This is the life story of Cudjo Lewis, as told by himself. It makes no attempt to be a scientific document, but on the whole he is rather accurate. If he is a little hazy as to detail after sixtyseven years, he is certainly to be pardoned. The quotations from the works of travelers in Dahomey are set down, not to make this appear a thoroughly documented biography, but to emphasize his remarkable memory.
Three spellings of his nation are found: Attako, Taccou, and Taccow. But Lewis’s pronunciation is probably correct. Therefore, I have used Takkoi throughout the work.
I was sent by a woman of tremendous understanding of primitive peoples to get this story. The thought back of the act was to set down essential truth rather than fact of detail, which is so often misleading. Therefore, he has been permitted to tell his story in his own way without the intrusion of interpretation.