Two Samoan goddesses swam to Fiji, where they learnt the art of tattooing from a male specialist. Swimming home, they constantly repeated his instructions: ‘Tattoo the women, not the men. Tattoo the women, not the men’. As they approached the Samoan coast, they saw a delicious shellfish on the sea floor, and dived down for it. Once on the surface, they began to repeat the line once more, but in the wrong order: ‘Tattoo the men, not the women. Tattoo the men not the women’. Since then, all men on Samoa receive the pe’a or flying fox trouser tattoo when approaching adulthood.

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