Front Matter Why This Story was Written The Leaking Speedwell Searching for a Home After the Storm Wash Day Finding the Corn Attacked by the Savages Building Houses Miles Standish The Sick People The New Home Master White and the Wolf Inside of the House A Chimney Without Bricks Building the Fire Master Bradford's Chimney Scarcity of Food A Timely Gift The First Savage Visitor Squanto's Story Living in the Wilderness The Friendly Indians Grinding the Corn A Visit From Massasoit Massasoit's Promise Massasoit's Visit Returned The Big House Burned The Mayflower Leaves Port Setting the Table What and How we Eat Table Rules A Pilgrim Goes Abroad Making a Dugout Governor Carver's Death Bradford Chosen Governor Farming in Plymouth Cooking Indian Corn The Wedding Making Maple Syrup Decorating the House Trapping Wolves and Pigeons Elder Brewster The Visit to Massasoit Keeping the Sabbath Holy Making Clapboards Cooking Pumpkins A New Oven Making Spoons and Dishes The Fort and Meeting-House The Harvest Festival How to Play Stoolball On Christmas Day When the Fortune Arrived Possibility of Another Famine On Short Allowance A Threatening Message Pine Knots and Candles Tallow From Bushes Wicks for the Candle Dipping the Candles When James Runs Away Evil-Minded Indians Long Hours of Preaching John Alden's Tubs English Visitors Visiting the Neighbors Why More Fish are not Taken How Wampum is Made Ministering to Massasoit The Plot Thwarted The Captain's Indian Ballots of Corn Arrival of the Ann Little James Comes to Port The New Meeting-House The Church Service The Tithingmen Master Winslow Brings Cows A Real Oven Butter and Cheese Settlement at Wessagussett The Village at Merrymount The First School Too Much Smoke Schools Comforts How Children Were Punished New Villages Making Ready for a Journey Clothing for Salem Food for the Journey Before Sailing for Salem Beginning the Journey The Arrival at Salem Sight-Seeking in Salem Back to Plymouth

Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

The Harvest Festival

You shall now hear about our harvest festival, which Governor Bradford declared should be called a day of thanksgiving because the Lord had been good to us in permitting of our getting from the earth, the sea, and the forest, such a supply of food as gave us to believe that never more would famine visit Plymouth.

True it is the crop of peas had failed, but the barley, so father said, was fairly good, while the Indian corn grew in abundance. Our people had taken a great many fish, and the hunters found in the forest a goodly supply of birds and animals, Already were there seven houses built, without counting the Common House that had been repaired soon after it was injured by fire, and the fort with its palisade.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

As soon as the harvest was over, the Governor sent four men out after such fowls and animals as might be taken, and in two days they killed as many as would serve to provide all the people of Plymouth with meat for at least a full week.

There were wild ducks in greatest number, together with turkeys, and small birds like unto pheasants. No less than twenty deer were killed, and it was well we provided such a bountiful supply for the thanksgiving festival, because on the day before the one appointed, Massasoit, with ninety of his men, came to Plymouth, bringing as gifts five deer, and it seemed as if the Indians did nothing more than eat continuously.

Instead of giving thanks on one particular day, as Governor Bradford had ordered, three days were spent in such festivities as we had not seen since leaving our homes in England.

The deer and the big turkeys were roasted over fires built in the open air, and we had corn and barley bread, baked pumpkins, clams, lobsters, and fish until one was wearied by the sight of so much food.

Nor was eating the only amusement during this thanksgiving time, for we played at games much as we would have done in Scrooby.

There was running, jumping, and leaping by the men, stoolball for the boys, and a wolf hunt for those soldiers under Captain Standish who were not content with small sports.