The Origin of The People (O Le Tupuga o Tagata)

O le Tupuga o Tagata

E tofu nu’u ese’ese uma o le lalolagi ma a latou tala e uiga i le tupuga o le ele’ele ma mea o iai. I le vavau, na talitonu lava tagata uma i a latou tala tu’ufa’asolo. Peita’i, i nei onapō o le malamalama, ua tatou iloa e le moni na tala. E ui ina o lea, ua tatou fiafia e fa’alogo i tala anamua fa’apena ona ua mālie.
E le tutusa fo’i tala. E ese le tala a Manu’a, ese fo’i lava tala e maua i Savai’i. E le gata i lea ae ese le tala i Sisifo, ese Sasa’e o le motu lava e tasi. A tonu e le āfāina auā o ni tala fatu nā tala uma. Tatou te le toe amanaia pe tonu ia tala pe leai, ae tau ina malie i le fa’alogologo. O i’inei se tala fa’apenā e uiga i le tupuga o tagata pei ona laulauina mai e se tasi toea’ina Tuamāsaga: o Afimaisasa’e na usu ia Mutalali. Ua fanau le la tama o Papa’ele. Na usu Papa’ele ia Papasosolo, maua le tama o Papanofo. Na usu Papanofo ia Papatū, ua maua ai le tama o Tupufiti. Na usu Tupufiti ia Mutia, na maua ai Mau’utoga. Na usu Mau’utoga ia Sefa, maua ai Vaofali. Na usu Vaofali ia Ta’ata’a, fanau ai Mautofu. Na usu Mautofu ia Tavai, maua ai Masame. Na usu Masame ia Mamala, maua ai Mamalava. Na mua’i usu Mamalava a ua leai sa la tama. Ona toe usu ai lea o Mamalava ia Tapuna, ona fanau lea o le tama o Vaovaololoa. Ona silasila ifo lea o Tagaloaalagi, o le a u’umi na’uā la’au. Ona auina ifo lea o lana auauna e igoa ia Lefue. Na alu ifo Lefue ua sosolo i luga o la’au, ona toe malo’u ai lea o latou tumutumu. Ona toe auina ai lea o le tasi auauna a Tagaloa e igoa ia Tuli e asiasi ifo. Ina ua uma lana asiasiga, ona toe a’e ai lea o Tuli ma ta’u atu ia Tagaloa mea na ia va’ai i ai. Na fa’apenei ia, “‘E lelei le nu’u ae tasi lona pona, a nei e leai ni la’au o totoe, ua malo Lefue i mea uma oi lalō.” Ina ua fa’afofoga Tagaloa i le fa’aleagaina o la’au e Lefue, ona poloa’i ai lea ia Tuli ma fa’apea atu, “Ave lenei la’au, ma sasaina ai Lefue.” Ma ua fa’apea lava ona fai. Na paū Lefue i le ele’ele, ua faupu’e i lalo o la’au. Ona toe a’e lea o Tuli ma ta’u atu i le ali’i, ua uma ona sasaina Lefue. Na tali mai Tagaloa, “Ua lelei, a e alu ia i lalo i na toe asiasi.” Na toe alu ifo Tuli ma va’ai ua pala Lefue, ua tutupu ai ilo e tele lava. Na ofo lava Tuli. O lea, sa ia vave ona toe a’e e fa’aali atu ia Tagaloa mea na ia iloa. Na fa’apenei ia, “Ali’i e, ua pala Lefue, a ua tutupu ai meaola e tele na’uā. Ua gaoioi ma minominoi na mea, e pei o ni ilo. E ofo lava a’u.”

A e leai se ofo o Tagaloa, ona ua uma ona silafia e ia mea na tutupu i lalo. O le mea lea, ua ia toe poloa’i Tuli ia la o ifo ma le sauali’i o Gai’o, a e faitalia Gai’o ma ilo na e ia Lefue. Na o ifo loa laua i le mea o lo’o iai ilo.

Ona tago ai lea o Gai’o i ni ilo ma si’i a’e ma ua fa’apea ia, “O le a ou fai ai ni tagata, ma o le a taufaiofo lava tupulaga i lo’u poto ona o le aulelei o ni tagata. Se aso fo’i o le a aina le lalolagi uma e latou.”

Ona fa’asaga loa ai lea o Gai’o ‘i lana galuega. Ua muamua ona faia le ulu, ona fa’apea ai lea, “O le ulu lenei.” A ua fai atu Tuli, “Se’i e ta’ua fo’i ma lo’u igoa?” Ua talia loa lona mana’o; o lea la, e ta’ua le tasi itu o le ulu o le “tuliulu”. Ina ua faia le manava. Ua fai mai Gai’o, “O le manava lenei.” A ua le malie ai Tuli. O lea na ia toe fai atu, “Se’i ta’ua ai fo’i ma lo’u igoa?” O le mea lea ua fa’aigoaina ai le tasi itū o le manava o le “tulimanava”. Te’i ane, ua faia e le sauali’i o Gai’o o lima ma vae. A e tusa ma le mana’o o Tuli, ua fa’aaogaina lona lava igoa e fa’aigoa ai gaugalima ma gaugavae. E fa’apena ona tatou maua mai o upu: tulilima ma tulivae.

Peita’i, sa mamao lea manatu ma le mafaufau o Sina. Ma o le mea lea na latou toe nonofo ai na’o latou ma fa’atali pe toe fo’i atu aumoega ia na latou te’ena muamua. Sa siliga ona toe fo’i ane se aumoega ia Sina, ona fa’apea lea o Vi ma Vō, “Ua siliga ona toe sau se aumoega ia Sina, ae leai fo’i se fa’ailoga e iloa atu ai o mana’o Sina i se tane.” Sa fai loa le tonu a Vi ma Vo, e sili ona la o e ave Sina i tagata na aumoe mai, atonu e sui ai le mafaufau o Sina. Ma sa fa’apea lava ona la faia.
Na o’o i le isi aso, ona fai atu lea o Vi ma Vō ia Sina, “Sina, sau ia tatou o tatou te auau i le sami.” Sa latou o ifo loa ma a latou fuipopo ua lafo i le sami, ona latou fe’ausi ai lea. Sa alu le latou fe’ausiga ma taunu’u i le nu’u o le Tui Toga. E latou te taunu’u atu, o le la e fai le fono a le nu’u e fa’ataga ai mea sa fa’asāina mo Sina ona o le aumoega a le Tui Toga.
Sa faiatu loa Vi ma Vō ia Sina, “Alu ia e asi le Tui Toga, a’o le a ma fa’atali atu i le matāfaga.” Sa alu loa Sina i uta ae fa’atali atu Vi ma Vō i le matāfaga. E alu atu Sina o nofo le Tui Toga i le malae o lo’o fai ai le fono. Sa faiatu loa Sina i le Tui Toga, “O le a lenā fono?” Ina ua moe Sina, ona ia aluga lea i le manava o Tigilau. Na malama a’e le taeao o le aso na soso’o ai, ona lagona lea e Sina, ua tatau ona ia nofo i le fale o Tigilau ona o uiga alofa o lo’o fa’aali atu e Tigilau iā te ia. Ma sa nofo ai loa Sina i le fale o Tigilau, a ua o Vi ma Vō ua nonofo i le isi fale o le nu’u.

Na o’o i le isi aso, ona alu lea o Tigilau e fa’alele lana lupe, ae nofo Sina i le fale. Ona alu ane lea o le isi avā fa’ataulāitu a Tigilau ua talanoa ma Sina. Sa ia fa’aosooso Sina ma fai atu iai, “O Tigilau e moe lava i le sami i ana alogā-atu. A e talu lava ona e sau, ua le alu le ali’i e fai sona faiva.” Sa talitonu lava Sina i tala a le fafine fa’ataulāitu, ae na te le iloa o lo’o taumafai le fafine i se auala e moe ese ai Tigilau, ona

The Origin of The People (O Le Tupuga o Tagata)

This is the legend of the origin of the Samoan people as told by the old man named Tuamasaga:

One day, before the Samoan people began to live on the earth below the Heavens, the supreme God Tagaloailagi (Tagaloa) ruled in the heavens with his two servants Lefue and Tuli. Sadly, Lefue proved to be faithless, while Tuli proved to be both honorable and obedient. As custom has it, each deserved the fate they achieved, according to the merits of their service to their superiors.

In the beginning, Tagaloa first saw that the trees below on earth were growing extremely tall. He then summoned his servant named Lefue to investigate. Lefue spread himself over the tall trees thus breaking them down from their peaks to their roots. Observing the devastation of the trees, Tagaloa became concerned. He next summoned his other servant Tuli to pay a visit. Upon completing this visit, Tuli climbed back up to the Heavens and gave Tagaloa a full account of his observations.

He reported, “All is well with the land, with one exception. There are no trees left; Lefue has conquered everything below!” Upon hearing of Lefue’s crazed destruction of the trees, Tagaloa commanded Tuli to punish Lefue, saying “Take this stalk and beat Lefue with it”.

The servant Tuli carried out the sentence as he was ordered. Beaten by Tuli, Lefue fell to the soil, and he was scattered below the trees.

Once again, Tuli climbed up and reported to the god Tagaloa that Lefue had been beaten. Tagaloa, who was always skeptical, replied, “Very well, but do go down and check once more”.

Once again Tuli went down to observe, and he witnessed that the remains of Lefue had begun to rot and, even worse, were infested with countless wiggling maggots! This astonished Tuli. He quickly made his way back up to report his findings to Tagaloa. He revealed, “My Lord, Lefue is rotting and is plagued with scores of creatures. They are moving and creeping like maggots. I am shocked!”

Tagaloa was not the least surprised, since being a god, he was already aware of what was happening below. For these reasons, he ordered Tuli to accompany the demon god Gai’o and leave to him the troublesome issue of the maggots which arose from Lefue.

As commanded, Tuli went with the lesser god than the Tagaloa, namely Gai’o and led him to the place where Lefue’s maggots swarmed.

Gai’o then took handfuls of Lefue’s maggots and lifted them up proclaiming, “With these creatures, I will create people, and generations will be amazed at my wisdom, due to the beauty of these people I will create from them. One day, also, they will fill the earth.”

Gai’o then began to undertake his work. He first created the head and declared, “This is the head.” Tuli then asked, “Would you mention my name as well?” Gai’o accepted Tuli’s request and therefore one part of the head is called “tuliulu.” Gai’o next created the stomach declaring, “This is the stomach.” Tuli was not satisfied and again asked, “Could you incorporate my name as well?” Gai’o complied, and thus one portion of the stomach is called the “tulimanava,” again after Tuli. Suddenly inspired, Gai’o began to fashion more body parts for the people, including the arms and legs. Later on the sauali’i (demon) Gai’o made hands and feet. Due to Tuli’s request, his name was used for the gaugalima (joint of hands) and gaugavae (joint of feet). From that we have the words: tulilima (elbow) and tulivae (knees).

In due time, Gai’o completed his task of creating the people while naming their body parts so that they could, over the coming generations, populate the earth and create the  magnificent civilization of Samoa.              

Note: From the original text, we have deleted the first paragraph and the author’s lengthy ancestral recitation which was included in the original publication, provided by our translator. The importance of bloodlines, and transmission of knowledge of descent and ancestry were essential to maintain cultural continuity where such history was, at first, not written down, but passed on throughout the generations only by the master storytellers. This first paragraph in the original pays homage this tradition. Here is the deleted passage and genealogy:

“Each village in the whole world has their own version of the origin of the earth and everything in it. In the olden days, everyone believed their local versions of the different stories. Manu’a has their version and Savai’i has another. Not only that, but there are different versions from the west and from the east of the same island. But, nowadays, though we believe we have become enlightened and, although we know they are not necessarily true, we still love them for the unchanging truths they still tell about our “modern” selves.”

“Afimaisasa’e married Mutalali. They had a son name Papa’ele. Papa’ele married Papasosolo and had a son named Papanofo. Papanofo married Papatu and had a son name Tupufiti. Tupufiti married Mutia, and had Mau’utoga. Mau’utoga married Sefa and had Vaofali. Vaofali married Ta’ata’a and had Mautofu. Mautofu married Tavai and had Masame. Masame married Mamala and had Mamalava. Mamalava first married but had no children. Mamalava then married Tapuna, and had a son name Vaovaololoa.”

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