Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/190

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

1 80 Collectanea.

same motives and affected by the same passions as they themselves were. It was quite easy, therefore, to account for observed facts, and in most cases the explanation was that certain conditions were the result of the victory or defeat of contending parties. The vines and climbing plants ran over the large forest trees and some- times strangled them. This, of course, was their privilege, because in olden days the trees and the climbing plants fought and the latter were victorious. The mountain Plantatis (Musa urano- spatha) and one species of banana always bear their fruit pointing upwards from a short thick stem from the top of the plant. All the other species of bananas bear their fruit on a long stem, and hang with the bunch pointing to the ground. The reason is obvious, viz., that in olden days the plantain and the bananas fought and the plantain conquered, and so the bananas have to hang their heads in token of submission. Only one species of banana sided with the plantains, and he lifts his head proudly to the sky as the plantains do, even to this day. The earth and the rocks fought and the earth conquered, and so it covers the rocks as it has the right to do. If we had the whole of the story we should, no doubt, have an explanation given why some pinnacles of rock are bare and have no earth covering them.

The birds and fishes fought with varying results, as the present stories tell, and that is why the whitebait can now go inland and why the gulls, the heron (Ardea sacra) and the Tuli (Charadrius fulvus), and other birds, can prey upon the fishes whenever they can get them. The personality extended to what we call inanimate objects, for there is a well-known story, complete in all its details, of a mountain called Tapatapao which quarrelled with the other mountains on Savaii, and so bitter was the quarrel that Tapatapao decided that it would not live any longer amongst such undesirable companions, and it therefore departed in anger (ua sii le teva) and first rested on the west end of Upolu. Unfortunately, however, the mountains of Savaii were visible from that place, and so great was the anger of Tapatapao at the treatment which it had received, that it again moved its position, and finally settled down at a place on Upolu from which the mountains of Savaii are not visible. A proverb connected with this story is often used by the people.