THE LEGEND OF SINA AND HER SUITORS

 

 

A woman, named Sina, lived with her daughter, who was also named Sina, in Savavau. Reports of the girl's beauty had spread far and wide and soon the matchmaking parties of Tuitoga, Tuifiti, Tigilau and the boys Tutu and Ila, came to court the young lady.

 

One day, when Sina and Sina were sitting together, the mother said to her daughter, “Go to the coconut plantation and collect some taume (Sheaths of coconut blossoms used  for lighting fires) while I do some weeding inland.”

 

While the girl was collecting taume, she saw a boat approaching. It carried the matchmakers of the king of Tonga. The girl ran to her mother and told her. The mother said, “Get a big taume; now jump into it and hide.” The girl jumped into the taume and the mother hung it up in the house, just as the Tuitonga’s boat reached the beach.

 

The travelers entered the house and asked where Sina was. The mother replied, “She went to gather some taume and has not returned yet. You’d better go and cook yourselves some food.” So the travelers went to prepare the oven. They were looking for some taume and one boy said to Sina, “Let me have that taume to light the fire.” Replied Sina, “I will not let you have my taume. Go to the coconut plantation near the cookhouse and gather your taume.” The boy went. By the time the food was ready to serve, the girl had not returned. The Tuitonga then said, “We’d better go home.” So the travelers left.

 

Some time later, while the girl was again gathering taume, she spied the matchmakers of the King of Fiji. They were treated like those of Tuitonga. Again Sina hid her daughter in a taume. Once more the cooks came begging for a taume, but Sina would not give them hers because her child was hidden in it. The Tuifit had to depart without the girl.

 

Sina and her daughter lived undisturbed for a while. Then the girl went again to collect taume. While she was busy with her work, she saw new suitors approach. They were the two brothers, Tutu and Ila. The girl cried and called.

 

Sina, Sina, look;

New suitors are coming

They are the chiefs Tutu and Ila.

I am afraid they will carry me off

And leave you all alone. Alas!

 

Sina came running and covered the child with a kava bowl. When the matchmakers arrived the mother sent them to do the cooking. While the food was cooking, the boys wanted to make miti (a dish of grated coconut). So they went looking for a bowl. The mother, however, was sitting on the bowl. The boys said, “Let us have that bowl to make our miti.” Sina would not give it to them. She said, “Go and find your own bowl.” The boys, however, went and took it by force. They were not a little surprised to see the girl sitting underneath it. They said, “That’s fine; we've got the girl; let us go.” So they left Sina behind and departed with the girl.

 

On the way they met the matchmaking of Tigilau. Immediately an argument was begun on the high seas. Tigilau said, “Give me the girl that I may marry her. You are not acting right. There are two of you whilst I am more eligible, being by myself.” Tigilau finally prevailed and Tutu and Ila departed. Tigilau then sailed a way with the girl and made her his wife.

 

George Thurman, 1999