Tale Tokelau: the stars

The tales of Tokelau contain many references to mythological characters and events found in tales from other parts of Polynesia. Numerous myths mention trips to Fiji and the people there, a common feature of Samoan tales. Here is the Tokelau tale about the stars in English.

the stars

The Stars: Legend of the Stars

There were two brothers, Kupenga and Kakau, each of whom had two sons. The four boys went fishing together, but Filo and Mea, the sons of Kupenga, always caught the most fish. They played games together and wrestled, but Filo and Mea always won. The sons of Kakau became jealous of their cousins, so Kakau sent for the two sons of Kupenga and ordered them to go and catch a big sumu (a fish).

Filo and Mea went to the beach and collected all the waste they could find and threw it into the sea. It floated to the large sumu that was lying at the mouth of the channel. The fish ate it and swelled up. Then the two boys went out, caught the fish, and brought it ashore. Kakau was astonished and asked, “How did you boys manage to kill such a great fish?”

Kakau sent them out again, this time to kill the great Matuku, a bird that had caught their sister and carried her off to be his wife. The two boys went to Matuku and killed him and then started on their return with Sina, their sister. On their way they came to a big hole that led to the bottom of the sea. In their attempt to cross, Sina and one boy jumped over it, but the second brother fell in. 

The brother who remained with Sina told her to return to their father and to tell him, when she reached there, to go out that night from his house and he would see his two sons. Then he jumped into the hole. The boys and the Matuku went to the sky, where they may be seen with the sumu in the four-star constellations: Na Tangata, the boys; Te Manu, the bird husband of Sina; and Te Sumu, the fish they had caught. They can be seen above the islands of Samoa.