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A duende is a goblin-like creature that is found in the folklores of Spain, Portugal, Latin America and the Philippines. The term may also apply more broadly to all sort sort of fairy races (elves, goblins, pixies, brownies, leprechauns...).


Possible from the old castilian dueño, (the real owner of the house).


Duende are believed to be ugly creatures of a small stature wearing big hats. They are usually more heard than seen as they usually whistle a song while walking in the forest.


Using their talent they are believed to lure young girls to the forest and causing them to lose their way home. Conversely, in some Latin cultures the Duendes are believed to be the helpers of people who get lost in the forest so they could find their way home.


In Hispanic folklore of the American Southwest, Duendes are known as evil, green-skinned, red-eyed little monsters who live inside the walls of homes, especially in bedroom walls of young children. They attempt to convince children to misbehave, and will eventually try to steal a child's soul.

In folklore of the Central American country of Belize, particularly amongst the country's African/Carib-descended Creole and Garifuna populations, Duende are thought of as a forest spirit called "Tata Duende" who lacks thumbs.

Chamorro people in Guam believe in tales of taotaomonas, duendes and other spirits. Duende, according to the Chamorro-English Dictionary by Donald Topping, Pedro Ogo and Bernadita Dungca, is a goblin, elf, ghost or spook in the form of a dwarf, a mischievous spirit which hide or take small children. Taotaomona are spirits of the ancient Chamorro that act as guardians to banyan trees. White Lady hauntings surround buildings like the old Bordallo mansion in Yona, schools, hotel elevators and the Maina bridge.

Filipinos also believe in Dwende, which frequently live in rocks and caves, old trees, unvisited and dark parts of houses. They are sometimes confused with another kind of dwarves which are called nuno sa punso (old man of the mound) because they live in ant hills. They are either categorized as good or evil depending on their color - white or black respectively and often play with children.

See also


  • Emmons, Katherine M. (October 1997). Perceptions of the Environment while Exploring the Outdoors: a case study in Belize''. Environmental Education Research 3 (3): pp.327–344. Ambingdon, Oxfordshire: Carfax Publishing, in conjunction with the University of Bath. doi:10.1080/1350462970030306. ISSN 1350-4622. OCLC 34999650.
  • Garza, Xavier (2004). Creepy Creatures and other Cucuys, Piñata Books imprint, Houston, TX: Arte Público Press. ISBN 155885410X. OCLC 54537415.