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The Green Children of Woolpit


Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

An Ancient English legend tells the eerie yet intriguing story of two very strange beings who were unexpectedly discovered near the village of Woolpit, way back in the twelfth century during the reign of King Stephen.


It is said that one random fall day, as local villagers tended to the harvest, they heard panicked cries coming from one of the many "wolf pits" in the field that were used to trap wolves who preyed on livestock. (These pits explain the village's name.)


Upon investigating, they discovered two small, crying children, a boy and a girl. While their language and attire were unfamiliar, what baffled their rescuers more than anything was that their  skin was straight up green.


Now I know what you're thinking: green? How green? Well, that part is a mystery. While some sources claim they were as green as the leaves off a tree, others merely describe it as a greenish hue. Either way, all accounts agree on one thing: the frightened children were taken in and cared for (as well as could be expected, given the language barrier.) While they appeared to be starving, the two presumed siblings refused all food save for beans right off the stalk, and remained unable to communicate for a long time.


The few surviving eyewitness accounts claim that over the next few months, the little boy was unable to adapt to his new life and subsequently grew ill and died. His sister, on the other hand, actually thrived and even lost the green pigment in her skin. Over time she grew up, married and lost her identity to history. However, it is said that as she grew up, she was able to describe her backstory in increasing detail.


She claimed they hailed from a place called "Saint Martin's Land". Supposedly, this secret land was hidden from the light. She also claimed that shortly before being discovered, she and her younger brother had been tending to their family's cattle when in the darkness, they wandered into a cave and became lost. Eventually, they emerged onto the other side and were practically blinded by the sun which led to them falling into the wolf pit they were found in.


Of course, it goes without saying that back then, people were obviously prone to believe one thing and one thing only: that they were faeries. And why not? Rewind science, throw in a little ignorance, illiteracy and superstition and boom, there you have it: faeries. The age old tale of green-skinned folk who existed below the earth, hidden from humans and their ever-changing world. We now know this to be malarkey. So where did they actually come from?


As far as their actual origin, the best explanation experts can muster is that they were the progeny of Flemish immigrants, a much persecuted group at the time. It can be presumed that these kids spent most of their lives stowed away from the light, so as to avoid being discovered. This factor, along with a poor diet and possible starvation would at least explain their anemia-green color. Whatever the case may be, this tale remains skin-and-bones as most of the details will forever remain lost in time.


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