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

How to Play Stoolball

I know not if my friend Hannah has seen the game of stoolball as it is played in our village of Plymouth, because those among us who take part in it use no sticks nor bats, but strike the ball only with their hands. Of course we have no real stools here as yet, because of the labor necessary to make them, when a block of wood serves equally well on which to sit; but the lads who play the game take a short piece of puncheon board, and, boring three holes in it, put therein sticks to serve as legs.

These they place upon the ground behind them, and he who throws the ball strives to hit the stool rather than the player, who is allowed only to use his hands in warding it off. Whosesoever stool has been hit must himself take the ball, throwing it, and continuing at such service until he succeeds in striking anther's stool.

Sarah and I had believed that at this festival time, in the new meeting-house to praise the Lord for his wondrous goodness; but Master Bradford believed it would not be seemly to mix religious services with worldly sports, therefore it was not until the next Sabbath Day that we heard lessons of the Bible explained from that reading desk built of puncheons and short lengths of tree trunks.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

Perhaps it was because Governor Bradford allowed the men and boys to play at games during the time of thanksgiving, that they came to believe such sports would be permitted on Christmas, even though the elders of our colony had decided no attention should be paid to the day because of its being a Pagan festivity.