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

Building the Fire

The greatest trouble we have, or did have during our first winter here, was in holding the fire, for the wood, having just been cut in the forest, is green, and the fire very like to desert it unless we keep close watch. Neither mother nor I can strike a spark with flint and steel as ably as can many women in the village; therefore, when, as happened four or five times, we lost our fire, one of us took a strip of green bark, or a shovel, and borrowed from whosoever of our neighbors had the brightest blaze, enough of coals to set our own hearth warm again.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

Some of the housewives who are more skilled in the use of firearms than my mother or myself, kindle a blaze by flashing a little powder in the pan of a gun, allowing the flame to strike upon the tinder, and thus be carried to shavings of dry wood. It is a speedy way of getting fire; but one needs to be well used to the method, else the fingers or the face will get more of heat than does the tinder. Father cautions us against such practice, declaring that he will not allow his weapons to remain unloaded simply for kitchen use, when at any moment the need may arise for a ready bullet.

But we have in Plymouth one chimney of which even you in Scrooby might be proud.