Sina and the Eel
Sina and the Eel:
The Origin of the Coconut

Sina was born long, long ago on the Samoan Island of Tutuila. She was a perfect baby, beautiful to look at and equally beautiful on the inside, radiating love and happiness.

One day when she was a little girl she was not feeling very well. Her mother thought to give her a pet to cheer her up.  While at the reef near their village taking her daily bath, Sina's mother saw a baby eel and thought, this is the pet I will bring home to Sina. She put him in a shell that she found on the reef and took him to Sina. When Sina saw the eel, she smiled happily and knew that they would be great friends. The eel lived in the shell until he grew too big for it, and then Sina put him in a large kava bowl to give him lots of room to swim and play. Everyday, she fed him. They played together and soon became best friends. Eventually, when the eel grew too large for the bowl, Sina placed him back in the pool and went there everyday to play and bathe.

Sina grew into a beautiful young woman, gentle, wise and a loyal friend. One morning she didn't show up at the pool.  The eel was distressed.  When Sina came the following day and saw how upset the eel was, she explained that she was now a grown woman and could not come to him each day, as she had been doing.

The eel cried out, "Sina, Sina, I miss you when you are not here.  You must not miss a day!"

"Oh dear!", Sina exclaimed. "You have to understand that I am now a grown woman. I must do the things that a woman does, like weave mats and plant taro, and, of course, I need to find a husband!"

"No, no, no!" said the eel. "I am the one that you have to marry. I love you, Sina!"

"Oh, dear friend eel, I cannot marry you. You have to find an eel to marry. I have to marry a man."

"But Sina, I don't know any other eels and you're the one I love.  Please, Sina, marry me!"

The eel continued to argue, saying over and over that he could not live without her, but when he saw that he could not change her mind, he asked her to promise to do anything he asked.

"Oh, eel," said Sina, "you are my best and dearest friend. Of course I will keep a promise to you, as long as it's not to marry you!"

The eel directed Sina to return to the reef the next day, bring her father and to make sure he had his bush knife with him. Sina did as she was asked, and because this was Samoa, the whole family came along with the father. The eel directed Sina's father to chop off his head and bury it in a hole next to Sina's house. Sina was to then pour water everyday on the spot where his head would be buried.

"No, no!" said Sina. "I can't let my father do that to you, eel!"

"Well," eel said, "a promise is a promise, and you promised me that you would follow my directions."

Sina let out a cry as her father chopped off the eel's head in one fell swoop. Then, as requested, she buried his head next to her home. Everyday she watered the spot where the head was buried. Soon, a beautiful graceful tree rose up at the spot. From the trunk grew long strong leaves and under the leaves large meaty coconuts. The voice of the eel could be heard as the wind whistled through the leaves, telling Sina that from that day on, the people of Samoa would have strong pillars to build their homes, and leaves to weave mats, and roofs for the homes, and best of all, they would never go hungry or thirsty because the coconuts would feed them all.

If you look at a coconut, you will see the head of the eel, and when you take a sip of milk from the mouth of a coconut, you can taste the love that the eel had for Sina.