The Legend of the Sun

O Tala E Uiga I Le La

Sa iai se fafine e igoa ia Magamagai, sa mamafa (ma’i to) o ia ona o lona tilotilo i le la a’o oso a’e i se tasi aso. Na fanau le fafine ma maua ai le tama ma ua fa’aigoa i a Alo o le La. Mulimuli ane, ona fai ai lea o le to’alua o Alo o le La ma fai atu i lona tina, “Sena e, a fa’apefea ea sa’u meaalofa i lo’u to’alua? O lenei o le a o’o lava i le taimi e aumai ai le meaalofa a lo’u to’alua i a te a’u, a e leai sa’u meaalofa e fa’afesuia’i ai.” Sa fai atu loa lona tina, “Sau ina alu e va’ai lou tamā.” Na alu le tama ma le fuefue tele na ia saunia mai le togavao e fai ma ana sele, ona a’e lea o le tama i luga o le la’au ma sele ai lona tamā. Sa fesili mai lona tamā po o le a le mea e mana’o ai o ia, pe o le malaia po o le manū. Ae faiatu le tama, o manū. Ona sau ai lea ole tama ma lona oso e saisai mai i le ato.

E iai fo’i le tasi tala ia Maui. Sa tiga tele le loto o le tama o Maui ma lona tinā ona o le saosaoa tele o le alu a le La, ua faigata ai ona uma fe’au ae maise le fa’alalaina o ie tōga ma ie sina. Faimai e na ona oso a’e lava o le La, tu tonu, ma toe goto vave. O lea na a’e ai Maui i le tasi taeao po lava ma lana sele ma sele ai loa le La a’o fa’ato’ā oso a’e lava i tafatafa’ilagi i le itu i sasa’e. Na matuā iloga lava le mau o le sele a Maui ma ua fiu le La i autafiti ma sola ese, ae peita’i ua le mafai lava. Na popole le loto o le La ina ua ia fa’alogo atu o le a mole, o lea na ia vala’au ifo ai i a Maui, “Se Maui, ta fia ola, se’i e ta’u mai lava po o le a le mea e te mana’o ai. So’o se mea lava e te mana’o i ai, o le a avatu lava mo oe.” Sa tali atu Maui ma le leo tele “Aua e te so’ona alu televave. Ua le mafai ni fe’au ona o lou alu saoasaoa i sisifo.” Ua tafiti solo si ali’i o le La, o le a mole i le sele a Maui. O lea na ia toe faiatu ai i le tama, “Ua lelei, o le a ou le toe alu televave lava i aso o totoe o lo’u olaga, a ia e alofa e tu’u mai a’u, o le a ou mole.” Ona tu’u ai lea e Maui lana sele ae fa’asola le La, ma ua tausi lava si ali’i i lana upu i a Maui. E ta’ua i tala le nu’u o Papatea e matuā maoa’e i ana taulaga i tagata e lafo i luma o le La. E fa’apea le tala, a ala a’e le La; e vala’au mai o ia i sana mea’ai, ma e fa’apenā fo’i ona vala’au mai pe a o’o ina goto. O lenei masani, na faia pea e tusa o aso e valusefulu ma ua fa’asolo fa’aitiitia ai le aofa’i o tagata o lo’o nonofo i motu. I lena lava vaitaimi, sa iai se tama’ita’i e igoa ia Ui ma lona tuagane o Luama’a. Na la iloa lea tulaga mata’utia ma na i’u ai ina la sosola i Manu’a, ae pagā, la te le’i iloa le faigatā o fa’asalaga fo’i a lea motu i le La. O fa’asalaga a Manu’a, e fa’ata’oto le tagata i luga o le laupaoga, ona sau lea o le La ma fa’a’umatia.

Na o’o i le aso o le a fa’aumatia ai le teine ma lona tuagane, ona oso ai lea o le alofa o le teine i lona tuagane ma fai atu e avatu muamua o ia e fai ai le ava a le La, a e tu’u lona tuagane o Luama’a. Na ta’oto le teine i luga o le laupaoga ma fai atu i le La, “Se, La ua matua’i e fa’asauā tele nauā. Sau ina ‘ai a’u, o le a uma le nu’u nei ona e ‘aiina.

Na va’ai si ali’i o le La i le aulelei o le teine, ona sui ai lea o lona manatu, o le a le ‘aiina le teine, a’o le’a fai ma ana avā. Ua avea Ui ma avā a le La, ona uma ai lea o le sala a le nu’u. A e fa’apea le isi tala, o Ui o le afafine o Tui Manu’a, na tu’u atu i le La e fai ma taulaga. Na talu mai ai, ua magalo ai le sala a le nu’u, auā na fai le teine ma fa’aola o le nu’u.

The Legend of the Sun

There was a woman named Magamagai who was so distressed that she could do nothing but stare all day at the Sun. One day she became very heavy since she became pregnant from staring at the Sun. She bore a son and gave him the name Alo’o le Lᾱ ( Child of the Sun). When Alo’o le Lᾱ had grown into a man and taken a wife, he asked his mother, “What can I give as a gift to my wife? It is almost time for her to give me a gift, and I have nothing in exchange.” His mother then told him, “Come and go see your father, the Sun, and capture him.” The boy agreed, and made a rope or lariat that he had created from the grassland to use as his tie (tether); he then climbed up onto a tall tree to await his father the son. When the sun arrived, he surprised and restrained his father the Sun with this tether. His father in return asked what he wanted – if he sought to be cursed or to be blessed? The boy answered, “Blessed.” The Sun complied, and Alo’o le La then returned to his mother with his bounty overflowing and strapped inside his bag.

Another version of the legend tells the story of Maui. Maui and his mother were very upset with the Sun for rotating too fast, since that made it difficult for them to complete their daily chores, especially laying out their fine mats, which could never dry without sufficient sunlight. They complained that the Sun simply rises, stands still, and then sets too quickly. So Maui made a plan. Early one morning, he scaled a tall tree with his lariat, caught and shackled the Sun just as it was just beginning to ascend above the horizon to the East. It quickly became obvious that Maui had such a tight grip on the Sun that, despite trying to wiggle himself free, he could not get away. The Sun grew weary and remorseful in his heart as he began to suffocate. He called out to Maui, “Maui! I want to live! Can you tell me what you want? Anything you want, I will give to you.” Maui replied loudly, “Do not go and die so quickly! No chores can be done because of your haste to the reach the horizon on the West!” The Sun continued to fidget as he was smothered by Maui’s tight grip. He finally said to Maui his son, “Very well. I will not go so quickly for the remainder of my days, but please set me free right now for I am suffocating.” Maui relented and then released his grip on the Sun and let him escape; since then, the grateful Sun has faithfully kept his word to Maui and rotates according to his promise.

Comment: Bringing the sun under control was of no slight unimportance to the early Samoans. Legend had it that the village of Papatea had astounding accounts of people being sacrificed to the Sun. The story was told that whenever the Sun rose, it called out for a meal meaning a human sacrifice; the same call was made when the Sun set. These terrible customary sacrifices continued for eighty days in Papatea and resulted in diminished populations in the village. During this time there was a young lady named Ui and her brother named Luama’a who, when they learned of this terrifying practice, ran away to Manu’a. Unfortunately, despite their efforts they did not know that the villagers on the island of Manu’a held their own ruthless sacrifices to the Sun. In Manu’a, punishments were carried out by laying a person onto a bed of ferns, and leaving them out for the Sun to finish them off by scorching them to death. The day came when the girl and her brother were chosen to be killed; Ui was so protective of her brother she requested that she be taken first by the Sun to consume, saving her brother Luama’a. When the hour came, and the Sun arrived, Ui lay down on the fern bed and said, “Oh Sun, you are so ruthless! Come and consume me! You have just about consumed this entire island.” Gazing down upon her the Sun realized her extraordinary beauty, and changed his mind. Instead of consuming her, he made her his wife. Once Ui was taken as his bride, the terrible tradition was finally broken.

In another version, legend has it that Ui was the daughter of Tui Manu’a who was sacrificed to the Sun. Once the Sun took Ui as his wife, the fearsome curse was lifted from Manu’a, and Ui was gratefully named as their salvation.

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