The Green Children

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Neil Rushton has many interesting stories on his blog but this one in particular caught my attention.  It also seems it might be more than a story.

https://deadbutdreaming.wordpress.com/20...-children/

"What can be made of this story? For a medieval folktale it has the unusual quality of authenticity about it. There is no Christian moral, places and people are named, and it appears to be a unique incident, reported in the chronicles much as more everyday historical occurrences were mentioned. These two chronicles were those of Ralph de Coggeshall and William de Newburgh, both written in, or shortly before, c.1200, compiling both earlier texts and oral testimony. In Ralph’s case, some of the oral testimony came from the knight Sir Richard de Calne himself, and it is clear that both chroniclers made the effort to retrieve the story from villagers who were alive at the time of the incident. William puts the timeframe of the tale as within the reign of King Stephen (1136-54), but Ralph implies that it happened under Henry II (1155-89). Whatever the exact date, and whatever folktale motifs have been overlain on the story, this seems like a chronicled version of something that actually happened. So how can it be explained?"
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(2018-05-12, 09:45 PM)Brian Wrote: Neil Rushton has many interesting stories on his blog but this one in particular caught my attention.  It also seems it might be more than a story.

https://deadbutdreaming.wordpress.com/20...-children/

"What can be made of this story? For a medieval folktale it has the unusual quality of authenticity about it. There is no Christian moral, places and people are named, and it appears to be a unique incident, reported in the chronicles much as more everyday historical occurrences were mentioned. These two chronicles were those of Ralph de Coggeshall and William de Newburgh, both written in, or shortly before, c.1200, compiling both earlier texts and oral testimony. In Ralph’s case, some of the oral testimony came from the knight Sir Richard de Calne himself, and it is clear that both chroniclers made the effort to retrieve the story from villagers who were alive at the time of the incident. William puts the timeframe of the tale as within the reign of King Stephen (1136-54), but Ralph implies that it happened under Henry II (1155-89). Whatever the exact date, and whatever folktale motifs have been overlain on the story, this seems like a chronicled version of something that actually happened. So how can it be explained?"

Thanks Brian - your interest is much appreciated...
'Remember, your model of reality is not reality.' Thomas Campbell
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(2018-05-12, 09:45 PM)Brian Wrote: Neil Rushton has many interesting stories on his blog but this one in particular caught my attention.  It also seems it might be more than a story.

https://deadbutdreaming.wordpress.com/20...-children/

"What can be made of this story? For a medieval folktale it has the unusual quality of authenticity about it. There is no Christian moral, places and people are named, and it appears to be a unique incident, reported in the chronicles much as more everyday historical occurrences were mentioned. These two chronicles were those of Ralph de Coggeshall and William de Newburgh, both written in, or shortly before, c.1200, compiling both earlier texts and oral testimony. In Ralph’s case, some of the oral testimony came from the knight Sir Richard de Calne himself, and it is clear that both chroniclers made the effort to retrieve the story from villagers who were alive at the time of the incident. William puts the timeframe of the tale as within the reign of King Stephen (1136-54), but Ralph implies that it happened under Henry II (1155-89). Whatever the exact date, and whatever folktale motifs have been overlain on the story, this seems like a chronicled version of something that actually happened. So how can it be explained?"

I used to find this story fascinating when I was young, so I found Neil Rushton's blog post interesting. But the 137-page paper he links to, by John Clark of the Museum of London, is quite amazing in its level of detail:
https://www.academia.edu/10089626/The_Gr...of_Woolpit

Clark's conclusion is that something extraordinary happened, and he seems inclined to accept the main elements of the story as accurate. But he also seems to think the children were probably foreigners who had become separated from their family, and that the story has been influenced by elements of folklore. The children's greenness seems difficult to explain - particularly as Clark sees the language used by the medieval writers as indicating a vivid rather than just a pale green.
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