The Legend of the Green Children of Woolpit

The Mystery of the green children seems like a typical fairytale but this may have some element of truth in it. The strange incident is said to have happened during the reign of king Stephen (1135-1154) occurring during an unstable time of great poverty and hardship for the ordinary masses, the episode occurred in village of Woolpit in Suffolk, England (about 10 miles from Bury St. Edmunds). Two young children appeared from the wolf pits which are deep ditches made for trapping wolfs. Both of the children (a boy and a girl) were siblings and the boy was younger. They were wearing strange clothes made of strange materials and no one could understand the language they spoke. The most unusual thing about the children was their green-tinged skin color, they are said to have generally normal appearance except that. Initially the children are said to have refused to eat anything other than beans, but later on they developed a taste for other types of foods, and eventually they started losing their green skin color.

The Legend of the Green Children of Woolpit

The story of the girl

Both of the children were baptized and soon after that the boy became sick and died. The girl survived and after some time she adapted her new way of life, but she was said to be ‘rather loose and wanton in her conduct’. Later on the girl learned to speak English and told that she along with her brother had come from the land of St Martin which was an underground world and where all the inhabitants were green in color like they had been. The girl was not sure about where her homeland was. Later on the girl married a man at King’s Lynn. It is said that today there are descended from the strange girl through intermarriages.

There are two original sources of the extraordinary story, one of them is Ralph of Coggeshall (died c 1228) and the other is William of Newburgh (1136-1198), who was a monk and a English historian from Yorkshire.