The Landing of the Pilgrims by James Daugherty

The Landing of the Pilgrims by James Daugherty

Author:James Daugherty
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub
ISBN: 9780307778734
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Published: 2011-02-01T22:00:00+00:00


How the Spring Came and How Samoset Came out of the Forest

(March 1621)

Spring comes slowly to New England, but the March sun rose higher in the south and filled the land with brightness. The sick rose from their beds, grew stronger daily, and set about their labors. Fifty-one survivors were slowly coming back to life.

Little birds broke into song among the new leaves, the skunk cabbage and the jack-in-the-pulpit sprang greenly by the brook and the sound of spring thunder was heard. Women and children planted seeds in Plymouth gardens.

On such a spring day, a hunter came with news. While he had been crouching in the bushes by the creekside to bag a brace of ducks, twelve Indians had passed by toward Plymouth. In the woods he had heard many more. Miles Standish and Francis Cooke had left their tools in the forest. When they returned, their axes were gone. They could see Indian smoke signals and, silhouetted against the sky on a hilltop, two Indians signaled to them to come. When Standish and Cooke crossed the brook and laid down their muskets in a sign of peace, the Indians disappeared.

Captain Jones brought their five cannons ashore, three heavy pieces and two little “basses.” These were hauled lustily up the mount and stationed on the unfinished gun platform. The people of Plymouth felt a lot safer as they looked toward the Indian smoke signals rising behind Watson Hill.

On March 26, 1621, the Plymouth Assembly was in morning session at the common house. Miles Standish had just been made officially their military commander.

Suddenly the door to the assembly room was pushed open and a tall Indian boldly entered. Everyone jumped up. “Welcome, English,” he said. “Me Samoset.” Then he added coolly, “Me want beer.”

For the first time the amazed Englishmen were looking at an American Indian face to face. They gave him a glass of brandy, cheese and crackers, and some roast duck. The room was now crowded with neighbors wanting to see the Indian.

All afternoon Samoset answered questions in English—such as it was. He said that the English had settled on the lands of the Patuxet Indians; and that this tribe had been wiped out by the plague four years before.

Samoset disclosed that the Indians who had attacked the exploring expedition at The First Encounter were the Nausites. Eight months before, this tribe had killed three Englishmen in a fight with Sir Fernando Gorges’ party. The Nausites hated the English because a shipmaster named Hunt had kidnaped a number of their people under pretext of bartering with them. Hunt had then sold them into slavery in Spain.

Samoset himself had learned English from the fishermen who came each year to fish off the banks, and he knew their captains by name. He told the names, numbers, and chief’s of neighboring tribes. The Elders were suspicious of Samoset as an overnight guest. However, he did not want to leave, so he was lodged at Stephen Hopkins’ house where he slept peacefully on the bare floor.



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