The Legend of Lupe and Sina

This story is about a married couple and their children. The boy’s name was Lupe (pigeon) and the girl’s, Sina. The parents gave Lupe the following order "Do not permit Sina to eat anything cold, but prepare a hot meal three times a day, morning, noon and night." Then the parents died and there were only the two children left.

Sina did not like to have food cooked for her so often. So she told Lupe that one hot meal a day ought to be enough. This made Lupe angry. He said to Sina, "It looks as if you did not appreciate what I am doing for you"

Then Lupe stood in front of the house and, to marvelous to relate, he turned into a pigeon and flew away. Sina wept. Then she took a boat and went to look for her brother.

She reached the shore of another country. As she was tired, she stretched out on the beach and went to sleep. There lived in that place a chief and his servant. Their names were Ulu-sele-atamai and Ulu-sele-valea. Selevalea went to the beach to draw water. He was surprised to see the girl. He said to himself, "Oh, what a beautiful girl that is." Then he went back and said to Seleatamai, "Come quickly, there is the most beautiful girl lying on the beach." Seleatamai said, "Go and wake her up; if she starts with apprehension, come back and I’ll go down. If she is not startled, return with all speed and let us escape inland, for she is an ogre."

Selevalea went along. The girl saw him but did not start. So, the boy hurried back to his master. Seleatamai said to Valea, "Run to Tigilau and ask him to come, lest we be killed."

Valea did as he was bid. Tigilau came and asked, What's the trouble?" Seleatamai said, "We are afraid to be killed by that person there on the beach." Tigilau went down and stayed with the girl. She became pregnant and Tigilau married her. They went to live in the village. When Tigilau's concubines saw Sina, they said, "How disgusting! That thing must be an albino."

The villagers went fishing. There was an ordinance that allowed no one to use a boat while Tigilau and Sina paddled about in theirs. All had to swim. The fishing expedition returned at nightfall. They left their fish baskets on the malae. The catch was to be distributed the next morning. During the night, three girls emptied the baskets. They scattered the fish all the way to Sina’s sleeping mat. Then the villagers got up next morning and saw the fish, they said, "That thing must be a demon. Let us get firewood and burn her." But Tigilau begged, "What about taking her to the bush instead of burning her? She is pregnant." The people were agreeable. Then Tigilau asked a young man to take her to his sisters who lived in the bush.

The two of them left and reached the house. The young man returned to the village. Sina entered the house and gave birth to a child. Tigilau’s sisters were in the house. Their names were Tulia and Sulia. Tulia was a cannibal. Sulia was a soothsayer and very clever. She knew everything that happened in the village.

The sisters heard the wailing of the infant. Sulia ran and lifted the child in her arms. Then she said to Tulia, "Run quickly to Tigilau. Tell him to give you Sina’s wedding mat."

Tulia hurried off. Tigilau saw her from a distance and knew that there was trouble. . Tulia called out to Tigilau, Give me quickly Sina's wedding mat. Why have you abandoned Sina?" Tigilau did not answer. So Tulia jumped upon her brother and was going to devour him. Tigilau was startled and said, "Go and eat fifty of the villagers and their children." Tulia went and disposed of them. Then the girl returned, her stomach hanging low. She shouted, "I am hungry." Again Tigilau said, Go and eat another fifty and their children." Tulia went and did so.

Tigilau was longing for his wife, so he went to the bush. When he reached the house, Sina's brother Lupe was just arriving too. The latter flew into the house. Lupe said, "I have brought Sina’s wedding gift." He shook one wing and the house was filled with fine mats. Then he shook the other wing and the mats overflowed the house.

Then Sina ran and sat on the pigeon's back. They flew off and returned home. Tigilau took the child and followed in a boat.

Lupe and Sina were surprised when they saw Tigilau and the boy. Then the pigeon turned into a man again. From that time on they cooked only once a day instead of three times. This is the reason why the Samoan cooking fires are lit only once daily. Lupe and Sina were happy to be together again, but Tigilau and the child lived in the outhouse. When Lupe took the food out of the oven he gave a small share to Tigilau. Then Tigilau would chew some taro and feed the child. The boy thrived and grew in strength.

One day the good old relations were reestablished. Lupe became the head of the family, whilst Sina and Tigilau lived in the outhouse and the boy looked after the cooking.

George Thurman, 1999