The Green Man

by Ann Tracy Marr

The Green Man in the Norwich Cloisters, Norwich, England

I have always been intrigued by the funny faces sculptors craft, the ones with vines coming out their noses. They are called Green Men. Every once in a while I'll see a Green Man plaque in a catalog. I always want to buy it, but manage to resist. After all, where would I put it, on the imaginary East wall of the crumbling Grecian folly on my non-existent country estate?

For To His Mistress I broke down and got a Green Man. Not a plaque, but the real thing -- at least as real as my imagination can make him. Research turned up remarkably little on him, so I had free rein. Here is the gist of it:

The Green Man is an ancient, possibly Celtic, 'god' representing inspiration, the glimmer of an idea in a dew dappled meadow caught in the corner of your eye. His main claim to fame is that his image is carved on the woodwork in churches all over England. Why? No one knows. Methinks we need an archaelogist or historian to get interested and do some digging.

When you read To His Mistress, you can hunt for the Green Man while you agonize over Katherine's battles with the Earl of Shelton. I don't explain his presence until nearly the end of the book. I did try to hide him on the cover of To His Mistress so you could admire him, but he just didn't fit.