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

On Christmas Day

On the morning of the first Christmas after our houses had been built, many of the men and boys, when called upon to go out to work for the common good, as had been the custom every week day during the year, declared that they did not believe it right to labor at the time when it was said Christ had been born. Whereupon Governor Bradford, after telling them that it was but a heathenish festival instead of really being the birthday of our Savior, announced that if it was against their consciences, he would leave them alone until they were better informed regarding the matter.

Then he, with those who were ready to obey the rules, went to their work; but on coming back at noon, he found those who did not believe it seemly to labor on Christmas day, at play in the street, some throwing bars, and others at stoolball. Without delay the governor seized the balls and the bars, carrying them into the fort, at the same time declaring that it was against his conscience for some to play while others worked. This, as you may suppose, brought the merrymaking to an end.

For my part I enjoyed the Christmas festivities as we held them at Scrooby, and cannot understand why, simply because certain heathen people turned the day into a time for play and rejoicing, we should not make merry after the custom of those in England.