Mary of Plymouth - James Otis
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.
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.
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.