The Legend of the Fire Walkers


About 500 years ago, when there were only about 50 people in the village of Nakarovu in the high land of central Beqa Island, an old man in the village, Dredre (meaning love), told stories to the young people but only after they first gave him a gift. One young man, Tunaiviqalita, promised to give Dredre a fresh eel as a gift and Dredre agreed to tell him stories once he gave him the eel.

The next morning Tunaiviqalita followed a small stream near the village in his search for 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 felt something soft and warm, so he pulled it out. 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." Tunaiviqalita replied "I am already the strongest man on the island and I will kill you".

Then the small man said, "Don't kill me and I will make you very rich". To which the young man replied "I don't know what money is. I have no need for it."

Then the small man said, "If you don't kill me I will give you the gift of walking on fire and then bury you for four nights but you will unhurt and still be living."

Tunaiviqalita replied, "I don't want all of that I just want to be able to walk on fire".

The small man said, "Then so be it as long as the sun rises and the sun sets your descendants will be able to walk on fire."

But Tunaiviqalita did not believe him and said, "First you must show me." So they built a fire under stones which after many hours became red hot. The small man said, "Follow me," then he danced and danced on the hot stones without any ill effect. Tunaiviqalita followed him onto the hot stones and sang with happiness as he realised what a powerful gift he had been given by the small man.

Tunaiviqalita gave that gift of walking on fire through his blood line in the Sawau Tribe on Bega Island. The descendants are today, as promised by the small man, still able to walk on hot stones without any ill effects.

The descendants of Tunaiviqalita are in the villages of Rookwa, Dakubeqa, Dakuni, Soliyaga and Naceva are still able to walk on fire. These descendants often perform the firewalk at hotels in Fiji.