Mama D’Leau and other Trini folklore such as Papa Bois is an oral tradition meant to pass on the stories to the next generation. Other Trini phrases in the vernacular are Kote-si Kote-la, Light Candle, Sprawl Off, Jhorts, Sancoche, Kaka-Nay, Rum Jumbie.
- Mama Glo, Mama Dlo, Mama D’Leau (n): A folklore character in the form of a beautiful woman, sometimes snake-like, with long hair and a fish-like tail who lives in rivers. <French Creole mama dlo/glo <French maman ‘mother’ + de l’eau ‘of the water’>
Firstly, folklore in Trinidad and Tobago and many parts of the Caribbean are inspired by the influences of the West African. 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 addition, I stumbled upon the YouTube series below narrating all the folklore personalities from Trinidad. Folklore characters from Trinidad such as Papa Bois, Soucouyant, Douen, La Jabless, Lagahou, and Phantom is a testament to the oral traditions. There is some speculation in the literature on the gender of the Tobago mermaid.
Leave us a comment below of Trini phrases and Trini Folklore you have heard.
Source: Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad & Tobago by Lise Winer
Featured Image by KongQueror.