There was chief named Sinilau who lived in Tonga. He heard about the beauty of a young woman named Hina so he sailed to her country and brought her back to his and married her. Sometime after this Hina became pregnant.
Sinilau had many wives and they were jealous of Hina because Sinilau loved her so much. One of the wives was a witch and she came to Hina one day and told Hina to go and ask Sinilau to get a one-eyed bonito fish. Because Sinilau loved Hina so much he climbed in his canoe and went fishing for a one-eyed bonito fish. As soon as he was gone the witch-wife came to Hina and suggested that they play a fonohaihai, that is, a game played by two people where they take turns binding one another in ropes. Hina agreed to this game and she took the first turn. She tied the witch-wife up good and tight. The witch-wife tried to untie herself but she could not. So Hina untied her. Then it was the witch-wife’s turn. She tied Hina up. When Hina could not untie herself from the ropes she asked the witch-wife to untie. But the witch-wife said, “I will untie you when the moon turns blue.”
The witch-wife took some mats and wrapped them around Hina and tied the mats so one could not see what was wrapped inside. The other wives of Sinilau were also jealous of Hina. They came and stood around the witch-wife and recited a tuputupulefonua, that is, magic words that made the witch-wife look just like Hina. Because Hina was pregnant her stomach was big the witch-wife had to be big in the stomach to look like Hina. So the witch-wife swallowed a stone and a ‘vee-kali’, that is, the leg of Tongan pillow. So she looked just like Hina.
When Sinilau returned with the one-eyed bonito fish the witch-wife had the complete appearance of Hina. She told Sinilau that she had wrapped some garbage in mats and she asked him to take the mats and garbage in his canoe and to cast them into the sea, far from land. So Sinilau took the mats with Hina wrapped inside out to sea and he cast the mats and Hina into the sea. When Hina was thrown into the sea some of the ropes by which she was bound broke so Hina was able to untie herself and swim away. She swam to an island called Kapala. In time she gave birth to twin boys whom she named Fuhifamalama and Fatailangalanga. At the same time the witch-wife who had swallowed a stone and a ‘vee-kali’ gave birth to twin boys.
By magic she knew what Hina had named her sons so she gave those names to her two sons. These two sons of Hina and Sinilau grew to be handsome young men but their mother did not tell them that their father was Sinilau because she was angry that he thrown her into the sea. One day Hina’s sons came to her and asked about their father. Hina told them where Sinilau lived so they went to their father’s country. When these two sons reached the land of Sinilau the people were gathered together to have a big celebration. When the witch-wife of Sinilau saw those two young men coming she knew that they were the true sons of Sinilau and that her lie mihgt be discovered. So she called out to the people, “Look at those two young men, no mortal could be as handsome as they. They are not mortals, they are ghosts. Kill them!” The people ran forward to these two young men. They grabbed Fuhifamalama and they threw him down. They were about to kill him when his brother called out:
Sinilau, keke faka'anga'anga
Ko Hina 'ave o li he vaha,
Opeopea ki Kapala,
Fa'ele ko e mahanga,
Ko e tama ena Fuhifamalama,
Ko e tama eni Fatailangalanga,
Ka ko e otua moe tangata,
Ko e vee-kali mo e fo'i maka,
Sinilau, you decide,
Wasn't taken and cast into the sea,
She floated to Kapala,
Gave birth to twins,
That boy there is Fuhifamalama,
This boy here is Fatailangalanga,
They are but both gods and men,
From the leg of a pillow and from a stone
When Sinilau heard this poem he started to think about these words and then he understood that these two young men were his true sons. Then the witch-wife and her sons were taken and burned in their houses and these words are done.
In this story we see the pain of Hina and her sons. Sinilau also had pain because he had a wife and sons that he did not know about and only after many years did he meet his sons. But by this time his sons were grown men. I am sad for Sinilau because he only found out about his sons after they were grown. All the years that his sons had been growing, learning to walk, learning to talk, growing into handsome young men, Sinilau had not been there because he did not know that they were his sons.
I have a friend. He grew up in the Tuamotu islands that are east of Tahiti. When he was child he would go with his grandfather to his grandfather’s plantation. At night they would light a fire which would warm the ground. When they slept they put out the fire and brushed the ashes away and slept on the very sand that had been warmed by the fire. Then while he fell asleep he would look up at the stars and when he slept he would dream. I have another friend who grew up in Tongatapu. When he was young his auntie would come at night to his home and tell him stories while he fell asleep. As he listened he would say, “Isa” so that his auntie would know that he was still listening. After he fell asleep his auntie would keep on telling stories, sometimes for hours, through the night. Through these sorts of experiences we learn about culture. If we don’t teach these things to our children they will not get happiness, they will be like Sinilau who did not get happiness from watching his sons because he did not know that they were there.
Bishop Museum (title of article forgotten)
There is a cave on the east side of Koloa which faces to the east. In the back of the cave there is a hole which you can climb up through to exit the cave. On the walls of the cave below the opening there are blood stains which have come from a woman named Hina.
Once there was this mana’ia (handsome guy) named Sinilau who lived on Koloa. He heard about this beautiful girl named Hina who lived in Samoa so he journeyed to Samoa and wooed and married her. He brought her down to live in Koloa. But there were chiefs in Samoa who did not want Hina to marry Sinilau and they wanted to come to Koloa and take her back to Samoa.
Sinilau and Hina lived in the cave on the east side of Koloa. They had all their household things in the cave so it was just like home to those two. When Sinilau awoke each morning he looked out of the cave to the east to look for canoes because he knew that there were chiefs in Samoa who wanted to come and take Hina away and that they could only approach Koloa from the east.
One morning Sinilau saw canoes coming from the east to Koloa. So Hina and Sinilau fled out of the cave but they didn’t want to go out the front or they would be seen by the Samoans. They went into the back and climbed up the wall to get out the hole that was in the back of their cave. When Hina was climbing toward the hole she slipped and her leg scraped on the rock and her blood dripped onto the rocks below. That is why the blood of Hina is there in the back of the cave.
When the Samoans came they waited in front of the cave for Hina and Sinilau to come out, but they didn’t come out. So the Samoans went in and found the household stuff but they did not find Hina or Sinilau. They saw the blood on the rocks, but they didn’t see the hole, so they never could tell how Hina and Sinilau got out of the cave. These words are done.
There is a ghost in Tonga named Fehuluni. Fehuluni appears as a man to women and as a woman to men. In modern times Fehuluni will appear as a woman who will remove her head and comb it. Once a woman was flying on an airplane traveling from Tonga to America and she looked out the airplane and saw Fehuluni on the wing, combing her head.
Fehuluni (the man) was in love with Hina. Sometimes Fehuluni would come and sit on the opposite shore across the channel from Koloa.
He wanted to come and visit Hina, but he was scared to come over to Koloa because there was a dog on Koloa that would bark and that frightened Fehuluni.
Revised: February 22, 1996
Copyright © 1996 Daniel (Taniera) Longstaff