Trinidad folklore Papa Bois

Trini Folklore: Papa Bois

The oral traditions of Trinidad and Tobago originated with our ancestors from West Africa and East India. As such, local author Michael Anthony is preserving the legend of Papa Bois and other stories with books such as Caribbean Folktales and Fantasies.

Papa Bois (n):  Is a folklore character, usually depicted as having a man’s head, chest and arms. Papa Bois has goat-horns on his head and the lower body of a goat or similar animal. He is the protector of animals in the forests and can change himself into animal forms to lead hunters away. <French Creole Papa ‘father’ + French Bois ‘woods; forest’>

Papa Bois Folklore

Firstly, folklore in Trinidad and Tobago and many parts of the Caribbean are inspired by the influences of the West African and French Creole peoples who came to the islands centuries ago. Secondly, many of their spiritual beliefs and practices were incorporated into the stories shared today. Lastly, some characters, in our folklore, may even be versions of divinities that were revered by ancient societies. However, there may have also been a fusion of ideas with the Amerindians and the Westerners that resulted in even more complex mythicisms. In addition, stories of encounters with strange folks are not as prevalent as they were when electricity was scarce, and there were more areas dominated by “bush”. However, that does not mean this rich collection of characters have been accused or disremembered. Above all, they still occupy our combined cognisance and maybe our woods.

In conclusion, Papa Bois is a Trinis oral tradition meant to pass on the stories to the next generation. MermaidsMama D’Leau and Loup Garou are stories in the oral folklore tradition. Other Trinidad phrases in the vernacular are Bad JohnDoux-Doux and Jhorts.

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

Featured Image by KongQueror.

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