Balladeer’s Blog’s look at The Gods of Fiji has been a hit! For another deity from Fiji here is Tuilakemba, whom I also went ahead and added to the main article. For more than 20 other gods from Fiji see my blog post HERE
TUILAKEMBA – This figure was the son of Tuilangi, the god who ruled over the Skyland, and a mortal woman. When Tuilakemba was a little boy he was often ridiculed by the other children for not having a father on hand like they did. One day the young demigod had had enough and threatened to kill his mother unless she told him who his father was.
She did so and Tuilakemba was spitefully satisfied. He took to carrying around an ironwood war-club wherever he went. He would use it to strike the heads off flowers, gleefully anticipating one day knocking off the heads of his enemies in wartime just as easily, given his massive strength.
On one occasion he took a nap, planting the ironwood war-club upright in the ground next to him while he slept. When he awoke he saw that the war-club had grown into an enormous tree which reached all the way up to the Skyland realm of his father. Tuilakemba took advantage of the situation and climbed up the newly-formed tree to the land above.
The little boy walked through the jungle of Skyland until he reached the village ruled by his father Tuilangi. That lord of the land above was in the middle of a council of war regarding his armies’ recent losses in their ages-old conflict with the evil gods of the sky.
Tuilakemba announced himself as Tuilangi’s son and presented greetings from his mother. The lord of Skyland welcomed his son but admonished him for not waiting until he was older and bigger to visit the land above. Tuilangi mockingly pointed out that with war raging men were needed in Skyland, not children.
On cue Tuilangi’s sycophantic subordinates laughed at their Chief’s witticism. The enraged Tuilakemba walked up to the one who had laughed the loudest and struck him with such force that he fell to the ground, dazed.
Tuilangi and his men stopped their laughing and praised the little godling’s strength. The lord of the land above handed his son his own war-club, made from the wood of Skyland’s trees, meaning it was powerful enough to slay even gods. At Tuilangi’s urging Tuilakemba used the war-club to crush the skull of his fallen victim.
That night a great feast was held in Tuilakemba’s honor and during the festivities the little boy carved a war-club of his own from the supernatural wood of the sky realm’s trees. The next morning Tuilakemba went forth alone to battle the armies of the evil gods opposed to his father.
The demigod triumphed, slaying specifically 42 of the evil deities while forcing the rest to retreat. Tuilakemba sat atop a mound of the bloodied corpses of his dead foemen while the death-drums were sounded. In the days ahead the man-child vanquished his father’s enemies in four more battles until at length the evil deities sued for peace.
Tuilakemba remained in Skyland for years, growing ever-stronger as he entered manhood and periodically going forth to defeat the evil sky-gods whenever they would work up the courage to once again wage war on Tuilangi. Those evil deities who were not slain by Tuilakemba fled or fell to the Earth below to plague human beings with their mischief.
After long years of exploring and conquering every hidden realm of Skyland, Tuilakemba had defeated any and all opposition to his father’s rule. Tuilangi was undisputed Chief of all Skyland, so, longing for more battles and conquest Tuilakemba returned to the Earth below.
During the time period that the demigod had spent in Skyland, the supreme deity Ndengei had unleashed the flood to overwhelm the fortress of his rebellious grandsons and that flood had washed away the tree which Ndengei had long ago created to join the Earth to Skyland. (In some versions it was this tree which Tuilakemba climbed to reach the land above, NOT a tree formed from his war-club.)
With no more tree for his son to climb down, Tuilangi had Tuilakemba carried down to Fiji by two of his subordinate deities, winged giants with brown skin except for their faces, which were white. Accounts vary regarding whether or not the accompanying deities stayed with Tuilakemba or immediately flew back to Skyland.
In any event the demigod proceeded to conquer all the islands of Fiji, even defeating the patron gods of all the areas he took over. The only deity that Tuilakemba was wary of challenging was the supreme god Ndengei at Rakiraki.
Both figures regarded each other with respect and war was avoided by a political marriage between Tuilakemba and Ndengei’s daughter Matakamica. That goddess of love and beauty had eyes so sweet that they could fill any man or god with thoughts of romance. Matakamica bore Tuilakemba a son named Taliaitupou.
That son ruled the island of Lakemba when his father left Fiji in search of other lands to conquer. (When French missionaries began interacting with Fijians the Fijians identified the Emperor Napoleon with their departed god Tuilakemba, much like Alexander the Great became “Iskander” in far east legends.)
Eventually the demigod returned to Skyland to rule alongside his father until the inevitable day when the Skyland falls upon the Earth below, destroying both worlds. This event has been considered unavoidable in Fijian myths since the sweeping away of the tree linking Earth and Sky.
Fijians still use expressions referring to “when the sky falls” like other cultures refer to the end of the world.
NOTE: For clarity’s sake I used the name Tuilakemba for this entity through the entire entry. He was called “The Child Who Challenges Men” during his early years in Skyland and then “The Slayer From The Sky” when he first returned to Earth. Tuilakemba (“King of Lakemba”) became his name when he and his wife ruled Lakemba and had their son there.
I chose Tuilakemba as the name to use because it ties into the reason why the demigod’s son Taliaitupou and all the subsequent Kings of Lakemba do NOT use the title Tuilakemba but instead go by the title King of Naiau. That is because “there is only ONE King of Lakemba (Tuilakemba) and if anyone else ever uses the title then Tuilakemba will return from Skyland to kill that person.”
FOR THE TOP 15 IROQUOIS DEITIES CLICK HERE – https://glitternight.com/2013/01/28/the-top-fifteen-deities-in-iroquois-mythology/
FOR SIMILAR ARTICLES AND MORE OF THE TOP LISTS FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/top-lists/
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9 responses to “FIJIAN DEMIGOD TUILAKEMBA”
This is such an awesome figure!
That is such a great but overlooked myth!
Wow! Thor can eat his heart out over this guy’s adventures!
Ha! I know what you mean!
I could read your mythology posts all day long!
Thank you very much.
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