The sufferings that fate inflicts on us should be borne with patience, what enemies inflict with manly courage. — Thucydides

Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

Tallow from Bushes

Squanto has shown us how we may get, at only the price of so much labor, that which looks very like tallow, and of which mother has made many well-shaped candles.

You must know that in this country there grows a bush which some call the tallow shrub; others claim it should be named the candleberry tree, while Captain Standish insists it is the bayberry bush.

This plant bears berries somewhat red, and speckled with white, as if you had thrown powdered clam shells on them.

I gathered near to twelve quarts last week, and mother put them in a large pot filled with water, which she stands over the fire, for as yet we cannot boast of an iron back-bar to the fireplace, on which heavy kettles may be hung with safety.

After these berries have been cooked a certain time, that which looks like fat is stewed out of them, and floats on the top of the water.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

Mother skims it off into one of the four earthen vessels we brought with us from Scrooby, and when cold, it looks very much like tallow, save that it is of a greenish color. After being made into candles and burned, it gives off an odor which to some is unpleasant; but I think it very sweet to the nostrils.


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