Salamasina’s First Love

Salamasina’s First Love

Salamasina, as we have seen, was the first one who held the four titles which constituted her “Tupu of Samoa,” Queen of Upolu, Savai’i and Tutuila. Most of the future kings descended from her and belonged to the Tuia’ana line. There has been but one Malietoa viz. Malietoa Vaiinupo, or as he was later called, Malietoa Tavita (died in 1841) who obtained the four titles necessary for kingship. Of the Atua line there was also but one – Mataafa – that had the title of Tupu. But this is rather recent history and will be explained when we come to that period.

In her childhood, the actual ruling had to be done by Alipia the Faleiva, and by Sooa’e (Levalasi) and the eight tafai of the Queen. When she turned 15 or 16, an effort was begun to find her a suitable husband who would be appropriate for the Queen of Samoa. They eventually chose Tupumania, who was the eldest son of Tonumaiepea.

Salamasina had met him several times, but had never liked him. In fact, she had never felt at ease when this young man happened to be near her.

But when Sooa’e spoke to her about Tapumanaia and pointed out the advantage of marrying such an influential young man, Salamasma made it clear that she did not like him, and that her union with him was out of the question.

For some time nothing more was said, but Salamasina knew only too well that if the Faleiva insisted on the marriage, she would be unable to oppose it. This thought was anything but pleasant to her. “Why,” she said to herself, “should a Queen not be allowed to marry the man she loves, like any other mortal?”

For a number of years Salamasina had been surrounded by some boys and girls of the better families. They formed her court and were instructed together with the young sovereign. As Salamasina reached her teens, she discovered that the company of some of these people were more pleasant to her than that of others. Among the boys there was Alapepe, the son of a Tulafale of Satupaitea, to whom she had taken a particular fancy.

This boy had all the social graces. He was handsome, witty, and adept in all kinds of sports. Who, more qualified than he, to fulfill the youthful longings of the impressionable young Queen?

One day, Salamasina was informed that Alipia and the Faleiva had come to present their respects to her. The girl suspected the purpose of the visit and she was not mistaken. The conventional preamble of complimentary speeches was gone through. Then Alipia began to explain, in well chosen but forceful terms, how advantageous and even necessary it was for Salamasina to unite herself with a young man who could share with her the duties of government. He added that the Faleiva was of the opinion that of the eligible young men, Tapumanaia was the best choice. Finally he begged her to consider this proposal in all earnestness, for it was the only one that would meet with general approval and rebound to the advantage of A’ana and Samoa.

Salamasina had calmly listened to the long speech and when Alipia had finished, she said, “I thank you for the interest you take in the welfare of our country. I shall weigh your words, and let you know as soon as I have come to a decision.”

Knowing her well, Alipia had not expected any other answer. So they all retired hoping their plans would soon be realized. There upon they went to Sooa’e who, as they well knew, had more influence with Salamasina than anyone else. They needed her help to hasten the wedding.

As Tapumanaia was like herself, a member of the Tonumaipea family, Levalasi promised to do everything in her power to secure Salamasina’s consent.

Addressing Salamasina in private, Sooa’e strongly urged her daughter to accept the hand of Tapu. Salamasina replied, “I have thought much about this matter. I know that my life with Tapu will be an unhappy one, for I do not love him nor does he love me. However, since you insist, I shall yield not to the Faleiva but to you. Yet, dear mother, I am surprised that you should force this upon me.” By her mother’s silence she understood her fate was determined and she had no choice.

The boys and girls who formed the court of Salamasina soon noticed that something was distressing their Queen and playmate, and they vied with one another to revive her from her sadness. It was Alapepe again who planned to cheer her up. Knowing she was fond of catching pigeons, he organized an outing to catch pigeons and enjoy a picnic.

Salamasina, accompanied by three boys, disappeared in the bush. The further they went the freer they felt and Salamasina joined recklessly in the fun. This time passed quickly and pleasantly. When they finally sat down Salamasina suggested that they have some food. The boys jumped to to get ready, but Salamasina insisted, “Two of you will do; let one remain and keep me company. It was decided to spin a coconut to choose who would stay, and when the nut was spun, it stopped, pointing to Alapepe.

When the other two had left to prepare the food beside a nearby waterfall, Salamasina and Alapepe sat down together under a huge forest giant. Then the Queen told her companion of the happenings of the past few days and how miserable she felt to be forced to marry Tapu, a man she would never like.

Alapepe had long sensed that his beloved Queen was suffering, but until now he had not known the cause. While sitting side by side in intimate conversation, they both became aware that their former friendship had developed into mutual love. The boy suddenly realized that his sweetheart would be snatched away. Blinded by love and passion he impulsively took her in his arms and kissed her over and over again and she willingly returned his caresses. Alas, this was only the beginning, for all too soon he forgot her sacredness and her status as being betrothed to Tapu.

When they awoke out of their dream of conjugal felicity, then only did they become conscious of their grievous mistake and became fearful of its consequences. For a while, not a word was spoken, then Salamasina finally said, “Alapepe what we have done is wrong indeed, yet I shall ever remember this day of unclouded happiness and cherish it as long as I live.”

Her Marriage with Tapumanaia After lunch they all lay down for a short rest and then returned to Leulumoega. Towards evening Salamasina called Alapepe and told him that for his safety’s sake it might be well for him to return to Savai’i under one pretext or another. He was not to worry, for she herself would see that he would be safe even if the Faleiva discovered their secret. Alapepe promised to leave at the first opportunity.

The very day the love affair had occurred Sooa’e notified Alipia of Salamasina’s willingness to marry Tapumanua. This was good news for the orator. Taking advantage of the Queen’s absence, he and four members of the Faleiva immediately left for Satupaitea, the home of Tonumaipea. Salamasina was rather glad of this, for if the planned wedding would come off soon, all might be well yet.

Alipia’s proposal was very well received in Savai’i. Tapu’s family felt very flattered and it was arranged that the wedding should be celebrated at the next full moon.

On his return, Alipia informed Sooa’e of his success and asked her to advise the Queen. The latter took the news cooly. Secretly, she rejoiced, for the very haste of Alipia might be a means to keep her condition secret and thus save her beloved Alapepe.

A feast worthy of the occasion was prepared at Leulumoega. Finally the great day dawned. Chiefs and Tulafale from all parts of Samoa and Manua had arrived. Hundreds of succulent pigs and mountains of food had been supplied by the Tonumaipea tribe, while the numerous relatives of the bride had collected over a thousand fine mats for subsequent distribution. Nothing had been overlooked, and Alipia and the Faleiva felt that the feast would be a success and rebound to their honour and praise.

Months passed and it became obvious that the queen would soon give birth. Great was the expectation of Sooa’e, Tapumanaia, and Alipia. None had the least suspicion that the child was other than the husband’s. Suddenly Salamasina became very ill and suffered intensely, Levalasi, (Sooa’e) remembering her own sad case, already feared that her daughter would have a miscarriage.

The poor Queen became worse with the passing hours and it was soon evident that she was in labor. The frenzied husband, believing it a judgement on his own head, made public confession of his many misdeeds, of how he had deceived one girl after another while he was yet manaia (leader of the young men) of Satupaitea.

As Salamasina, however, found no relief, she could not help thinking that her household god was angry at her having kept the secret of her making love with Alapepe. Encouraged by her husband’s frankness, she therefore revealed to him her guilt.

The confession seemed to have appeased the tormenting gods she, for immediately after she revealed her secret she gave birth to a pretty little girl. In consideration of his own sins, the husband did not dare find fault with his wife and, to cover the deception, he claimed the child as his own. From the words Salamasina had used while making her confession, he called the child Fofoaivaoese, (Fofoa) i.e. “conceived in the dark bush.”

Salamasina was comforted by her belief that by keeping Alapepe’s name secret she could keep him safe from revenge. But she was mistaken, for he was revealed, and Tapumania resolved to have him assassinated. After several attempts were made on his life, Salamasina arranged to have him picked up at her grandmother’s home and taken to Tonga, where he lived happily for several years. Then, one day, Salamasina received sad news from the Tuitoga. Alapepe was dead. He had been found in his house with a poisoned “foto” sticking in his side. The avenging hand of Tonumapaia had reached him even in distant Tonga.

The heartbroken Salamasina shed many silent tears over her beloved Alapepe. She could not and would not forget him. Another source of grief was that since the birth of Fofoa, her husband had not treated her with the old affection and deference, despite the birth of a son a year later. This child was named by the father Tonumapaia II.

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