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Rotuma (Battle of the Shark and Octopus).

In our research to find some myths and legends, we came across this article. I didn't want to rephrase it, so it doesn't lose any of its intention of the legend.

According to myths and legends, there was once a battle between the shark god, Dakuwaqa and an octopus.

The book Myths and Legends of Fiji and Rotuma, written by A W Reed and Inez Hames has the mythical story on the battle of the shark and the octopus.

It says Dakuwaqa, the shark god, was the most restless and therefore the best-known of all the monsters that guarded the reef entrances of the islands.

“He was headstrong, fearless and jealous of all other reef guardians. He spent a good deal of his time fighting with them or trying to find and challenge others whom he had not met

“His quest took him to the islands of Lomaiviti. It did not take him long to subdue the guardians of this reef in the group, so he set out for Suva.

“For the moment he was sated with battle, but when he was challenged by a local monster, the old fire returned to the shark god and they circled each other warily.

“Dakuwaqa dashed in and seized the guardian in his strong jaws. To and fro they struggled, raising great waves which rolled into the mouth of the Rewa River and flooded the valleys for many miles inland.”

the local god paid for his temerity and Dakuwaqa swam onwards with his jaws open wide in a broad grin.

as Dakuwaqa drew near to Beqa, he met his old friend Masilaca, also a shark god, who asked him if he had ever been to Kadavu Island.

He replied “no” and was asked if he was afraid, which made the blood rush to Dakuwaqa’s head.

Dakuwaqa then told Masilaca that if they had not known each other for so long, then he would have shown him whether he was afraid or not.

He then turned and sped towards Kadavu. As he went near the reef, he heard a deep voice calling to him from the shore.

“I am Tui Vesi, the guardian of the Vesi tree. My work is more important than yours. I would gladly join battle with you but I cannot leave the land nor you the sea,”

“Yet if you go further down the coast you will find a reef guardian who will prove worthy of your attention.”

The guardian was a giant octopus which anchored itself to the coral with four of its arms and held the others loosely on top of the water.

Dakuwaqa adopted his usual tactics and rushed towards his opponent with his mouth open wide and teeth gleaming like shining white knives.

“To his surprise he found himself brought up with a jerk. Two tentacles coiled round his body, another kept his tail from moving, and a fourth arm slid round his mouth and gradually forced the gaping jaws together.

“The middle tentacles gripped tighter, almost squeezing the life from him. They were bands biting deeply into his flesh. The shark felt that in another moment the life would be squeezed out of him.

“With a huge effort he wrenched his mouth open against the squeezing tentacles and for the first time in his life he begged for mercy.”

the octopus asked Dakuwaqa if he would protect its people when they go fishing and keep them safe from sharks at all times.

When Dakuwaqa replied “yes”, the octopus released him and the shark god kept his promise faithfully.

“The fishermen of other islands must guard against sharks continually, but from Kadavu the canoes go out with men laughing and singing, following the phosphorescent wake of Dakuwaqa, knowing no fear.

“He has become their protector,” says the book.

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