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MYTH AND LEGENDZ320 weeks ago
 
THE FRIENDSHIP OF FOLASAITU AND TUIMANUA
NA FAAUO FOLASAITU MA TUIMANUA
INTRODUCTION:
There are many stories of ancient Samoa that are not easily accepted in the minds and hearts of Samoans of modern times, and it is quite understandable when it is questioned whether these happenings were truth or fiction.
Herein is another of those stories of wonder - a tale of a man who had been born without legs, who took another man's legs as his own.
According to the oral traditions that exist, it is certain that the human being was dual form - man and spirit.Thus, it is almost impossible for the modern mind to comprehend how allowance was made for such happenings within nature and the manner of living things - totally beyond any modern expectations.
The legend is about the friendship that was founded between Folasa of Falelima, and Tuimanu'a from Manua(the eastern part of Samoa).
In researching this story in Savaii, it was important to obtain testimony from the residents of the village of Falelima. Afioga Aiolupo Fauatea Taaititi of Falelima made a meaningful contribution on behalf of the village. According to Aiolupo, this was not mere fiction, but rather it was a true occurrence as had been related by the forefathers of this village - they who had been the custodians of the oral traditions. He also claimed that these stories were of the times when spirits roamed the land, and they were recorded in the hearts of past generations to be carried through to this day. The title Folasa is well respected, not only in Falelima, but also in the district of Alataua, and throughout the Samoas, from west to east.

There are two words that are usually affixed to the name Folasa. The first is'aitu' [meaning spirit or ghost], the second being 'iite' [meaning premonition or fore-warning]. Thus the title can be Folasaitu or Folasaiite.
In earlier Samoa, humans often appeared to act like spirits, and though it may seem unbelieveable,they were able to feel a premonition of things to come, and were fore-warned of any threat to their well-being.
There are some writers who believe there was such a spiritual bond between Folasa and Tuimanua. The title Folasa is often used in ceremony by known orators and chiefs,especially in the eastern part ofSamoa, or Manua. Perhaps the friendship between Folasa and Tuimanua had grown over constant association.
Samoa is a land of many legends. Conceivably, this version of the legend may not be complete, but our main purpose is to create a channel for thought for future generations, that they may develop an interest and appreciation for the oral traditions of Samoa.

THE LEGEND:
"O LE MANAVA O MAILEIA E FIA MAUA NI MEA"
There were kings, warriors and other great men of ancient Samoa that were known for their way of life. Many of them were also known for their heroic prowess and fierce chivalry. Added to their valour was their super-natural premonition of danger or threat. Thus the people of Samoa lived in awe and utmost reverence of their kings and noble men. It was the era of time that many phrases or words were added to the titles of kings and noble men, that exist to this day.
Folasa, was a noble man of Falelima, Savai'i. He became a known and respected orator amongst his people,and the respect for the title is carried forth to present times. According to the testimony of our source of information, the title became known as Folasaaitu or Folasaiite, because ofthe supernatural ways and manner ofthis ancient noble.

"The Friendship with Tuimanu'a"
In parts of this legend, there were varied opinions. Some believe it was the son of Tuimanua who had visited Folasa in Savaii, and not the Tuimanua. Others claim it was theTuimanua himself who had called on Folasa in Falelima. Most certainly, the friendship surely fostered out of the great respect and esteem Folasaitu and Tuimanua held for each other.
Hence the legend. The Tuimanua hada son, Umatagata, who had been born without legs. Throughout his life, the boy was carried wherever he wished to go by the people of Tuimanua. Umatagata grew into a fair and handsome young man, and his father,the Tuimanua, loved him dearly. TheTuimanua became deeply concerned for his son's future, especially if hewere to lead his people one day.
In his heart, the Tuimanua wondered if there was any one person with supernatural powers who could cause legs to grow for his son. He thought of his friend who was able to foresee the future that lived in Savaii and said, "There is no harm in approaching Folasa, as he is known for his supernatural powers to see if he can save Umatagata from the tragic stateof life he is in".
Thus they prepared the son ot' theTuimanua for his journey to the island of Savaii to meet with Folasaitu, who lived in the village of Falelima.

On the day t.hat the boy lef't the shores of Manua, the 'Tuimanua began to pray to the gods of' the Sea to clear the way and caim the waves. He also called upon the spirlts of' his roya! ancestors for their protection over Umatagata.


"Oh Folasaitu beloved friend, Umatagata has begun his journey in search of limbs, Call upon your supernatural entity, To accept him with dignity" (Folasaitu, le uo mamae o Umatagata ua folau atu e fia maua ni ona vae, Vavalo ia ma e iite faasaualii, Talia ai le tama i aga faatamalii)



There is some belief; that the boy's pilgrimage stopped over in several parts of Upolu but he remained intent to reach Falelima. It is saidl that Folasaitu. hadd preremonition of the pilgrimage-and with his people began to concentrate on the f'uture.
Maileia, or Maleia was the wife of Folasaitu.She was a maiden of' the village of Vaisala in the Asau District. Tapuna was the son of Folasaaitu. The pilgrimage of Umatagata arrived safely at Falelima, and the young man was carried by his people to theresidence of Folasa. The noble man and his people were startled to see their guest had no legs. After the traditional exchange of greetings, the visitors were treated to a sumptuous feast that had been cheerfully prepared for them by their hosts.
When they had finished eating,Umatagata presented his case beforeFolasa, while the people of the village listened attentively. "Most honoured Sir, [Lau Afioga e], as you gaze upon my being, you will see that I have no legs. I have been sent to you by theTuimanua, to seek your assistance. I have waited in vain for the spirits of my father's family". This was the heart-rending plea of Umatagata.
Undoubtedly, Folasaitu was greatly perplexed, but he was also very mindful of his status for which had had become famous. He was known to take on any challenge.
After much deliberation, and deep thought, he replied solemnly:
"Sir, I think your mission has not been in vain.The spirits of my ancestors have spoken. I know from within me what should be To serve as memorial Of my friendship with the Tuimanua."
Folasa then instructed those who served him to bring forward his own beloved son, Tapuna, and to remove his legs for Umatagata. His wife Maileia was heart-broken and pleaded with her husband, that her own legs be sacrificed so that her son might be saved. In spite of his wife's pleas for her son, Folasaitu would not change his mind, and his instructions were carried out.


Alas, the tears of sorrow, and the heart wrenching cries of the mother,Maileia, were shared by all present,and the people of the village wept out of love for Tapuna. And Maileia cried from her heart "Alas! If only the womb of Maileia could bring forth legs for Tapuna, my only beloved son who lost his life when his legs were taken from him..." The mystery remains as to how it was possible to physically join the legs of Tapuna to the body of Umatagata.Undoubtedly, the supernatural powersof Folasaaitu enabled the legs of his son to become the legs of the son ofTuimanua, even though it cost him the life of his son. Two sets of emotions prevailed on that day - sorrow for Tapuna and joy for Umatagata.

NOTES
1. When her son Tapuna died, Maileia returned to her village, Vaisala. There are some, however, who claim she turned to stone off the shores of Falelima. Soa and Oloapu of Vaisala, spoke on behalf of the people of Vaisala, and their belief is that the woman trekked the dense forests inland of Falelima towards Vaisala. Her lamentations and tears of sorrow were felt by the spirits of the forests, and they too shared her loss and sadness.
2. Folasaitu searched for his wife that day but she was not found. Then he urged those who served him and the people of the village to hasten after her. Those of Vaisala believe the search party did not walk the forests but rather they looked for her along the shore. When they reached Vaisala, they still found no trace of the woman - then they turned inland towards the forests.
3. The people of Vaisala claim, that just as the search party began to walk through the forest, they saw the woman sink into the earth.There is a part of the land inland of Vaisala known as "Paleataito " meaning the woman sank into the earth just as the search party reached her. The people of Vaisala believe Maileia turned into rock upon their own soil. The common belief is that Maileia went back to her village and never returned toFolasaaitu. Others of Vaisala claim there is a memorial upon their soil of the woman Maileia.
4. In our research of this legend, there were no written accounts that existed. Perhaps our findings can help explain the origin and meaning of a phrase often used in Samoan oratory - "O manava o Maileia e fia maua ni mea (vae)". [That the womb of Maileia will be productive].
5. We have no doubt that there was some relation, either by blood or title lineage between Tuimanua and Folasaaitu as there is mention of Folasa in the writings of Margaret Mead, "Social Organisation of Manua", p. 112. Mead claimed the title Folasa was the ceremonial title of Tufele of Fitiuta in the Eastern Samoa
 posted by St Tiny Teddy 

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