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Fantasy Friday: Douen

Hi Everyone and Happy Friday!!! We took a brief break for research and we are back again with another Fantasy Friday article.

This week we show some love to our Caribbean brothers and sisters as we explore the mythology of the Douen. A mythological entity that originates from Trinidad and Tobago folklore. Their appearance is said to be that of a child with backwards feet, with the heel facing the front and the knees also backwards. The grass skirt in the illustration above is an artistic liberty because it is said that the Douen are naked and wear no clothes apart from their straw hats. The big, floppy straw hat they wear is used to hide the fact that they have no face except for a small mouth to speak with. Legends has it that if the Douen hear a child's name, then they call to the child in a parent's voice and try to lure the child into the forest.

The Douen are considered to be the lost souls of children that were not baptised or christened before death. It is believed that their souls wander the earth and play pranks on people, raid gardens and enjoy leading children astray until they are completely lost in the woods. Douens roam the land in the pursuit of children that are not yet baptized, or christened in anticipation of luring them away deep into the woods until they are lost. They charm the children when the moon is full and have a mesmerizing whooping sound. A child who plays with a douen may consider it to be a regular child while the douen slowly but surely leads the child further and further away from the protection of home. Some children may be found the next morning in a precarious arrangement if they are found at all. Douens also have been known to come to people’s houses crying and whimpering for the love of a mother.

They feed off cultivated gardens and seem to have a bizarre fondness for water crabs. Often thought to be evil spirits and malevolent creatures, douens do have a good natured side. They have been known to be of assistance to Papa Bios in the forest when an animal is trapped and injured by imitating animal calls to throw hunters off track. To avert the douens from calling your children into the forest it is said that you should never call a child’s name in open places for the douens will then in turn call the child’s name to attract them away into the forest never to return.

For a more musical explanation of the Douen, check out this soca track from Blaxx:

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