Duennes are spirits of children who died before they were baptized and as such, they are fated to roam the forests of Trinidad, practicing their wide repertoire of pranks, mostly on living children who are enticed away into the forest and are then left abandoned. Duennes are sexless, their feet are turned backwards and they have no faces (although they do have small round mouths). On their rather large heads they wear huge mushroom-shaped straw hats.
To prevent the Duennes from calling your children into the forest at dusk, never shout their names in open places, as the Duennes will take their names, call them and lure them away.
A story is told of a man called Lastique who was riding home one night, as he passed the big silk cotton tree at the corner of Belmont Circular Road and the Savannah, he heard a baby crying, so he stopped and picked it up, thinking he would take it home for the night and carry it to the orphanage in the morning. Cycling along, he was reduced to a state of absolute terror by the time he reached the hospital, when he realized that the child was getting bigger and heavier. Suddenly the child said in a man's voice, "You'd better take me back were you found me", which the terrified Lastique did at once. As he drew nearer the tree, the 'child' shrank steadily back to its original size and was deposited, once more, a bawling baby at the foot of the giant tree. The moon, a silent witness, hid its face in a cloud as a chill wind blew and an owl flew out of the tree.