Available on JSTOR at: doi.org/10.2307/3345909

Abstract

This story is the first chapter of an unfinished book, The Seven Dreams of King Marapaka, based on the life of Z. K. Oloruntoba, as told to Dr. Michael Peplow. Dr. Peplow transcribed and edited the tale. Gretchen Dihoff wrote narrative interludes presenting a wider view of the Egungun festival and its effects on village life. Mr. Oloruntoba illustrated the story. Egungun is a Yoruba festival in which the spirits walk the streets of the town. The proper observance of the festival has a great effect on the fertility of the farmlands and the prosperity of the village. In this very secret male ceremony, men and boys dress in colorful masquerade, and amidst great drumming and singing, move through the streets. Women hide within the houses, for it is very much forbidden for any woman to see the masqueraders. Should any woman be out on the street when the masqueraders arrive, she is beaten with switches. Even among the western educated, Christian or Muslim Yoruba, Egungun arouses much emotion and fear.