Trinidad Folklore Douen

Trini Folklore: Douen

Douen, Duende, Douaine, Doune, Dwen, Duegne (n): A Folklore character, the spirit of a child who died before baptism.  Douens wear large hats, have backwards-pointing feet, utter a soft hooting cry, and often lead children to wander off.  <Spanish duende ‘goblin’>

Nex’ ting you know douen hauntin’ TTT, an’ we seein’ all dem programmes runnin’ backwards instead of upside-down as dey does run sometimes. (Keens-Douglas 1984:3)

Trini folklore such as Douen, Mermaids and La Jahbless is an oral tradition to pass on the stories to the next generation. Other Trini phrases in the vernacular are Doux-Doux, Kote-si Kote-la, Light Candle, Sprawl Off, Jhorts, Sancoche, Kaka-Nay, Rum Jumbie.

In Trinidad, the oral folklore traditions were handed down over the generations. As a result, the contents of the douen and other stories may have changed over time. The oral traditions of Trinidad and Tobago can be traced back to our ancestors from West Africa and East India. Local authors such as Michael Anthony are trying to preserve the legend of Papa Bois and other stories via written media via books such as Caribbean Folktales and Fantasies.

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

Featured Image by KongQueror.


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