John Simpson

My mum Sala Simpson told me this story about how the people of Beqa in the country of Fiji got the gift of fire walking. The story tells us to be grateful.

Fire Walking

About 500 years ago, when there were only 50 people in the village Nakorovu in the highland of central Beqa island, an old man in the village, Dredre (meaning love) told stories to the young people. Yet, he would only tell them a story if they gave him a gift. One young man, Tunaivigalita promised to give Dredre a fresh eel as a gift. Dredre agreed to tell him stories once he gave him the eel.

The next morning Tunaivigalita followed a small stream near the village in search of an eel. As he moved upstream, he came across a big rock in the stream. He put his hand under the rock, hoping to catch an eel, but instead, he felt something soft and warm. So, he pulled it out, and in his hand was a perfect tapa cloth undamaged by the water. The tapa cloth was wound around something that he could feel moving inside.

He unwound the tapa and a small man jumped out shouting, “Don’t kill me, give me life. I will make you the strongest man on the island.”

Tungivigalita replied, “I’m already the strongest man on the island and I will kill you.”

Then, the small man said, “Don’t kill me. I will give you the gift of walking on fire. I will bury you for four nights, but you will be unhurt and still be living.”

Then, Tungivigalita said, “I will only have the gift of fire walking and not the other gifts.”

“So be it,” said the small man. “You and the people of Beqa have the gift of fire walking.”

Tunaivigalita looked unsure, so he said to the small man, “I will come to see if you are true.”

When the sunset faded away, they set the fire with stones until it got red hot. Then, the small man danced on the fire and he told Tunaivigalita to come.

So, they danced and danced together.