought himself to kill him, but concealed his wicked intention. He accordingly met his brother, walking, and beat him till he was dead. At that time their father came from

Bolootoo, with exceeding great anger, and asked

him:

6

canoes.

“Why have

you

killed your brother ? Could you not work like him ? O thou wicked one! Begone ! go with my commands to the family of Vaca-acowooli, and tell then to come hither.”

Being accordingly come, Tongaloa straightway ordered them thus :

“Put your canoes to sea, and sail to the east, to the great land which is there, and take up your abode there. Be your skins white, like your minds, for your minds are pure ; you shall be wise, making axes, and all riches whatsoever, and shall have large

I will go myself, and command the wind to blow from your land to Tonga, but they (the Tonga people) shall not be able to go to you with their bad canoes.'

· Tongaloa then spoke thus to the others :

6" You shall be black because your minds are bad, and shall be destitute ; you shall not be wise in useful things, neither shall you go to the great land of your brothers. How can you go with your bad canoes ? But your brothers shall come to Tonga, and trade with you as they please.”

Mr. Mariner tells us he took particular pains to make inquiries respecting the foregoing tradition, and found that although the chiefs and matabooles were acquainted with it, the bulk of the people were entirely ignorant of it. This led him at first to suspect that the chiefs had obtained the leading facts from the missionaries that had stayed a short time previously in the group; but the oldest men affirmed strongly that it was an ancient traditionary record, and founded on truth. It agrees with many of the Fijian and Samoan legends, in which, as I have pointed out, there is a strong Mosaic element, and I am inclined to think that the story is correctly described as veritable Tongan tradition of great antiquity. It certainly seems strange that they should believe an account which serves to make them a degraded race, the cursed descendants of the murderer of his brother.

The chastity of the married women was considered of the highest importance: divorce, however, was a common practice, and a woman thus divorced would marry again. As in Fiji, prostitution was simply unknown, the men being generally very true to their wives.

Children were occasionally strangled as sacrifices to the god, but with the greatest reluctance, as the Tongans have been for centuries most devoted parents. The chief widow of the Tuitonga was, however, strangled on the day of her husband's burial, that she might be interred with him. The funeral of a Tuitonga was performed with marked ceremonial, the peculiarities of which may be described here,

The day after his death, which was the day of the burial, every individual in every island the news had reached-man, woman, and child—had the head closely shaved ; this is a peculiarity, and so is the custom of depositing some of his most valuable property along with the body in the grave, such as beads, whales' teeth, Samoa mats, etc. The time of mourning for a Tuitonga was four months. The tabu

for touching his body or anything he had on when he died, extended to at least ten months. Every man would neglect to shave his beard for at least one month, and during that time merely oiled his body and not his head.

In the afternoon of the day of burial, the body being already in the fytoca (or burial-place), the men, women, and children, all bearing torches, used to sit down at about eighty yards from the grave. The assemblage being complete and quiet, one of the female mourners would come out of the fytoca, and call out to the people, ' Arise ye, and approach;' whereupon the people would get up, and advancing about forty yards, would again sit down.

Two men from behind the grave would now begin to blow conch-shells, and six others, with large lighted torches about six feet high and six inches thick, would descend from the raised fytoca and walk round one after the other several times, waving their flaming torches in the air.

After this ceremony these six leaders would ascend the mount again, and the moment they did so the people issued en masse, and following the six men with the big torches, ascended the mount in single file. As they passed the back of the grave the first six men would deposit their extinguished torches on the ground, an example which was followed by the others. The place was then cleared; the people separated according to their localities, and repaired to their temporary homes.

Soon after dark certain persons stationed at the grave began again to sound the conch, while others chanted, partly in an unknown language and partly in Samoan, a sort of song. The natives could give no account of what this language was, nor how they originally came to learn the words. While this was going on, about sixty men would assemble near the grave for the performance of a ceremony which I suppose has no parallel in the burial rites of the world. It being perfectly dark, the men would approach the mount and pay their devotions to the goddess Cloacina, after which they retired to their homes. At daybreak next morning all the women of the first rank, the wives and daughters of the greatest chiefs, would assemble, and with expressions of the most profound humility would make the place perfectly clean; and this extraordinary ceremony was repeated for fourteen nights, as was that of the burning torches. With these singular exceptions, the funeral of a Tuitonga was identical with that of a Tongan king.

« ForrigeFortsæt »