Thursday, April 21, 2016

Green Places and Green Children

Here are some more pictures of my England trip. These pictures are from when I visited a market at Chelsea Gardens. I was in England around Christmas time, and I got to have a real chestnut roasted on an open fire! That part was pretty exciting. I felt like I was in a real life Christmas movie. The chestnut was good!







I recently learned about a really interesting, supposedly true story that took place in England. Once a long time ago in a small British town called Woolpit, two mysterious children appeared at the edge of the woods. The small town was known for it's wolf pits. Wolf pits are large holes dug into the ground and covered with leaves and other forest debris as a disguise. Dead animals are put inside to attract the wolves to the trap. The poor creatures then tumble downward into the hole where they can be trapped. 

 The forest children had a very odd appearance, and it wasn't just their disheveled attire and the sticks and leaves clinging to their hair, it was the pallor of their skin. These children were green. The two children seemed utterly bizarre to the towns folk. Not just because of their green coloring, but due to the strange language they spoke to each other. The gibberish was indecipherable to the English speaking townsfolk, but the little green children understood well what the other was saying. 

The wide-eyed fearful children looked in great need of nourishment. Their green skin, hallow cheeks and hungry eyes all seemed to beg for a home cooked meal. But the children refused every food that was offered to them except for beans. Beans, they ate with great gusto.

The strange green boy did not thrive in the lonely new town he and his sister found themselves in. The little boy's heart was heavy. He probably dreamed of happier times when the people around him understood him and thought of him as one of their own. The boy grew sicker and sicker and could not heal. He passed away, leaving the little girl on her own in the new scary world.

The little girl had more success in her new life. She slowly assimilated to the Woolpit, English culture. Her skin lost its green tint. She learned the new language. She grew appreciation for food besides beans. Once the girl was able, she told the story of her homeland: St. Martin. 

St. Martin was a town of perpetual twilight. The sun always hovered just high enough in the sky to create the dim, blue light. In St. Martin, the children were not unusual because everyone was green. From St. Martin, they could see another land, glowing in the distance, across the expanse of a great river. The green people of St. Martin didn't know what the other land was, but they wondered. They probably made up stories of the land beyond the river.

 The little girl and little boy arrived in Woolpit after getting lost herding sheep. One moment, the children were surrounded by the comfort of their sheep. The woolly creatures with their gentle eyes and the low jingle of the bells around their necks were all so familiar to the children. But somehow, confusion and chaos took over and they were separated from their sheep. They found themselves in complete darkness, but followed the sound of chiming bells. They emerged out of the darkness from the mouth of a cave. All around them was bright, bright sunlight. They had never witnessed such sunlight. They were in awe.  The children rested for a while right outside the cave, but they became fearful that they were being pursued by something sinister, so they got up and ran. This is how they found themselves in Woolpit.

The girl grew up and got married in another town. She was said to go by the name Agnes Barre. She never returned to the real or mystical land of St. Martin. But she probably dreamed about it. Everyday at twilight, her heart would tickle with a sense of familiarity. When she saw the color green, she probably felt a stronger sense of peace...the color of her childhood providing comfort in a world of colors. 

There are many theories about the green children. Some of these stories are wondrous and fantastical, delighting the speculative imagination. Other of these stories are more rooted in the plausible and logical.

One theory claims the children were aliens. Green is often the color that aliens skin is described as. People looked to the children and saw such oddities, then looked to the sky and thought..."I wonder......"

Some say the children stepped through a tear between worlds. Maybe they were from earth, but not OUR earth. They were from an earth living parallel to ours. Maybe all the lost children of our earth had stumbled through a similar door between worlds. They were somewhere in that world, surrounded by helpful green folks, feeding them bowls of beans under the twinkling twilight sky.  

Some say they arrived here from an underground city. The inhabitants of the underground city commingled with the moles and earthworms, having no idea of the glorious world that prospered above their heads. 

Another, less whimsical theory was that the children were Flemish immigrants. There was a Flemish town nearby called Fornham St. Martin. The children may have become lost in the woods and then followed the sound of church bells to Woolpit. 

There are also theories to explain their green coloring. One being that the children's caretaker poisoned them with arsenic. Arsenic can change a color a persons skin. The caretaker took the children deep into the woods and abandoned them, expecting they would succumb to the poison and pass away. 

Another theory about their skin was that they were suffering from iron deficiency. There is a type of iron deficiency called chlorosis that can cause skin to transform to a greenish tint.

Of course, some people think the entire account is fabricated. That it is a fairy tale that was mistaken for truth after hundreds of years of retelling. But amazing things happen everyday, so it doesn't seem too far-fetched that two lost children emerged from the woods, mystifying the locals and inspiring the imaginations of generations to follow. 


Sources:

Haughton, Brian. "The Green Children of Woolpit." Brian Haughton.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2016. <http://brian-haughton.com/ancient-mysteries-articles/green-children-of-woolpit/>

Schneider, Caitlin. "The Mystery of the Green Children of Woolpit." Mental Floss. Mental Floss, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2016. <http://mentalfloss.com/article/62878/mystery-green-children-woolpit>.

"Trapping Pit." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 15 Jan. 2014. Web. 21 Apr. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trapping_pit#Pits_for_trapping_wolves>.




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