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The author spent several years as an Assistant District Officer among the Yorubas in Nigeria, and was thus enabled to collect the folklore contained in this book from native sources.
The reticence of the natives on religious subjects made it necessary to piece much together from incantations and chance remarks, but it is hoped that the notes will show that no great liberty has been taken with the beliefs of a tribe which inhabits a large area in West Africa.
The legends are bare and uncertain, and it seemed that blank verse would prove a more suitable form to present them than prose.
The author desires to express his indebtedness to Mr. Ford Madox Hueffer for advice when this work was half-finished, and also to the Council of the Royal Anthropological Institute for permission to re-publish Notes I and XI-XIV which appeared originally in "Man." The suggestions contained in Note IV on the Creation of Man, and in Note VII on the possible connection between the Edi Festival and the Saturnalia, are offered after a subsequent reading of the "Golden Bough."