The Bats Save Leutogitupa’itea

O Tuitoga Mānaia sa fai lana au tau nonofo e to’alua, o le tasi o le tama’ita’i Toga, a’o le isi o le tama’ita’i Samoa. O le tama’ita’i Samoa e igoa ia Leutogitupa‘itea(Leutogi), o le alo o Muli’analāfai. Ina ua mavae ni aso, ona fanau lea o le fafine Toga. Peita’i, o le fafine Samoa sa le’i maua lava sana tama. Ona o le tau fa’alili o le fafine Toga i le fafine Samoa i le leai o sana tama, na mafua ai ona ita tele le fafine Samoa, ma i’u ai ina tonu i lona loto o le a fasioti le tama pepe a le fafine Toga.
O le tasi aso, na o ai le fafine Toga ma le fafine Samoa e tae’ele i le vai ta’ele. Ina ua la taunu’u i le vai, sa fai atu le fafine Toga o le a ta’ele muamua ia ae taofi atu e le fafine Samoa lana tama pepe. Sa malie i ai le fafine Samoa auā o le a maua ai lona avanoa e fasioti ai le tama a le fafine Toga, ma taui masui ai i lona ma asiasi. Ina ua galo atu le fafine Toga, sa tago loa le fafine Samoa i le tuaniu ua tutui ai le ulu o le pepe. Ina ua fa’alogo atu le fafine Toga i le tagi auē mai o lana tama, sa ia toe fo’i mai loa, ae pagā, ua uma lava le ola o si tamaitiiti. O le mea moni lava, sa masalomia Leutogi, o ia lava ua na fasiotia le tamaitiiti. Na i’u ai lava ina maua le tuaniu, ma na molia atu ai loa lenei amioga leaga i le Tuitoga, na matuā to’atama’i tele ai o ia. Sa ia poloa’i ina ia susunu ola le tama’ita’i Samoa o Leutogi.Sa tosoina ma fa’atātā lenei tama’ita’i e tagata ua pagātia i le togavao; ma sa fa’ati’eti’e ai i luga o le maga o le fetau. Ua si’osi’omia le tama’ita’i i fafie ua mago. Ona tutu ai loa lea o le afi, ma ona o lo latou mumusu i fa’alogo i le tagi auē ma le oi a le tama’ita’i, na latou toe fo’i ai loa i lo latou nu’u.Peita’i, o se mea ofoofogia na tupu ina ua amata ona sasao a’e o le mumū o le afi, e afe ma afe pe’a na felelei ane ma fa’ato’ulu ifo latou suavai (fe’au vai) i luga o le afi. O lea la uiga sa fa’asaoina ai le ola o Leutogi e nei manu alolofa.Ina ua toe fo’i mai ‘auauna a le Tupu ma maua mai le fafine o lo’o ola pea, ma ua mate fo’i ma le afi, sa maua latou uma i le māofa tele. Ae o Leutogi, sa ia fai atu ma le leo fiafia lava e fa’apea: “Ua tatou fetaia’i i le maga fetau soifua”, o lona uiga, “Ua tatou feiloa’i i lalo o le la’au o le fetau, ae o lo’o ola pea lava ia.” Sa ta’uina atu i le Tupu nei mea uma lava. O le mea lea na tonu ai fo’i i le manatu o le Tupu, o le a aveina Leutogi ma tu’u i se motu le ‘ainā. O lea motu e aitua (a’oloā), ma e nofo ai se aitu fe’ai e igoa ia Losi.

Sa iloa lelei e le Tupu, e le taumate ona fasiotia e Losi le fafine. Peita’i, sa le’i tago pe fa’alavelave i ai Losi, talu ai sa manatu Losi o le a vave ona oti le fafine i le fia ‘ai ma le fia inu. O le mea lea, sa na’o na nofonofo ai o Losi ma tilotilo i le fafine.

Ae na maoa’e le ofo o Losi ina ua ia va’aia i le aso na soso’o ai le anoano o pe’a na tofu lava ma sina mea’ai na latou momoli ane ia Leutogi. Sa faia pea lenei uiga e pe’a mo aso e tele, a’o mata’i pea e Losi, ma saga ofo atili ai pea i nei mea ua tutupu.

The Bats Save Leutogitupa’itea


Brother Fred Henry’s truncated version of this story is retold here: Many unanswered questions appear immediately. First of all, why did all this horror happen in the first place? For that we must look beyond Brother Fred Henry to two other scholars (below).

The Tuitoga (King of Tonga) Manaia had 2 wives: one was a Tongan and the other a Samoan. The latter, Leutogitupa’itea (Leutogi), was the daughter of Mulianalafai.

After some time, the Tongan woman bore a child, but Samoan Leutogi remained childless. As the Tongan teased her because of this, she became very vexatious and finally resolved to kill the child of the heartless Tongan woman.

One day both went together to their common bathing place. When they had reached it, the Tongan said “Let me bathe first, while you hold my little child.” This Leutogi did, for she had decided that the hour for revenge had come.

As soon as the Tongan was out of sight, she took a “tuaniu” and forced it into the brain of the baby. The Tongan, hearing the sudden wild cry of her child, returned, but her child was already dead. Of course, Leutogi was suspected of having killed the child. Looking for a proof of her suspicion, she soon found the “tuaniu” and told the Tuitonga about this evil deed. He became so angry that he ordered that Leutogi be burned alive.

The unfortunate woman was then dragged by the angry people into the bush and bound in the fork of a fetau tree. Soon a tall heap of dry wood surrounded her. Then the people set fire to it and, not willing to hear the shrieks of the miserable woman, they turned their backs and went home to their village.

But, wonderful to relate, as soon as the flames began to rise, thousands of flying foxes or bats (pe’a) came to put out the fire by dropping on it their water. In this way Leutogi’s life was saved by the devoted bats.

When the attendants of the king found the woman still alive and the fire out, they were greatly surprised. Leutogi, then said to them in a friendly way: “Ua tatou fetaia’i i le magafetau soifua” or “We meet under the fetau tree while yet full of life”.

All this was told to the king, who wondered if he had done the right thing after all. Thereupon he resolved to put Leutogi on a barren, uninhabited island. This island was haunted by a mischievous aitu named Losi, and the king, who knew this, felt certain that Losi would soon kill the woman. Losi, however, did not touch her for he thought she would soon die for want of food and water. So he simply sat down and watched the woman.

Great, therefore, was his surprise when the next day he saw a multitude of flying foxes (bats), each bringing some kind of food to Leutogi. This the bats did for many days while Losi was looking on, wondering more than ever about the wonderful event.

After some time, the Fijian Tuiaea happened to sail along that island. Leutogi called him and begged him to take her along with him. This he did gladly, and as she was a very nice looking woman, he married her and in due time, she bore him a son whom they call Fa’asega.

When the boy had grown up, she sent him back to Savai’i, but before he left, she gave him 3 titles to be taken to her family:

1. Tonumaipe’a in memory of what the pe’a had done for her;
2. Tilomai in memory of the aitus looking on;
3. Tau’ili’ili because she had to use stones to cover her oven, instead of leaves.

All those names belong now to the Falefa of the Tole’afoa family who confer the title (ao) of Tonumaipe’a.

HTC Fofo Sunia, in “Samoan Legends of Love and Courtship,” expands the story to explain that its importance lies in its explanation of the Tonumaipe’a title. The center of the story, Leutogitupa’itea, is the sister of Taulupo’o, one of the high chiefs of Savai’i island, also known as cruel and heartless. Taulupo’o also had a flock of flying foxes (bats or pe’as) and a magic rod to call them with. So, when Tuitoga (King of Tonga) Manai’a visited Fagaloa in Upolu, to ask for Leutogitupa’itea in marriage, her brother gave her the rod, saying “This will protect you while you are in Tonga. If your life is ever in danger, break this rod and drop it into the water. I will know from the action of the water that you need help, and will send it immediately.” (p. 145). The death of the baby was brought on by such relentless teasing by the Tongan women, that she could bear it no longer. As soon as she realized what she had done, and what her fate would be, she dropped the rod, and “The message was received in Samoa in a flash.” This act summoned the bats to extinguish the death pyre, and the next day Leutogi met the King with a smile. Tuitoga was so fearful, he simply banished her to the small and uninhabited island, where she slept under the ifi (chestnut) tree, until she was rescued by the passing entourage of an Uea chief who married her, and upon whose children she conferred three titles: Tonumaipe’a, Tauliili, and Tilomai, all of which titles remain to this day. (pp. 144-147).

In yet other versions, Leutogi does not kill the child at all, but is consigned to care for it for the other wife of the King of Tonga, an unbearable burden and impossible task, since the child is difficult and spoiled. She has been repeatedly scorned for caring for an injured bat, and wanders away every evening to feed the increasing swarm who come to visit her. One night, when she learns the child is killed, she realizes she will be blamed, and in fact, she was. Leutogi is saved by the bats in all versions, and has the privilege of conferring the prestigious titles on her children.

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