F Heritage History | Mary of Plymouth by James Otis
Contents 
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




A Visit from Massasoit

One day Samoset, Squanto, and three other savages came into our new village of Plymouth, walking very straight and putting on such appearance of importance that I followed them as they went to the very center of the settlement, for it seemed to me that something strange was about to happen, as indeed proved to be the case.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

The Indians had come to tell our governor that their king, or chief, was in the forest close by, having in mind to visit the Englishmen, and asked if he should enter the village.

I was so busy looking at the feathers and skins which these messengers wore that I did not hear what reply Captain Standish made, for he it was who had been called upon by Governor Carver to make answer; but presently a great throng of savages, near sixty I was told, could be seen through the trees as they marched straight toward us.

Then my heart really stood still, as I saw Master Winslow walking out to meet them with a pot of strong water in his hand; but Captain Standish said I need not be afraid, as he was only going to greet the chief of the Indians, carrying the strong water, three knives, a copper chain, an earring, and somewhat in the way of food.

It seemed like woeful waste to give that which was of so much value to a savage, but Captain Standish said it would be well if we could gain the favor of this powerful Indian even at the expense of all the most precious of our belongings.

A brave show did the savages make as they came into the village, marching one after the other! The feathers were of every color, and in such quantity it seemed as if all the birds in the world could not yield so many, even though every one was plucked naked. And the furs! The chief, whose name is Massasoit, wore over his shoulders a mantle so long that it dragged on the snow behind him, and he had belts and chains of what looked to be beads; but Captain Standish told me it was what the Indians called wampum, and served them in the place of money.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

Governor Carver stood at the door of Elder Brewster's house, which as yet had no roof, and beckoned for the chief and those who followed him, to enter. Inside were Mistress Carver's rug and mother's two cushions, which had been laid on the ground for the savage to sit on, and greatly did I fear that all those precious things would be spoiled before the visit was come to an end.

I cannot tell you what was said or done, for neither Sarah nor I could get inside Master Brewster's house, so crowded was it with the men of our village and with savages. More than half of those who had come with the chief were forced to remain outside, because of there not being space for all within the walls. Sarah and I had our fill of looking at them; but never one gave the slightest attention to us. It seemed much as if they believed their station was so high that it would be beneath their dignity to speak with children.