LEGEND of Mt. Talau, Vava'u Island Group, Tonga

Neiafu, Vava'u Island Group, The Kingdom of Tonga, South Pacific

The Legend of Mt. Talau: Why Mt. Talau is flat

As told by Tupou Kupu Sailoame, Neiafu, Vava’u

A very, very long time ago, some tevolo (mischievous spirits) from Samoa were looking out over the oceans from their tall mountains. Their mountains were so high that they could see everything around them, except that is, whenever they looked south, toward Tonga. These tevolo became angry because Mt. Talau, which was at the time the tallest mountain in the Kingdom of Tonga, stood in the way of their view. Mt. Talau was so tall that they could not see beyond the mountain’s top.

“We will go and steal the top of the mountain,” the Samoan tevolo planned, “then we will add its height to our mountain, so that we can see all of the world without any obstructions.”

One night, because tevolo are only able to be out during the night, the Samoan tevolo came to Vava’u to steal the top of Mt. Talau. They took out their hele pelu (bush knife) and started to cut away the top of the mountain.

The people of Vava’u, seeing what the Samoan tevolo were trying to do, started crowing like roosters as loudly as they could. They hoped to fool the Samoan tevolo into thinking that the sun was rising. However, tevolo did not fall for the trick. Instead, they finishing cutting off the top of Mt. Talau, and prepared to carry it away, back towards Samoa.

“We need help from our own tevolo!” cried the people of Vava’u. Instantly they send a request to ‘Eua, the mountainous island east of Tongatapu, where a tevolo named Tafakula lived. Tafakula was very famous for her cunning ways. She was perhaps the most cunning of all the tevolo of Tonga, and she answered the request for help almost instantly.

Tafakula quickly went to the eastern side of the island, where the sun rises. She then bent over, lifted up her skirts, and exposed her buttocks. The Samoan tevolo, seeing the bright light reflecting off of Tafakula’s exposed buttocks, thought that it was the sun rising in the east. They instantly dropped the top of Mt. Talau, and fled as fast as they could back toward Samoa. The theft of the top of Mt. Talau had been prevented and the people of Vava’u thanked Tafakula and sang her thanks and praises as she returned to ‘Eua.

The top of Mt. Talau has been flat ever since. However, what was once the top of Mt. Talau can still be seen today where it was dropped by the Samoan tevolo. It is now known as “Lotuma”, a small island found just southwest of Mt. Talau.