Unlike Hindu fire walking, Beqa’s fire walkers perform purely for entertainment rather than religious purification. The legend of how the islanders obtained mastery over fire has been passed down through the generations.
Once there was a famous storyteller named Dredre who lived in the ancient mountain village of Navakeisese on Beqa. His tales would captivate the villagers throughout the night and it was customary to bring small gifts as a token of appreciation. One evening, Dredre requested all present to bring him the first thing they encountered when out hunting the next day. The following morning, a young warrior named Tui went fishing in a mountain stream and pulled out what he thought was an eel from the mud. To his surprise, the eel assumed the shape of a Vu, or spirit god, and Tui knew that Dredre would be most pleased with his gift. The spirit god pleaded for its life offering all sorts of tempting powers but only when Tui was promised the power over fire did he succumb. The spirit god dug a pit, lined it with stones and lit a huge fire upon it. When the stones were white hot, the spirit god leaped in showing no effect from the heat. Tui followed and to this day his descendants from the Sawau tribe re-enact the same performance of walking on white-hot stones.