People who are sceptical may be put off by the story’s title, yet it turns out that this folktale has some truth to it after all.
Woolpit tale begins during the reign of King Stephen, during what is known as “The Anarchy” in England’s history in the 12th century.
An ancient settlement in Suffolk called Woolpit (or in the Old English language, wulf-pytt) has been named after an old pit for trapping wolves! There were two little youngsters with green skin who appeared to be speaking gibberish and acting uncomfortably near this wolf pit around 1150.
They were then escorted to Sir Richard de Calne’s adjacent residence and offered food but they rejected, according to records by Ralph of Coggeshall around the time of the incident. When the youngsters discovered some green beans in Richard de Calne’s garden, they ate them right out of the ground for a few days.
Richard de Calne may have cared after the youngsters for several years during which time he gradually introduced them to conventional meals. Changes in food were blamed for causing the youngsters to lose their green skin.
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So who were the green children of Woolpit?
Who exactly were these mysterious children who lived in Woolpit?
It is very likely that the green children of Woolpit were the progeny of Flemish immigrants who had been persecuted and possibly executed by King Stephen or perhaps by King Henry II. This is the most likely explanation for the existence of the green children. It’s possible that the children arrived at Woolpit speaking only Flemish, their mother tongue, because they were disoriented, lost, and without their parents. This could explain why the locals thought the children were speaking incoherent nonsense.
In addition, the children’s complexion may have a greenish tint because of malnutrition, which is often referred to as “green illness.” This argument is backed by the fact that once Richard de Calne had turned them over to consuming actual food, their skin restored to its previous colour, which is considered to be normal.
Personally, we are inclined to support the more romantic hypothesis that these youngsters come from a subterranean realm inhabited exclusively by green people.