The boat came from the west and called at Fagasa for a rest. It was the boat of Li’ava’a, the king of Fiji, who was on a voy­age with his daughter Sina. It was this king’s custom to have his kava daily while sailing on the high seas.

While they were in Fagasa, Li’ava’a asked Sina if she had filled her water bottles. The girl answered, “No.” So Li’ava’a  sent her to draw water. The girl took the coconut bottles and went to the spring Vaitilofia inland of the place called Taputapu. 

When Sina had filled the bottles, she wished to pick some Job’s tears. The plant grew near the spring. She put down the bottles and got busy picking the berries. 

When the Fijians were about to resume their journey, Li’ava’a  asked whether Sina had returned. The crew answered that she was asleep. But it was not so; the girl was still engaged picking Job’s tears. Li’ava’a ordered, “Raise the anchor and let us go.”

When the canoe was far out in the sea, Li’ava’a suddenly said, “Awaken Sina that she may chew some kava.” They searched and searched, but the girl was not to be found. Li’ava’a now knew that she had been left behind in Fagasa. Then Li’ava’a took hold of the paletua (a stick for the steersman to lean against) and beat the men. The crew cast themselves into the sea and begged Li’ava’a to spare their lives. He answered, “No, you shall die this very day.” Then he threw bananas at them. The crew said Li'ava'a please command what we are to do.” Li'ava'a replied, “Be changed into dolphins and rise in Fagasa Bay every year.” 

When Sina had finished picking the berries, she went with her water bottles towards the sea. She stood on the beach. She looked, but there was no boat. Only the mast could still be seen in the distance. Then the girl cried and one of her water bottles cracked. A spring bubbled up which exists to this day. It is called Tofu. Then the girl waded into the sea with the other coconut bottle. She stood on a rock in the sea. She waved with her white fan, but no one saw her. The boat was too far away. She cried again and the other bottle cracked. A spring bubbled up from under the rock in the sea. Even at high tide its water is fresh to the present day. 

While Sina was standing there weeping, Togamana, who had been out fishing, came along. He asked, “Why do you cry?” The girl replied, “I have been left behind by my father and his crew. ”  So he made Sina jump into his canoe and took her ashore. Then Sina lived with Togamana in wedlock. 

Before long Li'ava'a's boat was seen approaching. Li'ava'a said to Togamana, “Did you notice those dolphins in the sea?” Togamana replied, “Yes, I saw them.” Li’ava’a then said, “They shall be Sina’s dowry to your Excellency and come to you every year.” 

In Fagasa there still are two rocks known as “Sina’s Rock” and “Li’ava’a’s Rock”. And to this very day the dolphins appear every year in the Bay of Fagasa.


© George Thurman, 1999