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’>

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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.

Trini Folklore: Soucouyant

  • Soucouyant (n): A person, usually an old woman, who sheds her skin, travels as a ball of fire and sucks people’s blood, leaving a blue mark. Soucouyans, have an unnatural and indelicate propensity for casting off their skin, which they usually conceal in or under a chocolate mortar.  There are two plans: one is to sprinkle salt upon the cast off skin, should you meet it (there’s the rub); or when you are expecting a visit from the ‘thing,’ strew the floor around your bed with rice.  This the Soucouyan, by some mysterious law, will be compelled to pick up grain by grain, thereby affording you an opportunity for slaying or otherwise disposing of the monstrosity.
    • Yesterday day night soucouyant suck me farder…On he leg an he han. It was looking blue blue.

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

Featured Image by KongQueror.

La Jahbess from Trinidad folklore

Trini Folklore: La Jabless

  • Lajablesse, La Jabless, La Diablesse (n):  A folklore character, a beautiful woman in a long dress who has one foot like a cow’s; she entices men astray at night in the forest or on lonely roads.  < French la ‘the’ + diablesse ‘female devil’>
    • [The] diabless…is a she-devil, one of whose foot end in a cloven hoof, who frequents cemeteries and crossroads….she is particularly fond of attending belle air dances, and after the festivities, young males would make advanced to her and she would encourage her victim to follow her home….then as she leads him to a precipice she would suddenly transform herself into a huge hog…If however, the young swain knows the ropes he would pick two sticks and make a cross at which time she would also disappear.

Leave us a comment below of Trini phrases you have heard.

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

Featured Image by KongQueror.