Sunday, October 30, 2011


Since it's close to Halloween :
From the Spanish word "duende" meaning the same thing

As far as I know, none of the early Spanish accounts talk about a Chamorro belief in little fairies living in the jungle.  The accounts are very clear about belief in the spirits, the anite; but there is no mention of the duendes, nor the stealing of babies, nor little lights or glowing mushroom.

The name itself, duendes, is Spanish.  Perhaps it is reasonable to assume that belief in the duendes was a later development of hispanicized Chamorro folklore influenced by the newer settlers to the island.

Basically, the duendes live in the jungle and play little tricks on humans, like kidnapping their babies and little kids.  They are said to live under multi-colored mushroom and carry little candles.  They are mainly seen by little children who are lured into the jungle by such attractive lights, or see in the duendes a possible playmate.  Adults see them less, but the duendes can shrink an adult to punish them.

When a child is kidnapped by the duendes and is found, the child has usually been made mute by the duendes.  The only remedy is to whip the child with the koreas, the religious belt used by the kofradia, the old, Spanish version of the Christian Mothers women's association.  It is hard now to find a koreas, but I have one in my possession and I know of another lady who has one; an heirloom from her grandmother.

The Koreas
Your Best Defense against Duendes-induced Muteness

Here's a conversation I had with an 80-some year old lady about the duendes :

Guåho : "Håfa i duendes?"

Guiya : "Dikkike', kalan muñeka.  Ilek- ña si nanå-ho taiguine.  Ennaogue' si Ritan Jose.  Ti hu tungo' kuånto años-ña si Rita.  Lao dikkike' si Rita, esta på'go måtai ha' lao ti dumångkulo.  Dikkike' yan masoksok.  Pues eyague' nai ilek-ña na kinenne' nu i duendes yan ninana' gi halom trongkon chotda. Pues annai ma sodda' si Rita ti siña hun kumuentos.  Pues asta ke ma saolak ni koreas kofradia, yan atan ha', eyague' muna' kuentos. 

På'go si tatå-ho, sa' åntes, sumåsåga gi lancho desde lunes asta såbalo, no, sa' para u hosme misa gi damenggo.  Pues ha hohokka' meme'-ña gi un båtde, pues eyague' hun an bula i båtde ha chuda' hun huyong gi halom guålo' sa' ti yan-ñiha i duendes ni pao me'me'.  Ennao på'go ti hu tungo' kao magåhet lao ennaogue' si tatå-ho ha såsångan.  Ha sangångåne hame, sa' eyo nai ilek-ho guåha nai, 'Håfa este na ti ma chuchuda' i me'me'-mo, Tåta?'  Ilek-ña, 'Po'lo sa' asta ke bula hu rerega huyong para i duendes sa' eyague' malålågo sa' ti yan-ñiha i pao sadang.'"

Guåho : "Lao tåya' påtgon kinenne' ni duendes ya ti ma sodda'?

Guiya : "Hunggan, todos man ma sodda'.  Estague' ta'lo gi tiempon Amerikåno.  Dos umasagua este ya guåha uniko påtgon-ñiha.  Ilek-ñiha lokkue' na kinenne' ayo na påtgon, buente annai singko åños ha'.  Lao pine'lo ta'lo, nina' fatå'chong hun ni duendes gi hilo' acho' ayo i alutong, nai ti siña lokkue' kumuentos.  Pues ennao nai ma sångan na ma nesesita ma saolak ni eye koreas kofradia."

Me : "What is the duendes?"

She : "They are small, like dolls.  My mother said it like this : there was this Ritan Jose.  I don't how old Rita was.  She was young; she's died now but she didn't grow up.  She was small and thin.  My mother said she was taken by the duendes and hidden in a banana tree.  When she was found, she couldn't talk.  But until she was whipped with the koreas of the kofradia, that was what made her talk.

Now my father, before, lived at the ranch from Monday to Saturday, because he would go to Mass on Sundays.  Well, he collected all his urine in a bucket, and when the bucket was full he would throw it out into the ranch because the duendes don't like the smell of urine.  Now that I can't say if it's true, but that's what my father would say.  He would tell us this, because at times I would say, 'Dad, why aren't you throwing out your urine?' and he'd say 'Leave it because when it's full, I sprinkle it for the duendes because they don't like the odor."

Me : "Are there no kids taken by the duendes who aren't found?"

She : "Yes, they are all found.  Here's another during American times.  There was this couple and the had an only-child.  They also said that that child was taken, maybe when he or she was only five years old.  But the child was put, made to sit on a coral rock by the duendes, and the child could not talk either.  So that's why they said the child needed to be whipped by that koreas of the kofradia."


1 comment:

  1. I've never seen a Duendes, but I have seen glowing mushrooms by my friends house in chalan Pago. The street next to the old chachalon store