Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

The Friendly Indians

With the coming of Samoset and Squanto, however, although the illness was not abated, and one after another of our company died, it seemed, perhaps only to us children, as if things were changed. These Indians were the only two persons in all the great land who were willing to take us by the hand and do whatsoever they might to cheer, and because of this show of kindness did we feel the happier.

Squanto, as father has said again and again, did very much to aid. First he showed our people how to fish, and this may seem strange to you, for the English had used hooks and lines many years before the New World was dreamed of; yet, it is true that the savages could succeed, even without proper tackle, better than did our people.

Squanto showed father how, by treading on the banks of the brooks, to force out the eels which had buried themselves in the mud during the cold weather, and then taught him how to catch them with his hands, so that many a day, when there was nothing whatsoever in our home to eat, we hunted for eels, boiling rather than frying them, because the little store of pork was no longer fit to cook with.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

Another thing which Squanto did that was wondrously helpful, was to teach us how to grind this Indian corn, Guinny wheat, or Turkie wheat, which ever it should be called, for none of us seemed to know which was the right name for it. The wheat that we found among the Indian graves could be made ready for the table, as we believed, only by boiling it a full day, and then it was not pleasing to the taste. But when Squanto came, he explained that it should be pounded until it was like unto a coarse flour, when it might be made into a pudding that, eaten with salt, is almost delicious.


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