(based on an English legend)
A fairly long time had come and gone since I chanced upon the legend of the green children. At the time I was quite fascinated by the story that I began writing a work out of it. I structured most of the plot from the near-contemporary accounts by William of Newsburgh’s Historia rerum Anglicarum and Ralph of Coggeshall’s Chronicum Anglicanum, written in about 1189 and 1220 respectively, and added only a few bits to circle the piece. The outcome is what you will be reading in a while.
This story portrays the equal positive and negative rejoinders of natives towards newcomers. One can uproot a realization from this legend of the veracity of society through the years.
The year 1170 welcomed the villagers with its earthen atmosphere. It was already summer, but because of the odd weather that they were having, it was more like autumn. A mixture of twigs and leaves had detached and fallen from the trees, leaving behind hues of yellow and brown spread everywhere. Bundles and wisps of white clouds had cloaked the sky, a faint glow emanating from a distant source. The time for harvest had finally come, but the scenario did not quite coincide with the occasion.
As I gaze upon the now grass-grown area where the wolf pits had once been located, I remember the memory of the last wolf in England that had perished in one of the hands of those depths. Those were the same wolf pits that had given this village its name, Woolpit, believed to have originated from Wolfpittes. Those very wolf pits had been witnesses to a peculiar event, once telling one fabled story.
Twenty-seven years ago, at some point in the reign of King Stephen, an extraordinary brink in time had occurred. On that very same day, as the village in Suffolk of East Anglia, England get ready for harvest, two children, a boy and his sister, are discovered at the mouth of the old wolf pits.
The astonished residents had swarmed the area at the sight of the children. The sudden appearance of two kids had already flabbergasted the townspeople, but what had shocked them more was the viridescent color of their skin and their indistinguishable speech. The people’s curiosity and fright had begun to attack them all at once. They were hesitant to touch or even get near the children.
The increasing number of people had also begun to terrify the children. At the sight of this, a couple had approached the children and made some gestures to invite them to the home of Sir Richard de Caine at Wilkes.
They were welcomed in the sanctuary of the kind and well-off knight. He invited the children to the dining hall to eat the food that was prepared for them. Although it seemed that they were both starving, they only gawked at the food and refused to come near it. For several days, the boy and his sister did not taste nor touch the food offered to them until they came across some green beanstalks. They made gestures to bring the beans to them and proceeded to try and open the stalks to get at the beans. They were shown how to open the pods and from that moment they ate beans and nothing else for a long time.
But for some unfortunate reason, the boy remained depressed all the while and soon succumbed to illness and died eventually. The girl remained in good health though and time came that she gradually adapted to normal food and in time lost her green color completely. She was baptized and was given the name “Agnes” and lived in the service of the knight.
Agnes was taught how to speak English, and by the time she had learned it and was able to speak it, she related the story of how they had come to be at the entrance of the old wolf pits. She explained that they came from a land where the sun never shone, and the light was like our twilight all the time. Everything there was green according to her, and she had named it St. Martin’s Land.
She was unable to account for their arrival at Woolpit. They had been herding their father’s cattle and flocks when they chanced upon a cavern. They entered this grotto and heard the sound of bells. Agnes and her brother were so enchanted by the sweet music that they stayed exploring the cave and found themselves at the entrance of the old wolf pits. Agnes was 13-years-old then, and her brother was two years younger.
She remained employed as a servant in Richard de Caine’s household for nine years where she was considered to be “very wanton and impudent” throughout the time of her service to the kind knight. At the year 1154, at the age of 24, she married a royal official named Richard Barre. She bore their first child a year after their marriage.
The story had been told to me ever since I was a child. And the story of the green children of Woolpit had explained the origin of my birthmark, a green-tinged spot on my right shoulder.