Malietoafaiga Renounces Cannibalism

FA’APEFEA ONA TE’ENA E MĀLIETOAFAIGĀ LE ‘AITAGATA
‘0 Poluleuligana, ‘o le alo o Ulufanuatele, 1e alo o le Tui Toga, ma’o se tuagane o Alainuanua le faletua o Mālietoafiagā. ‘E pei ona sā’tā’ua, ‘o lenei tama na fa’atamafai e Faigā (Mālietoa) ma sā aloa’ia tele taluai lona feso’ota’iga lalata ma 1e Tui Toga.
I le tasi afiafi, ‘a ‘o savalivali Polu i le gātaifale i 1e pupula mānaia o 1e māsina, sā ia tau atu ai ‘i ni tama talavou se to’alua ‘o nofonofo 1 lalo o niu. ‘0 le tagilotulotu o le tasi o ‘ilā’ua sā fa’atōsina atu ai le māfaufau o Polu. Na ia fa’alatalata atu loa ‘i lona fia iloa 1e pogai o lo lā’ua fa’anoanoa, ma pe mafai fo’i ona ia fesoasoani mō ‘ilā’ua.
‘Ina ‘ua ia taunu’u atu ma fa’amāsani ma ‘ilā’ua, sā iloa ai e Polu ‘ole tasi o nei tama talavou ‘o le’ā tu’uina atu e osi ai le tāulaga ‘i ā Faigā i 1e taeao e soso’o ai. Sā mālamalama lelei Polu ma ‘o ia fo’i e matuā tete’ ma ’lno’ino’i le ‘aitagata o lona tamāfai; na tonu ai i lona lotQ’o_le’ā ia fa’aola lenei tama talavou, ‘ua alofa tele ma fiafia ‘i ai – ‘o le’ā mōlia ia (Polu) e sui ai le ola o lenei tama talavou.
Sā muamua ona tete’e e nei tama lenei ofoalofa, peita’i, ina ‘ua ‘uma ona fa’amatala ma fa ‘amālamalama e Polu ana fuafuaga ‘uma, sā lā mālilie loa ‘1 ai. Ona fa’amāvae loa lea o Polu ma 1e tu’utu’uga lātou te toe feiloa’i
i le taeao e soso’o i lalo lava o le niu.
Ina ‘ua tu’ua nā o le_’au-uso, taluai ‘o le ‘au-uso 1ava ‘ilā’ua, sā lā talatalanoa loa e uiga ‘i ā Polu ma lona ofoalofa mai, ‘e le mafa’amatalaina. Peita’i, sā fa’alototeleina ‘ilā’ua i lo lā talitonu ‘i ā Polu ina o lātou fa’atasi; ‘a ’o lenei lā ‘ua alu ‘o ia, ‘ua fenumia’i nei o lā māfaufau. Fa’amata na te tausi ‘i lana folafolaga? Pe toe fo’i mai ’o ia? Sā lā tau māsalosalo taluai e pei e le ono. mea i se taule’ale’a fa’apea i sona tūlaga ona fōa’i ‘o ia e ia lava mo 1 enā tagata sāuā, ‘ina ‘ia fa’aolaina ai le ola o se tasi, ‘ua na ‘o ananafi na se’i māsani ai ma ia.’A ‘o lā talanoa_e uiga ‘i ā Polu ma ana fuafuaga, na gālo atu le pogisa. ‘A ‘o Polu fo’i ia, sā la’itiiti lava lana moe taluai lona mafaufau i le fa’a-
lelei atili o ana fuafuaga. ‘E ui ina ‘o lea, na ia tūla’i Toa ‘i luga ina ‘ua vivini o moa, tā’ele, ma savali atu loa e, fa’afeiloa’ i le uso e to’alua, ‘o
15 lā pagātia ‘ua sāunia ai nei ‘o.ia e lāvea’i i se ala faigatā.
‘A $5 le’i taumateina le fiafia tele o lenei uso_’ina ‘ua toe vā’aia Polu ‘ua fo’i atu pei ‘o lana folafolaga. ‘Ina ‘ua māe’a sā lātou feiloa’iga pu/upu’u, sā ia fa’amatala loa ‘i ā ‘ila’ua le ‘oto’otoga o ana fuafuaga ma fautua ai ‘ilā’ua ‘ina ‘ia gāoioi vave ‘ana ‘ua pu’upu’u le taimi.
Na tūla’i loa lea o le ‘au-uso,’e ui lava ‘ina fevesia’i pea o lā māfaufau i le tau’aveina o nei fuafuaga na poloa’iina e Poluleuligana. ‘0 le’ā lā filiina lelei ‘o ia i se launiu, ‘ia fōliga ai ‘o se i’a amo ‘ua fa’aagaga mo se ali’i sili, ma ‘ia ‘avatu, ‘o tausoa i se lā’au ‘i luma o Māl ietoafaigā.Safaia nei mea ‘uma pei ona poloa’iina ai. ‘Ae ‘ina ‘ua tu’uina atu lenei tāulaga ‘i luma o le ali’i, sa ia māfaufau po ‘o le ā tonu lava lenei mea taluai ‘o le māsani, ‘e tu’uina atu i ona luma i taeao ta’itasi se tagata talavou ‘ua teuteuina lelei; ‘a ‘o lenei tāulaga ‘ua le tusa ai ma 1e māsani. Sā ia fa’atonu loa’ina ‘ia tatalaina le laui’a. ‘0 se mea na matuā māofaai le ali’i ina ‘ua va’ai atu, ‘o mata ma 1e tino o Polu!
‘0 le ā se mea na fai ‘ā tupu i lona atali’i pele, pe ‘ā na le fa’a- tonuina ia e tatala le laui’a? Sā ia musu i māfaufau ‘i ai, peita’i na ia toe manatu ma pupula loa ‘i S te ia le uiga o lona sāuā, ma 1e ōi ma le mapui- tigā o le tele o mātua,‘ona ‘o o lātou alo talavou na mōlia mai e fai ai tau- 1aga,’ina ‘ia fa’amalie ai lona mana’o ma ona tu’inanau 1e fa’atuā’oia.
‘0 māfaufauga ‘uma ia sā fa’agae’etia ai lona agaga; ma na ia fa’apea atu ‘i lona atali’i, “Polu, ‘ua ‘5 mānumālō, ‘auā ‘ua ‘ou mālamalama lelei nei i
leuigasā’efuafuaina. ‘0le’āolalauuō,maelegataiāteia,’ae ‘āmata atu nei, ‘e le toe iai se tagi ma ni āuega taluai ona o lo’u agaleaga.”
Sā ia tāusia lenei^folafolaga^ma ‘o se fiafiaga o tagata ‘uma ‘ina ‘ua lātou fa’ālogo ‘i lenei T’uga a Mālietoa sā lātou le’i fa’amoemoeina.
Malietoafaiga Renounces Cannibalism

Preface: In background, this is the second of two stories about Malietoafaiga, the chief who inherited the Malietoa title and held sway over Western Samoa (The first being The Turtle and the Shark).

This chief was known throughout the lands for his cruelty, since he had adopted cannibalism and practiced it daily. He ordered that a young man be wrapped in coconut leaves and roasted in the umu, and then brought to him, whereupon he ate only the heart, leaving the leftovers for his servants and attendants. It is thought the practice came first from Fiji through Tonga and then to Samoa, where it was rare. (see p. 59 Lafai; Lambie 46-48). This Malietoa lived at Tualagi at the beginning of the 14th century.

Poluleuligana (Polu) was the son of ‘Ulufanuatele, who was a son of the great god Tagaloa (who had created all the islands) and a brother of Alainuanua, and the wife of Malietoafaiga. Polu had been adopted by Malietoafaiga, who believed he would increase his esteem because of Polu’s kinship with Tuitoga. Therefore, Polu was Malietogafaiga’s nephew.

The story is recited here: One evening, when Polu was wandering along the shore, taking advantage of the wonderful moonlight, he came upon two young men who were sitting beneath a coconut tree. Polu’s attention was attracted as he heard one of the men sobbing bitterly. He approached them in order to find out the cause of their sorrow, and, if possible, to assist them.

After they got acquainted, Polu was horrified to learn that one of the boys had been ordered to present himself to Faiga on the following morning as the offering of his chief to that dreaded cannibal Malietoafaiga. Polu understood only too well, since he himself detested the unnatural practice of his foster father. He resolved to save the youth, for whom he had taken a liking, by offering to take his place.

At first his generous offer was rejected, but when he explained to them his idea and purpose, they agreed to assist him, although remained both concerned and skeptical. Thereupon Polu left them, promising to meet them again in the same place on the following morning.

When the two brothers had been left alone, naturally they talked about Polu and the unthinkable proposition he had made. Yet, though Polu had inspired them with the greatest confidence while he had been with them, now that he was gone, they wondered. Doubts began to form. Would he keep his promise? Would he really return? They doubted, for it seemed so unlikely that a young man in his position should offer himself to be taken to the terrible tyrant to save the life of a person who, until yesterday, had been a perfect stranger to him.

They talked earnestly about Polu and his plan until the long night had passed. Polu, too, had slept but little for he had been busy perfecting his plan. However, at the cock’s crow he arose, took his bath, and then went to meet the two brothers for whose sake he was ready to pursue the dangerous adventure.

They were overcome with joy and surprise to see him return, true to his promise. After a short greeting, he explained to them the details of his scheme and asked them to act at once, as time was pressing and it was increasingly urgent.

Thereupon the brothers stood up, but not without serious qualms of conscience to carry out Polu’s strange orders. Polu had instructed them to wrap him up tightly in a big coconut leaf, as if he were a large sacred fish reserved for the high chief, and to carry him slung on a pole (tausoa) and be placed before the waiting Malietoafaiga.

All this was done, but when the offering was deposited before the chief, he wondered what it really was. For he was accustomed to being presented every morning with a nicely decorated young man, and this offering was out of order since the young man was wrapped in the cooking leaves. Suspicious, he ordered the leaves to be opened. Imagine his surprise as his eyes met those of Polu! What would have happened to his beloved son, had he not given the order to open the bundle? He did not dare to think of it, but at the same time he vividly felt the sorrow and misery of so many parents whose sons and daughters had been slaughtered, only to satisfy his unnatural appetite and his limitless ambitions.

His new and sudden empathy had moved him deeply and, addressing his son, he said, “Polu, you have succeeded, for now I quite understand what you were trying to do. Well, your friend shall live, and not only he, but from this day on, there shall be no more crying and wailing on account of my heartlessness.” He kept his promise, and the joy of all the people was great when they heard of this sudden and unexpected decision of Malietoa.

2 thoughts on “Malietoafaiga Renounces Cannibalism

  1. The Polu is believed by Samoans historians to have occurred in 1323. Polu was saved by his father Malietoa Uilamatutu Faiga. If that was the case, then it took more than 500 years after the Polu event before the Christian missionaries started to arrive in the late 1820s, early 1830s on our shores, with the Tala Lelei–Story Good. This time, however, the Son of the King of kings, and Lord of lords, was not saved by His Father. Rather, the Son’s action, like Polu, was a saving sacrificial offering to save the doomed world. Jesus Christ was, “the Lamb slain from the founndation of of the world,” saving Samoans, Tonagns, our Pacific neighbours, and of course, according to the apostle John, the hope of saving the whole world: “For God did not send His Son into the the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him, might be saved,” (Jn. 3:17), if we believe in Him!

    1. Hello Eddie, The issue of ritual sacrificial slaughter- let alone cannibalism- is certainly pertinent to the local history of all cultures everywhere, and the coming of missionaries of all types is equally controversial. In Polu’s case, his father never hesitated for a second, and unlike Abraham did not proceed to the point of requring intervention, but instead was instantly overwhelmed with empathy and compassion and changed his behavior to the good of all. We avoid the controversy and love the story for that simple lesson which is universal about a father’s love.

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