In the heart of rural Suffolk in a village said to be
named after 'a pit for trapping wolves' is a strange
green tale. Now this is not green in the sense of
immature but in the fact that it is about two green
people or to be more precise two green
This is another account documented by Abbot Ralph of
Coggleshall who also documented the tale of the Wild Man or Merman of
Orford, he along with another 13th century cleric
place this occurrence when King Stephen was on the
throne 1135-1154. The season was summer and the farm
workers were out in the fields four or five miles from
the monastery of St. Edmund bringing in the harvest when
they saw two children a boy and a girl emerge from a
"Wolfpitte" (old english for pits for wolves).
What made this a strange occurrence was that the two
children had completely pea green skin. They also wore
strange clothing and were unable to understand anything
that the villagers said, though they could converse with
each other. The farm workers took the boy and the girl
back to the village of Wulpet and to the local landowner
a knight called Sir Richard de Calne.
They were offered victuals but refused to eat, until
they were presented with some green beans which they
consumed hungrily. As time went by the young boy
sickened and died but the girl who was slightly older
thrived and eventually lost her green hue. She also
learnt English and was able to answer the question where
had she and her brother come from?
She told of a land which she called St. Martin's land
where the sun never shone and it was permanently
twilight and all of the people were the same shade of
green as she and her brother. She said that they could
see a bright country, which could be seen from their
land, but that it was divided by a very broad river. One
day she and her brother were tending her father sheep
when they heard the sound of bells (the bells of St.
Following the sound they entered an underground tunnel
and emerging from it found themselves in a land full of
light, which bedazzled them. It was then that the farm
workers found them.
The girl remained in the employment of Sir Richard de
Calne and one of the clerics reported that her morals
were loose, but that she eventually went on to marry a
man from Lynne (King Lynn).
It is possible that the children were feral children who
had become lost or even abandoned. Around that time
there had been a large influx of Flemish people whose
language and dress would have appeared foreign to the
villagers. Perhaps the children had sought refuge in the
woods around Woolpit and lived in the underground
tunnels of that area.
Another suggestions is that the children may have been
suffering from a 'green sickness' the name that was
given to anemia a dietary deficiency. Which would also
explain why the girl eventually lost her green colour
when she was put on a proper diet.