The Yoruba people are descendants from a variety of West African communities. They are united by Geography, History, Religion and most importantly their Language. Many years ago, before the advent of the West African slave trade, the Yoruba people inhabited an area which stretched, along the coast of West Africa, all the way inward and down to Angola in South West Africa. Today this is not the case.

The legends and fairy stories in this book belong to the Yoruba. They relate the adventures of men and animals, and try to explain the mysteries of NatureWhy Women have Long Hair, How the Leopard got his Spots, the Three Magicians, the Boa-Constrictor, How the Elephant got his Trunk and more. These stories grew from the imagination of the people. We read these folk-tales for their quaintness and humour, for their sympathy with Nature, and because we find in them the ideas and ideals, not just of one man, but of a race of people.

IN modern times we have begun paying close attention to folklore - old tales, not invented by one man, but belonging to the whole people; not written down, but told by parents to their children, and so handed on for hundreds of years.

The legends express primitive notions of right and wrong. As a rule, the wicked are punished and the good rewarded; and that, we feel, is as it should be. We may weep at the death of rascally Tortoise, but we may also feel that he somehow has deserved his fate!