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Rotuman Custom as told to Gordon MacGregor in 1932
from notes archived at
Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawai'i

Legends: Fuafua Rioro




Fuafua Rioro


C.M. Churchward

MacGregor's Notes


When the Tui Samoa held his fono, it was decided that each man should bring some cooked food. There were two brothers, Feliu'a and Matapule. They were preparing to go fishing for the food for the fono. The fishing was the na type. It is always done just before daybreak. And so these two brothers decided that as soon as the morning star appeared they would go and na. They saw a big star arise and so they let down their nets just outside the reef opening. Feliu'a let it down and Matapule sat in the canoe. Matapule was the younger one. Feliu'a said to Matapule, anchor the net to a rock (Mofu) under the sea, not coral, any other rock. Matapule dove down and felt about till he found a suitable anchor but it was really a turtle's foot. And then they got in the boat. The boat was tied by sennit to the turtle.

They took hold of the net, but the turtle carried them off, the canoe and men to the place where turtles abound. By and by the morning star came up and they knew they had seen a different star and it had enticed them away. But now with the morning star daylight came, and Savai'i was out of sight. And then the turtle pulled the canoe ashore and pulled it to a forest of sunfea trees, and Feliu'a was about to get out when Matapule stopped him. By and by the turtle left them and they sat there till the next evening without eating or drinking. The next day was to be the fono day.

But when the time came for the turtle to go, they all returned to Samoa that night, to the reef entrance where their net was. There the younger brother said, "Feliu'a dive down far, since I think our net is here", so Feliu'a went down and found it. They went ashore and told the people to prepare the turtle that they might eat it. They did.

Then there was an outbreak of diarrhea in the place and many died.

The star which enticed them away from the fono they called Faksar fono.

faksar = entice

This legend was obtained by Penamena in Samoa. He says it is like a Rotuman legend.

fono is a Samoan word referring to a council or a meeting.

na = a kind of fishing in which nets are set in the morning at high tide

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