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Religion and Myth, by James Macdonald, [1883], at

p. vii


This volume is an effort to put into popular form a number of facts connected with the religious observances and social customs of African tribes. No attempt is made to treat the subject exhaustively, and those who have made Ethnology a study will find in it little that is absolutely new. But the ordinary reader, who is interested in questions affecting a people slowly emerging from barbarism, may have his sympathies quickened.

When I first began the study of Ethnology it opened to me a new world of thought. Reading Mr. J. G. Frazer's Golden Bough last winter, I found it touched so many subjects which long residence in Africa had made familiar to me, that the idea of putting the results of my own observations into permanent form took shape. This has been supplemented by facts gleaned from such authorities as were at hand, and the result is the present volume.

I have, in foot-notes, acknowledged my indebtedness to various authors.

p. viii

The facts have been gathered chiefly from Mr. Frazer's volumes; Bishop Callaway's Nursery Tales, Traditions and Histories of the Zulus; Miss C. G. Gordon-Cumming's In the New Hebrides; W. Mannhardt's Antike Wald-und Feld Kulte and his other works; Winterbotham's The Niger and Laire Tribes; Rowley's Africa Unveiled; Duff Macdonald's Africana; Schweinfurth's The Heart of Africa; Chalmers’ Tiyo Soga; Brownlee's MS. notes; Felkin's Four Tribes of Central Africa; Ramseyer's and Kühne's Four Years in Ashantee; Ashe's Two Kings of Uganda; Arnot's Garanganze; the missionaries New and Krapf, G. M. Theal, and several others, without whose works my. book could not have been written.

Though living "at the back of the north wind," I still feel the African fever; that is to say, the charm which it has to draw back to itself all who have tasted its bitters and sweets.

My object throughout has been to stimulate an interest in African peoples.

If the book serves this purpose, I shall be amply rewarded for the labour bestowed upon it; in the. fullest sense a labour of love.


Reay Free Manse,
    Christmas, 1892.

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