Second Star To The Right …

This picture  was taken in my hometown of Olathe (oh-LAY-thuh) Kansas, part of the Kansas City metropolitan area.  It is a piece of artwork at the City Hall.   Rochelle  Wisoff-Fields of the Friday Fictioneers (a.k.a. Cuzzin’ Shelley) and I live about twenty minutes from each other.

If you “like” my story, fine.  BUT — I will go to your blog and READ your story if you read mine and leave a COMMENT.  As Rochelle and I and others will tell you from experience, “likes” don’t make a blog grow, human engagement does.  And we’re a fun bunch here at FF, so come on in!  This story first appeared on May 28th, 2014.  Yes, it’s a re-run.

Now, before we begin …

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a message picked up one night by a HAM radio operator named Kevin who originally hailed from Flanders. The language spoken, he told me, sounded something like a sort of “High Flemish” (if there were such a thing) and almost read like an electronic message in a bottle. “I felt very sorry for the woman transmitting,” he later told me. “She sounded so sad.” He copied it down in English, took it to the library and stuffed it in the front pages of a first edition Caldecott book titled Babes In The Woods.

Maybe he thought it would have made a great Forward …?

Anyway, here’s what the message said.


My explanation of what happened to us afterward will solve the mystery our home world has wondered about.

After we arrived, we escaped detection by our language being similar to that of a tribe called Flemings and clearing our pallor by eating a vegetable called the green bean.  We had a benefactor and lived happy lives on Earth, not unhappy as some feared.

I’ve been alone since my brother’s untimely death and been chronicled many times in Earth legends. I’ve decided to die here on planet Earth.

“A doleful story?” No. I lived a life richer than I ever dreamed.



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88 Responses to Second Star To The Right …

  1. Dear Kent,

    Oops. I thought you snapped the photo at the Home Office. I appreciate your message on human engagement. 😉 Intriguing story. Nice you could work it into 100 words.


    Cuzzin Shelley

  2. oldentimes says:

    Fortuitous adventure, glad you like our planet!

  3. IfeomaO says:

    I guess they listened to Justin Bieber’s warning in ‘backpack’ and decided to stay. Very interesting story, going to have to check out the rest of it :). Thank you for sharing.

  4. wmqcolby says:

    You are welcome.

  5. Love the story, and I was very interested in the Green Children of Woolpit. That’s the first I’ve heard of that…

    • wmqcolby says:

      Yes, it’s an interesting story. In fact, one of our former Fictioneers said she lived just 30 miles from Woolpit and she never heard of the story, either. Thanks for reading! 🙂

  6. Glad that you found our planet a good place to live, just make sure no one else knows you’re here else …

  7. Sandra says:

    Thanks for the link, that was really interesting. I feel slightly embarrassed that I hadn’t read of these children before, so thank you for that.

    • wmqcolby says:

      You weren’t alone in that. Remember El Appleby? She said she lived some 30 minutes from there and never heard the story either. Apparently, the legend inspired the poem Babes In The Woods, that absolutely heartbreaking tale.

    • wmqcolby says:

      I don’t know. I checked her blog and it’s still open, but the last time she wrote was last year almost two. I e-mailed her, but I never got a response. I hope everything’s OK. Rochelle and I wondered the same thing you did.

  8. I’m glad the green child/woman was happy with her life on earth. Thanks for the link with the information about the legend.
    Thanks also for this week’s photo

    • wmqcolby says:

      You’re entirely welcome, Siobhan. I’m not the only one to create a space story from the legend, but I tried to latch on to the feelings one would have should they be stranded on Earth and adjusting to a new life. Something universal in that, I guess.
      Thanks for reading! 🙂

  9. helenmidgley says:

    I love the humour in your work, I loved the line “clearing our pallor by eating a vegetable called the green bean” great job 🙂

  10. I loved the link, and how you could make humor out of a legend like that… So there are “little green men” after all…

    • wmqcolby says:

      I guess so. Of course, green-skinned people aren’t unheard of scientifically. There’s a condition called Hyper Chromic Anemia or Chlorosis which is the result of malnutrition. As for the language, the Flemish were probably not known too well in the 11th century, so, their trek to England would have been a surprise of sorts.

      Thanks for reading, Bjorn!

  11. neilmacdon says:

    The entry in my Encyclopedia Galactica for Earth just says “mostly harmless”

  12. I always love a good sci-fi story and this has such a wonderful bitter-sweet taste to it.

  13. Margaret says:

    Fascinating. I like what you’ve done with the legend of the green children. She chose to live her life among us and was happy. I wonder if an alien visitor would make the same choice today.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Haha! Well, who knows? I wondered what the feelings would be like. I guess it’s universal. They’ll either like this place or do anything to get back.

  14. draliman says:

    I’m glad they managed to integrate successfully (and that they weren’t some sort of invasion scouting force!).
    Interesting and intriguing Wiki entry.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Yes, it is intriguing. Of course, I think it was just a case of lost, malnourished children from a country that wasn’t known well at the time. That, too, would make for an interesting story.

  15. emmylgant says:

    Intriguing tale to be sure and the link was thoughtful, thank you.
    The photo prompt was quite engaging also and obviously fodder for the imagination.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Emmy, that picture was taken at the City Hall of my hometown and is one of many amazing sculptures. I’m wondering if I should submit all these stories to the Mayor and say, “Look what the City Hall inspired around the world!” 😀 I know him, too, so I think he’d be impressed.

      • emmylgant says:

        It never hurts to show the impact of art and culture has on the imagination. It probably go a long way in validating the artist too. Great idea!

  16. d3athlily says:

    I love reading some past works, just to see how great the community is before I joined it. I’m immensely interested in learning more about these Green children and will have to look further than Wikipedia in the coming days. 🙂

  17. This is such a great picture, Kent – thank you. And a wonderful story that makes me feel warm inside. I hadn’t heard of the children of Woolpit.

  18. wmqcolby says:

    I hadn’t either and neither have a lot of folks living in the area or near there … which is fine because these “undiscovered treasures” make for terrific imaginative fodder. Thanks for your kind comments, Claire. 🙂

  19. maria says:

    Thank you for that last line, Kent. It wrapped your story with a hint of optimism a life well lived. Happy to know that they did. 🙂 And thank you for sharing the tale of the green children, too. Another learned lesson for me.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Thank-you, Maria. 🙂
      I looked at some of your other writings and they are quite good. You think maybe you could write something sci-fi, stretch the imagination muscles?

      • maria says:

        Oh, sci-fi!! I’m working on taming that genre Kent. I know I still have a long way to go and heaps of reading to do. My writer souls tends to seclude itself in the world of fantasy and romance most often.

        Keeping my fingers crossed on writing something sci-fi one of these days. 🙂

  20. gahlearner says:

    This is a great story, I enjoyed every word of it. And I’m spending far too much time on your blog. After I took a closer look at it I found the picture so fascinating that I had to know what it was. I hadn’t recognized it as a sculpture. After reading your intro I knew what to look for and found it. Then I read your story–and then the link. Couldn’t stop reading. That story really gets the imagination into overdrive. My first thought was Hänsel and Gretel in green. Since raw green beans (kidney bean type) are toxic, I suspect what they ate were faba beans (broad beans). They don’t have that toxin, but some people lack a certain enzyme and get sick eating them–anemia. And, this sickness only affects men. Which might explain why the boy died, and not the girl. Fascinating stuff. Did I say thank you? I stop babbling now… 😀

    • wmqcolby says:

      Hahahaha! Gabriele, you can babble all you want. I’m happy you found a lot of benefits in the posting. We used to grow green beans, although, I wouldn’t have known if they were toxic in their raw condition. I liked them canned. Raw peas were much better, tastier.
      Hyper Chromic Anemia is probably what the kids had. Good conclusion on why the boy died. VERY cool. 🙂

  21. I’ll check the link, very interesting comments about it. Loved the photo and your story about it.

  22. trentpmcd says:

    I never heard of the Green Children. The article you linked to was fascinating. So reading your story we now know the truth….

  23. plaridel says:

    thank you for providing the background to the story. it made it more interesting to me. well done.

  24. A good story. Thanks for providing the link also – very interesting!

    • wmqcolby says:

      Thanks for dropping by, Thom. Judging from all the comments, it seems to have taken off in a lot of ways I didn’t realize. Green Children ..who knew? Right? Again, thanks!

  25. rgayer55 says:

    Dear Kent,
    If the crayons hadn’t been so tasty you would have probably colored that piece of artwork before anyone could have stopped you. I too appreciate your comments about “human engagement.” It’s nice to have people visit your blog, but the feedback is critical. Sometimes reading the comments is almost more enlightening than the story.

    Thanks for the photo. I certainly had fun with it. 🙂

    • Twixt you guys, me and the fence post, I’m backing off from those who consistently seem to ignore my story. We’re all busy and I don’t have any more time to read everything and comment than anyone else.
      No one has more fun than you do, Mr. Crayola. 😉

      I’ll stop dipping now.



    • wmqcolby says:

      Oh, I KNOW you had fun with it.😀 I get the biggest kick out of your stories, but also the intros and the monickers you slap onto the Queen. The whole thing works well, establishing an on-line kind of persona, Johnny Carson-like deal. I hope your blog has been getting really good traffic so your writings can sell. I think you should seriously consider podcasts. They don’t have to be long, either, just start as a sort of “check-in” and move from there.
      As for human engagement, yes. Feedback is critical, you’re right … but also look at all the friends we have made! SO cool. It’s marketing at its basic level.

      By the way, my favorite Crayola color is “flesh.” Which is also my favorite food and pastime …

      • wmqcolby says:

        Rochelle, you’ve given a LOT on this blog and that’s why it has become the success it has. Working the room and letting people know that FF Central is where the party is has certainly paid off and continues to do so. It is NOT easy work, but look at the results! Wow!
        Anyway, I know it hasn’t been the most “stellar” of weeks for you, so get the vertical hold fixed and buy a new guppy. It’ll be all right, Mildred.😉 — Sherman

  26. Dale says:

    I have just realised that my comment did not register! Dang…
    And have to agree with your intro and Russell’s comment and well. Yes, I try to leave a comment on all who do the same to me…
    That said, this was a most fun read indeed! Green people of Woolpit.. who knew?

    • wmqcolby says:

      Probably a disturbance in The Force again. I noticed that the times Rochelle and Russell commented are two hours ahead of today. Talk about weird …

      Anyway, yes. Thanks, Dale, for your reading and comments. It was a fun story to do, kind of tried to shoot out of me. Yes, who knew??? Thanks, again. 🙂

  27. mjlstories says:

    Loved the Green children link and your fun take on it and enjoyed finding out about the photo AND where you are in the world in relation to our Friday Fiction blogmother, Rochelle!
    Five out of five green beans!

    • wmqcolby says:

      As that great singer, Elvis Presley would say, “Thang-ya, thang-ya, thang-ya verrah muhhhch.”

      Yeah, she and I are cousins so, that’s why she’s the Royal Queen and I am what I am … the Royal Pain. 😀

  28. jellico84 says:

    Oh, I really did enjoy that little story with such huge images and inspirations! 🙂 ❤

  29. Tamal says:

    Amazing story. Folklore is so full of symbolism and mysticism.

  30. wmqcolby says:

    Thanks, Tamal. Of course, all legends have their basis in truth, which can be far stranger.

  31. subroto says:

    I must be getting to be an old hand at FF for I remembered that story and the link to the Green children of Woolpit. The story still remains full of beans.

    • wmqcolby says:

      That’s GREEN beans, of course.
      Actually, I’m glad you remembered the story. I also remember you read it. It’s a hard story to forget about the Woolpit Children.

  32. I don’t know the story of the Green Children, but I enjoyed this. The thought of others living among us is becoming a common theme in much of what I read.

  33. wmqcolby says:

    Of course, the logical explanation has been that they were simply children from Flanders who got lost and had a very bad case of malnutrition. It is an intriguing premise, though.

  34. Amy Reese says:

    Kent, I don’t think I realized you lived so close to Rochelle! How very nice. Did you know each other before FF? I enjoyed your intriguing story here. They adapted pretty well if all they need is the green bean! Thanks again for contributing the photo.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Yes, we knew each other before that. She’s a cousin of mine by marriage. She had been asked to take over the blog and wondered why she was asked to do so. So, I said, “Why NOT you?” Russell I knew of before from the Ozark Writer’s League, met him later. Jan and Mike live in Lenexa just next to my town. Thanks for reading.

      BTW, what State are you in?

      • Amy Reese says:

        What a small world, Kent! And I’m so glad she did take over the blog. It is a big commitment.
        I’m out west, dear fellow, in the land of earthquakes. Northern California.

      • wmqcolby says:

        Cool. Why did I get the idea you were an east coaster? Lots of them around … probably because Perry makes a big noise, as it were. 😀

  35. So glad to see someone appreciate our planet!
    Now about that art…is it a staue?

  36. Thanks for the great picture this week, Kent. I remember that blog from before. I downloaded the free book it resulted in–I think it was “Babes in the Wood” if I’m not mistaken. Sad story as many of those old moralistic stories were. The happiest part was when the children died and their souls went to heaven. Well written. 🙂 —- Suzanne

  37. Mike says:

    Today my book [ipad] keeps failing me. But your story opened up memories. So did the link. Really enjoyed it. And finding out about Herbert Read…

  38. Dee says:

    A great story Kent, and there you go, just like your ‘cuz’ opening a window into a new world. I had never heard of the children of Woolpit, so thank you for the link.
    As a child, I was so upset after I first listened to my grandmother reading Babes in the Wood, my mother threw our copy of the book in the bin. I had bad dreams for weeks.

    • wmqcolby says:

      OUCH! Yes, that would have made me VERY sad as a child of three or four. The illustrations don’t help much, either. But, as adults, what a classic story! The telling is so there in terms of character and motivation. But, I’d want older kids to read it, not little children. Too scary and sad. The Woolpit children, whether they existed or not, is something I wondered why more from the Suffolk area didn’t know about it.

      Thanks for reading, Dee. Always as pleasure to see you!

  39. What an utterly captivating and unaccountably moving story. That she lived a life that was richer than she could dream was lovely. Thanks for the link – I’d never heard of the Green Children of Woolpit before!

    • wmqcolby says:

      Neither had a lot of people, so that was a plus. Yeah, I thought the way I ended it would be better than having to deal with all that tragedy and stuff. Something like this makes for a downbeat ending and I think we have enough of that. Aiming for the poetic is better, too. Inspiration from our friends at FF who like to write poetry. 🙂

  40. This is a very clever piece with a bittersweet ending. Thank you for sharing the inspiration behind it. 🙂

  41. wildchild47 says:

    Intriguing and clever story that really adds another dimension to the image – which is fascinating in itself. And I appreciate the additional link you offered … pretty cool, although I have to say, what with your title and the way you have crafted the tale, it was clear to me the direction it was heading. I really like the compaction of this piece – it’s precise and telling, as if spoken or narrated by one who has never completely integrated. Wonderful reading 🙂

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