In ancient times in Tonga there were no people, just gods. There were these two gods named Sisi and Fainga’a and they had a Samoan slave named Pasikole.
One day these two gods discovered a new way to travel: they each built a large basket which they climbed into and they had their servant, Pasikole, carry the baskets on a pole that he hefted on his shoulder.
The two baskets were heavy and Pasikole soon became tired. So he hung the baskets from a tree and went his way. Sisi and Fainga’a, hanging from a tree, looked out the top of their baskets and saw the clouds moving across the face of the sky, so they thought that Pasikole was still carrying them. They continued to call out encouragement to Pasikole because they thought that he was doing such a good job carrying them.
However, they never reached their destination and they started to complain to Pasikole to hurry. Eventually the bottom of the baskets rotted out and Sisi and Fainga’a fell out on the ground and they saw where they were at.
They went and found Pasikole and he was their servant again. Sisi and Fainga’a decided to take a trip to Samoa. This time they had Pasikole row their canoe.
When Pasikole prepared the canoe he hid some leis in the back of the canoe because he was planning another trick.
When they were out in the middle of the ocean on their journey, Pasikole took the leis that he had hidden, then he stood up in the canoe and pointed into the sea and cried out that he saw fish in the sea. Then he jumped in. Sisi and Fainga’a, who had not noticed that he was clutching the leis, thought that Pasikole was jumping after the fish and they stood on the edge of the canoe platform waiting for Pasikole to come up. But he did not.
Pasikole swam behind the canoe and hid behind the stern and put on the leis that he had been carrying and he waited until Sisi and Fainga’a were sure that he must have drowned. Then Pasikole sunk back down and swam up to where Sisi and Fainga’a were waiting and rose up between them. When Sisi and Fainga’a saw the leis on Pasikole they were surprised and asked him where he had gotten those things.
Pasikole told them, “There are people in the bottom of the sea and they were having a party and they invited me to eat with them. I would have stayed, but I thought that you two would like to join me.”
Sisi and Fainga’a wanted to dive in to attend the party at the bottom of the sea.
But Pasikole told them that they had to wear leis first. So he took off his leis and put them on Sisi and Fainga’a. However, when Pasikole put the leis on his two masters, he was sure to tangle their arms and feet so that they could not swim.
Then the three of them jumped into the sea. But since only Pasikole had his arms and feet free to swim, only Pasikole climbed back into the canoe. Sisi and Fainga’a could only struggle vainly in the ocean as Pasikole rowed away.
In Tonga, sometimes the people will see lights deep in the ocean. They say that it is Sisi and Fainga’a trying to get free. If Tongan children cry, sometimes their parents tell them that if they continue to cry that their parents will call for Sisi and Fainga’a to come and get them.
Tongan Myths and Tales by Edward Winslow Gifford. Revised: March 1, 1996 Copyright © 1996 Daniel (Taniera) Longstaff