chapter  Chapter XVIII
WithR. E. Dennett
Pages 21

By the fear of death and the desire to propagate and live, the Yoruba’s thoughts were driven to the study in nature of the phenomena that caused death, or helped him to live and propagate. And as they progressed, men in all lines of life, i.e. the fisherman, the hunter, the priest, the farmer, and, later on, the market women and the craftsmen, all aided in this search for the causes of life and death, and the true nature of the spirit presiding over them all. In this way it does not seem strange to me that, if man has developed from a non-speaking animal stage of existence to his present speaking and cultivated stage, his knowledge of things and his way of expressing his ideas should have also developed step by step. I am not wonder-struck that man, governed more or less by his senses and environment, should have instinctively built up trains of thought and ways of expressing them that have led native philosophers to divide their mythology into certain well-defined categories. But I admit that a philologist unaided by a long and great knowledge of the people whose language he may be 210studying, will find great difficulty in recognising these categories in any but a primitive language. I think that his studies may best be rewarded in Africa by a thorough investigation of some Bantu tongue, but even here the student will need a more or less “primitive mind” attitude to carry out his work.