Salamasina: Official Adoption

FO’I ATU ‘I LEULUMOEGA

Sā fa’afetai atu So’oa’e ‘i eāl i ‘ i, Apia (Seumanutafa) mō lea tala mālie tele; ona ia fa’apea atu lea, “Sā mafatia tele Sāmoa i tagata Toga ma Fiti, peita’i sā fa’asalaina pea fo’i ‘ilātou. ‘la fa’apea ai lava ona fa’asala ina o tagata fai amioga pi’opi’o, pei e taia i ni faititili ma uila.”

‘0 le aso na soso’o ai, na toe tu’uva’a ai So’oa’e ma lana ‘aumalaga. Sā mānaia ma lagilelei le aso, ‘o le mea lea na taunu’u ai ‘i Leulumoega ‘a e le’i goto 1e lā. Ina ‘ua māe’a se feiloa’iga aloa’ia i le maota talimālō o Tamaalelagi i Nu’uausala, sā malaga atu loa lana afioga le tama’ita’i mamalti ‘i Lagi { le maota_tofa o Tamaalelagi, ‘e uso o lā mātua. Sā lā feiloa’i alo- a’ia ai ma lana uomamae ‘o Vaetoe ma lona alo teineitiiti sā ia fa’atamafai ai loa, i ni faiga mātagōfie ma le aloā’ia.

Sā la Ta vala’au atu e fa’apea, “Mavave, ‘ua lā- lelei si teine e pei o le sala o le masina. 0 Salamasina,’o le igoa lea o si o’u a.fafme’ i le fa aVav?u,” ‘o le tala lea a Tamaalelagi ‘ina ‘ua fa’alogo atu ‘i sa’afi’afiga a So’oa’e.

‘0 le taeao “a soso’o ai na usu atu ai ni tulāfale, sā ta’ita’ia e Alipia, e fai a lātou usu ‘i ā So’oa’emalelagi. Sā tu’u atu se tugase tele i luma o So’oa e, ‘o le fa’ailoga lea o lo lātou fa’aaloalo tele. Sā fa’a fetai tele ane ‘i ai So’oa’e e tusa ma_lo lātou ‘ava fa’aaloalo, ona toe tu’u- ina atu lea ‘i ai o le ‘ava ‘ina ‘ia saunia ai so lātou alofi taute.

Sā ‘aveina e le ‘aumaga le ‘ava_ma vaevae ma tufatufa atu i taulele’a e_māia, ‘ina ‘ua ‘uma ona pūpū o ō latou gutu, ma ‘ia malū lelei. ‘A ‘o māia (lamu) le ‘ava, sā ‘auina atu e se tulāfale se taule’ale’a e ‘a’ami le taupou.

Na taunu’u ane le taupou, na fa’afeao e ona galuteine e to’alua. ‘0 ia ‘o Tuitogama’atoe, ‘o le āfafine o Tamaalelagi i lana usuga lona fitu ‘i ā Seanatoe mai le ‘āiga tele o Sālemuli’ana. Na filifilia ‘o ia e ‘avea ma taupou’ina ‘ua alu So’oa’e ‘i Āleipata e nonofo ma Māta’utia. Sā taunu’u ane le taupou ma ona fa’afeao e to’alua ma nonofo i luma o le ‘aumāga; ona avane ai lea o le tānoa e sefululima vae, ma tu’u i luma o le taupou ‘o lo ‘o nofo i le ‘ogātotonu. Sā aoina e le ‘aumāga le ‘ava ina ‘ua malū ma tu’u atu ‘i totonu o letānoa fai’ava. Onaliliu lea o le taupou ‘i lona itū taumatau ma fa’asasa ‘itua e fafano ai onalima. Sā sasa’a e le agai’ava le suāvai ‘i totonu o le tānoa ma na galue loale taupou e palu ma vau le ‘ava. ‘0 le fau sā tatau aile ‘ava ma ao ai lepenu ‘ava mai le tānoa.Ina ‘ua usi le ‘ava, sā genogeno atu le taupou ‘i le tulāfale na pūlea le ‘ava. Sā vala’au loa le tulāfale ma fa’apea, “‘Ua usi le ‘ava.” Ona tapati loa lea o lima o le aofia. ‘A ‘o le’i fa’asoaina le alofi, sa faia e le tula- fale se lāuga ‘umi, sā ia ta’ua le tugase ma le tulāfale na.ia ‘aumaia. Ona ‘avatu lea o le ipu mō Tamaalelagi, So’oa’emalelagi, Vaetoeifaga, Alipia, Sausi, fa’apea ma isi ali’i ma tulāfale.

’A ‘o le’i taumafaina se ipu po o se ‘ava a se tasi, ‘e muamua ona sa’asa’a ni nai mataua l lalo mo lo latou atua i fale, ma e fai fo’i ni nai ‘upu pei sina tatalo. Sa fa apea fo l ona fetalai ‘Alipia, “‘la ‘avea le suafa o Salamasina ma fa’ailoga manuia mo Leulu- moega ma Ā’ana. ‘Ia tuputupu a’e pea lona lauiloa ma lona ta uta ua i Samoa ‘uma.”

Salamasina: Official Adoption

This story is about Tamalalegi’s Death and Last Will; how Salamasina is Named and Adopted by Sooa’e; Vaetoeifaga leaves for Tonga; Nafanua finally returns the four coveted Titles to Salamasina to rule over a united Upolu, since she is descended from  Tuiatua, the Tuitoga, Tuimanua and the Tuifiti and especially Malietoa.

Salamasina is the direct descendant of Tuia’ana, Tuisamoa, Tuimanua and Malietoa; she is the adopted child of Tuiatua and Tonumaipea; through her mother she is related to Salemuliana, the Tuitonga and the Tuifiti. Who then has a greater right to the titles than Salamasina and who could possibly meet with a greater approval by the four Faleupolu?”

Back to Leulumoega: After the assasination of her husband Matautia and loss of her child, the heartbroken Sooa’e (So’oa’emalelagi) sailed home, reaching the home of her cousin Tamalelagi by sunset. She took up residence in the guest-house at Leulumoega on the northwest coast of A’ana (now western Upolu). After the customary reception she went first to her old friend Vaetoeifaga who had just given birth to the daughter of her husband Tamalelagi and greeted the child.

Taking the baby up in her arms, she exclaimed, “Mavave, ua lalele! si teine e pei o le sala masina.” Oh, the little girl is as beautiful as yonder moon. Hearing this Tamalelagi said, “Salamasina shall forever be the name of my daughter.”

On the following morning a number of chiefs, headed by Alipia, came to render homage to So’oa’emalelagi. A big kava root (tugase) was placed before her as a sign of respect and devotion. Sooa’e thanked them for their courteous welcome and handed the root back so that kava would be prepared for the visitors.

The aumaga (young men) took the root and cut it into small pieces with a sharp stone. These pieces were dealt out to a dozen young men who, after having rinsed (supu) their mouths, started to chew the root. While the chewing was in progress, the tulafale sent for the taupou to prepare the kava. The taupou (village maiden) who arrived was Tuitogamaatoe, the daughter of Tamalelagi by his seventh wife Seanatoe of the great Salemuliana family. She had been appointed to her present position when Sooa’e went to Aleipata to marry Mata’utia. When the kava was ready, they cried with a ringing voice, “Ua usi le ava” and clapped their hands.

The cup was then presented to Tamalelagi, So’oaemalelagi, Vaetoe, Alipia, Sausi, and to a few other high chiefs and tulafale. Before the partaking of it, each drinker poured a few drops on the floor as an offering to their household god, at the same time murmuring some prayer. Alipia spoke as follows, “May the name of Salamasina be a good omen for Leulumoega and A’ana. May she grow up to fame in every part of Samoa”.

The Official Adoption: As most of the high chiefs and orators of A’ana were present, Sooa’e communicated to them her resolution to adopt the child, saying that in her hands the girl’s future would be assured. Tamalelagi replied that since Sooa’e was his sister (cousin) the child should be hers as well as his. Alipia and the Faleiva (the council of orators) understood that Tamalelagi was satisfied. Alipia therefore said, “Your wish is our wish. We know that in your cousin’s hands the child will be well provided for. If my reading of the future is right, great fame awaits Salamasina. She will be not only Tuia’ana but Tuiatua also. May the Fe’e and Nafanua be with you and your daughter.”

The Death and Last Will of Tamalelagi: Salamasina was a lovely child, the joy of her parents and of her foster mother. The latter was so anxious about the little girl that she had her surrounded by women, upon whose devotion and loyalty she could absolutely rely. She even engaged the aumaga (young men) to act as her bodyguards at night.

Day after day presents were sent to Salamasina from all of Samoa – roasted pigs, turtles, pigeons, fish, taro, yam, etc. One day her relatives even presented her with a large and well built double canoe (alia). From Vaetoe’s family in Amoa (now Savai’i) and Toga (Tonga), Tamalelagi received hundreds of fine mats and countless fathoms of tapa. Most of these fine mats and siapo were distributed among the talking chiefs and relatives, as a reward for their services. The gifts received from both sides, i.e. from the relatives of the husband on the one hand, and from the wife’s family on the other, had been so numerous and magnificent that everybody not only felt satisfied but was loud in his praise of Tamalelagi and Vaetoeifaga.

Sooa’e had tried several times to induce the Nafanua to return the four high titles to their owners and, if that could not be done, to restore at least the title of Tuia’ana. Nafanua, however, had always refused to do so, because in her opinion Tamalelagi had far too many enemies. To confer the titles on him would only stir continuing controversy, trouble, and war.

Sooa’e knew this truth perhaps better than her cousin did. Indeed, most of these enemies were the offended relatives of his numerous cast-off wives. Now, as Tamalelagi’s fame was in the ascendancy and his relation with Vaetoe seemed to be such a cordial one, their envy had become more and more intense and dangerous to Tamalelagi and his devoted wife

As always, the advisors Alipia and Sausi were constantly together plotting and scheming. Their aim was to convince Tamalelagi to recover the titles Nafanua retained and would not relinquish, especially that of Tuia’ana which they insisted was his alone. They reminded him that his province of A’ana was known as the best organized and prosperous part of Upolu, and the most respected. Tamalelagi remained skeptical, and did not at all agree.

The advisors then proffered a solution, they reminded Tamalelagi that Mata’utia had died, and the widowed Sooa’e is therefore free to marry again. The widow has in her gift (pule) the title of Tuiatua, and because of her influence with Nafanua, we feel sure that he who marries her will have the greatest chance of obtaining all the titles now in the custody of the goddess.

Here Tamalelagi interrupted him, knowing full well what he was driving at. Looking Alipia straight in the face, he said, “I shall consider your words. My own opinion, however, is that your scheme is impossible. Sooa’e too will never agree to it. We are first cousins and she looks upon me as her brother. I need not remind you that the relation between brother and sister is a sacred covenant, “se feagaiga paia”.

Tamalelagi was exasperated, and reminded them, “To comply with your wishes I have contracted and broken many marriages. All the divorced women still belong to me and, on pain of death, they are forbidden to remarry. Is it a wonder to you, then, that I must count among my enemies both them and their families? We may have increased our influence and power, but was it worth the trouble? I now live in constant danger of being assassinated like my cousin Mata’utia; in fact, I have to keep secret the place where I sleep at night.

Before I married Vaetoe we all promised her royal father that his daughter would be my permanent wife, and that her child should be my successor. Would you now make me break my sacred oath and add the mighty Tuitoga to the number of my enemies?

I have but one thing more to say, do not divulge what we have now discussed. On this I must insist, lest the harmony that now exists between Vaetoe and me be destroyed.”

This emphatic and well reasoned renunciation of their plan left them incensed at seeing their well laid scheme thwarted, and although the indignant orators left rebuffed, they did not abandon hope.

Believing the matter of the titles settled, all went well for a very long time. The family was harmonious and the welfare of A’ana prospered under his leadership. His wife Vaetoe and and her cousin Sooa’e were cordial, and Salamasina, his little daughter, became stronger and prettier every day. He naively believed that Alipia and Sausi has given up their plan.

Sadly, one day Tamalelagi was stricken with a strange sickness. He felt excruciating pains all over his body and especially in his stomach. The native doctor who had been called declared that the chief had been stung by the Nifoloa (long toothed ghost). Medicines concocted from certain herbs were administered to the invalid, but they did not bring any relief.

On the following day, messengers were sent to all the relatives to notify them of Tamalelagi’s malady. They soon presented themselves with many gifts of fine mats and loving words of sympathy and respect.

One day when Tamalelagi was improved enough to speak, he asked to be raised to a sitting posture so that he could give his last words to those assembled:

“I feel that my end is near. I regret that I have no title to bestow upon my successor. Nafanua has them in her keeping still. Whenever she relents, let all the titles be conferred upon Sooa’emalelagi in order to avoid strife and war. Salamasina shall be her daughter and my eldest son Toala her right hand, and the protector of both mother and child. He shall devote his time and talents to the welfare of A’ana, so that our district may become the leader in Samoa. Umaga and Pasese shall be the protectors and attendants (Tuitui) of the next Tuiaana.”

(Note: A very different re-telling of the circumstances of Tamalelagi’s illness and death is told by HTC Fofo Sunia; see below)

He could not speak further. Seized with a painful convulsion, he fell back and soon after took his last breath. A’ana was now without a leader.

When all the solemn rites pertaining to the death of a high chief had been accomplished, he was interred behind the residence of the Tuia’ana called Faleolo, where twenty of his old warriors had prepared a fitting grave.

His last wishes, however, were not given immediate or complete effect, for Nafanua herself, unknown to them, began to intervene from afar to exercise her powers and impose her will.

Restoration of the Titles: Vaetoe and Sooa’e continued to live together at Lagi, Tamalelagi’s house at Leulumoega. As neither of them were interested in politics, they were left in peace. Their common love for Salamasina and their mutual respect for each other united them more and more. But there was no successor in leadership to assume Tamalelagi’s powers and sustain the peace and prosperity he had achieved.

When it became known that in his last will Tamalelagi had appointed Salamasina to become his successor, and that even Toala, his first born son was to hold only a secondary position, the evil tongues of his enemies began to spread this malicious talk with the aim to rid Samoa of the Tongan princess Vaetoe and, if possible, of her child, too.

The malignant whisperings finally reached the ears of Vaetoe. She immediately resolved to return to Tonga, where, in her father’s house, she would find both protection and comfort. Sooa’e was very sorry to lose her friend, yet she did not try to keep her back, for she knew that she could not stay on and be happy.

Word had been sent to the Tuitoga notifying him of his son-in-law’s demise. Vaetoe was therefore confident that a boat from her homeland would soon arrive in Samoa to take her home. She was correct, for he was already on his way with many gifts and fine mats in honor of the passing of her husband. But, when the Tuitoga heard of the slander to which Vaetoe had been exposed since her husband’s death, he kept his fine mats, and after only a few days rest he returned home to Tonga, taking his daughter with him.

The months passed. One day Sooa’e’s brother Tupa’i called at Lagi. He had just returned from Falealupo where Nafanua lived and had been sent by Nafanua herself to offer the four titles (papa) to his sister Sooa’e. The lady was not anxious to accept the honors. She had seen too much of the political intrigues connected with the titles. Worse, their possession would make her so taboo she could neither handle little Salamasina, nor be touched by the girl, as was the custom. Sooa’e offered a counter proposal for her brother to take to Nafanua:

“I have no use for the titles, but ask Nafanua if she would not be willing to confer them upon Salamasina instead.”

As time passed and Sooa’e had not heard Nafanua’s decision, she became convinced that Nafanua had rejected her proposal.

One day, however, just after the feast in honour of the Fe’e (the god of war in octopus form) had been celebrated, a large boat cast anchor near Lagi. It was the traveling party of her brother Tupa’i with news from Nafanua. Before she had time to welcome them, her brother said, “Do not allow that child to touch you. Henceforth you are taboo, for we have come to offer upon you the four titles. It is the desire of the mighty Nafanua.”

Sooa’e, however, had not changed her mind. She gathered her courage and said again, “I have to care for Salamasina, the descendant of all the great families (tamaaiga). Her mother is in Tonga and I have adopted her as my own child. What will become of her if I leave her to a stranger?”

Tupa’i answered, “Do you consent that the titles be given to Salamasina? She would, of course, be sacred, but as you also have been made sacred by Nafanua, the child could still remain in your care.”

“That is precisely what I desire,” replied Sooa’e. “Salamasina is the direct descendant of Tuia’ana, Tuisamoa, Tuimanua and Malietoa; she is the adopted child of Tuiatua and Tonumaipea; through her mother she is related to Salemuliana, the Tuitonga and the Tuifiti. Who then has a greater right to the titles than Salamasina and who could possibly meet with a greater approval by the four Faleupolu?”

Despite being a goddess, Nafanua’s plan required acceptance by the Faleupolu (the council of advisors) in whose gift the respective titles were, first to Alipia and the Faleiva of Leulumoega. They were received with great enthusiasm everywhere, since for years, the recovery was their principal preoccupation. Now they were to obtain even those of Atua and Tuamasaga. Everywhere they met with the same success, for the most important reason that Salamasina was closely related to them all and best situated by her lineage to bring all the people together.

Note:

In this version which is an encapsulation of the stories in “The History of Samoa” by Brother Fred Henry, Tamalelagi’s cause of death could be either assasination or a mere bite from the ghost’s tooth; his wife Vaetoe’s reaction is barely mentioned, as well as Tamalelagi’s renunciation of the advisors’ plans for him to marry Sooa’e, his defiant commitment to permanent love for Vaetoe are both lost in the details of the transfer of powers.

In other versions, Tamalelagi’s enemies began a whispering campaign aimed at provoking his Tongan wife Vaetoefaga to leave Samoa, so they could procure a powerful alliance with yet another Samoan wife, most likely Sooa’e. They began by spreading the rumor that her husband was having an affair with Sooa’e. As soon as Vaetoe heard this, she furiously resolved to leave immediately and return to Tonga. She packed her belongings, ignored the pleadings of Sooa’e and refused to say goodbye to Tamalelagi. Tamalelagi was so surprised and stricken when told she was leaving, he ordered his men to build a platform so he could be carried upon it, in order to follow alongside her alia (ship) on the beach and beg her to return. Although he chased alongside her ship until it was no longer in sight, all of his entreaties fell on deaf ears. The true cause of his death: “Tamalelagi was totally shattered. His last days were filled with pain of the nifola (long ghostly tooth) that stung him, but the larger and deeper pain was that of a broken heart,” HTC F. I. Sunia, “Samoan Legends of Love and Courtship Among Kings and Chiefs,’ pp. 186-187 , (2016).

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