Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

First Savage Visitor

We two were standing just outside the door of my home, breaking twigs to be used for brightening the fire in the morning, when suddenly a real savage, the first I had ever seen, dressed in skins, with many feathers on his head, came into the village crying: "Welcome English!"

Women and children, all who were able to do so, ran out to see him, the first visitor we had had in Plymouth. His skin was very much darker than ours, being almost brown, and, save for the color, one might have believed him to be a native of Scrooby dressed in outlandish fashion to take part in some revel.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

Father was the more surprised because of hearing him speak in our language than because of his odd dress; but we afterward learned that he had met, two or three years before, some English fishermen, and they had taught him a few words.

Very friendly he was, so much so that when he put his hand on my head I was not afraid, and I myself heard him talking with Master Brewster, during which conversation he spoke a great many Indian words, and some in English that I could understand.

His name was Samoset, and after he had looked around the village, seeming to be surprised at the manner in which our houses of logs were built, he went away, much to my disappointment, for I had hoped, without any reason for so doing, that he might give me a feather from the splendid headdress he wore.

As I heard afterward, he promised to come back again, and when, six days later, he did so, there was with him another Indian, one who could talk almost the same as do our people. His was a strange story, or so it seemed to me, so strange and cruel that I wondered how he could be friendly with us, as he appeared to be, because of having suffered so much at the hands of people whose skins were white.

Squanto had been a member of the same tribe that owned the land where our village of Plymouth was built, and his real name, so Governor Bradford says, is Squantum.


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