La Jahbess from Trinidad folklore

Trini Folklore: La Jabless

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes


Lajablesse, La Jabless, La Diablesse (n): A folklore character, a beautiful woman in a long dress with one foot like a cow’s; she entices men astray at night in the forest or on lonely roads.

Legends and folklore have been significant in shaping the cultural identity of societies worldwide. The Caribbean’s diverse cultural heritage is home to many captivating stories and myths, including the well-known legend of the Diablesse. This she-devil is said to prey on young men. In this blog post, we will explore the origins, significance, and cultural impact of the Diablesse legend.

The Legend of the Diablesse

La Jabless sitting down

The Diablesse is a notorious character in Caribbean folklore. She is known as a she-devil, with one of her feet ending in a cloven hoof, who frequents cemeteries and crossroads. Legend has it that she preys on young men, particularly those who attend belle air dances.

Encountering the Diablesse

According to popular folklore, there exists a mythical being known as the Diablesse, who is said to target young men after they partake in festivities. She is believed to use her charm and persuasion skills to convince these unsuspecting individuals to accompany her to her abode. However, those who fall under her spell quickly come to rue their decision, as the Diablesse is known to be a malevolent entity with sinister intentions.

The Transformation

As she leads her victims to a precipice, the Diablesse would suddenly transform herself into a giant hog. It is said that she devours those who fall into her trap, leaving no trace behind. This aspect of the legend warns young men to be cautious of the dangers of temptation and not to be lured by false promises.

Escape from the Diablesse

However, there is a way to escape from the clutches of the Diablesse. Those who know the ropes would pick up two sticks and make a cross. At the sight of the cross, the Diablesse would disappear, leaving her victim unharmed. This shows the power of faith and belief in the face of danger and adversity.

Significance of the Legend

The legend of the Diablesse has been passed down through generations of Caribbean people, and it continues to be an essential part of their cultural heritage. It serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of succumbing to temptation and reminds people to be cautious, especially when dealing with strangers.

Impact on Caribbean Culture

The folklore surrounding the Diablesse, a demonic woman with a single cloven hoof and a penchant for luring men to their doom, has profoundly impacted Caribbean culture, particularly in Trinidad and Tobago, where the legend originated. This story has been depicted in various artistic mediums, including literature, music, and visual art. Diablesse is a popular carnival theme with participants dressing up as she-devils for parades. The enduring popularity of this legend speaks to its continued significance in the region’s cultural identity.


In conclusion, the legend of the Diablesse is a fascinating and vital part of Caribbean folklore. It serves as a warning to young men to be cautious of the dangers of temptation and not to be lured by false promises. For that reason, it also highlights the power of faith and belief in the face of danger and adversity. The legend has significantly impacted Caribbean culture, and it continues to be an essential part of the region’s cultural heritage.


Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage by Richard Allsopp

Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad & Tobago by Lise Winer

Featured Image by KongQueror.


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