Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/492

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Notes from South Nigeria.

(Ante, p. 242.)

I. Making Father (Ezimi)[1]

(Extract from my Journal). We purposed crossing the river Osseomo or Awreomo on the morrow (the 22nd April, 1903), so we sent a boy on ahead to say that we were coming and would cross the river in the morning.

Soon after our arrival at Ogúgu's town he came to welcome us, accompanied by one or two Benin City chiefs and their followers. He told us that he had intended "making father" that evening, but that as we had come and the festivities might annoy us, he would put the feast off until we had gone. We thanked him for his welcome and assured him that we should very much like to be present while he was "making father," and prayed him to proceed with his festival just as if we were not present. He seemed pleased to be honoured by our presence, and ordered his people to bring us wood, fire, and water, and food for ourselves and our boys.

Shortly after dark crowds of people bearing lamps and torches came together in front of Ogúgu's residence. The cloistered wall through which one had to pass to obtain an entrance into his house contained several altars, and as we lay on our camp beds in the rest-house opposite, we gazed through the door and window at what was going on before us.

There stood Ogúgu before one of the altars dressed in what

  1. Cf. Miss Kingsley, West African Studies, p. 146.