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

Possibility of Another Famine

When we were settled down, as one might say, and our visitors were at work building homes for themselves, I heard father and Master Brewster talking one evening about the addition to our number, and was surprised at learning, that while they rejoiced equally with us children at the coming of our friends, what might be in store for us in the future troubled them greatly.

The Fortune  had brought from England no more in the way of food than would suffice to feed the passengers during the voyage across the ocean, and the crew on her return. Therefore had we thirty-six mouths to feed during the long winter, more than had been reckoned on when we held our festival of thanksgiving.

Until overhearing this conversation, I had not given a thought to anything save the pleasure which would be ours in having so many more friends around us; but now, because Master Brewster and my father talked in so serious a strain, did I begin to understand that we might, before another summer had come, suffer for food even as we had during the winter just passed.

And it was because of our people being so disturbed regarding the store of provisions, that the ship did not remain in the harbor as long as would have pleased us. Governor Bradford told the captain that he must set sail while there was yet food enough in the ship to feed his crew during the voyage home, since we of Plymouth could not give him any.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

The Fortune, however, did not go back empty. She was loaded full with the clapboards which our people had made during the summer, and, in addition, were two hogsheads filled with beaver and otter skins, the whole of the freight amounting in value, so I heard Captain Standish say, to not less than five hundred pounds sterling.

We were saddened when the ship left the harbor; but not so much as on the day the Mayflower  sailed away, for, having sent back in the Fortune  goods of value, there was fair promise she would speedily return for more.