Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

Trapping Wolves and Bagging Pigeons

Our fathers dig deep pits, which are covered with light brushwood, in such portions of the forest as the wolves are most plenty, and many a one has fallen therein, being held prisoner until some of the people can kill him by means of axes fastened to long poles. Father has built many traps of logs; but I cannot describe how because of never having seen one.

Thomas Williams killed seven wolves in four days by tying four or five mackerel hooks together, covering them with fat, and leaving them exposed where the ravening creatures could get at them.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

Twice before the snow was melted, the men of the village had what they called a "wolf-drive, "when all made a ring around a certain portion of the forest where the animals lurked, and, by walking toward a given center, drove the creatures together where they could be shot or killed with axes.

Sarah and I do not dare venture very far from the village because of the ferocious animals, and if the time ever comes when we are no longer in deadly fear of being carried away and eaten by the dreadful creatures, this new world of ours will seem more like a real home.

I wish it might be possible for you to see the flocks and flocks of pigeons which come here when the weather grows warm. It is as if they shut out the light of the sun, so great are the numbers, and father says that again and again do they break down the branches of the trees, when so many try to roost in one place. Any person who so chooses may go out in the night after the pigeons have gone to sleep, and gather as many bags full as he can carry, so stupid are the birds in the dark, and even when they are not the most plentiful, we can buy them at the rate of one penny for twelve.


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