Scary For Kids
The Green Children

The Green Children

This incredible story of green children was first documented by two medieval English chroniclers – Ralph, Abbot of Coggeshall, and William of Newburg.

Well what a strange story this one is:

One day during the reign of King Stephen (ad 1135-54), two children were found weeping and wandering, lost and forlorn, in the great pits used to trap wolves at the village of Woolpit, in Suffolk. Pretty normal looking children except they were green, and they spoke a language that was unknown to the folk of St. Mary’s.

They were taken to Sir Richard de Calne, at Wikes (purely as amusement), but the children once there wept bitterly. They were fed bread and other food but they refused everything even though they were extremely hungry (the girl afterwards acknowledged this fact). Finally some beans that were freshly cut and still had their stalks attached were brought – the children madly tried to open the bean stalks as if they were the pods and thought that the beans were inside – but finding nothing they once again wept. Someone stepped forward and showed them that the beans were in the pods – the children were happy at this and fed on the raw beans with great delight. For a long long time that’s all they ate. The boy was extremely unhealthy and died within a year of being found. But the girl grew strong and spent the rest of her life in the area. With time the green faded and she took on the appearance of any other normal “non green” human. She later on married a man from King’s Lynn in Norfolk and learnt English.

This enabled her to tell of how herself and her brother had come from a land called St. Martin’s Land, where there was no sun, only a permanent hazy twilight. She said that they had been following their flocks (presumably of green sheep or something?) when they had entered an underground passageway and stumbled out, on the other side, into the bright sunlight of Woolpit.

Other Versions

Two children were found near Banjos, Spain in August 1887. Harvesters happened upon the children when they heard frightened cries coming from near a cave. They were crying and screaming in a language that was not Spanish, and their clothes were made of a strange metallic cloth…….and their skin was also green (in case you hadn’t already guessed).The two were taken off to the local village where the locals tried to take care of them, but the children refused to eat or drink anything on offer to them. The boy soon sickened and died but the girl finally ate a diet of uncooked vegetables, mostly raw beans, however she died after 5 years or so. The thing about this Spanish version is that up until recently there were claims that the documents and statements of the people who saw and looked after the two green children still existed. In 1986, however it was revealed that the British Council Institute in Barcelona searched Spanish Librarians, museums and town hall archives, along with newspapers from August 1997 for these documents but found nothing. It’s obvious that this Spanish story was a direct copy of the Woolpit story. The town of Banjos in Spain doesn’t even exist!

(Ending)They were following their flocks, they came to a certain cavern, on entering which they heard a delightful sound of bells, they were so overcome by the wonderful sound that they wandered though the cavern until they came to its mouth. When they came out of it, they were struck senseless by the excessive light of the sun, and the unusual temperature of the air. Being terrified by the noise of those who came on them, they wished to run away, but they could not find the entrance of the cavern before they were caught.

(Ending) They heard a a loud noise and were pushed through something and suddenly she and her brother were in the cave and could see the blinding light from the mouth of it.

They originated from a mysterious subterranean world present beneath the surface of the earth and lacking sunlight

They came from some parallel dimension through which they had accidentally slipped
Origins Of The Story

The people in Suffolk believe the story originated from a legend concerning a medieval Norfolk earl who was guardian to two young children. The earl tried unsuccessfully to poison the children with arsenic and then abandoned them in Wayland Wood, in the area of Thetford Forest on the Norfolk-Suffolk border. Here they would surely have died, thus enabling him to take control of the estate that they were due to inherit when they reached adulthood. According to the Woolpit people, these probably became the green children who were later found, still alive but disoriented and ill. It’s also known that arsenic poisoning can cause the skin to turn green as can anaemia, a result of malnutrition, from which the abandoned youngsters were likely to have been suffering. A diet-related origin for their green skin would also explain why the girl’s complexion reverted to a normal colour once she began to thrive on proper food.

scary for kids


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