Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

Massasoit's Promise

The savages and our people were long in the half-built house, and both Sarah and I wondered what could be going on to take up so much time, more especially since we knew that, of the Indians, only Samoset and Squanto could speak in English. Later we came to understand that this chief, Massasoit, was making a bargain with the men of Plymouth.

My father called it a treaty, which, so mother explained to me, is the same as an agreement between two nations.

Massasoit, being the ruler over all the Indians near-by our village, promised that neither he nor any of his tribe should do any manner of harm to us of Ply mouth; but if any wicked ones did work mischief, they should be sent to our governor to be punished.

He promised also that if anything was stolen by his people from us, he would make sure it was sent back, and if, which is by no means likely, any of us living in Plymouth took from the Indians aught of their property, our governor should send it straightway to the savages.

Massasoit said that if any Indians came to fight or kill our people, he would send some of his men to help us, and if any tried to hurt his people, our fathers must take sides with him. Both Sarah and I think this is wrong, for why should Englishmen fight for the savages?

It seems to me much as if the white men should not agree to go to war with any except those who try to kill us; but father said it was no more than a fair trade.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

All this was agreed to while Elder Brewster's house was so full of visitors and our people, that they must have been packed together like herring in a box, and when the bargain, or treaty, had been made, all the savages, except Samoset and Squanto, marched away.

Soon after Massasoit had gone, his brother, Quadequina, and several more Indians appeared, and we entertained them also.

It was much like a feast day, to have so many people in this new village of ours that all the space beneath the trees seemed to be crowded, and we felt quite lonely when our fathers took up once more the work of building houses.


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