It is the stuff of legends; two white children being reared by natives, their parents unable to find them, the children haunted by memories of another life. Only now, perhaps, fiction becomes fact, as a man and woman in their 20s have come forward in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, looking for the American parents who either lost or abandoned them 20 years ago. Haile Mariam Gadessa, now 24 or 25, and Tegest Gadessa, about 20, told a U.S. consular official of being left by their American parents in the care of a housekeeper, a man of the Oromo tribe who took them to live with his relatives. The two have white skin turned bronze from the sun, light brown hair and eyes, and features distorted or scarred from sunburn. Haile Mariam was put to work as a herder, Tegest as a maid, and they tell of being taunted by villagers who saw them as freaks. "I have a memory, it is almost like a dream," Haile Mariam says. "It is of my mother. She is very tall and white. And we lived in a house made of bricks." Although the presence of two such children has been rumored for years--that an ailing parent left the country and then returned to search frantically for the children--there is no record of such an event, embassy officials say.