Trini Folklore: Mermaids


There be mermaid here and Leviathan, great residents of the underwater. Amongst the writhing tides and white-capped blue-green waters, just where the Caribbean Sea reaches the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Mermaid (n) Tobago: The mermaid or fairy maid is a folklore character of a woman with a fishtail instead of legs which lives in a river or the sea near the coast. She is not dangerous or evil but can pull people under the water, take them travelling, and then return them to shore.
    • It used to have a mermaid in the river here, but nobody ent see she for donkey years now.

Growing up in the little fishing village of Mayaro in Trinidad my grandfather maintained a fishing vessel. He would often let us accompanying him in the evenings to Ortoire to check on the crew before their night fishing. Upon the seamen’s return, they carried with them their catch from the previous night and tales from the sea. Between the myths of mermaids and the encounters with Venezuelan coast guards, there was never a dull moment.

In addition, I stumbled upon the YouTube series below narrating all the folklore personalities from Trinidad. Folklore characters from Trinidad such as Papa BoisSoucouyantDouenLa JablessMama De Leau , Lagahou, and Phantom is a testament to the oral traditions. There is some speculation in the literature on the gender of the Tobago mermaid.

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