LEGEND OF THE MOSQUITO
– ART PRINT BY DAWN LEE REYES
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The Legend of the Mosquito is peculiar to the Talo’fo’fo area. The version I know is this: Once upon a time, a long time ago, but only just yesterday, the son of a Talo’fo’fo Chief married the daughter of a chief from Tamuneng. They were happy together and lived in Talo’fo’fo. One day, for no apparent reason, the young bride died. The husband was so disconsolate that he did not bury his wife as tradition dictated. Instead, he put her body on a boat and went out to sea with her. After many days, a Taotaomo’na told the young husband that he could bring his wife back and requested a pin made of bamboo. When the Taotaomo’na received the bamboo pin, he pricked the young man’s finger, allowing the blood to drip onto the dead woman’s body, and she came back to life.
After a time, the young husband went on land to gather food. When he returned, he found his reincarnated wife with another man. In his anger he struck her with the same pin the Taotaomo’na had used to revive her. When her blood flowed into the river, it turned into mosquito larvae, and she disappeared. When the mosquitos hatched, they swarmed the husband. And now it is known that the mosquito is the transformed soul of the young woman, and when a mosquito bites people it is said to be the revenge of the Taotaomo’na for the destruction of the woman’s life.