ʻŪfia mo Latā/en

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ʻŪfia (= to cover) and Latā (= clouded(?)) are the proper names of two clouds in the myth of Sisimataʻilaʻā, the son of the sun. When Sisimataʻilaʻā wanted to speak with his father, he had to wait until the latter rose and then tell him about his intended marriage to Fatafehi, the Tuʻi Tonga's daughter before the sun rose too high. For two days Sisimataʻilaʻā failed as he fell asleep shortly before sunrise and when he awoke the sun was too high in the sky and could not retrace his daily path. But the third morning he succeeded. The sun saw him and pulled the clouds ʻŪfia and Latā to cover him and his son from the rest of the world so that they could speak in private.

Poets use the names as a reference to clouds, especially those in the morning along the eastern horizon. As such they can also serve as a navigational direction. Examples:

… Sky times 3, sky times 4
there live the covered and the clouded
it is a different sky, the raining sky
and it covers the clear sky …[1]
Birds in flight over the harbour
gliding in contrast with the dawn
playing in the distance beyond the clouds
there where light lies hidden …[2]
… The sun is merging with the tree-topped
and there arising is ʻŪfia and Latā
shout hurray be thronged with joy …[3]

Clouds are supposed to reside in the 3rd of 4th sky.

  1. ?; Counting skies; 19th century
  2. Tuʻuhetoka (Mataitini); Birds in flight over the harbour; 1905
  3. Malia Latai; Song of Vuna Tuʻiʻoetau ʻAhomeʻe; 1971

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